This week’s single releases – 31 March
Phil Lickley takes us through another batch of new single releases.
Alison Moyet – ‘When I Was Your Girl’
Buy: When I Was Your Girl
The first release from Moyet’s eighth album is much poppier than I’d expect from the classically trained singer. Sounding very much like a new Deborah Harry single, you can hear the power in her voice but it never threatens to overtake the song as some singers find themselves doing, and instead powers through well. With a strongly produced swelling backing track – especially in the vocal breaks – and a memorable, emotive chorus, it holds your interest and builds constantly to a powerful ending. Not revolutionary but certainly enjoyable.
Andy Burrows – ‘If I Had A Heart’
Buy: If I Had A Heart
The fourth single from his ‘Company’ album, the former Razorlight member Burrows finds himself in more uptempo territory than his recent contribution to the Snowman sequel but with the words still pretty downbeat. Once more he tries to pull at the heartstrings with the lyrical layout and use of guitar and strings. It’s not as immediately grabbing as ‘Hometown’ but bounces along nicely and touches you with its overall feel, especially if watched in conjunction with the video.
Biffy Clyro – ‘Biblical’
The second single from their ‘Opposites’ album, ‘Biblical’ is an angrier song than you’d expect from the band. The video captures the driving mood of the song perfectly, pushing forward with a loud, determined and very rocky musical score with an instantly catchy chorus and a style that could easily slip into screaming rock but keeps on the right side of pop-rock. With a sound that will please fans of their previous work but offering something a little more exciting than what we’ve heard before, this is one of their strongest singles in a while.
Charlie Brown – ‘On My Way’
Buy: On My Way
Not the character from the Snoopy cartoons making a new career direction, this is a smooth mid-tempo ballad. Maverick Sabre and Bruno Mars meeting a more boyband sound, ‘On My Way’ might be lyrically derivative of many other songs and sounds similar to a few other hits around and about but it’s packaged in a memorable way and the three minutes zaps by quickly, and it’s very singable. Oh, and it sounds like a song that the X Factor will pick come December.
Dan Croll – ‘Compliment Your Soul’
Buy: Compliment Your Soul
Staffordshire born Croll’s second single is a mixed affair. With a simple chorus and a great collection of instruments that make the song, it has all the hallmarks of being a hit and certainly sticks in your head but walks a tightrope of being irritating or fun to hear. It’s a song that will become annoying after a few listens due to its repetitive chorus but in moderation, thanks to its eccentric collection of instrumentation, vocal effects and styles, is a sunny, jazzy track.
Duke Dumont feat. A*M*E – ‘Need U (100%)’
Buy: Need U (100%)
Sounding like a track the 90s forgot about, ‘Need U (100%)’ goes back to the days of more straightforward club tracks. It doesn’t really do much more than you’ll hear in the first thirty seconds, but it ticks all the boxes of a retro-sounding dance hit with a danceable beat and more interesting verses than the chorus, though it quickly becomes too repetitive for normal listening.
Frightened Rabbit – ‘Backyard Skulls’
Buy: Backyard Skulls
Having thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Woodpile’, a follow up single is something to take notice of. Though it doesn’t have the same indie vibe of that song and a powerful chorus, it’s still a track to take notice of. More positive-sounding than ‘The Woodpile’, ‘Backyard Skulls’ takes a few listens to settle in but soon shows its hand and, though poppier than I’d expect from their next release, it’s a pleasing three-and-a-half minutes if not as remarkable as its predecessor.
Haim – ‘Falling’
The first major release from a band that’s supposed to be one of the biggest groups of the year, ‘Falling’ doesn’t really live up to the hype that I’ve heard. Retro-sounding but rather muddy in sound, it has its tribal-drumming moments that carry the song along but the mix of vocals and music lacks focus and it doesn’t really have a feeling of building to anything. Messy, but with its moments, the first verse and half of the song promises more than is delivered. It’s a definite grower though. Give it a few listens and you’ll appreciate the style, but it lacks a conclusive second half.
Heaven’s Basement – ‘I Am Electric’
Buy: I Am Electric
Having conquered lots of other areas, apparently Red Bull now has a record label and like the sugary energy drink, ‘I Am Electric’ is relentless and bursting at the seams with power. Whilst you can’t deny the driving force behind the track, pushing forward with some strong guitar playing and loud rock vocals, it does feel pretty much like every modern heavy rock song you’ve heard. Heaven’s Basement nails the codes and conventions of the genre but add very little to it. It’s a fun enough rock track though, and worth a download, if a little unremarkable.
Jacob Banks – ‘Worthy’
A new artist (entering his name into Wikipedia takes you to the cast of ‘The Bill’!) but one with a promising career in front of him as he supports Emeli Sande this spring, his voice belies his age. Built over a simple piano and drum track, ‘Worthy’ is a slow, but impacting track. It doesn’t do anything that really grabs you by the throat, but the chorus is a big grower held together by his soulful voice. It’s just a shame that the track then fades away to nothing with no definitive ending.
New Kids On The Block – ‘Remix (I Like The)’
Buy: Remix (I Like The)
The first of two tracks this week that take us back to the late 20th Century, this is a new track from the 1980s boy band NKOTB following their return in 2008. Surprisingly well done, they’ve done a Take That and come back as something more credible. With elements of the Baseballs-style of uptempo pop-rock and a strong soulful vocal track, the production and guitar work leads into a quirky, catchy, singable chorus. A brilliant lead single from the group and shows that comebacks can sometimes work.
PJ and Duncan – ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble (100% Radio Mix)’
Buy: Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble (100% Radio Mix)
Originally released nearly twenty years ago and reaching number nine in the charts, it’s now due to reach the top spot thanks to a re-appearance on Ant and Dec’s ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’. Let’s be honest, aside from the novelty of the record’s two-decades-later re-appearance and the catchy, wrestling-inspired chorus and sound bites, it’s a track with a great chorus but elsewhere some sub-par rapping from the boys. Enjoy its cheesiness and cult status but is it really a classic?
Rihanna – Pour It Up
Buy: Pour It Up
The third single from her ‘Unapologetic’ album, ‘Pour It Up’ is one of her poorest tracks in a while as she continues to slide into becoming a parody of herself. Lacking any cohesive verses or choruses, substituting written lyrics for random incomprehensible sentences, this lacks the magic she’s brought to her bigger singles. Some strands of potentially good production present, but ultimately disappointing.
Tom Odell – ‘Hold Me’
Buy: Hold Me
Odell’s second single ‘Hold Me’ sounds at times like he’s going a little crazy on a piano with the rest of the band following suit on guitar and drums, and the music tracks seems a little overpowering, but there’s emotion in his voice even if the track doesn’t quite live up to the energy he is putting in. The chorus feels stadium-ready but not sure about how well the track holds together.
Vampire Weekend – ‘Diane Young’
Buy: Diane Young
The first single from their upcoming third album ‘Modern Vampires of the City’, ‘Diane Young’ has a retro feel to it with a catchy seventies, lo-fi sound with some fun vocal effects, helped by a strong breakdown that compensates for an awkward sounding guitar solo. It has some great elements to it but it feels stretched even at two-and-a-half minutes and being accompanied by one of the most boring videos I’ve seen doesn’t help.
The xx – ‘Sunset’
The third single from their latest album, ‘Sunset’ is a slow number, with a smooth balance of male and female vocals, but the slowness doesn’t translate into pathos or emotional subtext, but just feels dragged out and subdued, with little to grab from the four minutes, passing you pretty much by. Not an unlikeable listen, just very little that stands out.