Single Reviews – 5 August
The pick of the coming weeks single releases reviewed by Philip Lickley…
Bloc Party – ’Octopus’
Now I know from past experience it usually takes a few listens to appreciate a Bloc Party track but I think this will be a struggle. Sounding like lead singer Kele was about three miles away from the microphone when he recorded his vocals and a music track that sounds like excerpts from an old Atari video game mixed with a jamming video cassette, it’s not really my cup of tea. As a successor to ‘One More Chance’ and, indeed, their older tracks it seems the weakest lead single of the lot. The haunting chorus does start to grow a little with the woo-oo sections but it’s too distant and lazy to really grab me; the sort of track created on a Sunday afternoon by the band lazing on sofas knocking out some half-hearted riffs.
Dizzee Rascal feat. Pepper – Scream
Another official song for the London 2012 Olympics, this is perhaps more straightforward than the Muse tune. It’s nothing revolutionary, matching Dizzee’s fast flow over a thumpingly heavy beat and Pepper’s simple, lighter-vocalled, Florence Welch-like chorus, but the speed of Dizzee’s delivery is certainly Olympic in its pace and gives the song its hook, matched by an ear-pleasing jingly piano hook, and it sounds much more like the soundtrack to a BBC sporting montage than the Muse song, with more appropriate, stirring lyrics and it gets to its point in half the time.
Lawson – ’Taking Over Me’
Buy: Taking Over Me
London-based Lawson’s second single is like some light-hearted Hanson with a summery, laid-back feel that, though never really kicking up into the second gear, is an enjoyable enough listen. With a hooky, choral chorus it’s typical boy band fare but with hints of some more maturity and talent than the One Direction mould. It does quickly grab you thanks to its oohs in the chorus and their use of multiple vocals and repetition. Should score high in the charts with those who want something a little more credible in the boy band genre.
Madonna – ’Turn Up The Radio’
Buy: Turn Up The Radio
Her third single from MDNA Turn Up The Radio is hardly classic Madonna. With some clear Martin Solveig production (it was demoed for his album sans Madge) it has its moments and the beat is catchy enough, but overall it just seems forced and derivative of every other song involving the word ‘radio’. With elements of ‘Beautiful Stranger’ in its opening section, it never seems to get its direction right and just passes by your ears without making much impact. It makes me wish to hear ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’ – at least that had some great singable elements compared to this blandness.
Maxsta – ’I Wanna Rock’
Buy: I Wanna Rock
Nothing to do with the Twisted Sister track of the same name, it’s actually a rap built around a creepily nail-scratchingly slowed-down version of the Rob Base ‘It Takes Two’ song (as heard in BEPs ‘Rock That Body’). The chorus is a little catchy in its repetition but the tempo of the sample is off-putting. The verses are well put together but it’s nothing you’ve not heard before. It’s a grower but only worth downloading if you don’t feel like the chorus needs speeding up.
Pet Shop Boys- ’Winner’
Jumping on the Olympic bandwagon, don’t listen to the track on the official video as people speak over the key bits. Chock full of metaphors and seemingly a little bit of Autotune that puts it one step away from the ending theme from video game Portal, this might sound like the slower sister of ‘Se La Vida E’ and the lyrics are a little by-numbers, but there is something to enjoy in the feel-good verses and choruses, delivered in a calming way. It’s not as captivating as their ‘Yes’ work but the soaring and speeding elements, and lighter-waiving chorus, make it a fun, Olympic-themed track. By the time it gets to the multi-layered section at the end with chorus effect it will have grabbed you.
Redlight – ’Lost In Your Love’
Buy: Lost In Your Love
Hitching down the box of dance record tricks from the attic, ‘Lost In Your Love’ tries to include them all with the familiar piano-riff and Virtual DJ effects. It’s not a bad dance record but it’s just like every other one you’ve heard before.
Rizzle Kicks – ’Dreamers’
After the frankly annoying ‘Mama Got The Hump’ and the disappointing Mayer Hawthorne collaboration this is actually far more enjoyable. With a well composed orchestral, almost cinematic, backing, and some witty and well placed rhymes, the addition of a catchy hooky chorus make this possibly their strongest single since their Olly Murs collaboration. It’s just a shame about the lacklustre spaced out and stomp section that ruins the mood.