Single Reviews – 22 April
Philip Lickley reviews the pick of this week’s single releases. If you would like to contribute to All-Noise, get in touch on [email protected]
Calvin Harris ft Ne-Yo – ’Let’s Go’
Buy Let’s Go
It’s no surprise from listening to this that Calvin Harris is behind the production as the synths screams his previous tracks and the drum machine build is stolen directly from ‘We Found Love’. Remarkably unoriginal for Harris, who usually pulls something interesting from his bag of production tricks, it’s still a fun enough club track but even Ne-Yo phones in sections from his previous work. ‘Let’s Go’ is an interesting taster for this third album but the positive, motivational lyrics, club-friendly builds and enjoyable enough vibe aren’t enough to compensate for the overriding sense of “I’ve heard this all before”.
Hot Chip – Night and Day
Buy Night And Day
The lead single from their fifth album is not a huge departure for the band but the thick bassline and mix of electronic instrumentation, worked together with some vocal trickery, are as accomplished as ever. But there’s something about the overlaid vocals from lead singer Alexis Taylor that doesn’t quite fit and sounds off. A tad fuzzy in parts and quite unstructured, it’s certainly no ‘Ready For The Floor’, though the repetitive chorus sections are quite hooky and it could well be a grower, but the overall production is just too unsettling for my liking.
Jack White – ’Sixteen Saltines’
Buy Sixteen Saltines
The White Stripes front-man returns with this solo offering, the second cut from his Blunderbuss album. Having fronted more different bands in the past few years than he can probably keep track of, here is what he can offer just on his own – but to be frank it’s nothing much different than what he’s brought to us in the past. With his distinctive guitar and drum work, the guitar hooks are present and correct and make the record, but the production is decidedly murky. Like a less bombastic ‘Blue Orchid’, it’s certainly one of the better offerings in his canon and it will grow on you with a few listens with the fast lyrics fitting the music and style well. Familiar, certainly, but a thumbs up for it.
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – ’Third Swan’
Buy Third Swan
This intriguing collaboration between two artists is a surprising hit for me. With a memorable riff from the very start, ‘Third Swan’ establishes itself as a great slice of indie music with an addictive building backing track and some airy, mysterious vocals. It’s not going to revolutionise the genre and it has shades of Amy Macdonald’s ‘Poison Prince’ within it but I haven’t heard a more enjoyable three-and-a-half minutes this week.
The Levellers – ’Truth Is’
Buy Truth Is
The first single from their new upcoming album is a perky piece of fast-paced ceilidh-influenced pop. A multi-layered musical triumph, ‘Truth Is’ combines the multitude of instruments perfectly and sounds like it will be a perfect crowd favourite when it comes to their appearance at a festival this Summer. There’s not enough fiddle in records these days, but this track tries to redress the balance and creates a perfect summer warm up track.
Little Boots – ’Every Night I Say A Prayer’
Buy Every Night I Say A Prayer
With only the Tensnake remix kicking around on YouTube (see below), I’m not sure how much faith the record label is putting into the original version. The single release is a much less poppy attempt at dance than, say, ‘New In Town’ or ‘Remedy’ with a repetitive, but ethereal, backing line. With its dance roots worn firmly on its sleeve, it doesn’t scream greatness like her previous singles but there are essences of Kylie’s disco days mixed in with more club-friendly tunes of the present day. Not a bad return for Little Boots but the single balances between danceable track and irritating, repetitive chorus.
Miles Kane – ’First Of My Kind’
Buy First Of My Kind
From another special EP for ‘Record Store Day’, following the releases of Hot Chip, Little Boots and many others, ‘First Of My Kind’ is an improvement on the style of his debut hit ‘Inhaler’. Unrelenting vocals delivered over a powerful and exciting orchestral section, it also builds up over its three minutes thanks to its simple, but effective, drumming line. Throw in some well-written lyrics and a great chorus and you have a surprising hit here for Kane.
Ren Harvieu -’Open Up Your Arms’
Buy Open Up Your Arms
Ren Harvieu is clearly a powerful singer and her work on this retro-sounding hit sounds great. With beautiful lyrics and a saxophone-led music track, the combination of elements including male backing vocals, build this up to a song that could easily drown in its Muse-like grandiosity but doesn’t. A well-produced, sassy tune.