Single Reviews – 14 March
This weeks singles that matter, reviewed and rated for you by contributor Philip Lickley. If you would like to contribute to All-Noise, get in touch on [email protected]
Amy Macdonald – ’Slow It Down’
Buy Slow It Down
It’s been a while since the Scottish singer-songwriter attacked the charts but if this is an example of what she’s been working on it’s a Gaelic battle I’m looking forward to. Much speedier and energetic than her usual material this is immediately catchy with a chorus that sells the record and a repetitive bridge that builds momentum for the song. Ironically for a song called ‘Slow It Down’ it’s anything but slow, with a drum line that is eccentric in its delivery, but I’m glad she keeps the tempo and pace. Welcome back, Amy.
D’Banj ft Skepta & Sneakbo – ’Oliver Twist’
Buy Oliver Twist
Merrily “borrowing” the beat riff from ’Get Get Down’ by Paul Johnson (you know, the song that goes, down, down, down, etc etc) this tune from Nigerian singer-songwriter D’Banj revels in its African sound, instrumentation and vocal calls. Taking the lyrical structure of Calvin Harris’ ‘The Girls’ and extolling the virtues of various female singers, its production values can’t be denied but the tune quickly becomes a mess of layers with far too much going on. When it strips back during the verses the slow dancehall-esque rhythm is addictive but the chorus is over-complicated and what makes the record stand out soon becomes repetitive and stale. Not a bad record but can see the appeal for a club and the closing ‘shaking’ break down is the best bit of the record, but would be better stripped back. The video is interesting to watch though, seemingly taking place on the set of Dragon’s Den, with a random pointless appearance by Kanye West at the end.
Delilah – ’Breathe’
I’m due to see Delilah performing at a festival this August but from this record, her third single, I’m not really sure if I won’t be checking out the other stage while she’s on. ‘Breathe’ is a, funnily enough, breathy ballad, over an eccentrically produced backing of strings, drums, piano and such like. Sadly the lyrics are masked over by a confused production that comes in after the first verse and with no distinguishable hooks. It’s a little too wail-ey and unstructured for my liking. If you like your music free-flowing and progressive then there will be bits to enjoy here, but to me it’s too wishy-washy to enjoy and doesn’t quite know what it wants to be.
Emin – Baby Get Higher
Buy Baby Get Higher
Available for free download from his website, this is not the musical endeavours of Tracey “Dirty Bed” Emin thankfully, but a male singer who has created ‘Baby Get Higher’, a rock ballad with some clichéd, but interesting lyrics, built up over a pleasant enough backing track. It’s not particularly revolutionary in its writing or production but it’s a fun three-and-a-half minute listen with a simple but catchy chorus. Definitely worth a listen.
Katy B & Mark Ronson – ’Anywhere In The World’
Buy Anywhere in the World (Radio Edit)
I’ve always been a fan of Mark Ronson’s production but this promotional anthem for Coca Cola at this summer’s Olympic games is surely a mis-fire for the super producer? Katy’s overpowered vocals bear no relation to the backing track and it sounds like for the first minute that he’s started playing the wrong instrumentation. Like a bottle of Coke that’s gone flat, there’s definitely no bubbles of joy to be found in this record. Sorry, Mark, but your production of this track doesn’t work, going from an opening that sounds like the computer is broken to an ending that sort of peters out. It covers up what could have been a good track, if you could only hear it. Not even a bronze for this.
Morten Harket – ’Scared Of Heights’
Buy Scared of Heights
Former lead singer of A-ha, the greatly-named Morten Harket releases this second solo single from his Out Of My Hands album. You know what to expect before you hear the song: a catchy falsetto chorus over some building strings, and that’s what you get. Very much a sister song to A-ha’s relatively recent ‘Foot of the Mountain’ but much pacier and with a much more addictive tune, it sounds like a cross between Keane (in particular ‘Bend and Break’) and A-ha’s trademark sound. Well recommended with a cracking chorus and bridge, and it’s only a shame it seems to be over so quickly.
The Saturdays – ’30 Days’
Buy 30 Days
The lead single from the girl band’s upcoming fourth album, ’30 Days’, is not a particular surprise featuring five-part singing over a frenetic club beat. The disappointment is that this is no ‘Higher’ or ‘Up’ and fails to really make an impact over its three minute running time. It’s a perfectly fine enough pop song but the chorus fails to light up like their previous ones and it just feels a little forced and taken from the cookie-cutter of collection of pop-club tunes. Could do better, Saturdays.
Scissor Sisters – ’Only The Horses’
Buy Only The Horses
After the confused single release of Azealia Banks-featuring, hate-it-at-first-but-grows-on-you ‘Shady Love’ earlier in the year, we now get the first single proper from fourth album Magic Hour. ‘Only The Horses’ sounds much more like the Scissor Sisters you’d expect but Calvin Harris’ production on it is as obvious as ever and just about manages to sound different to some of his other producer credits. Much poppier than their third album releases, the bridge is perhaps the best part of the record before the Avicii-sounding chorus kicks in. I hate to say it but I would have preferred ‘Shady Love’ as a proper launch single and, though it’s no ‘Laura’, ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancing’ or ‘Fire With Fire’, it’s an enjoyable enough track even if it’s not their best. I feel they’re more at home with their poppier sound than this more clubby approach.