After influencing the world of synth-pop for the best part of a decade, electro duo Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory were accused of selling out after the release of latest album Head First. After setting the pop framework of the noughties with original and innovative electro albums like Black Cherry and Supernature, Head First disappointingly seemed to follow the fashion for radio-friendly 80’s disco pop rather than blaze a new trail.
Third single ‘Believer’ has all the traits of a band looking to cash in after spending years influencing the synth-pop movement. The ambient, electro experimentations are gone, replaced with a more mainstream approach – which is not a necessarily bad thing. ‘Believer’ slowly builds on a pulsating synth-led tempo before opening up into a crowd-pleasing, infectious chorus. It may be a bit too far on the bubblegum pop side for some purists, but as a diverting three-and-a-half minutes of synth-pop fun – it’s a masterclass.
The Coral – More Than A Lover
The second single to be taken from the Hoylake five-piece’s new album Butterfly House is yet another accomplished and beautifully written single which reaffirms their position as one of the most consistent bands around.
‘More Than A Lover’ has massive dramatic, melodic and memorable elements but always seems understated – happy to flow along on wistfully instead of wasting energy trying to be noticed. It’s criminal that The Coral still rank as one of the most underrated bands in the UK when they constantly churn out great pop songs like this, but to their devoted following this is further proof of their incredible talent.
Linkin Park- The Catalyst
Linkin Park are back, and the sons of nu-metal seem to have grown up and matured into a serious rock band. Taken from forthcoming album A Thousand Suns, ‘The Catalyst’ showcases a deeper and more refined sound that is dripping with tension and emotion.
While they use the same raw ingredients as before – emotive riffs, keyboard melodies and huge choruses – ‘The Catalyst’ seems more restrained and spacious. This allows the almost Faithless-esque keyboard hooks and passionate ‘Lift me up / Let me go’ refrain to dominate and turns this lead single into an attention-grabbing statement of intent.
Buy The Catalyst
Alexandra Burke ft Laza Morgan- Start Without You
The lady with the X Factor teams up with reggae star Laza Morgan for this chirpy, calypso tinged summer-holiday romp. Based loosely around the incredibly catchy, but very annoying, Iko Iko reggae melody, ‘Start Without You’ is an odd song for Burke to take on and smacks of a desperate bid to stop her being type-cast as the edgy RnB alternative to Leona.
If that is intention, then she must be happy with the results. As ‘Start Without You’ is perhaps the most banal and inane single so far this year, her image as a Bad Boy-loving RnB diva is well and truly smashed. Good work!
Watch the video.