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  singles - july 2005
 

Left With Pictures - ep
This 6 track ep is a delightful trip into another level. The beatle-esque vocals and harmonies from start to finish are an experimental journey produced tightly into something melodic. Each track tells a story and I'm in favour of the 6min track when it's this good. I couldn't begin to name each instrument (which is a good thing) but each has its well timed and appropriate place (the Dr Who "tardis" type sound is great). Its like very few sublime ep's I've heard but has some comparisons to Mercury Rev meets Bob Dylan meets the Beatles! Donavan & the Doors is my personal favourite, best enjoyed (I imagine) late at night, with good company and a little splash of whatever your vice may be. There's a line that goes like this "...and I appreciate every chord" this ep is certainly appreciated. Thanks (editor) for letting me review this one as the added bonus is that I get to keep the ep!! This is well recommended, money well spent, and is a quality buy for anyone who wants to enjoy atmospheric melodies on a journey in which to lose yourself.

Sarah McDonald


 

Lemon Jelly -  ‘Make Things Right’ (XL)
‘Make Things Right’ is the third single to come from lemon Jelly’s latest record ‘64-’95 and it’s a relatively uplifting number featuring vocals from Terri Walker. That said it also a tad vacuous and easily drifts in one ear and out the other. While this is a perfectly pleasant song to be in the presence of you’ll struggle to miss it once it’s gone.

Luke Drozd


The Irrepressibles – ‘Loved Laced My Heart With Diamonds’ (Of Naked Design)
On first listen to London based arts-music collective The Irrepressibles only one word will pass my lips, WOW! They are a baroque contemporary orchestral outfit drifting out your stereo with something between profoundly beautiful and thoroughly unsettling, like mixing elements of Menlo Park with Danny Elfman and then baking it in Hell’s Kitchen. Organs swirl, accordions swoon, whilst James McDermott’s vocals swoop theatrically in and out of earshot. However do not be fooled for there is nothing gimmicky about their music. It is in fact moving and disturbing in equal measure and I suggest we all sit up and take notice.

Luke Drozd


The Permissive Society - demo
This four piece from Manchester produce agit pop-rock with bluesey Zeppelin-esque swagger. The repetitive bass line works surprisingly well against the cutting guitar parts and the cymbals get a good old thrashing too. But 'Fighting Crime' eventually lumbers to a guitar infested finale and could probably be cut a bit shorter.

'Protecting People' is an intriguiing modern take of goth sounds of the early 80's such as Echo and the Bunnymen. Some ranty-chanty vocals keep things frantic enough to keep the attention levels up and get you reaching for the mascara.

And finally on to an acoustic ballady type thing which sees yet again another bizarre vocal variation with vibrato maxed up to the full. So a mixed bag, or a curate's egg as my tutor used to say. But I never really understood what that meant so I'll stick with mixed bag. B-.

Shane Blanchard


iLiKETRAiNS - Before The Curtains Close (Dance to the Radio)
For all their atmospheric posturing, the bombastic drums and the ghostly echo, there is something rather charming and lovable about iLiKETRAiNS. Dave's vocals possess a Leonard Cohen type monotone delivery but the twinkling guitar and rich cornets keep things from getting too depressing. make no mistake, this is not Saturday night disco music but the unusual key changes and massive production drag this out of the quicksand occupied by bands like Redjetson who ultimately end up wallowing in their own atmosphere and don't eventually reach out to the listener. Then again, this is only two tracks long - could I stand any more than that? Possibly not.

Shane Blanchard


Kitty Daisy and Lewis - Honolulu Rock-a Roll-a
Kitty, Daisy and Lewis provide a refreshing chance this month, welcome relief from the earnest young men, all angles, fringes freshly straightened, all over T4 playing pseudo post-punk. This is good. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis are 11, 16 and 14 respectively but I’m going to avoid some patronising reference to their ages, they’re young, so what. I do worry with youngish vocals that on repeat listening will grow tiresome and irritating, they don’t. This is perfect for that tape you’re going to make to listen to over summer, the b-side’s brilliant as well; Sort of Hawaiian Country, slide guitar, (apparently homemade!) nonsensical lyrics, great time. Buy it. 

MJL


Sane River - Substitute Air (Eye Brake)
From the murky depths of Borrowash in deepest Derbyshire, this three-piece claim to be the fourth best band in Derby. And they are probably right. This is perfectly reasonable punk pop, even if 'Little Colluder' features some tricksy changes in the drums which leave you reaching for the CD lens cleaner as it sounds like the CD is skipping. Actually it was skipping, but it still sounded odd when it wasn't. There's none of the imaginative harmonies of fellow Derby punksters Twinkie and after three tracks the growly, earnest vocals get a bit tedious to be honest. Then 'Downwave' suddenly gets a kick up the arse and comes over like Guns 'n' Roses on speed. For fans only.

Shane Blanchard


Millionaire - For a Maid/We Don't Live There Anymore (PIAS)
Finally the singles reviews for this month get into gear with this belter from Millionaire. Instantly marking it's intentions with an evil bassline, 'For a Maid' drips with guitar loops and wonderful vocal harmonies that remind you what Alice in Chains could have done if Layne Staley had not been filling himself with smack all day long.

'We Don't Live Here Anymore' is a different beast with a grating guitar hook that sounds like a B-movie soundtrack. The influence of Queens of the Stone Age producer Josh Homme is heavy on this track. look forward to the album 'Paradisiac' in the autumn.

Shane Blanchard


The Swear - Repeat It, Repeat It (Dirty Little Angels)
More new wave punk fro the Dirty Little Angels stable. If you've heard any other stuff released by them then you'll know what you are in for - they seem to have a penchant for three minute punk pop, usually with some slightly discordant female/male vocals thrown into the mix. All well and good but I'm a bit over this scene. I'm not necessarily saying that this is a triumph of image over content but the band did chose their bass player because they thought he had a cool t-shirt...

Shane Blanchard


Smokers Die Younger - Kermit Song/Five-0 (SPC)
The Sheffield Phonographic Corporation continue their reputation for releasing the most leftfield pop in northern England. Smokers Die Younger don't seem to be following any kind of trends and go out on a limb producing synth pop infused with military drumming, plinkety plonk bass and nonsense lyrics. Despite this, 'Kermit Song' builds up a strange kind of bastard grandeur which makes it rather glorious.

'Five-0' by comparison is the sound of a fairground waltzer going out of control, complete with homage to Dexy's Midnight Runners. Think Misty's Big Adventure (hell, that even sounds like a fairground ride) and you won't be far wrong.

Shane Blanchard


Vatican Jet - Green (demo)
This marvellous triplet of tunes, all recorded in the troglodytic setting of Ghost Town studios in Leeds gives the perfect showcase to Vatican Jet's talents. Gobbling up world music, film soundtracks and retro sounds then spewing them out with interest to form perfectly formed modern indie pop classics is the order of the day. 'Ramona ♥s VJ' and 'Plan B' both have a fantastic spaghetti western vibe about them that Serge Leone would be proud of. The vocals overlap, overdub and harmonise while the acidic guitar lines string the whole thing together. Original, witty and extremely catchy.

Shane Blanchard.


My Enemy - Elil ep (Vapen & Godis)
My Enemy hail from Gothenburg in Sweden - a town where they make you take off you jacket when entering bars and where you have to go through a metal detector to enter a club. A strange state of affairs? Definitely. An influence? Possibly not. But something has got in the water to make My Enemy want to blend electro with reggae beats in their second track. This aberration apart, 'Elil' has some nice touches with a distinctly scando sound and delicate combinations of electronica with minimal folk ethic. The female vocals are delivered in a Nico-esque monotone that begins to grate after a while and there will be the inevitable comparisons with other Swedish bands like the Cardigans. But My Enemy are a bit more intricate than that and a bit more experimental. This may take a few more listens to fully sink in.

Shane Blanchard


We Are Scientists - Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt (Virgin)
A good month for Division promotions -  Millionaire and this absolute gem from New York trio We Are Scientists. It's a pacey frenetic, sound-rich slab of dancy bop rock that I guarantee will get your toes tapping and the dance floors packed. I guess we exported Franz Ferdinand and now we are getting We Are Scientists in return. Sound like a more than fair swap to me.

Shane Blanchard