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Singles Bar: May 2008

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

THE LAZARUS PLOT The Sun Shines Down

We really liked the band's last single and this new track is more of the same: quality, sub-Coldplay, strong on melody, great hooks in the chorus and a touch of electronica in the backdrop. This thoroughly deserves wider attention. ****

Review by David Randall

PARAMORE That's What You Get (FueledbyRamen)

Radio-friendly, a bouncy, almost pop verse and power chorus. The converted will have already snapped up 'Riot!' and the band play several dates in the UK in May and June. Strongly recommended. ****

Review by David Randall

NICOLE ATKINS  Maybe Tonight

With a retro Brill Building sound, Nicole has often been compared to Roy Orbison and on tracks like Maybe Tonight, you can hear it in her vocal phasing. It's a heady mix between Roy and Belinda Carlisle.

Like many of the tracks on her excellent debut album Nicole takes some classic 60's moments and melds them into a modern pop a la Robert Williams, delivering something new, fun and fresh.

This isn't retro in the Duffy, Winehouse vogue, but something more unique. Enchanting. ****

Review by Pete Whalley


Goodnight is the first single taken from Melody Gardot's acclaimed Worrisome Hear album. Self penned, Goodnight is a perfect showcase for Melody's modern, if traditionally steeped, jazz. Beautifully played and produced, this is late night perfection. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

MORCHEEBA Gained The World (Echo)

The latest album from trip-hoppers Morcheeba has had a mixed reception, perhaps not as trippy as their earlier incarnation and not rock enough for a potentially wider audience who may be attracted to it.

All the key ingredients are here, not least a fine vocal performance from Judie Tzuke who crops up on one of four tracks on this single. 'Priceless' is not on the album, and may be an ear-opener for her fans as she is juxtaposed with a rap vocal.

The main track 'Gained The World' is one of the album standouts and features French female vocalist Manda. A remix of this and the Tzuke album track 'Enjoy The Ride' makes it a worthwhile package. ***½

Review by David Randall

RISE AGAINST This Is Noise EP Polydor/Geffen (digital only)

With a new album due in the Autumn, this EP is a rarities collection, b-sides and stuff, as a stop-gap.

Opener "Obstructed View" is pure punk metal, a solid heads down number with some decent guitar work. "But Tonight We Dance" starts off noisily, and has a chunky guitar riff too.

There's a couple of live numbers from 2006, which prove the band are even higher energy on stage, and that singer Tim McIlrath is happy to talk to the crowd.

A good intro and collection. This is noise indeed. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin

MORTON VALANCE Chandelier/Go To Sleep (Ecstatic Peace)

The second single from a band whose debut Sailors got some pretty good press in the broadsheets.

And Chandelier doesn’t disappoint – a classic boy / girl duet that brings Prefab Sprout very much to mind. From the opening glockenspiel, electronic strings and vocal harmonies this is 3 minutes (exactly) of pop genius. The double A side Go To Sleep is a gentle, wistful and altogether less infectious number, but is nevertheless classy.

Morton Valance could well be one to watch. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley


Three years ago this band released their debut, aged only 19.

New wave of rock/punk, with touches of The Clash and The Sex Pistols, and the guitar/pop of Green Day. "Last Orders" is just that, upfront, with a catchy chorus, while "So Tired" is more of a blast.

Should do well. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin


New single from this indie / rock / pop outfit, which starts well with a decent riff and rhythm, before some rather thin female vocals come in.

This has it's good melody and catchy chorus moments. Almost underground sound, with a good keyboard sound that balances the song well. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin

COUSIN KEN Another Revolution

Heavy on the fuzz, and more than a little leaning on the style of Bolan, Another Revolution is a heavy slice of seventies nostalgia with some natty guitar work, a big hook and catchy backing vocals.

Great fun. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

GO AUDIO Made Up Stories

With vocals reminiscent of Fergal Sharkey, Go Audio's second single Made Up Stories is a huge slice of up beat pop. Big on melody, an up tempo rhythm and a big chorus, it's the sound of summer. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

EXIT TEN Technically Alive

High paced metal with a guitar/indie slant, the guitar is fast and at time a couple of intricate notes, the drums mix alt.metal style bursts and machine gun rhythms. Guitar and vocals have quite a trebly sound.

Will be enjoyed by the younger headbanger. ***

Review by Joe Geesin


A dangerous or plucky title for a single. Sarabeth is the latest off that long conveyer belt that produces female singer songwriters influenced by Mum and Dad's 'classic albums' by Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan and the like.

And to be fair, Nobody Cares is a pretty a fairly succulent slice of psychedelia influenced, radio friendly, up-tempo summer pop. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


Glasgow indie / punk / rock band give it loads on a single that perhaps that bears a debt to gratitude to fellow Scots Big Country. A catch pop/ rock track it has that driving anthemic quality of so many of Big Country's hits. Brought up to date for the latest generation. Natch. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE No One Gets Out Alive II EP (S-A-N Recordings)

Five track various artist EP to promote the forthcoming No One Gets Out Alive tour.

Father open up with "Machina", a catchy riff led track with extreme drums and vocals.

The Ceder Falls' "Abandon" is a more intense number, interesting intro, build up, then a quieter segment with vocals. Varying intensity, touch of prog metal rather than grunge in the alternating quiet/loud. Good range to the vocals too.

Lap's "I Am" follows, touch of Cult/Rush to the intro guitar sound but verging on thrash, the vocals and guitar scream alike when the song gets going.

Disarm's "The River City Ranson Death Pact" is sleazy punk metal gone extreme to the extreme.

Truckfighters' "Traffic" is a solid metal track with alt.metal and indie metal nods.

The Durango Riot (not on the EP) replace Truckfighters for the tour.

All pretty intense, prime Kerrang crowd material, should do well with the younger noise seeking generation. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

BRIGADE Come Morning We Fight Album sampler (Caned And Able Records)

High paced indie rock with a touch of alt.metal slant, and the innocence you get with guitar/pop. "WAYWF" has a decent melody, while "Sink Sink Swim" is a little heavier, but keeping the clean clear vocals.

The overall feel is very samey, though. As rock goes, this is definite Q or NME territory.

That said, "Asinine" opens with a heavier guitar and has a pleasant feel.

Some good melodies, but nothing I found really inspiring. Indie pop goes metal and for background music. **½

Review by Joe Geesin


York/Leeds based The Hair release their debut single Blood, and it's strange affair bringing to mind a Frankenstein's Monster of Dead And Alive, Talking Heads, disco, and lo fi electro.

Admittedly DIY in nature, it's a characteristic of the band that will be loved or loathed. Undoubtedly exuberant, one wonders at the potential for longevity. But in a sweaty club it's probably just the job. **˝

Review by Pete Whalley

DEXTER BENTLEY Killer Kane (Blang Records)

"Killer Kane" is a tribute to New York Doll Arthur Kane, and is a fair mid paced acoustic pop, with a nod at singer/songwriter. Multi layered acoustic instruments/keys/drums work well together, but it's hardly rock'n'roll. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

THE CRUCIBLE Beyond Driven

Nice iconic sleeve - a timber house being washed away by waves. I was expecting something powerful from this band 'heavily' influenced the Seattle scene of the early 1990's. But instead, Beyond Driven has a heavy melodic influence that bears more than a passing resemblance to some of Heart's early work. But it's all unhinged by a woeful production that lacks any balls. Shame. Close, but no cigar. **

Review by Pete Whalley

MILLIMETRE Missing Haitch

Millimetre is the musical pseudonym/vehicle for Irish singer songwriter Terence J McGaughey. Lo key and lo-fi, it's an unusual offering - a catchy beat, but little else to recommend it. Pondersome. **

Review by Pete Whalley


The second full single from a band that sounds like they've been listening to The Stranglers (Get A Grip On Yourself) and the Pistols. As you'd expect of that generation of song writing, it's 'full on' in a Ramones fashion and self depreciating. But frankly, it's all been done before. The B-Side My Darling Frankenstein is the sort of dark story Alex Harvey once served up. **

Review by Pete Whalley

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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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