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Singles Bar: June 2010


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


TWIN ATLANTIC Human After All

The 4th single to be released from the boy's 8 track mini album Vivarium. Nothing like milking it?

Released to coincide with the band's support on The Gaslight Anthem's UK tour and a string of festival gigs, the track is one of the darkest on the album and a fans' live favourite.

So you get all the Twin Atlantic trademarks a unique blend of melodic rock, metallic crunch, angular time changes, and Sam's distinctly Scottish vocals. But then fans are already going to know this.

Excellent as Human After All is, being one of the strongest tracks on Vivarium a monstrous sound, a catchy hooks, great riffs, and impassioned vocals - surely it would have made sense to release some fresh material? ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

THE LAST REPUBLIC (C'mon) Flood The Gates

The debut single from hotly tipped, Swansea based, The Last Republic who recently opened for Bon Jovi at the O2. Highly reminiscent of Red Rocks era U2 with Jon Owen's vocals sounding distinctly Bono, and Dafydd Anthony's guitar lines glistening in Edge like fashion, while the chorus brings the band's sound forward several decades into NME post punk indie territory. An excellent first effort, but highly derivative. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

HAGANA The Hagana EP

Hagana, an Edinburgh 3 piece Leo Fox (guitar / vocals), David Chisholm (drums / vocals) and David Jack (bass) have been treading the boards of Edinburgh's grunge / alt rock scene since 2006.

The Hagana EP is an eclectic mix of 6 songs spanning 17 glorious minutes of sonic attack. She Said opens proceedings with echoes of Biffy Clyro, early Muse and The Clash, while Act Like A Shadow has more power than Quo and Hawkwind combined, with some wonderfully evocative vocals.

But there's more to the band than power rock, and while he sleazy Back For More keeps the pedal firmly to the metal, Wait And See and What You Do, with its wonderfully angular rhythms, demonstrate the band's ability to turn their hand to a more commercial sound. And the closing track Stuck - a duet with Chloe Amber - shows an altogether more mellow side to the band.

Raw, just as all good rock should be, The Hagana EP was recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered for the princely sum of 11.76. Quite what the band could have achieved if most of that hadn't been invested in tea and biscuits, remains imponderable. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

STOP EJECT I Am A Social Network

Stop Eject are a dark, brooding band from the Midlands Alexander Scott (drums), Robert Enola (vocals), Ross Swift (bass) and Topher Batchelor (guitar) formed in 2007.

I Am A Social Network, their second single has a vague early Dave Gahan / Depeche Mode / Marc Almond feel about it. A song of alienation with angular rhythms, plenty of moody synths, references to the bloody history of humanity and an almost Kraftwerk automaton vocals, it's unlikely to be a runaway chart hit. But there is nevertheless something about it that draws the listener in and all credit to the band for trying their hand at something a little different. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

AQUALUNG  Fingertip

The first single to be lifted off Matt Hales' latest album Magnetic North, his first since relocating Stateside where his material has has acieved considerable airplay on the back of use in film and a number of major TV series such as The OC, Grey's, Scrubs, several CSI varients, and Skins.

The whole Magnetic North set is an all acoustic instrument affair recorded over 5 days at his home studio thoughtful and insightful, but way too clean cut for rock fans. To my ears it's simply not commercial enough to attract major airply. Fans, however, will not be disappointed and it's likely to strike a greater chord with the States larger singer songwriter audience. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

KYTE Designed For Damage

Great name for a song. Taken from the Leicestershire four piece's debut album Dead Waves, the band's sound is one based on the sonic meandering style of some of U2's b-sides or Sigur Ros. A modern day Prefab Sprout, in a dreamy, techno sort of a way - vast soundscapes, punctuated by glistening guitars and keys, punchy drums and dreamy vocals.

Already making waves in the US, where their track Boundaries was used to advertise The Sopranos, and debuting above U2 in Japan with their Japan-only album Science For The Living, Kyte look set to take it to the next stage. ***

Review by Pete Whalley

SHEILA GRACE Heart Of Gold

A strange one, this 4 track ep from Viennese singer songwriter Sheila Grace.

From Now Until Forever is a just guitar and Shelia's almost operatic vocals delivered in a low-fi, almost punk sort of a way. It reminds me very much of the Hazell O'Connor / Lene Lovich era in the 80's. By contrast, A Dream Worth Fighting is an under produced piano based classical ballad that sounds like something you might hear at a Britain's Got Talent audition.

Heart Of Gold is more 'authentic' punk, while Lead Me Home leans echoes the style of the opening track. Actually, the songs are excellent, I just can't make my mind up about the vocals.

Sheila is either a very good vocalist doing something different, or she's not that great. Whichever, I'm not convinced she would pass muster on Simon Cowell's watch, but there's nevertheless something compelling about her. But then, you could say the same about Victorian freak shows. **½

Review by Pete Whalley

JUKEBOX COLLECTIVE Icon Parade

The 2nd single release from the hotly tipped Jukebox Collective, a London 4 piece that major on 'disco punk'.

Inspired by DIY, Icon Parade is a huge slab of paranoia with sharp guitars, driving synths and emotive vocals. Think The Wombats meet The Scissor Sisters. Not my scene, but those of a Hot Chip persuasion may want to investigate further. **½

Review by Pete Whalley

I ALEXANDER A Little Piece Of Epic

A debut six track mini album which, we're told, is a polished piece of 21st century pop rock from talented solo artist Alex Larkman.

Apart from the fact that the production is poor, the vocals are heavily synthesized and the whole set has a DIY feel to it. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I was left dazed and confused as to the ultimate end game.

A Little Piece Of Epic is neither rock, nor pop - its in that nether land that only the Prince of Pop has managed successfully navigate. Entering that arena is a big call.  And one that's presently beyond I Alexander.

There's that much digitizing going on that it's even difficult to tell if the songs themselves have any real depth. We're told they're hook laden, engaging and uplifting. If so, those aspects have been well and truly buried by the production. **

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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