Track Reviews

Track Reviews: 11-17 July 2011

Unlike those snakes at the now-defunct News Of The Screws, the musicOMH tracks column has never sunk to such despicable levels of deceit, dishonesty and subterfuge: we have always been upfront, open and honest about our extensive phone-tapping practices.

Never have we denied eavesdropping on James Blunt‘s many and varied calls to fetishist titillation lines; not once have we attempted to cover up our monitoring of t.A.T.u.‘s insurgent liaisons with subversive neo-Communist splinter cells; on no occasion have we lied about our records of Chas‘s graphic, perverse and poorly punctuated text messages to Dave.

In these troubling times we ask that you accept our assurances, dear reader, that we remain as pure and incorruptible as Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and The Jonas Brothers attending an intensive spirituality retreat in deepest Mormon Utah. With their parents. And Glenn Beck. (Though their recent instant messages do hint at something altogether less virginal afterwards… You didn’t hear that from us.)

Zola Jesus – Vessels

The end of the world is coming. We’re doomed. DOOMED. WE TELL YOU.

No one really listens to our apocalyptic predictions anymore, so we’re thinking that what we need is some sort of foreboding and portentous number that we can play in the background to accompany our cries and really get the message across.

We’ve struggled to come up with anything that really fits the bill. But this, the new single from Zola Jesus’ second album Conatus, is almost perfect.

It sounds every so slightly like Nine Inch Nails performing Pet Shop Boys covers in a crypt. Foreboding, synthesised, dramatic, industrial and ever-so slightly brilliant.

Totally. Doomed. Honestly.

Tasseomancy – Heavy Sleep

Oh, sure you’ve heard of Tasseomancy. They’re Sari and Romy Lightman, formerly known as Ghost Bees and backing singers for musicOMH favourites Austra. We were talking about them at the pub last week, but you were busy searching for Deuce on the jukebox, weren’t you.

You shan’t forget the name again: Heavy Sleep is an utterly haunting folk smoulderer with a video that reminds us of staying up to watch obscure horror movies on Channel 4, giving ourselves the willies, sleepless nights and mild childhood trauma as a consequence. Excellent.

Givers – Up Up Up

Are you the brooding type that immediately skips through the chirpy cheerfulness of the likes of The New Pornographers or Grouplove? Then Lafayette quintet Givers probably aren’t for you.

If chipper posi-pop is your cup of tea, then Up Up Up is sure to put pep in your already-peppy step… you unbearably bubbly sod. Still, they’ve made liberal use of that camera effect that makes things look like scale models. Which is nice.

Guillemots – I Must Be A Lover

Three albums in and the Guillemots sound shows no signs of abating: big, bold, beautiful. While we even took a shine to lead singer Fyfe Dangerfield‘s solo excursions – it was still rock and roll to us – we’re glad that the exotically named quartet (Dangerfield joined by MC Lord Magrao, Aristazabal Hawkes and Greig Stewart) are back in one another’s company.

Gladder still are we with I Must Be A Lover, a genuine standout from the band’s recent Walk The River LP. Granted, the visuals may pale slightly next to the track’s stop-start gorgeousness, but what the hell: a big shiny star for this one.

Arctic Monkeys The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala

Suck It And See may have been a slow burner, but with the 20/20 vision afforded to hindsight we can revel as it slowly reveals its charms. Like a newly employed burlesque model gradually increasing in confidence as each inch of skin is coquettishly uncovered with every subsequent balloon pop.

The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala is one of its treasures. Not quite a pasty, not quite an extended spin around a pole, but pretty darn exciting nonetheless. Equivalent to a glimpse of an suspender-clad thigh, perhaps.

It’s all lovely harmonics that wouldn’t look out of place keeping Arthur Lee in shotguns and Alex Turner’s renewed delight in teasing out lyrics that delicately balance themselves between poetic beauty and absolute gobbledegook in a remarkably Bob Dylanesque fashion.

The Strokes Taken For A Fool

For an entire generation, reviewing The Strokes is a little bit like critiquing a close member of your family. Hence the raft of judgements of their last album that chose the common thread of: “Yeah, it sounds a lot like The Strokes. 4 stars.”

Sounding a lot like The Strokes apparently is something that we’re all happy enough for The Strokes to do.

Taken For A Fool sounds quite a lot like The Strokes. And genuinely we are happy for that to be so. Particularly when it’s accompanied by a video that spins around and around and around, leaving Albert looking cool, Nick looking cool, Nikolai looking cool, Fab playing some drums (and looking cool) and Julian drunkenly slurring a vocal into a mic. Whilst looking cool.

Natalia Kills feat. – Free

While a few sherries will see us confess to tapping our toes to The Black Eyed Peas‘ breakthrough album (well, some of us – Ed.), we can’t quite escape the feeling that is everywhere. Rather like chlamydia. And that everything he touches is destined to turn into money-spinning chart fodder aimed squarely at the lowest common denominator. Can you hear us from up here on our high horse? Good; we shall continue.

We’ve had visions of what may have befallen Janelle Mone had got his grubbies on her, but Bradford’s Natalia Kills hasn’t been so fortunate as Free plunges from passably pointless pop pleasantries to new depths of soul-crushing inanity: “I got some money in my pocket and I wanna go shopping / and go buy me some things I like / I saw some kicks up in the mall that I just gotta be rockin’ / I love to rock them things I like.” Pass the hemlock, please.

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