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  singles - march 2004
  - Sophia
- Auf Der Maur
- Placebo
- The Vines
- BlueJay Way
- Gomez


- The Kates
- Pipas
- The New Shapes
- The Divine Comedy
- Pernice Brothers


Sophia - Oh My Love (City Slang)
Former God Machine main man Robert Proper–Sheppard and a gathering of musicians flit between the indie and pop genre in this maudlin, acoustic fuelled single that is a touching if a little laboured ballad about love and the consequences of it. Proper-Sheppard still sings as though he is haunted sounding like Fran Healy and Gary Lightbody (Snow Patrol) with a drop of Aaron Price included, resulting in a battle between compelling and tedious with a resulting 0-0 draw. 

In a defiant stance against the grabbing industry Sophia give us not one, not two, but three B-sides in this single extracted from their ‘People Are Like Seasons’ album. Unfortunately, their laboured acoustic fuelled manner and the fact that Proper-Sheppard’s vocals get slightly whinier it represents a pyrrhic victory for the value for money seekers.

Dave Adair

Auf der Maur – Followed the Waves (Capitol)
It’s her from the Smashing Turnips isn’t it? This is the sort of hazy, rock splurge that makes for incredibly dull listening outside of Rock City, but makes those clad in combats and black t-shirts very excited indeed. Our Melissa has nice curly ginger hair, that’s the most I can say for this single, I’m afraid. Let’s not rock.

Sam Metcalf


Placebo – English Summer Rain (Hut)
I’m wondering if little Brian has been in H&M lately? Maybe he’s been hiding by the polka dot dresses because he seems to think that it’s 1984 again, and that Depeche Mode are THE band to try and sound like. ‘English Summer Rain’ is like a minipops version of one of NIN’s weakest songs. If Brian Molko isn’t enough to make you want to run away from Placebo, then that last fact should.

Sam Metcalf


The Vines – Ride (Heavenly)
You know how Wire got a bit upset about Elastica ripping them off? Well, the little jagged guitar bit in this song really does sound like ‘Line Up’. This is not a bad little song that I can imagine those things called ‘youngsters’ could have a good bop around to. And for reminding me of such a great song, I’ll give them eight out of ten. Hurrah!

Sam Metcalf


BlueJay Way – The Non-International ep (Electric Breeze)
I’ll try and be kind. Honest. BlueJay Way (ouch!) make ‘proper grown up music’, like what you hear on Radio 2 these days, and one of the blokes looks like Dave Grohl. These four tracks do very little for me or my nerves…maybe ‘How Love Should Be’ is a nice lilting tune with a daft little Housemartins bit in the middle, maybe it isn’t. That’s how this band leave me – weakened.

Sam Metcalf


Gomez – Catch Me Up (Hut)
The young fogeys return! With another young fogey anthem! This sounds a little like the Coral, if you like that kind of thing, and sometimes I do. But I always associate this band with my brother, that great unwashed spazhammer from York, and therefore Gomez are guilty of rubbishness by association. Soz, like…but that’s just the way it is.

Sam Metcalf


The Kates’ - Suicidal Valentine (Invisible Hands)
With a cosmopolitan line up that includes a Scot, an American and a Londoner, it is not surprising to discover that in their latest single the angst filled rockers tackle a universal topic; unrequited love. Their Saves the Day meets Dashboard Confessional with a dash of the Foo Fighters, especially in the Dave Grohl like vocals, gives the song some heart and passion. After their passable grapple with a heart-wrenching topic The Kates’ descend downhill faster than a Swiss skier, as they jump on the bandwagon of tearing into students. The winner for the most original song topic iiisssss….. NOT The Kates’. They angrily make a statement and ask questions they should be asking themselves; 

 “You try to fit in with the crowd, Have you got no respect for yourself? Are you feeling quite proud? “ 

The EP progresses to produce a neat garage rock stonker about losing it; ‘At The Dogs’ that is reminiscent of Saves The Day and Schwaab, instrumentally speaking. The problem with this EP is there is nothing on it to separate them from the hundreds of other angry rockers singing about rejection and what is cool. However, they may argue that the utilisation of a Hinc’s painting on their front cover depicting two frogs fucking may help them avoid the aforementioned pitfall.

Dave Adair


Pipas – Bitter Club (Matinee)
This month’s excellent Matinee release comes from the unstoppable Pipas hit machine, who slip into your life with six more wonderful tracks. Quite simply, there’s no one to touch Pipas at the moment for bitter sweet pop, whether it be the lead track ‘Mental’, which disguises spite in the most sugar sweet pop wrapper, whilst ‘Bitter Club’ Mark ponders on the hobby of waiting for something. ‘Sixten’ is altogether more funky, with the sort of snappy drum beat heard on The Stone Roses’ ‘Fool’s Gold’ with Lupes coming over all sultry. If that isn’t enough, then give ‘Jean C’ a listen, because it might be the best song you’ll hear this year. It’s almost Smithsian in its melancholy – in fact I’d love to hear Morrissey cover it, because it’s right up his alley, so to speak. Anyway, yet another triumph for both Matinee and Pipas.

Sam Metcalf


The New Shapes – Demonstration No. 1 (Pop Records)
Ooh…hello there Johnny Come Lately, do come in. I’m not going to say this sounds like The Strokes, oh no, not me. Only that it may as well be the bloody Strokes. It has the same guitar sound, the same vocal, the same production. Same old, same old. Three years ago this would’ve been a revelation, now it’s a frustration. Petrol station. Castration. See? I can do it too….

Sam Metcalf


The Divine Comedy  - Come Home Billy Bird (Parlophone)
Having never understood those who have fallen under the spell of the boy Hannon, I can’t say I was expecting much of this. But it’s rather agreeable really – a sort of a laidback, sophisticated pop – the sort of thing Morrissey used to do before he realised that he was some kind of tough nut pub rock slugger. There’s nowt ground breaking about this, but then Neil Hannon has never really been Frank Zappa. Mind you, you never see them in the same room together, do you?…

Sam Metcalf


Pernice Brothers – The Weakest Shade of Blue (One Little Indian)
This is rather jolly. The Beatles’ ‘Revolver’ has been on heavy rotation round these parts for the last few weeks and ‘The Weakest..’ wouldn’t sound out of place on there. Y’know, chiming guitars, knackered production and a hook to hang your blouse on. Quite smashing, all in all.

Sam Metcalf