This week’s single releases – 24 March
This weeks reviews from Phil Lickley features new single releases from 30 Seconds To Mars, Peace, CHVRCHES, Frank Turner, Sky Ferreira and more…
30 Seconds To Mars – ‘Up In The Air’
Buy: Up In The Air
The first single from their upcoming fourth album and ‘Up In The Air’ has a much poppier sound than I’d expected. Employing some crowd-pleasing ‘oh-oh-ohs’ and a much dancier vibe than you’d expect from the rock band, I love this track as much as their fanbase will probably loathe it. It still has its elements of their original sound but a much fresher, modern take on it. Its hooks are a little artificial but the production is interesting and it’s an immediately memorable hit to me and doesn’t lose its power as its progresses, and there’s plenty to enjoy.
Charlene Soraia – ‘Ghost’
Famous for her Aplin-esque cover of the Calling’s ‘Wherever You Will Go’, Soraia is back with her second original single from her upcoming second album. ‘Ghost’ is a slow and ponderous ballad with a straight-forward semi-acoustic backing. Ethereal like a ghost but not as exciting to witness, ‘Ghost’ plods on for four minutes and struggles to maintain focus. The chorus strengthens as the tracks nears its end but it feels like a heartfelt set of lyrics are hidden underneath a tune that lacks the emotional kick to really take it to the next level.
CHVRCHES – ‘Recover’
Coming fifth in the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2013’ poll, Chvrches ‘Recover’ is a song carried by its lead singer Lauren Mayberry with her smooth vocals working with the synth backing. The song doesn’t do anything to really stand out, but there’s something about the production and elements working together with a latterly sound-switching chorus that grabs me. A slick, enjoyable four minutes of music with shades of the Maccabees that progresses nicely.
Daytona Lights – ‘Midnight Beach’
Buy: Midnight Beach
Kicking immediately into a powerful and catchy tune, ‘Midnight Beach’ from the once Hollyoaks-starring band sounds like a mix of ABC with Everything Everything. With a thumping drum beat and a fun, tongue-in-cheek style, this is an over-the-top, enjoyable, energetic track that throws a lot of different ideas into the mix and they all come out well at the other end. A head-bopper and singable hit for the end of March.
Deacon Blue – ‘Turn’ (Remix)
Buy: Turn (Remix)
The fourth cut from Deacon Blue’s latest album, ‘Turn’ is the strongest of the singles they’ve released so far. Complimented by a video featuring Tony, the most emotionally-charged animated character since Blur’s milk cartons, the powerful and memorable chorus is surrounded by some well-produced and sung verses, with some touching multi-tracked vocals. A beautiful, emotive track and a return to form for Deacon Blue.
Frank Turner – ‘Recovery’
Having not heard much since the excellent ‘I Still Believe’, it’s great to hear more from Turner. Though not quite up to the heady heights on that track, ‘Recovery’ still features his wryly observed lyrics and chant-able sections and a perky, happy feel that permeates throughout the record, whilst also managing to be slightly tongue-in-cheek. Another great, uptempo, foot-tapping track from Turner.
Jack Savoretti – ‘Not Worthy’
Buy: Not Worthy
The fifth single from his ‘Before The Storm’ album is an uplifting number. ‘Not Worthy’ is a chugging cut-back number that never kicks up more than a happy bumbling along but is a sunny, chill-out song that will put a smile on your face. Not particularly revolutionary but a pleasant, relaxing three-minutes though it does end as if he forgot to play the finish to the song.
Jakwob feat. Maiday – ‘Fade’
Jakwob’s fifth single ‘Fade’ is a heady mix of slow piano notes, an army drum-beat and someone having a fit with a pair of maracas, whilst Maiday sings hauntingly over the top. It all comes together near the end and is a nice listen once or twice, but isn’t particularly successful as a track aiming to grab you. Beautifully sung with a worthy production style, it’s just a bit too average.
Madeleine Peyroux – ‘Changing All Those Changes’
Buy: Changing All Those Changes
From her upcoming new album, ‘Changing All Those Changes’ takes you back to the era of Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and such, with brushes on drums and big double basses. Very evocative of the era and sounding like it could well be a lost track from years ago, it’s not a huge departure from the genre but is a great example of it, and there’s no better track this week to take you back in time but also bring you something new.
Peace – ‘Follow Baby’
Buy: Follow Baby
Following the amazing ‘Wraith’, one of my favourite songs of the year, ‘Follow Baby’ doesn’t benefit from a similar, vibrant chorus hook, but does employ a pretty good guitar riff, with shades of Radiohead’s ‘Just’ at the start. It does, however, grow on you and the falsetto multi-layered chorus establishes its self well. A little more boisterous than their debut with its larger focus on drums, it’s another strong single by the band, it just takes longer to expose its hand than ‘Wraith’ did.
Sky Ferreira – ‘Everything Is Embarrassing EP’
Buy: Everything is Embarrassing – EP
With the titular track and b-side ‘Sad Dream, plus two remixes of the first song making up the EP, Sky Ferreira’s ‘Everything Is Embarrassing’ is dominated by a heavy drum machine and an effects-heavy airy vocal track, creating a distracting and uninvolving sound though the chorus does hit you after a few listens but it struggles to compete with the dominant drum sound, slightly restricting the appeal of the track. With a strong chorus, but one masked by some questionable production, it’s a grower.