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Singles Bar: May 2009


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

LOZ JONES Idiot Room

Hats off for the most garish labels I've seen on a CD, to Loz Jones - a six piece pop / rock band from from Luton. Their new single Idiot Room is a catchy piece of radio friendly pop, but is heavily derivative of Spirit In The Sky and the sing along chorus delivery of Doctor And The Medics.

But the b-side Awakening Times, shows there's more to the band than a novelty single. With a more ethereal feel, some nice lead vocals and evocative keys hooks, it hints that the band could easily move into the territory vacated by Enigma. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


ANDREW MORRIS Longbeach

Hotly tipped by iTunes (whatever that means) Australian singer songwriter Andrew Morris releases his new 5 track ep Longbeach.

Close your eyes and only one name springs to mind - David Gray. The song structures and vocals have a distinct similarity. But with the absence of any new material from Mr Gray, Andrew Morris more than ably fills the void. And when DG returns to the fray, he could well find himself usurped.

Andrew Morris masquerades as a criminal lawyer when not writing, recording and supporting the likes of Marillion. But on this form, it will be a crime if he doesn't find fame and fortune beyond the court circuit. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

LISA HANNIGAN I Don't Know

The first single to be taken from acclaimed Irish singer Lisa Hannigan's excellent debut album Sea Sew.

Responsible gilding the lily and providing some of the highlights on recent Damien Rice albums and live shows, I Don't Know is one of the more immediate and catchy tracks from an album that is likely to enhance the lady's career on both sides of the Atlantic.

More accessible than Rice's work, the single and album are gentle and calming - beautifully played and recorded, with Lisa's breathy vocals well up in the mix. It's a combination that's going to appeal those who like the likes of Cowboy Junkies and Sarah McLachlan. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

NEW EDUCATION Another Miracle

Released on digital download and 7" single only, the new single from New Education is another piece of soaring anthemic pop.

Stoke-On-Trent based, the band were formed in early 2008 by brothers Ryan (vocals, guitar) and Jack (bass) Dooley with David Cartwright (guitar) and John Bradbury (drums).

Influenced by the likes of Oasis, The Cure and The Clash, the band have a built a solid fan base and if the promise of their debut single Today, and this follow up Another Miracle can be translated to an album, then the band have a bright future. Quality melodic pop / rock. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

DAVID CRONENBERG'S WIFE The Fight Song EP

Formed back in 2004, David Cronenberg's Wife deliver scuzzy blues harp, 'talky' vocals that brings the likes of Sergeant Buzzfuzz, festivals and The Young Ones to mind on the lead track, The Fight Song.

The band's first release since their acclaimed debut Bluebeard's Rooms last year, the set is edgy and full of sardonic wit - perfect for those quieter festival moments this summer. Expect a second album later this year. Deranged. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

TINY SPARK For You The World Waits EP

With their debut endorsed by Ben Sherman clothing and previewed at the flagship Carnaby Street store, London / Portsmouth based Tiny Spark follow up with their second ep, the title track allegedly a Bond-esque nod to the band's formative past of composing scores for independent films.

It's decent enough pop/rock but lacks the requisite big hooks for a Bond number. With their roots deep in the melodic pop/rock of the sixties, the five track EP is nothing if not pleasant - well played, great vocals and some nice harmonies, but for this reviewer, at least, it just lacked that je ne sais quo, to lift the band above throbbing crowd. But well worth researching if you're into melodic pop rock pedalled by Travis, Snow Patrol and the like.

And if you can pick up the limited edition release (which includes the first ep), that's the one to go for. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

EL DOG A Princess, A Monkey, The Stars And The Sea

El Dog are a Glasgow four-piece who post rock cinematic short films for your ears (allegedly).

Now while that may sound barking, what you get is a Scottish act who have somehow managed to combine the best bits of Biffy Clyro (angular, staccato rhythms) with the melodies of the likes of Travis, Snow Patrol and Deacon Blue.

Rather nice, and an ep that bodes well for the band's forthcoming album The Lamps Of Terrahead. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE RUSKINS Slow Down Jessica
www.myspace.com/theruskins

Ska country punk rock, an interesting sound. The vocals on the opening track come out so fast itís almost a rap, but itís a bit of fun. A little jangly, a bit on the party side of things. Fun, but not to be taken too seriously. If a drunken No Doubt did an impromptu high speed country rap at your party, it wouldnít be too far off this. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

BUCK BROTHERS When I Look At You (All I Think About Is Sex)  www.myspace.com/buckbrothers

I think this can be described as heavy pop; guitar pop with influences of rock and punk and energy. From The Ramones to indie / new wave, yes itís a hybrid but in terms of both honesty and energy as well as balls, not to mention a tune, itís a breath of fresh air compared to the plethora of guitar pop around at the moment. Shallow lyrics though (you probably guessed by the title). ***

Review by Joe Geesin

CAPTAIN DANGEROUS The Terrorist / Merrow Song
Danqua Records www.myspace.com/captaindangerous

Available on iTunes, the singleís lead track 'The Terrorist' is jangly and harsh yet melodic guitar pop with indie/rock overtones. Itís ok, but would be easy to say itís a terrorist on my ears. 'Merrow Song' is an acoustic number with gentle rap like vocals and backing harmonica and a sound resembling a banjo. Not bad, I just feel indifferent to it. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

EG Broken

Lead single taken from the solo album from the man behind the recent hits for Duffy (Warwick Avenue), Adele (Chasing Pavements, Will Young, James Morrison, Joss Stone, Take That, Natalie Imbruglia and Kylie, to name but a few.

Pleasant enough fare, but Eg's solo outing is not the stuff of hit singles, being aimed more squarely at those seeking greater depth, irony, and sophistication. Close, but no cigar. **½

Review by Pete Whalley

THE A TRAIN Black and White Memories

Debut single from Oxford based The 'A' Train, a band originally put together by brothers James and Dan McKean (song writing, vocals, guitars and keys).

With a sound that is catchy folky pop, Black and White Memories is pleasant in a Macca sort of sing along way. In value for money terms, you get 3 b-sides and a music video, but there's an absence of killer hooks and it's difficult - on this form - to see the band progressing much beyond the folk club / pub circuit. **½

Review by Pete Whalley

SIERRA ALPHA Superhero EP (Major G Records )
www.myspace.com/sierraalphamusic

Interesting guitar pop; the label founderís work with the likes of Alanis Morissette and Paul Weller has rubbed off. Melodic, jangly guitar, some aggressive indie moments. Vocals take control on the quiet moments, and the title track tries to rock out. In contrast, the vocals arenít strong enough to match the musicís more powerful moments.

Again worth a listen, should get radio airplay, but not the most enticing thing Iíve heard this year. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

DINOSAUR JR Over It

Firstly marks off for a CD with no more than a sticker and no website details.

New single from the forthcoming album Farm.

That said, itís the kind of indie/alternative rock with plenty of melodic riffery and elements of 70s epics that still has a vibe of jangly tunelessness. Itís not monotonous, the jangly style just gives it that feel. Always has done, always will.

The guitars either jangle, distorted or they crash along with the cymbals. Fair track otherwise. **½

Review by Joe Geesin

THE JOY FORMIDABLE Whirring
www.myspace.com/thejoyformidable

Noisy, cluttered and banging guitar indie with female vocals and keyboards. There is a melody in there somewhere, but thereís just a grating banging sound throughout. NME say theyíre a bit special. But theyíre not.

Two more previous singles on this CD (???), all under the art-indie banner which doesnít really flow. Monotonic bass and a tuneless sporadically filling the sound grunge style. **

Review by Joe Geesin

THE HARRINGTONS Set In Our Ways
www.myspace.com/theharringtonsuk

Melodic modern guitar pop/rock/indie with a hollow jangly edge (an element of early Cult / U2). Itís OK, worth a listen, but the most annoying thing is when the guitar fluctuates quickly between two high notes (U2/Big Country style).

If you like proto Brit-pop you might enjoy. **

Review by Joe Geesin

DEATH BEFORE SUNRISE Hundred Questions, Thousand Answers
www.myspace.com/deathbeforesunriseband

Pop/punk and high energy high octane noise. Melodic shouting, even the instrumental bits.

And definitely not for fans of GunsíníRoses as the press release would have us believe.

The second track is mildly better, but over reliance of fuzz on the guitar, and sounds too much like proto Green Day.

A thousand answers, mostly 4 letters. One question, Iím sure you can guess it. **

Review by Joe Geesin

THE KING BLUES I Got Love

Indie/guitar pop that has been doing well with both Radio 1 and Kerrang. This single from the acclaimed new album mixes rock guitar with strumming, pop vocals and a typical mid 80s rock/pop rhythm. Radio 1 and Kerrang success doesnít really impress me, and the music does only a little more. **

Review by Joe Geesin

WHITE LIGHT PARADE Wake Up
(Split Records)
www.myspace.com/whitelightparade

An intro of mid range jangly tuneless guitar may be popular but itís not me.

Thereís more melody in the bass than the guitar, indie guitar pop with a nod back to the 90s. Solid, should do ok.

I thought it was above passable, until I heard the reggae mix, which had the same effect me as suffering from dysentery. **

Review by Joe Geesin

THIS IS RADIO FREEDOM Family Man
(Side W7lk )

The intro of a driving bass line with some spacey vocals gives some kind of hope, or at least anticipation. But then enter drum machine and dance music rhythm that even the guitar and a couple of drum rolls cannot save. Think Run DMC covering Hawkwind. Heavy metal discotastic. About as pants as a pants factory overflowing with pants. The Dan Le Sac remix is as pointless as a very blunt object and as much fun as rubbing your nether regions with sandpaper and raw chilli.

Review by Joe Geesin

 


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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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