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singles - march 2006



 

Little Man Tate - The Agent/Just Can't Take It

I put Little Man Tate’s new single The Agent into the CD player and put the bacon under the grill for a delicious sandwich.  Listening vaguely from the kitchen, the slightly two-toney title track didn’t seem to me any great shakes.  Imagine my surprise when I put the CD on properly to write it up.  It’s actually quite good.  Here’s my advice to you for the month:  Little Man Tate are worth a second listen.  The third listen, I leave up to you.

The title track is, as I said, quite two-toney, although I should probably say four-phase rather than two-tone as the offbeat guitar is half the speed of the other parts.  However, it’s not as imitative as some tracks I could mention and has some artfully hidden riffy goodness.  It’s sung with real fire and guts, and a hell of a lot of fun.

The second track is a bit cheekier, with a punky swing rhythm and a nice build into the chorus.  Lyrically just a little bit arch and sly, it’s got an interesting take on what I call the drunken hot-dog phenomenon – when I’ve had a few too many, I actually crave hot-dogs from street-vendors, in spite of their being so deeply, deeply wrong.  It goes into a “let’s add in all the tracks” finale, but apart from that it’s a nice piece of work.

All in all, worth a listen, and then a second listen.

Andrew Wyld


 

Fruition - Ticking Away (Latent Lemon)

An energetic and not entirely displeasing sounds from Hertfordshire's Fruition makes up for a prosaic press release obsessed with venue capacities. 'Ticking Away' is a bounce along ditty with big tub thumping drums whereas 'Sinclair' is a bit more old school indie. 'Cavin' In' completes a trio of proficient if not inspirational tracks.
www.fruitionhq.co.uk

SB


KT Tunstall - Another Place to Fall (Virgin EMI)

Ex-Fence Collectivite KT Tunstall does what she does best with her distinct indie folk crossover song writing and overdubbed vocals. Wouldn't get me dancing but wouldn't get me running out of a club in disgust either. 5/10.
www.kttunstall.com
watch .wmv video here

SB


The Magic Numbers - I see You /You See Me (Heavenly/EMI)

Romeo Stodart sounds a bit like what you’d get if you bred a Jack White in captivity.  The same harmonic-laden voice is there, the same half-blues, half-country sound, but it’s like seeing a lion fed from birth on steak – without the danger, the excitement is tempered, and the experience tamed.  This is shown to good effect on I See You, You See Me, the fourth single from their debut album 

It’s a love song, and a gentle one at that, so perhaps it’s just as well that there aren’t any mad stompy bits or crazed thrashy bits.  As a love song it pushes all the right buttons, with a lovely vocal duet between Romeo and Angela.  It’s got to be a favourite for the lovestruck indie kids, and it might even replace the Beautiful South’s A Little Time as karaoke duet of choice in a few years.  It’s well-written, if slightly clichéd, well-performed, and well-produced.

It even has a slightly faster section in the middle, and I think it’s here that the song’s tameness becomes apparent.  If you measured it, this section would probably turn out to be some worryingly exact number of beats per minute faster than the main part.  Romeo shreds it up vocally with variations on the theme of “I never thought ….” but each time, seems to come in at an incredibly exact part of the bar.  It all sounds too … calculated.

Of course, calculation is a part of all music, no matter what the rock-myth people tell you, but the art is in hiding the art.  It needs to sound just a bit freer, for my taste.  Other than that, this is a fine offering.  Have a good listen to it and send Romeo some antelopes in the post.
www.themagicnumbers.net

SB


Newton Faulkner - Full Fat (Pressure)

For all the PR hype about double handed fret action, hammer-ons and harmonics, there seems to be little in this single to demonstrate this guitar prowess. Not to say that this is no good. Despite some rather trite lyrics, the combination of looped beats and a vocal style like the chap from The Christians makes for a good old listen. But Jimi Hendrix it ain't.
www.newtonfaulkner.com

SB


 

The Somatics – Elemental (Engine Room) 

Many years ago, when Farming Incident were just a few months old, Graham Chalmers of Charm Fanzine, basically the progenitor to Sandman in terms of multiple town/city music coverage, had the bright idea of having a Charm night at The Wardrobe. Farming Incident played at that gig, and we were pretty good, but we had to bow down to the psychedelic might of the main act – The Somatics. It is therefore my good fortune 6 years on to be reviewing this offering, and what an offering it is. Opener “Elemental” is a big drum rolled beast of a tune, obviously the single here and although ace, the weakest of the 3 songs, in my eyes. But how can that be I hear you shriek? Well, they skilfully follow with the Can/Hawkwind space epic “Cool Wet Grass”, which at 6 and a bit minutes is way too short. Then they get all “Obscured By Clouds” Floyd on us with closer “You Promised Me”, a beautiful multilayered guitar and keys thing, with such sweet, sweet harmonies, that it’s difficult to write any more, so I won’t – just buy this, it’s an example of a band completely in control of its art. Find out more at www.the-somatics.com

Dave Procter


Hot Chip - Over and Over (EMI)

Not heard of this bunch before but more fool me. If 'Over and Over' is anything to go by then these may become firm favourites on the old CD player. Treading a similar funky yet agit electro ground as Lo Fidelity Allstars or Infadels, this track is both groovy and a little bit sinister. With two increasingly hardcore remixes, this makes for one well packaged bundle of fun.
www.hotchip.co.uk

SB


 

Bryan Joseph – Drop the Needle (Green Lazer) 

Yes kids, it’s green and transparent and 7” – vinyl lives brothers and sisters. This is a collection of very, very lo-fi 4 track recordings, although it’s so lo-fi, I’m questioning the fact that 4 tracks were used. 1 seems more likely and on a dictating machine. The guitars are out of tune, the vocals are sporadically together, the toy keyboards sound very toylike and the song titles seem to be “Drop The Needle”, “Who’s Scared Of Retards” and well on side 2, it’s hard to tell. Quite what the point is in this release remains a mystery – there’s only 100 copies of this single and I’ve got 1 of them, but having said all this, it’s got summat about it that I can’t put my finger on. Result. I guess looking at www.bryanjoseph.com might give us all a clue...

Dave Procter


Leya - In Our Hands (Rubyworks)

It's always a bit of a twilight zone, that area of piano driven melody and oh-so earnest vocals which can quite easily lead to horrible James Bluntness or Westlife-isms. But joyously, Leya stay just out of the dark and provide a powerful sound without being too heart felt or croony. Will be a big hit with fans of Snow Patrol and Radiohead.
www.leya.info

SB


 

The Common Redstarts - Killing Street/Angel Eyed Fruit (Seeca)

Edinburgh-based foursome do mod-punk with slightly out of tune guitars? Well that wouldn't tell the whole story. 'Killing Street' for all of it's cliched rock 'n' roll massiveness is also spat out out with absolute conviction and some cracking string bending action. And it is this attitude mes amis, which lifts the ordinary above the humdrum (unless you are David Bowie or Prince and can write great tunes in your sleep).
www.seeca.co.uk

SB


 

The Research – Lonely Hearts Still Beat The Same (At Large) 

Wakey’s finest popsters return with a Valentine’s week tear jerker. Lovely vocals and harmonising and all over in 2 and a half minutes. Simple, this pop lark, eh? How simple may be revealed at www.theresearchgopop.com

Dave Procter


 

Schmoo - She Machine/Plaything (Fat Northerner)

Kate Bush trapped in deep and dirty bass line electronica band one asks? Manchester's Schmoo seem to be trying to combine an awful lot of influences in 'Plaything' - Daft Punk, Massive Attack, Air, Portishead et al - and I'm not convinced it isn't too much for just one song. The drop out lo-fi bridge just smacks of Daft Punk a bit too much (or the engineer temporarily slumped on the mixing desk).

In contrast 'She Machine' is a much clearer concept, more focussed, more driven and less eclectic. All the better for it in my eyes. Careful use of a Moog, a drum machine and a vocoder couldn't come any better.

SB


 

The Fallout Trust – Washout (At Large) 

Those marketing boys are at it again. Apparently The Fallout Trust have been “taking their Arcade Fire meets Super Furries hook laden anthems to the masses” – reading this is a perk up to my lugholes as you’d expect. I like this song, it’s got lots of hooks, no doubt, but try as I may I can find very little Arcade Fire or SFA in there. To me it doesn’t seem to matter that there’s some Razorlight, Mud and yes my friends some Queen backing vocals harmonising going on here and that is a triumphant mix. More at www.thefallouttrust.co.uk

Dave Procter

 

The Vibrants - ep

First impressions of this London 5-piece are of a band very similar sounding to Leeds' Vatican Jet. That is, traditional rock 'n' roll based on the Who/Stones format. Difference is, Vatican Jet have a really charismatic sounding singer - unlike The Vibrants who have a singer who sounds like he was raised in smokey bars and working mens' clubs.

Some able attempts at psychodelic keys and simple chord structures please but cannot lift the overall grittiness. I would guess that this is a good band live, at volume, but something is missing from this EP.
www.thevibrants.com

SB


 

The Heart Strings – Try Fly Blue Sky 

The debut EP from talented London-based siblings Todd and Max is a thing of yearning wonder that makes me want to ruffle their respective hairstyles from sheer joy. Take lead-off track “Cannonball Stan”: a majestic marriage of Yoshimi-era Flaming Lips’ drum loops, xylophone, brass and trembling vocals that reaches for the stars. Production-wise, it’s spot-on with every note sounding absolutely vital in a Brian Wilson/Apples in Stereo kind of way. A genuinely lovely song, and as soon as it’s finished you want to listen to it all over again. 

And there’s more (as comedic retard Jimmy Cricket used to say). Willfully defying the rule of one good-track-to-two-average-ones, “Kids” is the part of the story where the Beatles and the Beach Boys put aside their rivalry and join forces with Mercury Rev, featuring the memorable lyric “You bring the knife, I’ll bring the kryptonite”, while “He Wanted to Fly and He Flew” has a cute, skittering keyboard intro and tells the story of a lovelorn pilot. Makes a nice change from wry tales of Northern prostitutes or whatever it is the kids are into at the moment. More please! 
www.theheartstrings.com

Will Columbine


 

The Pigeon Detectives - I'm Not Sorry (Dance to the Radio)

We've had Leeds style architecture, could this be the beginnings of Leeds style indie pop? There seems to be a clutch of bands around at the minute with a similar reedy guitar sound who specialise in the 3 minute indie-pop song featuring obligatory sing along chorus. On 'I'm Not Sorry', musically The Pigeon Detectives sound very similar to ¡Forward Russia! (though the vocals are distinctly different in fairness.) Then on 'I'm Always Right' they go all like a new wave version of The Lodger - maybe it's not a Leeds sound developing, but a Leeds super group? I'll wait for some more stuff from the Pigeon Detectives before throwing my hat in the ring just yet...
www.thepigeondetectives.com

SB


Lovemat - Between the Lines (Disturbia)

Despite the press release propaganda, this sounds like good old rawk to me. Filthy guitars, squawking vocals and simple production to the fore as 'Between the Lines' lumbers through 3 minutes 28 seconds. 'Lost in the City' offers a bit more interest with some Buzzkill-esque brass hitting the scene early in the piece. But this is all too thin on the ground and a similar lo-fi rock to the first track takles over. Disappointing.
www.lovemat.com

SB


Be Your Own Pet - Lets Get Sandy (Big Problem) 

Its 59 seconds long and its thrashy as fuck. I want to have sex with the singer as well.

Yup they’re pretty cool. The bass player looks like a severely learning disabled version of king buzz from the Melvin’s too. And the b-side is the band or friends of the band recording them selves in the tour bus or something but I couldn’t here Jemina Pearls voice. She’s the one I want to have sex with.

Peter Williams


The Bleeding Hearts - You Bring Me To My Knees (Mother Tongue)

Beautiful sleeve artwork and a verbose press release about false love. But 'You Bring Me to My Knees' still sounds like a combination of The Divine Comedy and Dexy's Midnight Runners to me.

By contrast, 'Out of Sight, out of Mind' is a gentle waltz which totters on the brink of being schmaltzy but just teeters back to being Christmas movie uplifting - aahh.
www.thebleedinghearts.co.uk

SB


 

The Voom Blooms - Politics and Cigarettes (Fiction)

What a terrible name for a band. Furthermore, tales of daring-do involving playing guitar with a hand pouring blood over the crowd after an accident with a tin of corned beef do nothing for me. I mean, it's just unhygienic innit?

Fortunately the Voom Blooms make an agreeable racket with ringing guitars, shouty vocals and sporadic drum fills. But the two tracks here sound unbelievably similar...more variety needed.
www.thevoomblooms.com

SB


Shout Out Louds - Please Please Please (EMI)

Time for me to find out what all this fuss about the Shot Out Louds is about. Well, 'Please Please Please' seems as good a place as any - not as jingly, twinklie and happy clappy as The Magic Numbers but not quite as heavy as Arctic Monkeys etc al. Simple stuff but please please pleasing. Please excuse me while I find some better synonyms.
www.shoutoutlouds.com
See the video (.wmv file)

SB


The Organ - Brother 

'When Debbie Harry met Johnny Marr', is really the very first thing that springs to mind here on the Organ's latest single release, Brother. Deborah Cohen's guitar is consistently sparkling and precise, whereas Katie Sketch's vocal lines are powerful with the commanding poise of Blondie's leading lady. 

Schmoo(!) plays some fairly raunchy, albeit simplistic bass that with the percussive accompaniment of Shelby Stocks, provides an adequate bedrock to the song.  

Little is at fault with the track and the inclusion of the ever-present and roaming Hammond organ gives the 'Marr-Harry' vibe a nod towards the more contemporary musical styles of 'post-rock'.  

In relation to Brother, I suppose the B-side, Love Love Love is rather pedestrian-- very much like the songs' title. Indeed the lyrics and vocal performance is excellent, but the acoustic guitar/ mandolin backing is quite ordinary in a sense that it's nothing new or challenging.  

There's nothing radically disagreeable about the song, in fact it would make for good background 'coffee-table' music.

As is so often the case, studio-recorded tracks so seldom do a band justice and performed in the right kind of live environment, I could imagine Love Love Love coming into its own and being enjoyed as a respectable stand-alone track.  

In a world governed by predominantly male bands, The Organ will have to work hard to avoid slipping beneath the waves. So as long as they remain consistently true to themselves and don't fall foul of simply imitating their heroes/ heroines, I could see this all-girl group being a force to be reckoned with.

Alex Clark


Letters and Colours - Confrontation/Bigger than Life (Dead Product)

Hot on the heels of last month's demo, Letters & Colurs release this double a-side single. And there's more of the same with an unremittingly bleak production and threatening Curtis vocal. It's a bold move going for such a mix and they don't sound like a barrel of laughs. But there is an intensity about the music, especially in 'Bigger than Life' that will send shivers down your spine. Always good to hear someone being miserable isn't it?
www.myspace.com/letterscolours

SB


Downdime - Hate the Morning / Joanne (Squirrel)

Loveable Leeds indie scamps Downdime deliver another dose of classic indie pop with this double-A side single. I've never heard another band who sound as much like every single member is thrashing their instrument (oo-err missus) to within an inch of its life. 'Hate the Morning' is a heady, swirling, psychodelic indie concoction that makes me want to lie down and stare at the ceiling more than dance around the room to be honest.

By contrast, 'Joanne' is a far more sedate affair and some gentle pant swaying and head nodding will be in order once I've got away from the keyboard.
www.downdime.co.uk

SB


 

Death Cigarettes - The Live E.P.

I don't know if this is going to start a trend of product placement. We could next have 'Marlboro Lights', the 'Silk Cut Ultras' or even 'The Benson and Hedges'. Damn those fiendishly clever cigarette marketing chappies...

Though actually, all is not what it seems. Despite the seemingly familiar name, this sound is brutal punk funk and I'm slightly scared. Opening track 'Deadication' has some of the most mental distorted guitar I've ever heard al over the backdrop of a constantly riffing but understated bass. Of yeah, and the small matter of some seriously demented ranting from vocalist Maya who sounds like she needs a good cup of tea to calm down. Much like a pack of cigs themselves, this EP isn't that pleasant, leaves a nasty tasty in the mouth and will ultimately be quite bad for you. On the other hand, there is a massive headrush when you listen with the volume full up.

SB


Placebo - Because I Want You (Russell Lissack Remix) (Virgin)

Before the original single is even released, Bloc Party's Russell Lissack twiddles some knobs and adjusts some sliders to give the next Placebo single a makeover. And frankly the results are rather sparkling, injecting new life into the Placebo format and giving the single an edgier, more electro vibe. This will be the track that DJs will be spinning in the indie clubs around the country, not the album version. And that my friends, is the point of a remix before you've even released the original.
www.placeboworld.co.uk

SB


Test Icicles - Boa vs Python Static and Jitset Remixes (Domino)

Ouch - this makes my ears hurt. Not being a big Test Icicles fan in the first place, getting a grime remix version of 'Boa vs Python' or 'Catch It!' does not feel like a treat. No amount of, err, bizzle, is going to make this bearable. Seems like it might have been a bit too much for the band as well - they've just split up! Jim Reeves anyone?

SB


The Concretes - Chosen One (EMI/Licking Fingers)

After listening to title track 'Chosen One' I am left baffled as to what all the fuss is about with The Concretes. Much like The Magic Numbers, I just don't go in for all that jingly jangly nonsense - it just sounds boring to me. But the flip side, 'Reverberation' is an absolutely beautiful piece, full of wistful guitars and reverb and tortured vocals that Kirstin Hersh would be proud of. Absolutely mesmeric. So don't waste your time writing nonsense like 'Chosen One' you naughty Concretes...
www.theconcretes.com
see video (.wmv file)

SB


Various - The Field Recordings EP (Regularbeat)

I love this split EP from Liverpool's Regularbeat label. Erstwhile Tasty favourites Ambrose Tompkins kick things off with 'My Dirt' and prove that banjos can definitely be cool. Not to be outdone, Yellow Kid and Matthew Wood compete with similar tactics on 'Far at Sea', a beautiful melancholy sea shanty.

But it's not all for folky folk. The Rawkus Beeston Empire is a solo act mixing weirdo abstract samples over lo-fi beats and loops which demand attention in 'John's Dream'. Mitch and Murray take us out in style with 'Health & Wellness' a finger picked, plaintively sung masterpiece of ringing guitar beauty. All of this wondefulness can be yours for just £3.50 so what are you waiting for?
www.regularbeat.com

SB


The Ape Drape Escape - 200 Angry Bikers / They Filled Bag With Laughs, Threw it in the River, And Now They're Sad (Launderette Recording Company)

Phew, that's quite a mouthful for just over five minutes of music. But let it not be said that Ape Drape Escape do not make an effort. They are hereby awarded most splendidly packaged release of the month, the CD coming in a flock paper envelope - cool.

Then there's some music. Jerky, kooky mayhem with plenty of electronic punk nonsense over the top of filthy guitars. It sounds dirty and you know you shouldn't like it. But you will.
www.theapedrapeescape.co.uk

SB


 

Biz - Long Way Down (Halo)

Another male pop singer and another 3 minute 'poignant' pop song. Biz can just about hold a tune but his voice is nothing exceptional and the tunes on here are just pop pulp. He played in front of 150,000 folk at Millennium Stadium during the football play-offs apparently. But I guess those people were going to be there anyway weren't they?
www.bizisfab.co.uk

SB


Una Corda - Proper Position for Floating [1881] (We Used to Be the Future)

Birmingham's Una Corda produce a rich, textured guitar based instrumental music with the unusual twist of having two bass players. This gives rise to some really interesting dynamics and layering. There are simpler moments of song writing, as on 'Two', a more spartan affair eventually building into a mini crescendo before receding back to a more ethereal echoed sound. Think Tortoise. Think Pelican. This is a good EP and promises interesting things from future Una Corda recordings.
www.unacorda.co.uk

SB


Good Shoes - We Are Not the Same (Brille)

Spiky, quirky, challenging pop snippets from Good Shoes come thick an fast on this four track EP. It's all kept simple a la the Buzzcocks or Sarandon which is a great skill in itself, not to over complicate.

'We Are Not the Same' features a really weird guitar duel type thing that speeds up to the point where some rather cool bass lines trip in. 'Southwest Trains' uses a similar ploy, accelerating away from the buffers like a steaming locomotive itself until it reaches  train crash conclusion. All energetic stuff though the samey sound could begin to grate across a longer format release.
www.goodshoes.co.uk

SB


The Cutters - My World Turns All Around Her

Teeside foursome The Cutters. The Cutters? Yes, thought I'd heard them before as soon as the singer started croaking out his barely tuneful lyrics. I think I've actually warmed to the band since the three track promo review though - the musicianship and tunes have an assuredness and energy that is very Kooksish and even got me tapping my foot. And second track 'Come Around' has a belting intro of feedback and tom bashing. And it even seems like the vocal waywardness has been reigned in and is used more effectively as a gimmick rather than the standard. So yes, thumbs up for The Cutters - definitely a band moving in the right direction.
www.thecutters.co.uk

SB


Yes Boss - Get Dropped Quick / Indie Kids (Dance to the Radio)

I radical departure for Dance to the Radio with their first grime release. It's all far too trendy for me to comment with any authority (I thought grime was something that mainly existed on Flash adverts) but this is a refreshing change from the indie pop production line. I love the line 'you indie guys need to eat some pies and hit the gym so you don't get smacked' - dead right!
www.myspace.com/yesboss1

SB


Mark Morrison - Innocent Man (Mona)

So this is return of the return of the mack? It was my understanding that Mr Morrison couldn't help himself wondering round with firearms and a spell in the clink followed. And this is his attempt to clear his name and answer the questions about him. Fantastic voice but R 'n' B nonsense.

SB


UXL - Beautiful Today

Precocious youngsters eh? What starts off quite promisingly quickly declines to another disappointing offering. They're not exactly Hanson but perhaps kids shouldn't be allowed to inflict this stuff on us before they reach a certain age. If you don't know your place in the world or have any knowledge about your musical heritage it may seem like you are setting the world alight with a bright new sound. Unfortunately, hackneyed old gits like me can see it sounds more like a collection of bad Gary Moore cover versions.
www.myspace.com/uxlofficial

SB


Chinagrove - Charlotte Street Pt 2

From Leeds (isn't everyone these days?) Chinagrove are a rawk group. A couple of them look like they should be in Hanson. They have a crunchy guitar sound with a few unusual key changes and dynamics and pretty impressive vocals. All in all quite positive really. It just seems like they are mired in a west coast US rock sound that lacks a bit of relevance to a cold night Hull and isn't really that interesting.
www.chinagroveonline.com

SB
 


Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Gold Lion (Fiction)

Karen O and the gang seem almost laid back on ‘Gold Lion’. There are hints of 70s production here which make the song seem a little bit hackneyed – I’d have liked to hear this as a more ‘clean’ song, but, in the absence of anything decent from PJ Harvey at the moment, it’ll do just nicely. Shame about that haircuts, mind.

Sam Metcalf


Santa Dog - Belle de Jour

Purveyors of fine CD packaging design and even finer indie pop nuggets, the lovely Santa Dog offer their 3rd EP to Tasty and by George, it's the best yet. There's a new found sparkliness and glitz (I'm sure I heard a harp towards the end of 'Belle de Jour'?) but it never gets sickly thanks to the dark overtones of the vocals and lyrics, even when they are being playful. If there is any justice in the world (and we all know there isn't) then 'Pop Coloured' would be flowing out of our radios every morning instead of Pussycat Dolls.
www.santa-dog.co.uk

SB


The Lucksmiths – A Hiccup in Your Happiness (Matinee)

You’ll know the title track by now – it’s the incredibly laid back track off the last album, so let’s concentrate on the extra three tracks.
’From Macaulay Station’ is an incredibly beautiful and maudlin, almost whispered song that again touches on moving on through the medium of travel. If it’s a splitting up song it could well be up there with the best of them after a few listens.
’Rue Something’ is a whimsical waltz that is slightly more optimistic, but not by much, whilst closing track, ‘To Absent Votes’, tells the sad tale of post election failure. All in all this is a pretty downcast set of Lucksmiths songs. They’re still brilliant of course.

Sam Metcalf


Bird York - In the Deep (Narada/Virgin)

How topical - 'In the Deep' formed part of the soundtrack to Oscar winning movie 'Crash'. But that is all this is - soundtrack music. And little surprise then to learn that other York tunes have been used in 'Nip/Tuck' and 'Everwood'. Maybe Bird York (and why is she called Bird - her name is Kathleen?) is the Moby for a new generation. Except without the cool dancey songs between the blatant aural wallpaper.
www.birdyork.com

SB


The Answer - Into the Gutter (Albert)

Holy Mary, mother of Jesus! No one told me that Led Zep had re-formed. There is absolutely no doubting the influence of messrs Plant and page on The Answer as they rock out complete with slide guitar parts, weird effects and uncannily familiar vocals. And it is with credit to them that they actually manage to stand up as a fair comparison with the Zep - they really are pretty good. Hell, The Darkness made a million from wearing lycra and ripping off other people's songs. But I'd actually pay to see The Answer.

SB


Forest Giants - Planes Fly Overhead (Cherryade)

I really rather like this. A big old bag of noisiness with fuzzy guitars and big drums making a right racket. A bit like Clearlake or Jesus and Mary Chain. 'Pick up the Pieces' is absolutely fab with its zonked out vocals and insane riffs. Admittedly final track 'Gone Away' is a bit of a change of tack (and a bit of a disappointment to be honest' but with two belters on one CD already, you can forgive Forest Giants for that.
www.forestgiants.co.uk

SB


Engerica – The Smell (Sanctuary)

My word, Engerica rock hard these days. Maybe that’s Sanctuary’s influence, maybe it’s because they saw the old spaz rock/pop thing could only get them so far. Whatever, this is a massive song, with huge production and proper shouty metal vocals.
B-side, ‘A Cure for Living’ is more restrained and reminds me of At the Drive-In, before again exploding into a massive wig-out. Mummy, I’m scared.

Sam Metcalf


Jackson Analogue - West of Here (Universal Island)

Bits and pieces here to keep the attention from waning but a few moments left wondering if this is just a load of old nonsense. 'His Red Hand' being a perfect example - touches of real genius but like trying to find the free toy in a box of cereal, you have to wade through quite a few flakes before you get to the treat.
www.islandrecords.co.uk

SB


Oppenheimer - Breakfast in NYC/Truth or Dare (Smalltown America)

This is very sweet. Sweeter than a chocolate ice pop in fact. Twinkly little xylophone type effects, fuzzy bass and ever so slightly vocoded vocals. 'Truth or Dare' is the more up-tempo of the two tracks but the basic ingredients are the same. If you wear a lot of polka dots or baggy suit jackets from Oxfam then you will love it.
www.myspace.com/oppenheimer

SB


Conil - Dog Meat Stew (Great Hare)

Imagine those songs which are just out and out cool from the start. I’m happy to say this is one of them. ‘Dog Meat Stew’ sounds like a very odd title for a track, if a little crap. But it’s rammed with musical passion and seems like it was written and recorded in 1977. And that’s always a good thing. Conil’s vocals do seem a little forced, but that’s not really bad thing, he just has to do what he has to do in order to make that passion come across on recording. Smells like…….not Dog Meat Stew….more like Joseph Arthur. Some interesting people helping Conil on his single here, but I’m not going to tell you who they are so that you at least have to visit his website. And anyway, it shouldn’t matter as he can certainly hold his own against the heavy weights. Also, buy the single to check out the gem (albeit brief) b-side, The Settles. Gorgeously chilled out. Probably appeals to stoner students. Conil: Quietly rocking.
www.conilmusic.com

TM