Singles Round-up featuring Centre Excuse, Whipping Boy, Bombay Bicycle Club, Bear Driver, Billy Vincent and more Singles Review
Whilst there may be a drought outside, there certainly isn't one when it comes to this week's single-releases, all of which are out now - except, that is, for the newie from Bombay Bicycle Club. As we all know, BBC make a sprightly blend of indie-pop that either borders on the artful or the mundane. Thankfully, "How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep?" (3.5 stars) more than makes up for its pretentious title by harbouring a nifty tune and (eventually) a memorable hook. It won't change the world but it might just soundtrack some of Euro 2012 or the Olympics during the summer.
Something that won't be let loose anywhere near a Goal of the Month competition anytime soon is the latest Too Pure Singles Club release by Madcolours. "Verda Hugo" (3 stars) is the musical equivalent of a pint of Sunny Delight with a Red Bull top - it's clearly bonkers. But for a band only together for a matter of months, they've carved a tiny notch of uniqueness into the bedpost of bland with jagged rhythms, yelping vocals and lots of energy. In amongst the melee is a tune. Sort of. More please.
Rumbling over the horizon like some crazed Dinosaur Jnr tribute-band are Bear Driver - and trust me, that is a compliment of the highest order. "Big Love" (4 stars) isn't a cover of Fleetwood Mac's fist-pumping 1987 anthem but is a self-penned shuffle that jangles like something Mascis, Pavement or Sebadoh might have done after a rider of Jack Daniels and Quaaludes. Like, like, like.
Of course, where there's light there is almost always an element of darkness. To be fair, Brighton's Shoot The Dead have knocked up a fair old tune in "The Rage" (2.5 stars), but it all sounds flat and a bit dated. Listing influences on your PR blurb such as Prodigy, Orbital and Hendrix is a very brave thing to do, especially if you don't sound like any of them - they sound like Abba on speed. However, I have a feeling that this band, with an injection of cash to enlist some serious production kit, might surpass themselves in the near future.
Oh, Billy Vincent. A few years ago, when The Libertines and The Kooks were wretching their jaunty mockney indie-folk over everyone's fence, Billy Vincent might have been hailed as a viable alternative. Sadly, angst-ridden folk-rock bands are absolutely everywhere and Frank Turner has proven to be the master of righteous anthemic tear-inducing power-pop. "Bottle Top" (2 stars) isn't a bad song but it isn't a good single - no one on Earth is going to remember this after five listens, let alone one. I've played it TEN times and I'm still bewildered.
***Singles of the week***
It's been a tough decision for this instalment's single of the week, but Whipping Boy's ridiculously literate and quirky comeback single, "No One Takes Prisoners Anymore" (4 stars) is so good, I want to give up chips for a year. "One more emotional bombscare" and "She gets on your nerves, you get in her hair" resound like insistent alarm-bells, while the rest of the song feeds on similar lyrical and musical maestros such as Wedding Present and Cud. Welcome the bloody hell back, Whipping Boy.
But sharing the spoils this week, with the fountain of youth running over, is Empingham's finest (and probably only) electro-rockers Centre Excuse. If the band are reading this - your name is far duller than your super lively bouncy crowd-pleasing sub-disco shenanigans, as displayed on new single "Stop, Drop and Roll" (4 stars). Imagine Klaxons getting chummy with Duran Duran and then drinking lots of cheap fizzy firewater, dancing and then falling over with each other. It's uncanny. Oh, I prefer the second mix on the single, purely for the slower intro bit. Joint single of the week with an established band from the '90s is no bad thing.