Single Reviews – 26 August
Philip Lickley takes us through the singles released this week. Find out what’s worth downloading…
Alanis Morissette – ’Guardian’
Alanis Morissette returns with ‘Guardian’, the first single from her ‘Havoc and Bright Lights’ album. It’s very typically Morissette in sound. The verses aren’t particular explosive or grabbing but the chorus, with its thumping guitar next to Alanis’ powerful vocals does grab you and the contrast between the verses and choruses is quite pronounced and adds to the song. It might not be one of her strongest lead singles but equally it’s not an unwelcome return and the words wrapped in the song are worth following and makes for an uplifting piece of pop rock.
Ben Montague – ’Another Hard Fall’
Buy: Another Hard Fall
Taken from the upcoming album ‘Tales of Flying and Falling’, ‘Another Hard Fall’ sounds like Olly Murs meets the Wanted. With a boyband sound condensed into one person, the track boasts a distinct guitar riff and a feeling that grabs you by the end of the track. It might not be a million miles away from every other song by a man with an acoustic guitar but it’s not a bad entry into the catalogue thanks to its driving-forward style, just lacking that little something to make it stand out from the crowd. But, sometimes, being part of the crowd isn’t always bad and I wouldn’t switch the radio off if this came on.
Cover Drive feat. Dappy – ’Explode’
Once more Cover Drive team up with someone and this times it’s Dappy from N-Dubz. Channelling the sound of Rihanna, there is a fun summer feel hidden behind the equally Rihanna-esque innuendo and sexual undertones. Throwing in an autotune-supported rap from Dappy, which actually fits in nicely to the song, and this becomes one of Cover Drive’s better songs. Fitting in with the sort of song we get hit with in the summer, it’s a harmless piece of pop with a singable, perky chorus.
Fazer – ’Killer’
Speaking of N-Dubz, here is the third member of the collective to start a solo career, releasing his debut single, which has nothing to do with the Adamski song of the same name. Probably the least enjoyable of the solo debuts of the band so far, it’s not a half-bad club tune but it’s smothered in autotune and effects out of a low budget Atari video game. When the effects are dropped it sounds much better, but this is very much the rarity in this record. It has its moments and highlights and a pleasant beat but overall it’s a confused single with too much production interference to make it a cohesive piece and some very clichéd lyrics we’ve heard before – ‘moves like Shakira / shots of tequila’. Yawn.
Feeder – ’Idaho’
The third single from their ‘Generation Freakshow’ album is surprisingly catchy. From the jaunty verses to the memorably, smoothly rhyming chorus, it’s nothing revolutionary but it’s just enjoyable to hear. Grabbing you from the first listen, it has elements of Weezer in it alongside a more fun side to the band. Definitely worth a download and is certainly a grower.
Kristina Train – Dream Of Me
Buy: Dream Of Me
‘Dream Of Me’ is, appropriately enough, quite a dreamy ballad of a track. Smooth, emotive and retro-sounding it doesn’t perhaps have a major hook to grab onto but as a calming, four-minute song it ticks the boxes. With Train’s beautiful voice complimented by a well put together backing track, this is a pleasant addition to this week’s releases. It does boast distant echoes of Soul Asylum’s ‘Runaway Train’, in my mind anyway, but whatever it has sounds of, it works.
Little Mix – ’Wings’
Mixing the clapping from Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’, this is not a bad first proper single post-X-Factor from last year’s winners – but it does suffer from being a little formulaic with the elements of the song not giving much breathing space to really hit you, buried as they are under too many layers of production and vocal tracks, especially as the track moves on. The acoustic version is much better as it strips back most of what is too overpowering here, but as a slice of pop it’s not half bad, and the drum sections that top and tail the record are the best bits. Not the strongest X-Factor release ever, it does suffer from too many elements that don‘t gel together and too many sound-a-like elements, but it’s not a disappointment thanks to a chorus that quickly grows on you.
Scouting For Girls – ’Summertime In The City’
Buy: Summertime in the City
‘Scouting For Girls’ are back with the lead single from their third album. With a piano riff that sounds like a cross from their once parodied style regularly employed on their first album and the one from ‘Empire State of Mind’, plus a rap-style delivery which fits actually in with the style of the Newport spoof of that record. I’m a big fan of Scouting For Girls but this song doesn’t quite live up to my expectations. It has elements of their catchiness but the lyrical delivery slips too far into comical and it doesn’t have the same hooks as you’d expect from the band. It seems to be a grower but after a few listens it’s not the comeback I’d hope for. The falsetto sections are nice and you can hear the catchiness setting in but it’s not their best song, with some weird production decisions thrown in too.
Twin Atlantic – ’Yes, I Was Drunk’
Buy: Yes, I Was Drunk
Their latest single from last year’s ‘Free’ album, ‘Yes, I Was Drunk’, is great to hear as it’s sung in their regional accent, which is not something you always hear. Away from that style it’s a bit of a middle-of-the-road single that’s a pleasing enough listen with a good chorus but it’s not a single strong enough to stand on its own, and what is a well produced song struggles at the end as the guitar becomes a little overpowering. Not too bad for a fifth single from the album though and worth a listen if you like some softer rock with a bit of heart.