Single Releases – 17 March
Depeche Mode, Alt-J, Bring Me The Horizon, The Vaccines and more feature in another weekly round up of new single releases from Phil Lickley…
Alt-J – ‘Dissolve Me’
Buy: Dissolve Me
The fifth single from their debut album, ‘Dissolve Me’ sounds much more life-affirming, a little bit happier and much more commercial than their recent offerings, with a much more sunny and distinct musical riff than we’d expect from them, one that penetrates through the record in different forms. It’s still distinctly Alt-J though in style and flow and at times loses momentum and volume completely, but it’s another well assembled record. Not quite another ‘Breezeblocks’ or ‘Tesselate’ but better than their more recent efforts.
Arlissa – ‘Sticks and Stones’
Buy: Sticks & Stones
From the longlist of BBC’s ‘Sound of 2013’, Arlissa releases ‘Sticks and Stones’, an incredibly catchy ditty thanks to its tribal soundscape and the singer’s smooth, involving voice. Its hook is perhaps not strong enough to carry the whole track but all the elements work well together to create quite the ear worm and it’s a great kick-back and chill tune, though it doesn’t hold my interest for all its running time despite the well-created chorus.
Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Sleepwalking’
The second release from their ‘Sempiternal’ album ‘Sleepwalking’ is like a checklist of everything in rock or metal: overdriven guitars? Check. Screamy vocals? Check. Angry lyrics? Check. Lacking anything original, this is your typical angry rock. The riff is relatively interesting but it does little to differentiate itself from every other similar tune. Enjoyable enough, and holds itself together, but too samey I’m afraid.
Coves – ‘Last Desire’
Buy: Last Desire
‘Last Desire’ is a rather ethereal track, the vocals floating around over a repeating riff. Sounding like MGMT joining up with Pink Floyd but with a female lead singer, it’s a little too free for my tastes with no real selling point that stands out. It’s an interesting enough listen for a couple of times but it lacks any true impact and fades away without leaving much of a mark. Enjoyable enough while it lasts, thanks to its foot-tapping riff, but misses the mark.
Depeche Mode – ‘Heaven’
The Mode return with the first single from their upcoming thirteenth, yes thirteenth, album ‘Delta Machine’. ‘Heaven’ is a slow, soft-rock tune with shades of Muse’s famous cover of ‘Feelin’ Good’. As a fan of Depeche Mode I sadly find the track to be lacking anything particular grabbing and ambles on for its running time. It’s a fun enough distraction for four minutes with an above average chorus but it’s a little lacklustre for such a popular band. Not their best.
Iggy Azalea – ‘Work’
Buy: Work [Explicit]
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea releases her debut single ‘Work’, looking like Gwen Stefani but sounding like a cross between Eve and Nicki Minaj, but thankfully much more credible than the latter. Adapting the retro sounding production effects of Lana Del Rey but making it much more urban, ‘Work’ starts off promising with some exciting production effects but it’s not long before it falls back onto the rap clichés so present in much of the genre. That said it has its catchy moments with its selection of hooks (“Middle of Miami” bit being particularly good) and a spot-on production style amongst its off-the-shelf, clichéd lyrics, and it proves to be quite a grower.
Kodaline – ‘The High Hopes EP’
Buy: The High Hopes EP
Containing four tracks led by the title song, Kodaline’s second EP is out this week. ‘High Hopes’ is a ballad in the vein of Coldplay and Snow Patrol, sounding very much like something found on a film soundtrack. It’s not incredibly different to how that comparison will sound in your head but it’s a touching well played four minutes that rises to a crescendo and slower ending. We’ve heard it all before but it’s still a great example of the tropes. ‘The Answer’ is very much more of the same in style and lyrics, but just as enjoyable if too familiar following the first track. ‘All My Friends’ is a much slower and longer track and much less enjoyable, but fans of the first two will enjoy it. The ‘All I Want’ remix at the end sounds immediately like a track by Everything Everything and offers a refreshing end to the EP after the familiarity even if it’s not particularly great. A strong, if similar-sounding, EP.
Michael Ball – ‘The Perfect Song’
Buy: The Perfect Song
If ever there was a title perfect for ripping apart it was this. ‘The Perfect Song’ is a thematic cross between Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ and Tenacious D’s ‘Tribute’ but wrapped up in a pondering, sickly sweet ballad. The lyrics are predictable and the music soaring, but artificial. If you’re a fan of Ball then you’ll be at home in this soothing, harmless, but forgettable, ballad, but otherwise it’s nowhere near perfect. It ticks the boxes of its genre and it will have its fans, and I’m on the fence about it, but he’s done more impressive songs.
Mikill Pane – ‘Good Feeling’
Buy: Good Feeling [Explicit]
London rapper Mikill Pane’s new single ‘Good Feeling’ is a refreshing change to what you’d expect from the biography. Built around an immediately catchy riff with a tongue-in-cheek student house story that will surely chime with lots of people, it flows really well and mixes rap skill with some well observed and funny lyrics. The chorus at first seems a let-down but by the second listen its hooks become apparent. At times the story element can seem a bit twee in its balance between more traditional rap values and cheesier lines, but overall it works to create an energetic story track that is musically accomplished as well.
Pink feat. Nate Ruess – ‘Just Give Me A Reason’
Buy: Just Give Me A Reason
Pink teams up with the lead singer of Fun for this emotional ballad about a relationship breaking down. Very Fun in sound, it’s a touching conversational ballad and their competing voices work well together. It’s not Pink’s strongest slower song but the simple piano riff and the continual powerful build-up make it a grower. Though it does drag on a little during the second verse and loses a little focus half-way through the drum-led chorus builds up throughout the song to something a little more special and the production allows the lyrics to breathe and make their impact.
The Saturdays feat. Sean Paul – ‘What About Us’
Buy: What About Us
The second single from their as yet unreleased new album, ‘What About Us’ feels less inspired than some of their earlier hits, with too many elements that don’t quite gel, and an overpowering club-sound that makes it sound too samey. Sean Paul once more makes little impact on a guesting track, segued into the song in post-production in random places as if an afterthought, though his own verse adds a change of direction even if it’s as familiar as ever though it feels slotted in with difficulty. It’s a fun enough club track but a pale imitation of their great tunes like ‘Higher’.
The Vaccines – ‘Bad Mood’
Buy: Bad Mood
The fourth, and final, single from their ‘Come of Age’ album, ‘Bad Mood’ is obviously the band from their now recognisable sound. It’s not as strong as ‘I Always Knew’ but it boasts a memorable guitar riff and some speedy, relatable vocals. It lacks a killer element to really sell the song but the individual elements hold together to make it a good enough three minutes of simplistic, indie rock.
Willy Moon – ‘My Girl’
Buy: My Girl
From the New Zealander’s debut album, ‘My Girl’ is a different song to what I was expecting. Though Moon sounds like he’s singing down a tunnel it’s a sound that blends a retro feel with more modern production values and though the chorus feels overly simplistic it sticks in your memory. Refusing to outstay its welcome at three minutes its energy carries it through to the end and rounds off a fun, poppy summer hit.