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Single reviews: June/July 2012

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

Reviews by Nikk Gunns


Available as a free download from the band’s website, this 5 track live EP was a bit of a surprise as I was not expecting the female vocals as opening track 'Simplify' started. Don’t get me wrong they are not out of place, I was just expecting some hairy assed bloke to come in growling, and instead the voice of Tarin Kerrey appeared.

It is that voice which makes Sanguine stand out and the band have already supported the likes of Megadeth, played at this year’s Download Festival and had Kerrey appear on the debut album from Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith’s new project Primal Rock Rebellion - I should also add that guitarist Nick Magee has also been writing with In Flames.

Apart from the first track, the tracks on the EP are previously unreleased - the others being 'Bangkok Nights', 'Days Outnumbered', 'From Home' and 'Paradise'.

Sanguine are clearly a band to keep an eye on. ****

Review by Nikk Gunns


I’m not sure Sailor would have been my choice for second single from the excellent Don’t Stop Singing album that sees Thea takes unfinished Sandy Denny lyrics and setting them to music.

Sporting her usual cast of supporting players Thea's taken Denny's lyrics, absorbed them, and then delivered them in her own style but with more of a nod than usual to the folk scene when Denny was a member of Fairport Convention and the first UK female singer/songwriter to secure a major record deal.

It's a gentle, at times solemn, and always respectful piece of work and one that deserves wider recognition. ****

Review by Pete Whalley

LUKE GIRVAN Take Me To The Doctor

The debut single from singer songwriter / guitarist Luke Girvan is a confident and punchy affair. While stated influences include the likes of Zeppelin, Floyd and Queen, Take Me The Doctor is a difficult song to pigeon hole.

A hugely infectious number it stands just on the rock edge of pop and the brass accompaniment results in a sound somewhere between a meeting of Roxy Music and Robert Palmer. If his forthcoming debut album lives up to this standard, Luke Girvan could be one to watch. ****

Review by Pete Whalley


A pleasant little ditty from London based singer songwriter that brings to mind both Ed Sheeran and, in particular, Eliza Doolittle. It has ‘chart success’ stamped through it like a bar of Brighton rock.

Still only 21, and with her talents honed in punk and ska bands, she’s been snapped up by Sony so we can expect a big push sometime soon. ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley


'Tact' is the latest single from Ben Dalby who has been gaining radio play steadily over the last couple of years. His style is described as eclectic which is fair as this latest release combines a bit of jangly indie rock with a ska horn section which come together to create a unique, happy sounding track which should ensure further airplay. One for the summer - if we ever get any sun! ***

Review by David Wilson


The second EP from the Chelmsford female fronted five piece, Held By Horses is, to my mind, something of a missed opportunity.

The sound on their five track EP is heavily guitar dominated, so much so that for the most part the ‘sweeping vocals' of singer Harriett Reynolds are crowded out. Whether is was a deliberate ploy to bury her so deeply in the mix only the band will know, but it does mean the vocal melodies and hooks struggle to make any real impact.

That might just about be acceptable if the guitar playing was virtuoso rather than simply workmanlike. But that's not the case here and it's only when the wall of sound occasionally parts that glimpses of promise peek through.

On this evidence it's hard to see the band - who sound like a neutered Dolores O'Riordan on speed - breaking far beyond the pub / club circuit. **½

Review by Pete Whalley

REBELLIOUS JUKEBOX Killer On The Dance Floor
(GMD Records)

Art-house rockers Rebellious Jukebox are currently recording a 12 track album and have released this single as a taster of things to come. Listening to 'Killer On The Dancefloor' though would not have me rushing to hear another 11 tracks as it is a bit dull, sounding like the Psychedelic Furs on a grey day. I could well see a jukebox rebelling against this one.

Review by David Wilson


Formed in 2011 as a studio project by duo Stitch and Bones, this EP is their first release. The music they produce sounds like Tool with phased vocals. The EP contains 5 tracks, most of them clocking in at over the 6 minute mark and to be honest I found it a bit of an ordeal to sit through. The tracks are overly long with not a great deal of content whilst the phased vocal, a pet hate of mine, very quickly gets on your nerves. Not one to rush back to.

Review by David Wilson

THE CITY DIVIDED The Endless Moment

When I read a band's blurb and it mentions pop rockers Busted, I do fear the worst. The City Divided do sound like a young outfit and were formed back in 2009, possibly straight out of school . They do sound a rung above Busted on the rock ladder though, having more in common with Enter Shikari and others of that ilk. They do have some decent riffs, but it is very 'metal-lite' , Maiden turned all the way down to 2 perhaps. Not bad, but nothing new and a bit more meat to the sound wouldn't go amiss. **½

Review by David Wilson

(W.A.R Records)

This is the debut single by Blakmagicsociety taken from their forthcoming album U.A.T.W.M.F. The band play a 60's tinged garage rock which isn't too bad. This track however is very repetitive although it only clocks in at just over 3 minutes, which doesn't say much about the bands song writing prowess. Hopefully the album will prove to be a better listen.

Review by David Wilson


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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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