This weeks single releases – 11th March (part 1)
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Philip Lickley is back with his first instalment of this weeks single reviews. If you would like to contribute to All-Noise, send your music news, views and reviews to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alexandra Burke feat. Erick Morillo – ’Elephant’[rating:2.5/5] Buy Elephant
The first cut from Burke’s new album arrives and, as the lyrics say, there certainly is an elephant standing in the room and that’s the huge use of autotune in the chorus – though, granted, more for effect than necessity – and the template club beats that her voice has been thrust over so it sounds like it was created in some teenager’s bedroom. It’s not a bad track and certainly improves as it goes on but the production doesn’t do her voice or some of the lyrics justice and it becomes so derivative of every other lacklustre club tune about. A shame and waste of what could be a good track, crushed under the weight of an elephant-sized mistake.
Birdy – ’1901’[rating:2/5] Buy 1901
I was the only one in my circle of friends who didn’t like British singer Birdy’s cover of ‘Skinny Love’ and since then I’ve not heard much about her. But here is her fourth single from her debut album and her fourth cover. There’s a part of me that wants to like the songs by this talented young singer but her continual singing of covers, and actual covers that aren’t in the final piece that exciting or memorable, disappoints me. ‘1901’ is a passable track and a chill-out listen for four minutes but it just washed over me without leaving any particular impression with unclear vocals at time and a somnambulant journey to the end. It did, however, make me check out the original which is a vast improvement even if it’s still not amazing.
The Black Keys – ’Gold On The Ceiling’[rating:3/5] Buy Gold On The Ceiling
The third track from their seventh album, ‘Gold On The Ceiling’ is a surprisingly enjoyable track with a catchy, singable chorus mainly thanks to its guitar and synth work that gives it a distinct sound and hooks in there. A great slice of indie soft-rock and well worth a listen with some well put together riffs and a tune that doesn’t let you lose your interest over its almost-four-minutes running time.
Erasure – ’Fill Us With Fire’[rating:3.5/5] Buy Fill Us With Fire
The third single from the band’s 2011 album ‘Tomorrow’s World’ is not as flamboyant as you’d expect from the band – but that doesn’t make it less fun to listen to. Wearing its synth-pop roots on its sleeves, it has a great chorus sung by Andy Bell backed by a flowing, satisfying keyboard backing that gives it a more grandiose effect than you’d expect. Sure, at times, the verses drag a little and seem a little flat and should have been cut a little shorter, but as a three-minute package it works thanks to the main chorus and an effective building up to it.
Katie Melua – ’Better Than A Dream’[rating:4/5] Buy Better Than A Dream
A cover of – yes, you’re reading this right – a song from an animated television show called ‘The Dreamstone’ by Mike ‘The Wombles’ Batt – it’s that time when an artist records an album of covers and this is what Melua has done. Her cover is, though, beautiful and the dream-like nature of the song comes through in both her soothing vocals and the soothing musical backing. It’s not a massive leap in style for Katie Melua but if this is more of the same then she can keep serving this up. With shades of ‘Nine Million Bicycles’ it’s a beautifully created song and much more adult than its source would suggest. Not quite as grandiose as the original and slower paced, but a different and rewarding interpretation that stands separate from the first.