Track Reviews

Track Reviews: 3-9 September 2012

This week Muse turn down their ridiculous (to 10.5), Charlotte Church decides she wants to be Kate Bush and David Byrne shakes his ass in a miraculously dapper suit. Oh the sights (and sounds) you’re about to see (and hear).

Muse – Madness
Chris Martin says it’s their best song ever. He’s wrong, of course. Although it is their best song since that godawful Olympic one. From their upcoming album The 2nd Law, it’s a little bit less ridiculous than Survival, but only a bit.

There’s still all sorts going on, squelchy electronic bits, excessively twiddly guitars and distorted, jerky, multi-tracked vocals bits, of the kind which no one has ever been able to take seriously since Bohemian Rhapsody.

Let me go! Let him go! Will not ever let you go! Sorry. Distracted ourselves there. After a while it does grow on you, the last minute or so in particular is far more focused on being a song than being a spectacle, soaring with an unnerving grace and an undoubted sense of scale.

David Byrne & St Vincent – Who
Question: what should you do if you find a St Vincent in the middle of the road whilst driving your car? Move her? Shake your ass? Do the teapot? If your answer is all of the above then you’re clearly David Byrne.

In which case, HIYA DAVID!. Love your new song. It’s playful, funky, and endlessly engagingly odd. And David, oh David, you can really dance.

Charlotte Church – How Not To Be Surprised When You’re A Ghost
Well. Charlotte Church seems to have become Kate Bush. And it’s really quite nice. How Not To Be Surprised When You’re A Ghost is eerie and creepy, a spectral manifestation of a folk song with Church’s lovely, pure voice light-footedly swooping over the top.

We were more than a little surprised. And we’re not a ghost. We don’t think. Although. Hmmm. That would explain a lot. This is just like the end of The Sixth Sense all over again.

Deptford Goth – Life After Defo
Deptford Goth is not the Peckham Terminator. Deptford Goth has more control over his actions. He doesn’t hate bus doors with such a fiery passion. He has more refined musical stylings. The Peckham Terminator just likes smashing stuff.

Life After Defo is the title track from Deptford Goth’s debut album and is a big old cloud of yearning synth laden soundscapes and desolate, disembodied voices swirling sadly about in the mist. It’s a bit like James Blake, but don’t let that put you off.

Tori Amos – Flavor
If Cornflake Girl isn’t the greatest song in the history of music, then Professional Widow is. Fact. But where does that leave dear old Tori Amos in 2012? Still attempting to re-ascend the dizzying heights of a critical and commercial peak fast approaching its 20th anniversary? It’s an unenviable position, and the reason we set our sights low each and every time we get out of bed.

Yet she remains enigmatic, enrapturing, a flame-haired whirling dervish who would just as soon give you a Chinese burn as play you a soothing ballad, which is one of the reasons that makes her forthcoming album so curious. Gold Dust, you see, is a tribute to her own past; Tori by Tori; Tenacious D‘s Tribute, but sincere. At least pretty lead single Flavor is not an exercise in self-indulgence… Or is it?

Wintersleep – In Came The Flood
Canadian quintet Wintersleep are the very embodiment of their Nova Scotian roots. Modest yet strong; diminutive yet dense; located almost exactly halfway between the Equator (mellifluous melodies) and the North Pole (lyrical introspection).

In Came The Flood drives forward as if steeling itself against bitter Atlantic storm fronts; its layers shorn from the band’s most weather-worn peers – Interpol and Secret Machines among them – and projected with impressive weight, aided and abetted by the production and mixing efforts of a certain Dave Fridmann (MGMT, The Flaming Lips). We’re not imagining it: these lot are getting better with each record.

Papa Roach – Still Swingin’
It’s not Coby Dick; it’s Jacoby Shaddix. It’s not a black t-shirt; it’s floppy, foppy haircuts and a pair of white skinny jeans. It’s not “cut my life into pieces”; it’s cut zombies to pieces… with big-budget special effects.Papa Roach have changed, man, and not necessarily for the better. Okay, so their former forays into Deftones territory weren’t exactly world-beating, but now they’re aiming for little more than Nickelback-style power pop masquerading as something altogether edgier. We think they should bring back the tubby drummer and start singing about broken homes and insect infestations again. For old times’ sake, if nothing else.

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