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Single Reviews (9th June 2013)

My roundup of the week’s top new single releases

Alison Moyet – Love Reign Supreme
Following the refreshing comeback ‘When I Was Your Girl’ comes this second single from her latest album ‘The Minutes’. A faster paced, much more uptempo single with a nod towards the club, ‘Love Reign Supreme’ is a less satisfying affair but a neat change of direction and has enough poppy-hooks to carry it through its four minutes, including a catchy ‘Bop-bop’ section scattered through the piece. A little sporadic in its ideas that fails to settle on one sound, it’s still a strong single from Moyet and her voice is as listenable as ever, plus it is a grower, just not the best follow-up to a singable first cut. (7/10)



Andrew Stockdale – Long Way To Go
Taking a solo break from ‘Wolfmother’, Australian rocker Stockdale releases ‘Long Way To Go’ that mixes a ‘Status Quo’ guitar sound with elements of the guitar and vocal work of Jack White. Taking elements of indie and rock we’re all very familiar with, the single doesn’t really forge its own identity. With its raw sounding guitars and strong rock feel, it will satisfy a void in the rock sound at the moment. With a scattering of solos and an attractive voice, Stockdale just about pulls the record off though it lacks that killer formula to make it a standout hit. Great background rock for these summer months. (6/10)



Churchill – The War Within
A smooth, country-tinged ‘Lady Antebellum’ sound-a-like with a balance of the male and female leads and a sunny disposition that sells the song. It’s not a massively original piece of music but the constant match of vocals really makes it and the strong voices, ‘woah’-hook and balanced use of instruments with a clear production sound make it, and it’s a neat, sunny evening hit. Perhaps not as emotive as the work of their comparative peers, but still a thoroughly enjoyable listen. (6.5/10)



Depeche Mode – Soothe My Soul
After their return track in ‘Heaven’, the Mode continue on an upward trend of funky, electronic singles. ‘Soothe My Soul’ showcases a positive, retro-electronic gritty synth backing with a minimal vocal track that kicks into a faster-paced building bridge and then a relatively enjoyable chorus, though the repetitiveness and call-and-response doesn’t work quite as well as you’d hope but at least it quickly sticks in your head. Musically thrilling, lyrically average, this is a middling, but still welcome follow-up single. It’s not quite up to their golden era, but proves their comeback is bearing fruit. (6/10)



Goo Goo Dolls – Rebel Beat
Most famous for their beautiful track ‘Iris’, ‘Rebel Beat’ is up there as one of their best singles ever. With a quickly singable chorus that was surely designed for live concerts, this is a well produced slice of indie rock that doesn’t outstay its welcome. Like ‘The Script’ or ‘Train’ but with a bit more balls, the Dolls here prove they still have it. Very anthemic and with a great balance of choral vocals and music, plus a clear building-up-to-something feel, it doesn’t overdo its production even with hints of autotune in the opening. You’ll be singing this for the rest of the day. (8/10)



Ivy Levan – Hot Damn
A snazzy balance between Jessie J, Amy Winehouse and Marina and the Diamonds, Ivy Levan’s ‘Hot Damn’ is a bouncy, retro-tinged attitude-heavy number. With a it-shouldn’t-work-but-it-does subtle tempo tweak into the chorus and a shift-changing break-down, it certainly holds for three-and-a-half minutes. Ivy Levan certainly has the voice to carry the piece and the funky backing keeps the song on track, with Levan’s interesting voice deserving multiple listens. (8/10)



K Rose – Booji Girl
With a distinctly Middle Eastern flavour and vocals with a very Rihanna-sound, it’s musically a mixed bag. A minimal Rihanna-esque chorus gives way to a Shakira-style bridge and then a clubby Lady GaGa chorus that merges into some dance-dubstep. The mixture of flavours doesn’t really gel and the final product is a song that has moments of intriguing production, but it’s not a song I’m that bothered about coming back to due to its lack of consistency, and elongated, tedious verses. (3/10)



Man Can’t Fly – Don’t Waste My Time EP
The titular first track on the EP is a stripped-back indie ballad that’s perfectly pleasant but, just as that description isn’t particularly exciting, neither is the song. With shades of ‘Biffy Clyro’ kicking about the record, there is plenty of talent on display here it’s just wrapped in a slow, lacklustre song. The bridge grows on you and the chorus is a mixed bag, but there’s not a great amount to enjoy here. Second track ‘Human Addiction’ is slightly better with its ‘Train’ ballad vibe but again lacks any standout moments. The EP is rounded off with ‘Don’t Say a Word’. (2/10)



Mark Owen – Stars
Mark Owen has never had a massive impact on the charts outside of ‘Take That’, which is a shame as he has a distinct voice and track ‘Four Minute Warning’ was a brilliant, under-rated, record. Here he is with another stab at individual chart success with ‘Stars’ and I have to say I didn’t enjoy it on first listen, but after several spins it starts to weave its magic. Sounding more like the ‘Progress’ era of the boyband, with its darker vibe, it’s lacking the immediate poppiness of the four / five-piece. But, as its bridge kicks in and the chorus bursts into life, its style begins to show. It’s not as catchy as the aforementioned ‘Four Minute Warning’, but the swelling strings of the chorus lift it up a notch. It’s not the killer release he’ll need to break out from his roots like Robbie has, but it’s a pretty good launch for his album. Give it a few spins before you judge it. (6.5/10)



Michael Franti and Spearhead – I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like)
Another song attempting to grab the title of ‘Summer Anthem of the Year’, it certainly has the ingredients with the whistling hook and the light, airy vibe. But for every moment of sunshine there’s also a void of substance or anything substantial. With elements that will get your toe-tapping and head-nodding, it’s a succinct pop-track but one that will leave your head as quickly as it has entered. Summery but shallow. (5/10)



Tegan And Sara – I Was A Fool
The second single from their first album to make an impact in the UK, ‘I Was A Fool’ is a beautiful piano-led ballad with an immediately catchy chorus. Their vocals complement each other, and the call-and-response style is spot on and it’s a pop-hit that will demand a press of the repeat button on YouTube. Slick, smooth and touching, this deserves to do well in the charts as a ballad with bite. (8/10)



Wiley feat. Angel & Tinchy Stryder – Lights On
One of the better collaborations between Wiley and rappers, with an Angel-led chorus that makes the track, though it isn’t enough to disguise the continued over-familiarity between Wiley’s records. Stryder’s contribution is minimal but Angel carries it enough. Fans of the three artists will find much to enjoy here, but for others it’s too familiar to stand out, but it’s an enjoyable enough collaboration. (5.5/10)

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