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Singles Bar: February 2009

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

MASTODON Divinations (Reprise Records)

This new track, from the new album 'Crack The Skye' is a ferocious number with a minor key riff and elements of uptempo Black Sabbath. Rough vocals and guitar are built up by a strong rhythm, and more than a hint of melody. The twin guitar interplay and banjo picking intro adds a great atmosphere. Metal as heavy as the eponymous beast. Focussed with prog metal leanings.

If you're a fan of power metal where it crosses into extreme territory, you'll love this. ****

Review by Joe Geesin

KRISTA DETOR Robert Johnson Has Left Mississippi (Corazong)

Quirky singer songwriter Krista Detor has quite a following stateside and this new single taken from her forthcoming 3rd album Cover Their Eyes could be just what it takes to push her into the major league.

Imagine a song penned by Marc Cohen, delivered with Dixie Chicks providing some subtle country backing and delivered in warm honeyed breathy vocals you wouldn't be far of the mark. Some beautifully understated harmonica and finger picking add the icing to the cake.

Delicious, but one somehow doubts whether UK audiences will indulge to any great degree. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

exlovers  Photobooth / Weightless

There's a nice guitar / keys opening to exlovers latest single that has a Stranglers feel (at their more melodic). The twin girl / boy lead vocals that wash over the beat adding a hypnotic quality. But running out at 2:40, Photobooth runs out of track before ever building up a head of steam.

Weightless is equally meandering with a Beatlesque / U2 experimental feel. Lo fi guitars, vocal harmonies and an almost eastern feel suggest that exlovers may, just may have greatness (and the ability to rock out) within them. Wistful ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE AUTUER Hey! Watch This

More up-tempo scuddy NME style rock. You know the stuff - shouty lyrics, big chorus, and a pounding beat

Brighton's The Auteur - formed in 2007 - deliver a perfectly accessible stab at the genre. Perfect, that is, for the summer festival scene. My only grip is, close your eyes and The Auteur could be one of oh so many similar bands - all small, and all perfectly formed.

Good as The Auteur are, I struggle to see what's going to make them stand out from the swelling crowd. **½

Review by Pete Whalley

PETER DOHERTY Last Of The English Roses (Parlophone)

Featuring guitarist Graham Coxen (Blur) and producer Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur), this is not nearly as 'euphoric' as the press release would have us believe.

Doherty provides vocals and acoustic guitar in a downbeat and well written way, with Coxen providing some offbeat chords.

The song is well constructed enough, but is seriously let down by the programming: either do the percussion properly or not at all. Nice bass line though. **½

Review by Joe Geesin


If you believe it, this young lady already has some heavyweight admirers who know a thing or two about climbing the greasy pole to stardom. Namely Rod Stewart, Gary Barlow and Bryan Adams, to name but three.

At just 20 years of age, Emma appears to be looking to follow Joss Stone's lead and break it large stateside with upbeat pop/soul. It Was You is typical of today's modern repackaging of soul. Big sound, big vocals, but ultimately soul without any real soul. **½

Review by Pete Whalley


The second single taken from Sarah's Time To Think debut album due for imminent release.

Having originally found 'fame' on Pop Idol back in 2002 and received a helping hand (and an offer of marriage) from svengali Simon Cowell and signed to Simon Fuller's management, Sarah was brave enough to exit stage left after 2 top 20 singles.

Having shelved plans for a debut album she concentrated on song writing, the result Time To Time. Undefined is piano riff based piece of radio friendly pop. It's the sort of stuff that Natalie Imbruglia might come up with - easy on the ear, but ultimately disposable. **½

Review by Pete Whalley

SAM ISAAC Come Back Home Tonight

Following from his recently released Sticker, Star and Tape EP, NME circuit veteran Sam releases Come Back Home Tonight - as a three track CD, with exclusive B-side July, and with handmade packaging (whatever that means?).

Come Back Home Tonight is an up tempo and jaunty piece of pop - almost 'cross over' for the NME crowd. Imagine the The Wombats doing a Jack Johnson cover. Interesting, but lacking any killer hooks. **½

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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