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Singles Bar: April 2007

We've listed singles/EPs/demos in order of star rating. Best first.

BIFFY CLYRO Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies (14th Floor Records)

The second single to be released from the band's forthcoming Puzzle album is, frankly, nothing short of magnificent.

Opening with a glorious and extend string riffs and baroque choral arrangement over a throbbing bass beat, it leaves you stunned and breathless before exploding in your face.

As usual, the band throw everything including the kitchen sink into the mix and emerge with a rock track of epic proportions that would grace a Hollywood wide screen blockbuster (the strings were arranged by Graeme Revell - Sin City, The Crow, From Dust Till Dawn).

The first single Saturday Superhouse suggested that Puzzle could be the album to see Biffy break the major league. On the strength of Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies, the world better take cover. *****

Review by Pete Whalley

THE CONWAY STORY Adam & Eve (Album sampler 2007)

A six song sampler from the band's upcoming album and if you like Coldplay, Muse and Radiohead prepare top be amazed! This band have the talent and tunes and in the mellow refrains on 'Landing Light' an all important tune that can garner them airplay from Radio 2 through to XFM and beyond.

'A Drug' really does beat Muse at their own game and the mid section keyboards and strings outro make this a superb piece of music.

Only 'Remember Me' has yet to sink in but judging by this sampler Conway Story could well be one of my top 20 albums come the year end. Streets ahead of the latest offerings by Muse and Radiohead. ****½

Review by Jason Ritchie

BREED 77 Look At Me Now

The band's new single is their ballad from last year's excellent album 'In My Blood'. The release coincides with a UK tour plus the release of a new album sung in their native Spanish, 'Un Encuentro'.

Also on this single are a cover of the Cranberries 'Zombie' which fair blows the original out of the water! There are two Spanish vocal versions on here as well, 'La Ultima Hora' and 'Petroleo', both of which rock like a mutha!

Breed 77 are one of the best metal bands tom emerge in years and can switch from brutal riffs to gentle, acoustic guitar backed melodies with ease. Go buy their album for further proof. ****½

Review by Jason Ritchie

RUSH Far Cry (Atlantic)

From the thunderous opening stacatto drum pattern to the following heavy riffs, the ghost of Zeppelin looms large. Even the high register vocals have a Robert Plant-like quality, but there's more to this than mere Zeppelin derivations.

Neil Peart's dark gothic and doomy lyrics offer a thematic duality which is cleverly underpinned by the music. As if to underpin the polar opposites at play, the very catching chorus has a bright optimistic feel in contradiction to the lyrics and thumping riffs.

Clever stuff, and after a few plays you would have to be deaf not to be hooked. For here is the ultimate Progressive rock single, another contradiction at play perhaps, but a hugely enjoyable one, right to the deft use of 'ooohh's' in backing vocals.

The melody and chorus are so strong that they linger in the mind long after the conclusion of the song, perhaps because of rather than in spite of the thunderous drums that punctuate the piece and neatly top and tail this excellent effort. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


Another band professing a love for all things glam/sleaze metal and like fellow young upstarts Rattlesnake Remedy and Hinder they hit the nail on the head soundwise. Think Backyard Babies attitude but with a decent tune (harsh but fair), which the title track is and vocally you can even hear snippets of UFO's Phil Mogg!

'Happening Now' is not as instant but still worthy of your attention.

DDCL may well be the next hyped band from the likes of 'Classic Rock' and 'Metal Hammer' magazines but luckily they do have the tunes and live show to keep them going long after all the hype has died down. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

ELENA Here Comes The Rain (Delicious)

Here at GRTR! we were suitably impressed by London based Elena's I Want You single to award it 4 stars with it's vaguely retro feel and mesmerising vocals. Here Comes The Rain (no relation to the Eurythmics track) hits the mark again with another hypno pop beat, mid 80's feel that tracks back to somewhere between Blondie and Hazel O'Connor.

Smooth, groovy, and seductive. ****

Review by Pete Whalley


Yet another Madchester guitar band. But while Gabrielles Wish have been around for over a decade, they've hardly been prolific - Cunning Stunts previewing their third album CIRCA.

But it adds a neat twist the to the Manchester sound - Gabrielles Wish have the drive, rhythm and edge of some of the early Stranglers output, but combined with a rich melodies and hooks.

It's a delicious cocktail. And to show their versatility, the B-side A Kind Of Existence is moody, keyboard instrumental slow burner. Nice one, Mancs. ****

CHUNGKING Love Is Here To Stay

Goldfrapp and The Banshees meeting Twisted Scissor Sisters down the disco is a pretty apt description of what's on offer here. Add in a hint of breathy Bananarama vocals and a glam beat and you've got a cracking gothic electropop number with a twist of new wave.

Sounding deliciously dated and fresh at the same time, Chungking could be here to stay. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

KINKY DURAKEE Dedication (Joe Soap)

Kinky Durakee are a four piece rock/pop band based in Edinburgh fronted by female vocalist Gulzhan Ibrayeva.

Dedication, their second single, has a Euro/pop feel - falling somewhere between Abba, Eurovision and Madonna in her Ray Of Light period, with a few guitars thrown in for good measure, while the B-side - The Things We Fear The Most is a far more guitar orientated affair.

Strong songs and with Gulzhan's distinctive vocals, could make Kinnky Durakee one to watch in 2007. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley


This band have been looking in to the Coldplay/Keane book of songwriting as they have conjured up lush sounds and in 'Hot Air Balloon' they sound almost Floyd like, with its spacey sound and vocals. ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie


In vocalist Jenny Bailey the band have a wonderful vocalist. She sounds like Stevie Nicks and the brooding piano led 'Don't Cry Michael' could easily be a Fleetwood Mac number. Three very enjoyable songs and a band worth seeking out if you like Fleetwood Mac and more modern day bands like the Sundays. ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

SHANNON World Of Desire (Demo)

French melodic rock band who revel in the classic 80's hard rock sound and will appeal to fans of bands like Treat, Pink Cream 69 and Skagarak.

Five songs on this demo release (they have already released a full album back in 2003) with 'Do You Know?' and 'No Better Times' real gems of hard rock, big choruses and the latter has some neat piano backing.

Only 'Long Gone' sounds a bit too generic, otherwise these songs are very catchy and perfect for lovers of melodic hard rock. Hopefully they will get a label and then be able to put these songs out to a wider audience. ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

MR SOLO Kisses It Better

Catchy, camp and kitsch. Mikey Georgeson's (lead singer of David Devant And His Spiritual Wife) alter-ego Mr Solo delivers up a huge slice of camp cabaret, new wave and glam rock pop.

Ultimately it's pretentious pop that would sound perfectly acceptable coming from a radio on a sunny summer day. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

DUMB INSTRUMENT Oor Wullie's Baldy

With a title like Oor Willie's Baldy, you know you're not in for a set of deep, meaningful lyrics. But what you do get is an intelligent and amusing Radio 2 friendly number. If you can work the lyrics out that is, sung as they by Tom Murray in his soft Scottish accent.

Nicely played and performed, but probably of limited appeal. And probably mostly North of the border. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE SESSIONS What Is This Feeling

The band's debut single and one for lovers of soul meets indie rock. Neat guitar and vocals make for a decent tune although not a classic by any means.

Review by Jason Ritchie

DARKWATER Easy Weakness

Glasgowegian female fronted hard rockers who sound like Garbage - that's the band not how they sound!

It is good riffed based rock but nothing new or outstanding. If you like female fronted rock then give them a try. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie


A two track single to coincide with the band's European dates with Clutch. This band really have swallowed the Black Sabbath song book, especially on 'Iron Swan', on here as a live version.

They are very tight musically but sound a bit to deritive of the mighty Sabbath for my liking. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

STILLMAN In The Margin

Stillman, although sounding like a four piece band, is actually one bloke, Chaz Craik, and 'In The Margin' is taken from his debut album 'People Like A Happy Ending'.

It has a very infectious hook line and sounds a lot like Turin Brakes, but could really do with a bit of a production polish-up as some parts sound like a bit of an electronic mess. Not bad for starters, though and fans of said Turin Brakes, Coldplay, Doves, etc would find much to like here. **½

Review by Alan Jones


Cherry Ghost is the one-man band of Bolton born, Manchester based, Simon Aldred and Mathematics is his debut single (although he's already performed on 'Later' with Jools Holland).

The track starts well with a nice chiming guitar riff and clever, contemporary lyrics - so why doesn't this continue? Instead the track gets swamped by over-the-top orchestration in the way that Nick Drake used to be. This seems to be a growing trend these days and it must stop!!!

This is a very good song that starts and finishes really well - it's just a let down in the middle. Let the music breathe for goodness sake! **½

Review by Alan Jones

HINTERLAND Vote With Your Feet EP

Hinterland are a three piece from Nottingham who are described in their press handout as being a three piece distortion-filth-rock band. This is a three track EP which follows up their debut album 'Simian'. I haven't heard 'Simian', but if it's as cliched as this offering I think I'll ask to be 'excused boots'.

Really this is just a sonic barrage of uninspired rifferama that, to be quite honest left me cold. They sound like a cross between a poor man's Nirvana and a political rant band from the mid-seventies called Third World War (remember them?).

For the record, the tracks are Vote With Your Feet, Fight Your Own Way Back and What Gets You Off.

Apparently they are on tour in April and May with US cult punk/metal band Amen and I can imagine that, live, they would do a good show - but if they're going to get anywhere they'll have to do better than this. For a word to sum it up refer to the title of their debut album. **

Review by Alan Jones

GUILE Rock 'n' Roll EP

This is a new 4 track EP from new psych/rock kids on the block, Guile.

The EP opens up with the U2 'Vertigo' soundalike riff of Rock 'N' Roll but soon shakes it off and descends into a Velvet Underground psych-fest where having the cymbals too high in the mix makes it sound like it was recorded in a snake pit. Track two is a bit better, 'I Walk Alone' is pure Venus In Furs era VU and is the best thing here.

Track three, 'Love Around Here' invites comparisons with the Jesus And Mary Chain but fans of JMC shouldn't get too excited - it's not that good. Track four '140 Hurts' (Geddit?) returns to Velvet Underground territory, but to be quite honest, is woeful.

If you are a fan of the Velvets it might be worth dipping your toe in the water with this - if not, you'll find it tiresome, not just because of the weakness of the songs, but the poor sound mix relegates it to an incomprehensible sonic soup. *

Review by Alan Jones

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***** 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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