Welcome, dear denizen, to a special edition of the Tracks column that is in no way affiliated with the L****n O******s. We’ve cajoled the week’s singles into an orderly line, like the flustered coach of unruly a******s, urging our charges to become ever f****r, h****r, s******r – though many of them will look back on the s****r g***s of 2**2 as a time to forget.
So let’s sort the Derek Redmonds from the Sally Gunnells and find out who’s worthy of g**d, s****r and b****e. On your m***s, g*t s*t… **!
The xx Angels
The xx return. Not with a bang, but with an almighty sigh. Our favourite black-clad soundtrackers of bus journeys from heartbreak to loneliness via despair are back with the first track from their new album.
And no doubt, Angels is quite quite xx-ey. Portentous guitars chiming, distant processed snare rolls punctuating and Romy Madley Croft cooing words of love which are either romantic or desperate, or both.
There’s something lovely about it. It’s a cocoon of a song that wraps you up in the folds of its spaciousness and leaves you completely immersed. But if when it ends you can avoid expelling your breath in an audible fashion, you’ve done better than us.
The Vaccines – Teenage Icon
The Vaccines may have flattered to deceive with last year’s What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? LP, yet they managed to stake themselves a small plot in pop culture’s green and verdant hills – thanks, in no small part, to frontman Justin Young’s unmistakable vocal.
Second album The Vaccines Come Of Age sees light of day in September, and Libertines-esque lead single No Hope has already done its work. Follow-up Teenage Icon is, we fear, a touch too try-hard, a mite too obvious and ever so slightly too bland – despite the Frankie Avalon shout-out.
Delphic Good Life
You know when you’re given something which should, to all intents and purposes be a gift, a boon AND a blessing, but in reality is the equivalent of someone tying a millstone around your neck and suggesting that you go for a quick swim in the local pool.
Delphic do. It’s now happened twice. First, finishing third in a ‘Sound Of…’ rundowns at the point where the shark-leaping of those kind of we-know-better-than you editorials reached an apogee, and now returning with Good Life, the first single from their second album and one of four ‘Official Songs’ of L****n 2**2, the cynicism for which we assume will peak somewhere around about the 28th or 29th of this month.
Anyway, Good Life is fine, a bouncy Rapture-lite three-minutes with a chorus of hand-waving glee, but it’s probably too unassuming to deal with the tidal wave of vitriol that will follow the association that Seb Coe likes it.
PINS You Don’t Need To Be
You see, video histrionics are out. Less is more. Less colour. Less special effects. Less everything. All you need is to film a band playing a song live. Job done.
Of course, it helps when you’ve got a song as punchy as You Don’t Need To Be. All moody gloom, fuzzy guitars and gothic stylings, it is great. And we’re almost positive that it is NOT an official song of L****n 2**2.
Hopsin – Ill Mind Of Hopsin 5
Hopsin is known for taking shots at his peers, but Ill Mind Of Hopsin 5 – two million views in its first two days – sees the LA rapper lay the smack down on hip-hop culture he sees as decadent, hollow and destructive. It’s an exocet of a reality check, like an aggressive take on Abdominal‘s excellent Vicious Battle Raps.
The Orb feat. Lee Scratch Perry Golden Clouds
When we’re asked how The Orb could possibly improve Little Fluffy Clouds our response is always the same. Get Lee Scratch Perry on it.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. How could you improve Come Dine With Me? Get Lee Scratch Perry on it. How can we get more kids to vote? Get Lee Scratch Perry on the ballot.
So Golden Clouds is great. Blissfully dubby electro and Perry waxing lyrical about junkies and monkeys and putting bananas on his head. There is literally nothing more to life than that.
Lemar – Invincible
Remember David Sneddon? Yes, of course. Alex Parks? Sort of. Alistair Griffin? No, not really. But everybody knows Lemar: if there’s any justice in the world, he’s 50-50 about wanting to dance (with u)… and other such classics.
Invincible is a comeback so steeped in bombast you’d think (correctly) that it was cobbled together to soundtrack the latest melodramatic Sky Sports advert. Alas, impressive falsetto scream aside (about halfway through), there’s nothing to write home about here – though the brand police may take a shine to old Lemar’s “golden” opening lines.