1. White Lies – ‘Bigger Than Us’
Tap a keg, tear open your shirt and rig a limbo pole – fun party guys White Lies are back with more tales of ineffable gloom, sung in a manner that’s more stern and baritone than Brian Blessed belly-aching about spending cuts into a wind sock.On their new album ‘Ritual’, White Lies have taken a similar path to Editors on ‘In This Light And On This Evening’, basically evolving from Joy Division to New Order, bringing the synths to the fore (there’s also some DJ scratching on the opening track, which calls to mind nu-metal rather than New Order, but we’ll not dwell on that).
Predictably it’s stuffed with hooks the size of ice-hockey rinks – and lead single ‘Bigger Than Us’ is the kind of song you make when your debut album sold almost a million copies and you’ve got a budget that could wipe out the national debt. It tells of ill-starred romance, and features tremolo guitar chords that challenge you not to use the adjective ‘icy’.
The song also includes the opening line, “You took the tunnel route home/You’ve never taken that way with me before”, which is categorically not – repeat NOT – a euphemism for bum sex, no matter what my perverted NME colleagues say.
[Luke Lewis, Deputy Editor, NME.COM]
2. Niki & The Dove – ‘Mother Protect’
While we’re stuck with Adeles and Duffys, Sweden repeatedly manages to pump out the most ridiculously brazen popstrels. And N&TD’s Malin Dahlström (above) is no exception. Stern of voice and tribal of drum, Malin clasps eagles and lions to her feathery bosom in order to fully evoke the womping, primal fury with which she’s stalking her prey.
[Susana Pearl, writer]
3. Patrick Wolf – ‘Time Of My Life’
Lock up your daughters! Lock up your sons! Lock up your horse! Hopeless romance has a returning hero. The lead single from his fifth album (out next May on Hideout), this is a quick-step ballad of strings and piano. Welcome back, Pat.
[Mike Williams, Features Editor]
4. Zun Zun Egui – ‘Praise The Waterfall Pt 2’
In the sea of strange, Bristol’s Zun Zun Egui are about to release their second EP. This, the first song from it, thrashes a path through Congotronic rhythms using a space invader gun as a weapon, and ends up recalling French new wave goddess Lizzy Mercier Descloux partying with James Murphy. Praise be.
[Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor]
5. Foxes In Fiction/Weed – ‘Teenage Dream’ (Katy Perry cover)
It doesn’t take an X Factor-eulogising pop apologist to recognise ‘Teenage Dream’ as brilliant. Canadian wooze-merchant Warren Hildebrand with Will Anderson of lo-fi scuzzers Weed suck the punch out of Perry and leave it betwixt Atlas Sound and Memory Tapes.
[Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor]
6. Jessie J – ‘Do It Like A Dude’ (Labrinth Remix)
It’s been a while since the spectre of sheeny ragga-pop reared its head on British soil. Aswad’s inane BBQ grins are no more: welcome Jessie J, a mutant hydra-beast gargling Shabba Ranks’ goolies like gobstoppers, and here, lost amid a labyrinth of glitching stabs.
[Jaimie Hodgson, New Music Editor]
7. Rihanna and Eminem – ‘Love The Way You Lie Pt 2’
Much, much more stripped down than its predecessor, and led by Rihanna, part two offers the female perspective on this self-destructive relationship. This time, there’s tenderness, even with Em, who is now saying: “Run out the room and I’ll follow you like a lost puppy”. Bless.
[Hamish MacBain, Assistant Editor]
8. Veronica Falls – ‘Right Side Of My Brain’
A lo-fi, sexily unhinged nugget that’ll get your id snarling. “Take your hands off me”, it goes, sounding like the Velvets’ ‘What Goes On’ filtered through ‘Stutter’ by Elastica. VF keep getting better.
[Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor]
9. Retro/Grade – ‘Escape Sequence’
New dance duo Retro/Grade combine ’80s avant-pop with big beat. It sounds like the incidental music in the film Heathers as re-recorded by Yello.
[Dan Lawrence, writer]
10. Daft Punk – ‘Derezzed’
You wait half a decade for the French robot men to recharge, then they reboot and fire out a whole soundtrack. With its churning rift and soaring keys, it seems Daft Punk are blasting the new Tron film straight to the apocalypse’s dancefloor. Tense yet hypnotic, the disco at the end of time has a new anthem.
[Paul Stokes, Associate Editor]