Track Reviews

Track Reviews: 21-27 March 2011

Oh. Hi. You’re here. We weren’t sure you were going to come after what happened last time. Rest assured that the Black Eyed Peas – Fergie in particular – will not be invited back any time soon. And we can see that you’re a little perturbed by our banana hammocks, but that’s sort of your own fault; you really ought to have knocked.

Still, you’re here, and that’s what matters. The Joy Formidable and Joana and The Wolf are upstairs lighting some candles and putting down the rubber sheets, and we’re expecting The Human League any moment now (with Pete Burns in tow, hopefully).

If you can’t recall the drill because of last week’s debacle, the safety word is “iPad”, there is strictly no “illegal uploading” (you know what we mean) and all participants must shower before getting started. The bathroom is your second left at the top of the stairs.

And a quick word to the wise: you might want to limber up while you have the chance. Francis Neve does a hundred lunges before these events, and we’d hate for you to go in there unprepared. Oh, come, don’t look so worried; it’ll be fun! Pain au chocolat?

Austra – Lose It

Now we’re not the types to tell you what to think, or dare to deign which bands will sink and which will swim in the riptides of popular culture. You know us better than that; we’re here to postulate, not designate.

That said, Torontonians Austra seem to have something very special about them. Lose It, unlike the latest Human League effort (see below), springs into earshot like The Knife or Ladytron, balancing contemporary cool with the classic electro-pop principles of Kate Bush, Japan et al. With a debut album on the horizon and healthy SXSW buzz abound, keep ’em peeled for this Canadian trio.

Everything Everything – Final Form

We’re not quite sure why folk find it so hard to discern what it is Everything Everything address with their rapier-like neo-prog. It’s pretty bloody obvious that Photoshop Handsome is about turning up at a vegan fancy dress party in an inappropriate costume: “Just come back as something organic!” Right?

Okay, maybe we haven’t got a Scooby Doo either, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t think they’re great. Latest single Final Form, according to Guy Garvey, makes radio greater than it has ever been, and who are we to disagree? Nobody, that’s who.

The Joy Formidable – Whirring

I’ll come clean. For a good four or five months after first seeing The Joy Formidable, my pronunciation of the later part of their name erred more towards the Gallic than was advisable.

The Joy Form-i-dabl. It made them sound light, airy and, well, pretty damn French. Which they aren’t. It also probably explained quite a lot of odd looks received while requesting songs.

Oops. Anyway. It doesn’t matter, because formidable or formidabl, Whirring is a marvellous thing: a dervish of a record which pounds and throbs and soars and has a video with plenty of cats. But il n pas de chat.

Watch it for yourself

The Human League – Never Let Me Go

Don’t you want me, baby? Don’t you want me? Ohh… But why not? If it’s about what happened in the car park last night, you were given plenty of warning that it’s a very popular spot at this time of year. Get over it. Seriously.

The Human League were never such prudes. In fact, look at them now; shamelessly flaunting the formula that took them to the top 30 years ago. Shy bairns get nowt, as they say.

If you don’t want me, do you at least want to check out their latest retro-electro number and its suitably bonkers promo vid? Of course you do. Their day may have been and gone but Never Let Me Go is still worth a toe-tap or two.

Watch it for yourself (or a very good friend)

Parade – Louder

Ah, where the worlds of pornography and girl bands meet.

To be fair, they do share a lot of the same fans. So naming your new girl band after a 1970s adult magazine is potentially a hilarious admission of the key demographic you’re aiming at.

But it probably isn’t. It probably has a lot more to do with a focus group gone awry and the dawning realisation from the paymasters that in all honesty, they aren’t going to last long and we’ve already paid for the domain and the Twitter account and the first batch of T-shirts, so there’s no point changing now.

Still, at least it wasn’t Hirsute Horny Housewives.

Watch it here

Joana and The Wolf – Hide Me

You know how when Florence started she was quite, you know, good? No? Anyway, before it all got a bit ubiquitous and you literally couldn’t turn around at a festival without hearing someone belting out You’ve Got The Love (with the emphasis on ‘belt’).

Back when it was OK to be kooky. Well, there’s a hint of that in Joana and The Wolf. Except with a nicer voice.

Hide Me is rather ace, in fact. Joana does the writhing siren thing while, uh, The Wolf, throw all kinds of rock shapes behind her and the whole thing explodes in a finale of unbridled gusto.

Francis Neve – Winterbury

Francis Neve seems like such a nice lad, doesn’t he? We imagine he wouldn’t dare stick a swear in his minor chord folk-pop. We expect that he’s always very polite, and says things like; “Good manners are their own reward.”

But Winterbury is a bit darker than that – an aching duet reminiscent of Evan Cranley and Amy Millan’s bittersweet efforts with Stars – and hints at an interesting body of work perhaps yet to exist. At any rate, it’s a nice change from Adele wailing at the top of her lungs umpteen times a day.

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