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singles/eps - january 2010

Sparrow and the workshop - Into the Wild

'So wholsome its almost sinister' choral folk that sounds like the weekly spiritual is some isolated mid-west American Town. Titles like 'A horses grin' only add to the Delivarance by way of Nick Cave vibe. Thrown in amongst the stirring, other-worldly chanting and acosutic twanging is the title track, a grimy rocker that should be out of place, but only adds to the tension. Its a strange record, but one that evokes one hell of an atmosphere.

Andy Glynn


Biffy Clyro - Many of Horror (When We Collide) (14th Floor Records)

Oh Biffy, you Scottish charmers. You have done it again - made another beautiful record that melts the hearts of thousands with a gentle allure whilst still managing to create enough intensity to generate a tiny tornado over the Atlantic. Beautiful string arrangements over lyrics delivered with gusto and sincerity, this is as close to perfect as you can get.

Eloise Quince


Pareto - This Is Where I Draw The Line

Sweet catchy indie-pop with a strong vocal melody. Nothing elaborate but all in all a well balanced pop song that is great to singalong to. I’d like to see more density to the songs possibly more diversity.

Alex Ball


The Rest - Walk On Water

This is an EP composed of dreamy and melancholic pop songs drawing from the likes Arcade Fire. It took me a while to warm to The Rest. Although the music is hypnotizing at times tracks such as ‘With Every Heartbeat’ are just a visit to cliché lyrics village that begs the question of why to include such songs a great record. Despite this the sense of style and finish is a delight to the ears as it wraps its ambient tones round you. This Canadian 7 piece have bright futures ahead of them.

Alex Ball

Race Horses - Man In My Mind

Race Horses’ concept EP bursts into a vocal layered verse that is paired with an extremely catchy chorus resulting in a great song to listen and dance to. With its carefully phrased lyrics combined with an indie rock groove Race Horses set up a sophisticated sound that greets and welcomes you in. This follows on and suddenly alienates you before bursting in again with the warmth of a funky organ in “Grangetown 02920”. The final track “Last Boat to Dover” is something you don’t hear very often these days, sophisticated complex pop music, albeit its disturbing ending.

The EP “Man In My Mind” is a great taster of what’s to come without just being a rack of lame singles. It has a nice string running through the keep attention flowing and can be listened to over and over again.

Alex Ball


Kissing Kalina – Sirens EP

Kissing Kalina sound moody, gothic and ominous which is in complete contrast to the overtly pleasant hand written note that came with their new Sirens EP (which was even signed off with a kiss – no really). They brand themselves as Riot Grrrl amongst other things and whilst co-lead vocalist Lily Valentine might have the vocal swagger of Sleater-Kinney, their sound is much more expansive and layered than one simple genre.

Opener 'C.O.W' is a grating industrial snarl that sounds like a Trent Reznor remix with a catchy electronic whistle for a chorus that Late of the Pier would be proud of. 'Ellie Road' is a stroppy shoegaze affair with Lily's attitude-ridden vocals nicely adding a warm focus to the swirling sampled guitars. Initially third track 'Long Lost' seems to be more sampled guitars structured into a rhythmic beat whilst Danny Sanchez takes up vocal duties, but it ends up morphing into a propulsive gothic instrumental that's pushed along by an addictive bass line rumbling beneath. Eponymous closer 'Sirens' is even more poppy and layered, reminiscent of Stereolab whilst managing to sound also sound not too dissimilar to The Dandy Warhols.

Four charming and moreover, satisying tracks make up this EP which shows great promise. Kissing Kalina manage to mesh together electronic samples and guitar feedback to create something weridly pleasing, a controlled mess and all in all, a bit of an aural adventure. Well worth investigating.



Rosie Taylor Project – Gloria (demo) (Bad Sneakers)

An early preview of the forthcoming album from Leeds lovelies The Rosie Taylor Project sees them come over all James Yorkston (if you forgive the expression). This pared down performance is by far my favourite of their releases to date, combining clever lyrics with sensitive delivery. Watch this space.
Download ‘Gloria’



Delphic – Doubt (Chimeric)

It seems that Delphic may become one of those self fulfilling prophecies – they are everyone’s tips for success in 2010, they have a big PR company behind them so what can stop them? Well certainly ‘Doubt’ won’t hurt the cause. It’s a shuddering, fizzling beast of a pop song which will get all the cool kids dancing (if it is possible to dance to the sliced up robotic voice used here.)



Odette – My Friend (Marbles)

‘My friend, you make me happy, and if you cry I’ll cry a little with you’. As long as Odette keeps turning out this kind of turgid lyrics we’ll keep slagging her off. Which is a shame because the chorus (musically at least) of this song is pretty great – a kind of Beatlesey concoction not herd since ‘I am a Walrus’



The Hush Now – Contrails (Elleon)

Well I never the word contrails means vapour trails – those plumes of cloud you get following an aeroplane in the sky. Short for condensation trails. Like Jedward. ON first listen I was less than impressed by this but unusually (I am a very bitter person and do not forgive easily) it is beginning to grow on me. Even the nasally vocals can’t stop me tapping along to the forest of drums in the chorus. Must resist, must resist...



Thomas Dybdahl – Cecilia (Last Suppa)

Well this is just quite lovely, a splendid way to commence 2010. A gently lilting pedal guitar and Dybdahl’s distinctive asthmatic voice. It doesn’t ask too much of the listener and that suits me just fine – I have eaten my own body weight in chocolate buttons over Christmas and my powers of observation are consequently not as sharp as they should be.



The Exhibition – Demo EP (Of National Importance)

Badges? I don’ need no steenkin badges! Never bribe a reviewer with badges. I’m more easily bought off however with a six pack of Tennent’s Finest Cooking Lager. Although the badges do look quite fetching, in a Factory-esque kind of way. And the Factory comparison is rather apt for the band give off a northern miserabilist vibe that would do a certain I. Curtis esq. proud. That said, The Exhibition sound nothing like Joy Division, and lean padwan-like toward Elbow and Interpol for their sonic cues.

There are many moments of great invention - guitars weave in and out of each other beautifully in The Boy and The Tearaway and if drummer Chris exercised a little more restraint (hi-hats at 0:26? Rubbish. Snare work at 0:34 – inspired) and let himself serve the music rather than make the music serve him, then this could be a great song. Bright New Worlds has a worryingly Arctic Monkey-like verse but redeems itself with its “Man Proposes, God Disposes” chorus. And Things That Hide in the Dark, powered along by a rather dirty bass line, is like a malevolent teenager intent on creating carnage, with a middle eight strongly reminiscent of The Smith’s “Bigmouth Strikes Again”.

It has to be said that much of the above is standard indie/rock fare and there are moments when it has that clumsy, local band vibe. However, there are many solid ideas here and the one thing that elevates The Exhibition head and shoulders above most similar bands that are reviewed here is the quality of singer Pete’s refreshingly laconic baritone. His voice falls somewhere between that of Guy Garvey and Tom Hingley. and there is enough character within to ensure that given time for the music to catch up, there could be an astounding band in the making.



The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club - 'Bored In Belguim' (DIY)

Apparently written while on tour in europe, this latest release from TVEGC has the quartet doing absolutely everything they can think of to stave off the creeping melancholia that accompanies winter both here and on the continent. The main complaint is about Belguim being both 'flat and dull' but, fair's fair the VEGC, you could hardly describe it as featureless. What about all those tree lined avenues and medieval architecture? 30 channel cable TV everywhere? 400 different beers? If you really want a boring time in the near east, hop over the border into Germany and try finding anything to do in Moers.

The alternative, slower version of 'Bored In Belguim' that is the 3rd track on my review CD is a quite stunning piece of blank-eyed alienation that only hints at some very great things ahead for the Cardiff band. I really don't understand quite why the NME don't like them.



Marcel – The Soft Bus and Other Stories

Errant buses, nostalgic suits and happy animals are not topics regularly penned in song lyrics. But then Marcel’s new EP doesn’t tell a regular story. It tells of a reincarnation after being hit by a friendly bus, of a suit which gives advice to its current owner and how evolution ruined love.

The lyrics are the best thing about this five-track EP, titled The Soft Bus and Other Stories. My favourite line being: “Stealing sushi from the best conveyer belts. Nobody flinches,” in opening track, ‘Soft Bus (a fantasy)’. I challenge you to find another song calling upon sushi for subject matter.

With second track, ‘We the Undersigned’, similarities to the Beach Boys, XTC, Syd Barrett and Lilac Time are recognisable in these Isle of Wight emigrants’ creation. As we reach ‘Suit Suite’, influences from Blur and Suede sound like they’ve been mixed with The Magic Numbers.

Lead singer, Martin Koerner, slurs his words with all the punch of Blur’s Damon Alborn – especially in ‘Lee Marvin’ – sings with some of Elvis Costello’s tone and hits a few falsetto notes to rival Justin Timberlake’s top-note usage (some of which probably should be delegated to the female backing singer for breathy vulnerability without the squeaking.)

Some great guitar riffs sandwich the songs together beautifully between the chugging bass and drums around which the piano parts chime wonderfully.

Courtesy of Marcel’s chief songwriters, Martin and Piers Warne, their satisfying non-predictable, leaping melodies make this EP sway along nicely, on the cusp of letting rip and sometimes even loosing strict timing and rhythm. Normally, this would be bad, but Marcel provide a musical tension of a rough and ready, melodic nature that you don’t hear often post-production. Marcel are a good thing.

Jenny Williams


The October Game - Greenbacks EP (Carmandie Records)

Slow burning epic ‘Greenbacks’ is gentle, yet uplifting with entwined riffs, a reassuring drum beat and vocalist who whispers beautifully uplifting lyrics into your ears. This is a real statement of intent with lyrics such as, ’We can’t turn/we won’t walk away’. ‘You Haven’t Seen Me Change’, is much of the same with a glittering brass section to sweeping the end of the song to a gorgeous finale. It is similar, but to be honest, with a band so seemingly accomplished as this, I couldn’t really care less. ‘Concrete’ on the other hand is a pretty acoustic number with a tragic story of lost love accompanied by poignant guitars leading the way for this tender beauty.

Beautifully sad, yet somehow uplifting; overall, utterly fantastic. 9/10

Eloise Quince


The Bon Bon Club – Sex on Fire (Rare Breed Discs)

Having finally got over the fear of placing a midget 3” CD into the drawer of my PC and hoping that it would not go spinning off into the innards resulting in hundreds of pounds worth of techno spannering remedial works I have finally been able to enjoy this little delight from the Bon Bon Club. Packaged in a candy stripe sweet paper bag this 3 track CD even help some get over my loathing of Kings of Leon’s ‘Sex on Fire’ (has there ever been a more cringeworthy lyric?).

All three tracks here are covers – the aforementioned ‘Sex on Fire’ but also a gorgeous rendering of Dubstar’s ‘The Day I See You Again’ (which bizarrely sounds even more like Sarah Blackwood on vocals than the original) and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ – which is steeped in a psychedelic tumbling vocal harmonies. No ex-Dubstar members here but plenty of Thee SPC and Angular Records connections in the Bon Bon Club ranks.

So fear no more the 3” CD and go forth to get your hands on this little piece of loveliness. 8/10



The Light Streams – The Lost EP

I love the photo on the cover of this CD which depicts an empty lot with 3’ high letters daubed on it spelling out the pointless fact that ‘WE HAVE MOVED ACROSS THE ROAD’. Brings back memories of my other favourite hand written signs such as the gate in Keighley which says neatly ‘No parking, gate in 24 hour use’ followed in scrawled handwriting by ‘ARE YOU AN IDIOT OR CAN YOU NOT READ’. And of course, who can forget my all time favourite from the toilets of Starbucks – a sign reads ‘Please only put toilet tissue down the toilet’ next to which someone has added in felt tip ‘WHAT ABOUT SHIT?’. Seems a reasonable question no?

Why all this jibber jabber about signage and nothing about the music? Because this EP is pretty damned dull. I’ve listened at least 4 times now and still have not been able to raise any kind of feeling about it. And in my book that is a bad thing. 4/10



Vegas Nights – Touch and Feel / It Came as No Surprise

First things first. No matter how much reverb you put on the vocals or how you change the lyrics, ‘It Came as No Surprise’ sounds like a blatant rip off of the Housemartins’ ‘Happy Hour’. Blatant yet not as good. The penchant for sounding like you have been recorded in a large empty town hall (a pointer for the future perhaps) is also evident in ‘Touch and Feel’. Add to this some downright badly off-key vocals parts (and I don’t care if they are supposed to be – they sound bad) and you don’t have a release getting me reminiscing fondly about Jesus and Mary Chain. 3/10



Velvet Star – s/t EP

You can’t blame Velvet Star for sounding so derivative and off the pace of music, after all they’ve been living in a bubble. Well, in Goole at least and that is probably even worse than a bubble. Sure they play ear piercing guitar solos and three chord slabs of old school rawk. They even do it pretty well. But it’s not something I want to see me into the next decade. 5/10



Charlotte Gainsbourg feat. Beck – Heaven Can Wait (Because)

Life is good for Charlotte Gainsbourg. Her old man is hyper-cool Serge, her last album was part written by Jarvis Cocker, she’s just won a best actress award at Cannes for her part in ‘Antichrist’ and now she is duetting with Beck. ‘Heaven Can Wait’ sounds more like a Beck album track than a lead single from a forthcoming Gainsbourg record, even to the point where it is hard to even make out her vocals. But as a Beck album track it is still head and shoulders above most other tosh that parades about as music. 6/10



The BDIs – It Was Not Serious (BDI Recordings)

A more soulful version of the theme music from Barry Norman’s Film 95/6/7etc. Well maybe not more soulful, but more clunky – each part seems to lurch into the next without any fluidity. Like that smell of damp coming from my wardrobe, strangely familiar yet unwelcome. 3/10



Fat Olive – Vaquero / Awake

Hmmm. Perfectly acceptable pop fodder earnestly performed. Nothing more, nothing less. Like an unremarkable noise you hear late at night – on its own you’d not consider it a problem until you are subjected to it for a prolonged amount of time. 4/10



Emika – Drop the Other (Ninjatune)

What’s this? A slightly off-key version of Elton John’s ‘Song for Guy’? Actually, no – it’s much better than that. It writhes with slowed down break beats, glitches and general pseudo gothicness in a way that little else you have ever heard sounds like. If you wanted to start the new year with something a bit challenging but uber-cool then this would suit perfectly (and there’s a handful of equally sinister remixes too). 8/10



Is Tropical – When O When (Hit Club)

Distinctly sea-shantyish you may think at first listen. And that’s just title track ‘When O when’, not the more nautically themed ‘Seasick Mutiny’. But soon things career into a head spinning melange of tootling synths and cardboard drum sounds. There’s a touch of The Infadels about this too – silly yet dancey in equal measure. Add the Casiotone of ‘Seasick Mutiny’ and this forms a ridiculously impressive debut from the London trio. 7/10



Seeland – Captured (LOAF Recordings)

Nu-folkers Seeland release their new song ‘Captured’ from their debut album ‘Tomorrow Today’ on this extensive five track CD single. The flagship track is an addictive jangly pop number with soft, upbeat rhythms and hushed vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Kings of Convenience record. With minimal lyrics repeated in a cyclical fashion throughout, ‘Captured’ becomes an almost hypnotic affair that is quaint without being sickeningly twee; it’s a charming song that’s impossible not to like.

However this is somewhat devalued by the four tracks that proceed the single. Filler is one word that springs to mind. Directionless is another. Lots of ambient meandering and remixes that are neither particularly interesting nor innovative. There are three near identical versions of the same song included for example. If Seeland have hardcore fans yet, they might enjoy such indulgence but to most these tracks will seem plain tedious; a superfluous addition that almost overshadows what is essentially a very promising and enjoyable single. 6.5/10



Line – “Love Lockdown” (Hot Pockets)

See through one-sided cherry red vinyl. Nice. A remix/cover of Kayne West? Possibly not so nice. There is a turntable – let’s put the needle on the record. Bleepy, glitchy, Depeche Modey, bits of Kraftwerk, a non-over egging of the pudding regarding Autotune. No idea what the original sounds like, but this is the, erm, shizzle.

Dave Procter


Upsilon Acrux – “Honey Ride Me A Goat” (Kitchen Dweller)

Uuummm, yummy milky-white vinyl. And with a name like that you’d probably feel confident in exclaiming “Progging ‘eck”. Anyone who has ever had any interest in anything instrumentally free-jazz or prog over the last 30 odd years will be quite happy twiddling their beard-ends to this. Beefheart, Zappa, early 70s Gabriel-era Genesis, The Cardiacs and many others are thrown into the mix and there’s still room for some space rock offshoots of zapness. If you like Quack Quack or Bilge Pump, you’ll like what’s going on here, oh yes.

Dave Procter


Various - Young and Lost Club (Young and Lost Club)

And now we have a Young and Lost Club feast on our hands. 5 pieces of vinyl. First up we have Oh Minnows’ “Might” EP – the title song having Numanesque vocals and heavy synths as an intro, before Slowdivey guitar kicks in, with extra Bunnymen lead guitar. And then something for the Cure fans out then on bass. Not earth-shattering in its originality, but pleasant enough. On the B-side, we get more of a mellow bass driven version and the acoustic “High or Low”, which has nice harmonising and an understated slide guitar track. Then all post-rock/shoegaze hell is let loose for a while, but not long enough for me. Not a back start to the pile, mind.

Next is Swanton Bombs’ “Doom” – starts off nicely pretending to be a potential space rock epic, then drips into being a low quality, badly-played (deliberately?) Dirty Pretty Things tune. Its saving grace is its brevity. Shame that the B-side “New York City Cops” (yes, that one) is blasted through with so much more vitality, if again poorly recorded and played at times. Probably worth catching live I reckon, just in case the wheels fall off half way through a song.

The Virgins’ banana vinyl perkometer-bending “One Week of Danger”, 7 days of fun with a particular lady friend, reminds me of Joe Jackson and Super Furry Animals – I don’t understand, but I like what I don’t understand. The demo version on the B-side is ace too.

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool’s Ladytron meets Sparks “Dance The Way I Feel” is burrowing its way into my skull with ease. Heavy on early 80s synth and full of wibble, it’s hard to ignore. B-side “Enough Already” is a real mixed bag, with early 80s Heaven 17 sequencing and hip hop scratching, with some chunks of feedback chucked in for good measure.

Finally we have the 12” of Magic Wands’ “Magic Love and Dreams EP”. Opener “Kiss me Dead” is heavy on synth, but the early 80s guitar of “Flock of Seagulls” is not forgotten. “Warrior”, what do I say about “Warrior”? It’s the second song on the EP. It’s Goldfrappy, but with MBV vocals done straight, without effects processing – what is going on? Who cares, carry on. “Black Magic”, it’s ok, but it’s still dead good. I think there are geniuses at foot here, or my brain is having fun at my expense. Maybe the second side will help out – “Teenage Love” is hippy-dippyness personified, and yet in a weird Black Eyed Peas vibe, is like “I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper”. Only “Starships” can help me now. A piano driven Talk Talk stomper and a fitting end to what’s been an intriguing afternoon’s listening. Young and Lost Club, a label chucking all sorts of banana skins your way – more please!

Dave Procter


Model Society - City of Romance

The product of self-proclaimed ex-"art-rock terrorists", "City of Romance" wrong foots the listener with a few seconds of plinky xylophone before the real band come crashing in like a sped-up Teardrop Explodes. There follows some nice guitar on "Luxembourg" and some rather out-of-tune vocals on "Sweeterlife". The three tracks reek of early Blur, not least because of the unashamed Albarn-isms of Danny Clare but just by being generally reminiscent of several Britpop also-rans. Have Model Society got what it takes to avoid becoming the next Menswear? Either way, their charms are probably more apparent in a live setting.

Will Columbine


Bhurgeist – Slow it Down / Everything Else is Dead (Tye Die Tapes)

Brilliant – a cassette tape only release limited to a run of just 10 green cassettes and 10 blue (and I’ve already got one of the green ones here so make that an availability of 9 green). For sale at just 3 quid each you can even have your copy shipped to Afghanistan for a meagre £1.25 extra. I love this kind of whimsical commercial suicide and it got me feeling all nostalgic for the days of carting a big crate of tapes around every time I moved house.

To digress briefly and speak about the music, this lo-fi kind of release is suited perfectly to Bhurgheist’s scuzzy, aquatic, shoe-gazy sound. This is not to underestimate them – ‘Napoleon’ is a gloriously hazy pyschedelia of reverby guitars and disconnected vocal screams. There’s also a couple of punkier, Bleach-era Nirvana moments, particularly in ‘Railways’ which definitely deem Bhurgheist worthy of further investigation.

But two things reminded me of the frailties of the humble cassette tape. Firstly, despite thinking smugly how prescient I’d been to purchase a new mini hi-fi complete with tape player, my confidence was soon sapped when the Bhurgheist tape steadfastly refused to fit into the cassette door mechanism. In fact every tape since has also refused – maybe Wharfedale just assumed no-one would use it and never bothered to measure the right size for a cassette. The second epiphany was later the same day as I pulled up to some traffic lights in my car, happily nodding away to the latest tunes on my car CD player. I glanced over to the van next to me to see the sight that plagued my teenage years – the poor guy driving was desperately trying to rewind a section of crumpled tape back onto the spool from the inner guts of his car stereo – ouch. I didn’t know they still made car cassette players! So I salute you Tye Die Tapes – brilliant, valuable and ridiculous in one fell swoop.



Meretto – A Method of Urban Survival (RockPop)

I like it when bands choose grandiose titles for their songs – it’s like a statement of intent. Can be a bit deluded sometimes but in this case you get the feeling that Meretto just about pull off their intentions. There are comparisons here with the Buck Brothers punky, rocky edge coupled with a keen pop sensibility. The two songs here are well written and pretty catchy but you get the feeling that in sounding slightly dated they will never go on to reach commercial success.



Hell feat. Bryan Ferry – U Can Dance (Gigolo)

As in DJ Hell, though you would be forgiven for thinking a dance mix of anything involving Bryan Ferry would be better confined to Hades. What were they both thinking? This sounds just awful – Ferry’s re-working of this previously unreleased track floats eerily and disconnectedly over a dismally unimaginative dance track. Ageing troubadour seeks mainstream success by employing cool DJ to relaunch flagging career perhaps?



What Would Jesus Drive – Transylvania Time (Guerilla)

Nice name for a band, might get a little tiresome typing it out though. ‘Transylvania Time’ is an enjoyable enough slice of pop punk which doffs an appreciative Gothic cap in the direction of B-movie sound effects via a Casiocore beat pattern Short sharp and slick.



Fraser – Lay It on the Line (Moody Noodle)

Ooh. I always feel a little it awkward when I hear that a band is named after the lead starlet within said band, in this case Maltese born lead singer Fraser Gregory. You can almost taste the simmering resentment on the band shot as Fraser basks in the flashlight while the ‘band’ are relegated to the shadows. And what’s with the sudden influx of Maltese musicians? I’m sure this is the third I’ve reviewed in three months...

The track itself? Well it’s nothing if not well made though in truth – it’s a little banal for my liking. But conversely it probably also means that most other people will like it – Keane managed to forge a career on this basis and Fraser are certainly no worse than them.



Cha-Cha – Phonographic Love (Pop Noodle)

A solid start from fledgling label Pop Noodle here sees Cha-Cha roll out a track which lurches cleverly between time signatures without really letting on in an obvious way. There’s a deliciously 80s sound to the bubbling guitar lines (very The Edge) of the verses while the more stomping nature of the choruses brings to mind more contemporary influences. Watch with interest.
watch video to 'Phongraphic Love'



Young Guns – Winter Kiss

Everyone else is doing it so why shouldn’t Young Guns? And do it better I might add. Think that emo-rock with a slight pop edge which opens up its appeal to the masses. Lost Prophets. You Me At Six. Even Biffy Clyro you could argue. Well Young Gus are firmly in that camp and ‘Winter Kiss’ plus an O2 Academy tour in January and February may well see them on a level footing with their contemporaries.



Greenhorse – Transcontinental

I feel a Marmite moment coming on. I don’t like Marmite but I admire music that evokes Marmite-style reactions. Nothing is worse than bland in my view and Greenhorse are certainly not that. This is high energy electro-pop. Forgive any offence but it is even a bit camp sounding in places. Think MGMT and you won’t be far wrong. MGMT annoy the hell out of me but I am still on the cusp of deciding about Greenhorse. But whatever I do decide I cannot dispute the fact that they are very, very good. This is polished stuff and climaxes nicely with the glorious breakbeats and cascading vocal melodies of ‘Pyscho Somatica’. Seek them out and make up your own mind.



Broken Links – Resisting Movement and The Almost Advisory

There’s a nice bit of noise coming out of the speakers with this one. A rumbling dirty bass lie kicks us off before they are punctuated by the Matt Bellamy-esque vocals of Broken Links’ Mark Lawrence. As such ‘Within Isolation’ sounds not unlike Muse’s ’Plug-in Baby’. Let’s face it – if Muse hadn’t already done the song then this rendition would be amazing. But Muse did do it so Broken Links will probably and unfairly receive comparisons like this every day.

All four tracks of the EP are equally strong but also suffer from the same flaws. I’m willing to forgive the flaws and embrace the passion and proficiency of the band though – Broken Links deserve a chance.



The Seventeenth Century – Notes EP

Lovely lovely lovely. From an ever burgeoning pool of Glaswegian talent who seem to be able to combine traditional folk influences with contemporary music, The Seventeenth Century regale us with a Baroque grace while simultaneously sounding very much of the present. Rumbling drums and doleful brass ring out over vocalist Mark’s pained delivery in the title track. By comparison ‘Roses in the Park’ builds on a joyous vocal harmony round which is just plain brilliant. Comprising of what sounds to be about 5 parts all being sung in a space with the acoustics of a cathedral apse, The Seventeenth Century still manage to keep this sounding upbeat and not all foisty which is always the danger with such arrangements.

Everyone is loving their new folk at the moment and this is right up there with the best. For fans of Mumford and Sons, Sons of Noel and Adrian etc.



Lost Idol – Sorrowful Thing (Cookshop)

There are some tracks that leap out at you and make you take notice from the very first chord. This doesn’t do that. Instead ‘Sorrowful Thing’ achieves that even greater feat of slowly but inexorably drawing in the listener through varying levels of bliss. When you try and dissect the track it isn’t really clear how all these disparate clicks, whooshes and gentle sounds combine to perform such a mesmerising treat, but perform they do. Quite simply gorgeous.



Danielle Spencer – On Your Side

Antipodean songstress Danielle Spencer gazes out from behind her telescope into the darkened night sky from her candle festooned garret – this has all the hallmarks of being shocking. But I’m strangely hesitant at condemning ‘On Your Side’ as being another example of lazy run of the mill song smithery. I’m not sure why. I’m not even drunk. So fair play to Spencer – a temporary stay of execution is granted. No more telescopes though please.