This Week’s Singles Reviewed – 30th July

Barry Nicholson takes on this week’s releases.

Cher Lloyd – ‘Swagger Jagger’
It’s no surprise that Cher Lloyd’s debut single is a rebuke to her ‘haterz’. She’s an underdog, after all, scrapping her way to a multi-million pound record deal after losing The X Factor, and colluding with fellow cultural outlanders Cheryl Cole, RedOne and But when your ace card is a chorus lifted from a song that Huckleberry Hound sings better than you, perhaps the haterz have a point.

Richmond Fontaine – ‘Lost In The Trees’
Richmond Fontaine have always struck me as sounding like The Hold Steady if they’d grown up idolising Uncle Tupelo instead of Bruce Springsteen. “We were all pretty fucked up”, growls frontman Willy Vlautin, over an clatter of chicken-wire guitars and fortysomething frustration, determined to have fun, fun, fun until her indoors complains that the kids are trying to sleep.

Noah And The Whale – ‘Life Is Life’
If, like us, you misread the title of this single and got excited about Charlie
Fink covering mulleted ’80s Austrian pomp-rockers Opus, you are both
a) too knowledgeable about said pomp-rock,
and b) mistaken. But for a misplaced consonant, this could’ve been brilliant; instead, it has to settle for being quite good, a further glass-half-full break from their nu-folk shackles, and naggingly catchy to boot.

Yuck – ‘Shook Down’
Contrary to Yuck’s normal scruffy slouch, this song does not sound like Dinosaur Jr. Yet frustratingly, it takes a full 2:43 for the cursed record to do anything: up to that point (when someone – possibly accidentally – steps on a guitar pedal), it’s all wishy-washy acoustics and sighing, ‘Arsed? Not us!’ vocals. But it definitely doesn’t sound like Dinosaur Jr. So there’s that.

Jess Mills – ‘Live For What I’d Die For’
Because it’s looking increasingly like Madonna’s going to be shit for the rest of her career, we’ve got no real problem with north London ‘songstress’ (I’m legally obliged to call her that) Jess Mills trying on the skin Madge slithered out of, python-like, after ‘Ray Of Light’. It even suits Mills well enough, though the scales have seen better days.

The Phantom Band – ‘O’
The Glaswegian sextet could (theoretically) feed the world’s hungry, clothe its poor, usher in a utopian age of peaceful human-on-human co-existence… and probably still be shrugged at dismissively by the world at large. Which is a shame, because as a slice of beardy-weirdy indie-rock, it’s actually pretty great.

This article originally appeared in the July 30th issue of NME

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