Music Features

The Singles Bar - 15th August 2011

The singles chart is a confusing beast, isn’t it? Once upon a time, a song would be on the radio for a week or three before being released on a physical product you could buy in a shop. Then, when downloads became popular, they had to be incorporated, and now we’ve got on-air on-sale; the concept that no-one quite understands and not all labels seem to be adhering to.

This all means that it’s difficult to know what singles are coming out and when. So, we’re taking it back to the old school, and in the style of music mags of yore, like Smash Hits!, we’re reviewing the singles. Hooray.

These are the platters that matter on Monday 15th August 2011.

Professor Green – At Your Convenience

Rap numpty Professor Green’s new single starts with a slurred, “aw, mate,” and we’ve had a “your Mum” reference before we’re even into the first verse. It also includes the line, “I’ve just had a shit and I can’t find the loo roll.” The squalling guitars in the background work quite well, but Green’s voice is incredibly irritating and his lyrics depressingly juvenile. This is the kind of thing you’d expect to crop up near the end of a D12 record. He’s not even a real Professor either. 2/10

Brett Anderson – Brittle Heart

Suede have experienced something of a renaissance in the past year, so it’s curious as to why Brett Anderson’s new release is so low-key. Lyrically, he’s the same as he ever was (“Give me your brittle heart and your ashtray eyes”), but shorn of his band, there’s something sadly lacking. Brittle Heart isn’t a bad track by any means, though it is a bit of a mid-tempo plodder, which fails to hit the anthemic heights it’s reaching for. Nice, but perhaps not single material. 5/10

Cloud Control – Gold Canary

I’d never heard of Cloud Control before, but their close harmonies immediately reminded me of Fleet Foxes. Then the lead vocal came in, and Alister Wright even sounds like Robin Pecknold. However, they’re not quite Appalachian mountain clones – there are some female vocals in the mix and a healthy dose of electronic tomfoolery. Around the two minute mark, there’s a definite shift and the track begins to soar. Accomplished stuff and really quite enjoyable. 7/10

CSS feat. Bobby Gillespie – Hits Me Like a Rock

I’ve mixed feelings about this collaboration. CSS have made some great songs whereas Bobby Gillespie is clearly a deluded plank of the highest order. Sadly, CSS seem to have lost some of their oomph since their riotous debut and Hits Me Like a Rock meanders along quite nicely until a horrible realisation hits me – it sounds like Vengaboys. Gillespie’s hushed vocals work surprisingly well, but oh dear, it’s cheesy Euro pop o’clock. 4/10

The Sound Of Arrows – M.A.G.I.C.

I’ve decided to eat a chocolate and lemon tart while listening to The Sound Of Arrows and it’s turning out to be a very wise decision. M.A.G.I.C. is uplifting and refreshing (like lemon), but there’s clearly something going on which puts it above your standard pop record (like choc… well, not really, the metaphor kind of ends there). Dreamy vocals and an incredibly infectious singalong chorus make this track a surprise success. 8/10

Battles feat. Gary Numan – My Machines

This track is relentless. A repeated, sludgy riff over insane drumming and strong synth lines mean this track is highly recommended. Gary Numan is a perfect fit for My Machines, his voice complimenting the gothic feel of the music. The build-up around the three minute mark is genuinely exciting – anyone who thinks Muse are the best at atmospheric, apocalyptic rock should spend an afternoon locked in a room with this song. 9/10 – SINGLE OF THE WEEK

Wonderland – Nothing Moves Me Anymore

Wonderland are a girl band formed by Svengali Louis Walsh and Westlife member Kian Egan (whose wife just happens to be in the band). Nothing Moves Me Anymore is a syrupy abomination of a ballad – the likes of which you’ve heard countless times before (think Leona Lewis or… Westlife, actually). There are the usual strings, the obligatory over-emoting, in fact, the only thing missing is a key change. As Oscar Wilde would have said, “I tell you what, this song’s a load of old shit.” 0/10

The Wombats – Perfect Disease

I’m no fan of The Wombats, however this isn’t too shabby at all. The lyrics aren’t up to much, and Matthew Murphy’s vocals are overly earnest as usual, but it sounds a lot like a more commercially-focussed Klaxons, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, if you put your preconceptions of The Wombats to one side, you’ll discover a tight, neat pop song, which you can have a bit of a dance to as well. Nice work, my Antipodean marsupial friends. 7/10

Lenny Kravitz – Stand

Yes, I was also shocked to learn Lenny Kravitz was still recording and releasing music. After hearing Stand, I’m not sure why he bothers, because this could have been released by Kravitz at any point in the last two decades. It’s got the classic rock feel you’d expect, and is likely to feature on numerous driving compilations. Overall, Stand’s ok if you like that sort of thing, but it’s not bringing anything new to the table – far from it, in fact. 5/10

Frank Ocean – Swim Good

Those Odd Future boys are cheeky scamps, aren’t they? What with their rapping about rape and killing and such. Frank Ocean is a very different proposition from his better-known bandmate, Tyler, though. Swim Good is what I believe the kids call a “slow jam,” and very pleasant it is too. Ocean’s relaxed vocals sit over steady beats and a slightly haunting backing. Maybe it’s a little too drowsy actually, but it’s certainly worth four minutes of your time. The track ends with thirty seconds of sounds from the beach. I like the beach. 8/10

If you’d like to chip in with your two cents, why not do so using the form below?