It’s time for our singles expert Philip Lickley to run you through this weeks single releases. To read more from Phil check out his music blog Wav Goodbye. If you fancy contributing to All-Noise, send over your music views, news and reviews to [email protected]
The Band Perry – ‘If I Die Young’
Sounding like Taylor Swift mixed with Lady Antebellum singing lyrics that REM, Dido or some other less-than-happy artist would be proud of but in a chirpier, country-tinged way ‘If I Die Young’ – with its fiddle solo that makes a refreshing change and great sound – is a top start for this new-to-the-UK band. The words are definitely not the happiest you have heard and delivered any other way than in this sugary country ballad would be deemed to be too gloomy. Catchy and very relaxing, it’s a pleasant listen with a great mix of instruments. I can see it being picked up as the soundtrack for teenage self-inflection as Daniel Powter’s tune was for bad days.
Ben Howard – ‘The Wolves’
Buy The Wolves
A re-release of his second single ‘The Wolves’ is a guitar-led track which begins with vocal versions of a wolf’s howl then continues on in a quick march to its conclusion with multi-layered vocals and calls that is a nice enough track but it just ends up washing over you with its relaxed style. With some cracking guitar and drum work it is a great track for putting on in the background as part of an easy-listening hour but it doesn’t jump out as the best example of its genre.
Chiddy Bang – ‘Ray Charles’
Buy Ray Charles [Explicit]
If ever there’s a chance to get the artist and title confused it’s this. Almost two years after his debut single Chiddy has finally got round to recording his album. Though not as catchy as his MGMT-sampling 2010 hit the retro sounding instrumentation and soul / jazz infused hooky chorus here is great and very memorable, even if the verses are disappointingly generic and expletive filled, and a rap-chorus that is so repetitive and tedious it’s like he ran out of ideas. Thankfully the blending of elements saves this from being a car crash to become actually a pretty catchy tune. But including the line ‘you’re too blind to see’ and other sight-references surely teeters dangerously between rap insight and insensitivity?
Dappy ft Brian May – ‘Rock Star’
Here’s a collaboration that will raise eyebrows, with the N-Dubz rapper teaming up with the Queen guitarist. After the surprisingly good ‘No Regrets’ we get another track that is actually better than you thought it could ever be. Immediately kicking into the tune with no need for any form of introduction, it’s a speedy mix of rapping, singing, synth and, of course, May’s famous guitar work, though to be honest the hairy guitarist’s contribution to the record isn’t particularly sign-posted on the piece as it gets lost in the heavy production until the final thirty seconds when he can finally release those chords. The lyrics are very interesting to listen to with some interesting comparisons even if they do sometimes trip into cliché, building up into a song that calls for your stereo to be turned up, though a lot does get lost in a track that’s perhaps too busy and over-produced for its own good like they had lots of good ideas – rapping! Singing! Brian May! Synth! – and didn’t want to strip anything back.
Darren Hayes – ‘Bloodstained Heart’
Buy Bloodstained Heart
The third single from the former Savage Garden singer’s latest album doesn’t quite have the impact and immediate appeal of ‘Talk Talk Talk’ or the fantastic ‘Black Out The Sun’ but Hayes’ atmospheric falsetto over a stripped-back guitar backing reminds me of the verses of ‘Casey’. Building in appeal throughout the track I’m not convinced it works as a single out of the context of the album but the musical orchestration just over two-minutes in, sounding like it has been lifted from a Muse or Coldplay record, really kicks it up a pace even if it doesn’t last as long as it should do, and it builds to actually a pretty enjoyable record.