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Single reviews: December 2011

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

Reviews by Pete Whalley

DARK STARES Tell Your Friends EP

Any band that deploys female backing dancers on their debut video has to have a certain element of 'class'. It may not visually be quite up there with the Robert Palmer's 'ladies', but it's nevertheless a extremely effective accompaniment to Whisky - a swaggering British blues /rock number that has a real 'back to basics' feel.

With hugely catchy melodies, plenty of air guitar friendly riffs, vocals delivered in a Kelly Jones style and with John Mitchell on recording and mixing duties, the 4 track ep is an assured debut from the St Albans based four piece.

But 'We Are The Kings Tonight' - a the slow brooding number with a subtle 'twang' undercurrent is probably the pick of the crop, suggesting that Dark Stares are no one trick ponies and may well have the potential to successfully straddle that tricky rock / pop dividing line.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley


Inspired by classic 1950s rock and roll, Postcard-era indie-pop and the modern poets of hip hop, London born Ned Younger's 4 track debut ep is a male pop at the Kate Nash audience.

Delivered in a gentle, semi spoken style, it's an introspective and reflective EP that tells imagined stories spoken by strangers' 'lost' photographs, which Younger amassed from markets and car boot sales.

It may not be rock, and aimed squarely at the Belle & Sebastian, but there's no denying a certain charm. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


Phantom Limb are country / soul outfit band form Bristol who feature Yolander Quartey on vocals (check out her excellent appearance on The Devil And Midnight and So Long on Nitin Sahwney's recent Last days Of Meaning album).

The lead single from their forthcoming second album of the same name sounds very much like Des'ree covering a CSN number that morphs into a Rod Stewart style transatlantic soul groove. Pleasant enough, but hardly life-affirming. ***

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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