Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill
Although their ambitious plans to take third album Plastic Beach around the world got off to a slow start at Glastonbury, the summer is turning out to be quite successful for Damon Albarn and his trusty band of Gorillaz. Taking on Glastonbury’s Friday headline slot at heroically short notice may have back-fired, but they have since bounced back and have spent the last month lighting up festivals all over the world, becoming the first British band to play in Damascus along the way.
Although a little harsh, the backlash to their Glastonbury set wasn’t totally unfounded. As good as Plastic Beach is, it does lack the radio friendly singles that Gorillaz’s first two albums had in spades. Probably in acknowledgement of this, the second single from the album is one of its lightest and most accessible pop songs. ‘On Melancholy Hill’ breezes along an infectious melody which, combined with Damon’s vulnerable romanticism, creates the kind of beautifully simple pop song you want to play again and again.
LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change
Taken from DFA main-man James Murphy’s electro-punk outfit’s third album This is Happening, ‘I Can Change’ shows just how much they will be missed when they disband. Gary Numan-esque synths rise and fall behind the relentless electronic melody, leaving Murphy (showing off his singing chops) to add the warmth and emotion – “I can change / I can change / I can change / If it helps you fall in love”. No-one does floor-filling electro anthems with as much style and soul as this.
Underworld – Scribble
If the rate at which old school dance veterans are reforming is anything to go by, the UK dance scene must be in a terrible state. Joining Massive Attack, The Prodigy and Faithless on the recent comeback trail are Underworld – this free download single heralding the arrival of their new album Barking, set for release in September. Whether there is a lack of young dance talent is debatable, but what is obvious in these money-conscious times is that record labels seem far more willing to splash the cash on dance acts with a dedicated following and decent track record.
As ‘Scribble’ proves, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This is solid Underworld – a delicate melody weaves itself around a thumping bass track to create an emotionally resonating trance record which is destined to take over clubs this summer.
Amy Macdonald – This Pretty Face
Folksy singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald’s first single from her second album A Curious Thing is a nice enough sing-along, jauntily addressing the constant obsession with skin-deep beauty and focus on youth etc… etc… Since her initial breakthrough, Amy has found herself overshadowed by the Marling’s, Winehouse’s and Florence’s of this world, and it’s hard to see her getting back up to those heights with uninspired pop songs like this.
Preeya ft. Mumzy Stranger – Shimmy
How do you get your own back on the husband who left you for another man? There’s a lot of answers to that question, but if you’re Preeya Kalidas (Amira from Eastenders), you make a sexually charged bhangra/Rnb crossover which lets you prance about in skintight lycra and sing about meeting new people and erm, ‘put moves down on them’. Avoid it if you can, but if you must listen to it at least enjoy the sexy video at the same time: