Single Of The Week
Gypsy & The Cat – ‘Jona Vark’ (Sony)
Spring has sprung, revellers, and although the temptation may be strong to pack our bags and book our hols, there are new singles to attend to. So which of this week’s offerings fit best with the chipper mood the sunshine has instilled in us and which ones evoke all of the excitement and exotic glamour of a damp weekend indoors? These inquiries won’t answer themselves so let’s press on shall we? Before the rains return. Gypsy & The Cat’s magnificent new single whisks you away to foreign climes (mentally at least); concisely nailing the cineramic, dreamy, globe-trotting pop that Empire Of The Sun excel at. Make no bones about it, this is the musical equivalent of having an ice-cream on a perfect Australian beach: alright you might get sand in your cone so there’s a tarnished loveliness – I mean what sort of a terrible name is ‘Jona Vark’, chaps? – but the leisurely breeziness of it all far outweighs the downside. We let such pedantic quibbles slide because, nomenclature notwithstanding, this is easily Single Of The Week and very possibly the Soundtrack To The Summer. Dive in, the water’s lovely.
My Chemical Romance – ‘Planetary (Go)’ (Warners)
“EVERYONE STOP SAYING ITS (sic) POP ITS (sic) AWESOME THATS (sic) FINAL”, declaims a member of the YouTube commentariat. Whatever ‘Planetary (Go)’ is – and it sounds like pop music to these ears – it hurtles along splendidly like few other My Chemical Romance singles do. It drags MCR’s indie-goth-metal-bubblegum to the disco dancefloor and snogs it into submission. Consider it this week’s holiday romance soundtrack.
Glasvegas – ‘Euphoria, Take My Hand’ (Sony)
That’s a promising title isn’t it, consumers? Could it be that the black-clad, sunglasses-sporting dour Scots anthemic rockers have dropped an E and been converted to the ways of the raver? Or are they talking about a different sort of euphoria? Don’t reach for the Vick’s Vaporub just yet, because this is in fact another rebel-rousing ‘anthem’ full of singer James’ vocal pleadings about “wishing on a falling star” and whatnot and it is quite impossible to imagine sharing poolside space with The ‘Vegas – as we will call them – on a sun lounger while sipping a strawberry daquiri, much less spending the night with them on one in Ibiza. This is more like a school trip to Monasterboice in the drizzle; earnest, worthy and just a teensy weensy bit dull.
The Joy Formidable – ‘Whirring’ (Atlantic)
If you had to provide the uplifting mood music for an imaginary reality show about indie-kids, The Joy Formidable would be the band you’d turn to. They sound like they’d rather mosh in their bedrooms to an old Smashing Pumpkins record than eat a candy floss on a rollercoaster and Whirring is sort-of-alright until the inevitable thrashy rock climax, which is just too sweaty to be endearing to anyone who doesn’t already Like This Sort Of Thing. If they joined us on Coach Trip they’d have been voted off the bus long ago. Boo!
The Kills – ‘Satellite’ (Domino)
Trent Reznor once answered an interviewer’s inquiry about his cycle of heroin addiction/cold turkey/rehab/more heroin by saying “yes I did spend a couple of years partying in the late 90s”. So if Trent Reznor ever invites you to go ‘partying’, remember that this will most likely involve sharing a soiled mattress in a cold, unfurnished room with the man while you go through the nightmare of cold turkey. Yes ‘partying’ doesn’t seem to be the most apt word for such a scenario but – hey! – that’s rawk ‘n’ roll! This is the sort of jaded, druggy-rawk chic the chain-smoking, leather-trousered Kills deal in. No doubt they would do their mothers in for rock and roll, and enjoy skinning up on some Royal Trux CD cases but this is just the sort of thing your frustrated singles reviewer feels the need for a holiday from quite honestly. ‘Satellite’ fair stinks up the room and makes one pine for some fresh mountain air. Still, one is mindful that for every nasty, predictable, cliche-ridden rawk record like this there’s an equally hopeless pop equivalent.
Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull – ‘On The Floor’ (Sony)
The words “featuring Pitbull” are hardly a hallmark of quality pop, and even RedOne can’t work his magic on this dance pop record which wanders into uncharted territory like an arctic explorer by being detailing the pleasures of clubbing. That’s night-clubbing of course, not seal-clubbing. Although, frankly, a song about seal-clubbing would be less grim. Of all this week’s singles this most conjures the mood of a package holiday in a ghastly Mediterranean resort (“It’s getting ill, it’s getting sick on the dancefloor”, pipes Pitbull putting you in the picture), and the ‘best’ bit – once you’ve lowered your expectation threshold – is pinched from Kaoma’s useless holiday hit of yore ‘Lambada’. Pih.
Jamie Woon – ‘Lady Luck’ (Polydor)
With all the fuss over James Blake, this chap has been rather overlooked. Jamie Woon is a similarly mellow bedroom producer type who will surely go down a storm with fans of The xx. Lady Luck’s gorgeous vocals and toe-tapping beat should make a dent on the popular consciousness and while his music sometimes reminds me of the more melodic early output from The Streets and their two step garage ilk, on a less cool note – not that we pay heed to such notions – he also reminds me of an even younger Paul Young on a single which exudes all the luxury of a five star hotel. Which might sound rather too tasteful for your taste, but fame beckons nonetheless.
Panda Bear – ‘Last Night At The Jetty’ (Paw Tracks)
Hold on to your incense burners, chuck a few more lentils in the pot and prepare to wig out because it’s very “psychedelic”, this. Can you see the world in a grain of sand, readers? Because I bet Panda Bear can. He makes music that’s as mesmeric and colourful as the coral in the Great Barrier Reef. Parts of ‘Last Night At the Jetty’ sound like they were recorded underwater. Well trippy! It also sounds a bit like those wonky songs Brian Eno used to pen for his barmy solo albums back in the mid 70s. This single drifts along pleasantly enough and Animal Collective fans will love it, but since there’s nary a whiff of a tune here its appeal will depend on how susceptible you are to its general vibe.
ALSO RELEASED THIS WEEK:
Burial – ‘Street Halo’, Crystal Slits – ‘Through The Floor’, Flo Rida feat. Akon – ‘Who Dat Girl’, Gay For Johnny Depp – ‘Cum On Feel The Boize’, Hoosiers – ‘Bumpy Ride’, Jim Jones Revue – ‘Dishonest John’, Pigeon Detectives – ‘Done In Secret’ , Wolfmen – ‘Cat Green Eyes/Real Fake’