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Singles Bar: May 2006

THE KORGIS Something About The Beatles
Angel Air Records RAJP903 (2006) (Release date 10.07.06)

The Korgis were among the more tuneful songsmiths of the eighties and over the past few years, thanks to several Angel Air projects, they have achieved a much deserved higher profile.

This single, recorded last month, could herald the start of the summer. It's a tribute to a more innocent era some forty summers ago and takes the Fab Four as its musical inspiration. Ominously, in view of the recent court case, the song opens 'Why did the apple fall to the ground?'

James Warren and Andy Davis have managed to pay homage, whilst spinning one of the most compulsive choruses I've heard for many a long summer.

If you hear this on your favourite radio station, you will get an uncontrolled impulse to shake pointed fingers to the sky. Quite wonderful. *****

Review by David Randall

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DAVID GILMOUR Smile (EMI 2006) Release date 05.06.06

Rather strange, the logic behind the release of this track from one of the finest 2006 albums 'On An Island'. When it comes out in June, Gilmour will have already taken his album to several UK arenas and the promotional campaign will be all but complete.

Whilst the new single keeps up the album's profile, it might not have been everyone's natural choice. To the unfamiliar, this tune sounds like classic Wings rather than classic Gilmour although the Floyd-esque phrasing is there in the finale.

The single also features 'Island Jam' which briefly appeared as a teaser stream on David Gilmour's website prior to the album release.***

Review by David Randall

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THE DARKNESS Girlfriend (Atlantic 2006) Release date 22.05.06

The third single of the band's second album 'One Way Ticket To...' in CD/12''/DVD formats.

Apparently bass player Richie Edwards has added a remix to get rock fans onto the dance floor - sadly I can't comment on how good/bad this remix is as the record label in their wisdom have only allowed the track 'Girlfriend' onto the promo single.

It is a good little number though, and in true Darkness style just ever so slightly OTT featuring strings, synths and those trademark helium vocals of mainman Justin Hawkins. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

REISER In A Children's Army (2006)

Reiser, are yet another hot new band from North of the border. What is it, a tartan invasion? One thing's for certain, it's a prolific breeding ground for new bands at present.

Hailing from Edinburgh, Livingston and St Andrews (the posh bits of Scotland) Reiser are something of a surprise a quality four piece who play an up market brand of pop/rock. While most of their contemporaries are peddling bludgeoning rock/metal, Reiser are just a damn good guitar band.

In a Children's Army opens the ep with a catchy beat, excellent vocals, a great hook and some really solid playing. There's even a prog-like break. Wonderful.

Just Seen A Ghost (acoustic) has an almost Golden Brown rhythm. Again the vocals are exemplary and while it's a mainly acoustic number it sounds like a rock band going through its acoustic paces. The Moodys, or Tull perhaps. Excellent stuff.

Like A Whisper is another beautiful pop/rock ballad and Ange flow is a live number of shimmering beauty. I can't wait for the album. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

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ED HARCOURT Visit From The Dead Dog (EMI 2006) Release date 22.05.06

Visit From The Dead Dog previews Ed's stunning new album The Beautiful Lie.

It's a song about how his grandmother used to wake up and sense a presence next to her on the bed - a dead dog. Spooky. What's it like?

Well, imagine Steely Dan meets Prefab Sprout and you won't be wide of the mark. Pop/rock of the quality kind. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

FORTUNE DRIVE My Girlfriend's An Arsonist (Shy Records)

Five-piece Fortune Drive are at the frontier of the Bristol rock scene. And their debut single My Girlfriend's An Arsonist is a pile-driving piece of rock and roll from The Stiff Little Fingers school of rock - fast and frantic, born of a drunken nights and fuzzy mornings rock 'n' roll excess.

It's a strong song, well played - with impressive vocals from Bobby 'Bobs' Anderson and an impressive first outing. The accompanying DVD catches the band 'live' in rehearsal. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

one:day:life Friends In Name Only (2006)

one:day:life's Friends In Name Only is an energetic follow up to their 2004 Same Old Story e.p. and sees the band trying their hand at a heavier pop/punk style.

A cunning mixture of rock, punk and a dash of thrash designed to fill the gap left in the teen market with the demise of Busted.

Watch out girlies - one:day:life will be playing a ten week schools tour in summer 2006. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE KBC Not Anymore (High Voltage Sounds)

The KBC - James Mullholland (vocals, keys, guitar), Richard Ormerod (bass) and Michael Brown (drums) - are the latest in a long line of Madchester alumini such as New Order.

Combining danceable bass grooves with pulsating drum beats and killer choruses. Super charged indie. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

CIRCUITS Radio Silence (Try Science! Records)

London based Circuits are billed as 'reggae infused punk'. But to be honest the reggae influences are well buried.

Radio Silence is classic punk inspired guitar pop - early Joe Jackson on speed springs to mind. It's frantic, it's furious and it's fun but the fact is there are oodles of bands churning out this sort of stuff. And only a handful will survive. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

LOVEMAT Jake's Dream (2006) Website

Second single from the band with a cool name and they continue to mine the G 'N' R sound in parts. 'Jake's Dream' is okay but the other track on here, 'The Battle of Falcon Hill', is simply superb! It is the bastard offspring of the Sweet's 'Blockbuster'! I defy anyone not to get carried away listening to this one. ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

THOUSAND NATURAL SHOCKS Under the Sun (2006)

An interesting one this, as it mixes some indie guitar with more dance orientated beats/rhythms. All three tunes on here are okay but they just lack that certain spark that would elevate amongst the packed musical market out there. Doubtless live they would impress but hardly an essential single to own. **½

Review by Jason Ritchie

NEIL LAYTON Dead Fashion Brigade EP Fading Ways Music FWH046 (2006)

Canadian Neil Layton struck lucky when supporting The Wildhearts Ginger late in 2004. Ginger liked what he heard and managed to get hold of Neil's first two albums (available in the UK on Import only), picking his favourite 4 tracks the two then re-recorded these together.

The recording band was completed by ex-Wildheart Stidi on drums and bassist Natasha Moledina, therefore some of the songs have a touch of the Wildhearts about them- 'Fires' and 'Lie to Me' in particular. 'Maryland', however, is reminiscent of early 70's Stones with a David Bowie vocal, a song that begins acoustically and builds up nicely.

There are two bonus tracks 'When a Ghost Flies Young', an acoustic number, and the livelier 'Right Here Don't Feel So Right Now'- both taken from Leytons' forthcoming CD 'Betrayal of The Self'- an album featuring members of The Diamond Dogs, Backyard Babies and The Hellacopters. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns

The VINES Anysound Heavenly / EMI (2006)

From their new album Vision Valley, this track highlights the Vines' garage direction. A short number giving a real blast of pop guitar that will live up to expectations.

Hardly rock'n'roll but should make the charts. Energy and a decent tune, a few guitars too, prime pop fare. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

THE ALIENS Alienoid Starmonica EMI (2006)

The Aliens are a three-piece psychedelic rock outfit laced with electronica from North of the border and all former members - at one time or another - of the Beta Band. So not, as I suspected from the name, some new wave, wet behind the ears, punk / Scotpop outfit.

But perhaps that would have been preferable. Hey Leanne opens with intergalactic murmurings and a dog barking. Immediate thoughts are - Floyd / Hawkwind. Two minutes in, an acoustic folk/country ditty emerges briefly from the sonic soundscape. A radio tunes across stations and we're in a jungle. More intergalactic murmurings, a church organ and a Kraftwerk techno beat. It's a weird cacophony and one wonders what the target audience is. Stoned hippies?

Only Waiting does at least have tune (60's pop on speed?), Robot Man has a Beatles /Stone Roses drug induced feel, and Ionas (Look For Space) reveals the band's Scottish roots with the use of pipes, but frankly is a bit tedious and half way through degenerates into more random electronica.

If there are aliens out there, lets hope they have more pop sensibilities. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

HOT CHIP Boy From School EMI (2006)

The second single taken from Hot Chip's debut album The Warning. Be warned, this is home made techno beats and electronica and not recommended for those who like to rock. **

Review by Pete Whalley

DEAD POETS SOCIETY England My England Scottmore (2006) Website

Another England World Cup song (there are loads this time around and to be honest most are utter crap) this time featuring former Radio 1 DJ and poet Mike Read.

It is supposedly an anthemic chant built on famous English poets works including WE Henley who lends the single its title.

Not too bad but a bit twee in the chorus although a rousing intro and outro do save it from a mediocre song. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

SWITCH 22 Surrender (2006)

Now it has always been my intent that any musical offering sent to tne Newswire/GRTR! for review will get a listen and review but sometimes you do regret that!

Switch 22 are boyband duo who really deserved to have been drowned at birth.

It has cheesy electro pop backing and they should be publically flogged for what they have done to the Eurythmics 'Sweet Dreams' - bloody awful version. Well at least it makes a good coaster for my coffee mug...*

Review by Jason Ritchie

THE ALARM MMVI Raindown EMI Download only (2006) Website

Easy one to review this - just download the little gem. It is classic Alarm - hamrony chorus, crashing guitar and a simply spine tingling outro vocal.

I suggest you download this and if you like it (and I think you will!) then go buy the band's new album 'Under Attack'. Simply wonderful...*****

Review by Jason Ritchie

ROW Z Stalemate (2006)

Row Z are a Liverpool based virtuoso jazz/funk outfit put together by guitarist Richard Smith. And Stalemate is an instrumental workout that sounds like Madness playing several numbers at once. Described by Jools Holland as 'amazing', this is something of an acquired taste. But if soul-funky blaxploitation cocktail-sipping jazz lounging is your thing **

Review by Pete Whalley

LUXEMBOURG We Only Stayed Together For The Kids (Dogbox Records)

Frantic 80's classic pop from London based Luxembourg casting a wistful eye over a partnership that's on the rocks with hints of Roxy, Pulp, Orbison and Morrissey.

The B-side Secret Public has a broody Soft Cell feel with a great riff and for me is the better track on offer.

If they've got a decent stage presence/image, Luxembourg could be one to watch. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly


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