Track Reviews

Track Reviews: 13-19 February 2012

While we were watching the BAFTAs we couldn’t stop pondering: why does no one give us an award? Surely we deserve some kind of statuette. No, we haven’t played Margaret Thatcher. Or made a silent French film. Or supported anyone in anything. But you know, regardless, surely we deserve something.

It was the same last week with the Superbowl. Why didn’t Madge ask us along? You’d have got more than a raised middle finger. You’d have got the whole shooting match. Twin forks. The colossal air dickhead. The seldom spotted twin-arm overhand wanker. Every single one of our not insubstantial set of offensive hand gestures would have been given an appropriate airing in front of 200 million people.

Yeah. That would have done the trick. But then again, if any of these things had happened, it’s likely we wouldn’t have had time to complete this column. So, our personal loss is your musical gain.

Friends Friend Crush
Friends’ I’m His Girl really did it for us last year we pawed over it like odious hipster zombies, our vacant stares punctuated by the band’s lush percussive thud but at the time we neglected to embrace its sister track, Friend Crush: a track as good as or even better than its more popular sibling.

Well, it’s time for Friend Crush to emerge blinking into the light as it belatedly scampers up airwave playlists and fulfils a funky prophecy set forth as long ago as last summer. This, surely, will be their year.

Deaf Club Sunday
One thing we’ve learned, as we’ve gotten older, more belligerent and less coherent, is that atmosphere is important. Vital. And this new single from Welsh five piece Deaf Club, has atmosphere in spades.

With layers of shimmery guitars, spectral vocals, and a general air of bleak spaciousness, it’s an atmosphere that you would normally associate with being stranded on the moors at 3am with only a flashlight for company. Beautiful, but ever-so-slightly frightening.

Dry The River The Chambers & The Valves
It’s not for nothing that we heap praise on Dry The River: the bohemian heartache; the exhilarating crescendos; the delicate equilibrium between despair and delight. They’re a Revere or Kill It Kid redux with chart panache mixed in for good measure.

The Chambers & The Valves exhibits just such virtues as well as a smashingly skewed monster-mashing promo and is another reminder why the band’s long-playing debut is one of the most hotly anticipated of 2012.

This Many Boyfriends Starling
Though rhythm guitarist Peter Sykes lost his life to a brain haemorrhage late last year, This Many Boyfriends’ sound is one utterly at odds with the dour chill of winter; new single Starling, especially, is a track that seems to intone “thaw, thaw, thaw” through its pacey runs, falsetto licks and shimmering Northern jangles.

It was, indeed, written and recorded with Sykes, and is duly dedicated to his memory. We couldn’t imagine a more fitting epitaph.

The Knocks feat Mandy Lee Midnight City
Close your eyes (but keep reading). Imagine Diana Vickers is covering M83. Go on, do it. It’s not very pleasant, is it? The bare feet; the superfluous gesticulations; the vocal affectations that make you want to lop off your ears with rusty shears.

Now imagine that it’s not all that bad. In fact, imagine that it’s actually quite good, and that you’re even starting to enjoy it. Open your eyes. Press play. Mangiare.

Band Of Skulls Sweet Sour
Kids. Kids are bastards. Look at them. Rampaging about, curling their lips. Rucking with each other. Frightening old women. Smashing stuff. Breaking into bizarrely well choreographed dance routines in monochrome.

We’re too scared to go out at night. They own the streets. Those prima donnas. We blame the parents.

Still, at least they’re getting on down to another three minutes of stomping, heavy footed bluesy rock sludge from Band Of Skulls, and not something unspeakably crap blaring from a mobile phone. That, is progress.

Wills Earl Beal Take Me Away
If you had Wills Earl Beal down, following his (lovely) last track Evening’s Kiss, as some sort of sweet, desperately romantic singer-songwriter – albeit the rare type to give the art a good name – then think again.

Take Me Away is bar-room brawling, foot stomping, Tom Waits-ian bawler that sounds like it was recorded in a tin shack.

Veronica Falls My Heart Beats
At school we knew a girl called Veronica. Oh. No. Wait. It wasn’t Veronica. It was Veruca. Veruca. And it wasn’t Falls. It was Salt. Veruca Salt. Actually. Hang on. That wasn’t school. That was Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

Anyway, My Heart Beats is jangly and nice, and sounds not unlike The Delgados. Should you be looking for something upbeat and playful and dancing through the fields with daisies in its hair, it’s not a bad bet.

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