Arcade Fire – We Used To Wait
It’s tricky third album time for the Canadian rockers, and there is a lot riding on the forthcoming ‘The Suburbs’. After the initial critical and commercial success of second album ‘Neon Bible’, it has suffered a recent retrospective downgrading from ‘modern classic’ to ‘decent effort’. Now’s the time, then, for the ‘Fire to electrify their fans and show there’s more to them than the downbeat apocalyptic vibe of ‘Neon Bible’.
Lead single ‘We Used To Wait’ has everything you’d expect from an Arcade Fire song – incessant piano keys, whispered vocals and simple but powerful percussion combine to create a euphoric epic that is more than the sum of its parts.
Biffy Clyro – God & Satan
Eight years and five albums has done nothing to diminish The Biff’s capacity to produce earnest, solid rock songs. Taken from the album that took them into the mainstream, the philosophical ballad ‘God & Satan’ may not be in keeping with their trademark energetic rock songs, but does show them maturing and maybe looking to progress into the realm of the arena band.
Mark Ronson & The Business International– Bang Bang Bang
Arch-collaborateur Mark Ronson is back to dominate another summer with his new album, ‘Record Collection’. But if you’re expecting the same pop-soul approach of 2007’s ‘Version’, then lead single ‘Bang Bang Bang’ will leave you disappointed. This is Mark Ronson 2.0 (check out the Tron-like video!), with dance and hip-hop taking centre stage over brass sections and Amy Winehouse to create a bouncy summer hit with substance.
Collaborators Q-Tip and MNDR do a fine job and should ensure ‘Bang Bang Bang’ becomes one of the defining songs of the summer.
Plan B – Prayin’
The third single from the mega successful ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’ sees Ben Drew’s fictional Strickland Banks in contemplative mood following his jailing in previous single ‘She Said’. Strong in melody and vocals, ‘Prayin’ is possibly rapper Plan B’s most accomplished pop song and proves beyond doubt his transition to chart bothering star is not a fluke.
Professor Green ft. Lily Allen – Just Be Good To Green
For someone who’s meant to want to give up on showbiz, Lily Allen seems to be quite busy at the minute. As well as playing numerous festivals this summer, the singer has also been occupied with promoting her own clothing range, Lucy In Disguise, and finding time to add guest vocals on up-and-coming rapper Prof. Green’s new single.
This follow-up to the INXS sampling ‘I Need You Tonight’ uses the same tired old trick of combining an uninspiring rap with a classic sample, in this case The SOS Bands floor-filler, ‘Just Be Good To Me’. Allen’s presence makes sure it’s not totally devoid of charm, but only just.