Mark Ronson & Business International – The Bike Song
With the release of Record Collection imminent, Mark Ronson pops up with another gem every bit as catchy and unique as ‘Bang Bang Bang’. The more we hear of his new album the more it sounds like the uber-producer has taken a leaf out of the Gorillaz book and is aiming for pop music pitched as high concept, innovative and idiosyncratic art.
‘Bike Song’ has all of this in spades (listen out for the bicycle bells in the beat), as well as high profile collaborations (this time in the form of The View’s Kyle Falconer and rapper Spank Rock) and a ridiculously catchy melody that will have everyone singing along to the oddball lyrics.
In fact, ‘Bike Song’ is everything a pop song should be – it’s fun, inventive and manages to sound both totally unique and eerily familiar.
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Pendulum – The Island Part I: Dawn
The latest single to be taken from the massive album Immersion sees the Aussie techno stars showcasing their softer side – choosing to release the more sedate and soulful first act of the epic two-parter ‘The Island’.
Of course, with this being Pendulum the terms ‘sedate’ and ‘soulful’ don’t mean this is a schmaltzy, teary eyed ballad. The heavy synth melody pulses along the reassuringly pounding rhythm, with Rob Swire’s distinctive vocals delivering the same cod-philosophical lyrics we all know and love (“What are you waiting for? / Just surrender here tonight / What are you waiting for? / As we go towards the light”). But, ‘The Island Part I’ marks a slight transformation to Pendulum’s approach, being a more conventional electro-rock song which doesn’t need to resort to their default ear-pummelling sonic assault format to be noticed.
Bombay Bicycle Club – Rinse Me Down
Current indie darlings Bombay Bicycle Club are riding high following their well received acoustic second album, Flaws, and the success of its lead single, the charming folksy ringtone ‘Ivy & Gold’.
New single ‘Rinse Me Down’ is another sumptuously produced slice of folk-pop, recalling the likes of Belle & Sebastien at their beguiling best. Dancing around a steady, lilting melody, the song gushes with the heartfelt emotion of missed opportunities and unrequited love: “Told you to wait / But it’s too late / You got your man…”.
‘Rinse Me Down’ may not be the most exciting release of the week, but it has a timeless quality that will see it outlast most.
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RPA & The United Nations of Sound – This Thing Called Life
Richard Ashcroft did his best to reinvent himself with his new United Nations of Sound project. Unfortunately the album saw him take the same paths and make the same mistakes that have slowly eroded his reputation as a relevant and vital song-writer – namely his over-reliance on soppy, indulgent ballads like this.
‘This Thing Called Life’ is not a bad effort at the sweeping, emotional ballad. It’s just that it sounds like it could have come from any of Ashcroft’s previous solo albums and represents an artist seemingly unable to take a step out of his comfort zone.