The Kills, Jess Mills, Azari & III – This Week’s Singles Reviewed

Allo Darlin’ – ‘Capricornia’
Ah, Australia. Home of drought, locust plagues and swaggering brigades of beetroot-faced drunks. But to Elizabeth Morris, folksy vocalist with Queensland’s Allo Darlin’, Oz is a magical place, zinging with romance. ‘Capricornia’ is a sentimental hymn to her hometown. It’s also an uplifting acoustic jangle that will remind you of Kirsty MacColl, the start of summer, and a glinting open road ahead.

Azari & III – ‘Reckless (With Your Love)’
Toronto’s Azari & III are supposedly making some of the most exciting house music around right now, but frankly, what kind of chino-wearing berk listens to house music in 2012? This track, which features a plinky keyboard sound and a generic soul vocal, is the kind of dismal bumwash Dave Pearce used to ‘rinse’ in the ’90s. Probably still does, out there in some dank radio netherworld.

Jess Mills – ‘Pixelated People’
The one fact everyone knows about Jess Mills is that she’s the daughter of MP Tessa Jowell. It’s not especially relevant – it’s not like she’s singing about the Olympic Delivery Authority. In fact, this single is an excellent, brooding lament with an aching, gathering-storm quality and shades of Burial’s blurry, rain-soaked synths, while still being very pop.

Dodgy – ‘What Became Of You’
It’s not entirely clear why Dodgy have reformed. They were the buffonish Chuckle Brothers of Britpop, and this jaunty comeback does little to dispel the idea of them as clod-hopping, bong-sucking stoners. On the other hand, YouTube commenters say it’s “flipping brilliant” and creates a “warm, summery vibe”, and who am I to harsh their nostalgic mellow?

Amateur Best – ‘Be Happy’
Amateur Best is the nom de plume of Londoner Joe Flory, who you’ll half-remember as the guy behind synth-pop project Primary1. His new speciality is extravagantly sad blubtronica, lightened with touches of Phoenix-esque soft rock. It’s pleasant, in an ambient, Pitchfork-y kind of way, and lines such as “If it never gets better then what do I do?” will have a certain kind of hipster weeping all over his Technics.

The Kills – ‘The Last Goodbye’
The Kills are great and all, but they’re not a band to really move you. They’re too aloof, there’s no emotional gut-punch – until know. ‘The Last Goodbye’ is really very beautiful indeed, a raggedly sentimental chanson that finds Alison Mosshart channelling Marianne Faithfull and Edith Piaf. Be sure to google the mesmerising black-and-white video too, directed by Samantha Morton of Minority Report fame.

This article originally appeared in the February 11th issue of NME

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