Chapel Club, Detroit Social Club - Singles Round-Up, 15/10/2010
Luke Langlands 15/10/2010
Ever formed a band without any equipment? That's the predicament I'm currently in with the 'band' myself and a few friends have just formed (we're the closing headliners of the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2011, just a heads-up so you can try and buy tickets when they go back on sale). I haven't got my bass amp (and forced to learn the songs on a lead guitar), the drummer…well, he owns some sticks, but unfortunately they're five hundred miles away, along with his kit. And I haven't been introduced to our two axe-men. It's going really well so far! First jamming (how does Bob Marley like his toast? - 'With Jam'in!') session is next Thursday. Apart from that, I'm ecstatic to announce myself as the new Singles Sub-Editor of this majestic website! Departing editor Simon Catling was last seen in the boot of my car. I'm very excited to start this new venture, which will one day see me as Overlord of Earth. It was a bit of a surprise to be given the opportunity, but don't worry my lovely readers, I won't mess-up GIITV too much (hopefully).
[I]'You just try to and sleep, even though you're alone. You just close your eyes and dream of home'[/I]. 'I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto!' was the first thing that came into my head during the opening verses of Foxy Shazam's 'Oh Lord' (bit worrying of me, really). Sickly-sweet to the very core, but with all the substance of a very fine song to go with it, [I]'Oh Lord'[/I] is the musical equivalent of a heavy-weight boxer knocking you out with a pixie stick. It's a ridiculously fun and upbeat songs, with the irony being that the lyrics warn of the world being nothing like we'd hope. Cited on numerous occasions as a band everyone should listen too, this new outing could very well be The One for Foxy Shazam to step up and be truly recognized. It's Bruce Springsteen wearing Elton John's massive glasses whilst gulping down a big peace of optimistic-enriched American Pie.
Oh look, a new We Are Scientists song. There's not really much point in me writing anything else, is there? (But I will anyway - that Word Count won't fill itself!) We all know what 'I Don't Bite' is going to sound like even before the band began to write it. Yep, it's five years since 'The Great Escape' (which I loved) was released and hit number 37 in the UK. This new track could easily be it's B-Side. We've all seen and heard this before. I'm not saying that We Are Scientists need to massively reinvent themselves with a Cannibal Corpse-inspired album, but they desperately need to mix it up a bit, surely? It's not actually a bad song; the opening riff sounds a bit like The Last Shadow Puppets, and is very catchy. It's happy enough (if a bit lightweight), but Keith Murray's high vocals sound excellent during the catchy chorus. Despite the few positives, the track is just beige…an afterthought that sounds like something that could be album filler. It's released on Monday…
Well, after bemoaning a band for being too predictable and bland, I now bring you OK Go and their latest outing, 'White Knuckles', which is an example of what bands should be doing when making new material. Their new single sounds utterly different to older stuff ('Get Over It', 'This Too Shall Pass) whilst still keeping the essence of the band intact. OK Go are starting to almost become more popular for their videos rather than the music itself, which I think is a bit of a shame, but any music video that involves trained dogs dancing is a sure-fire winner to me! The bassline in 'White Knuckles' is gorgeous, and oozes around the overload of synthesizers towards the end of the track whilst the funk guitar keeps your head a'bobbing. I can remember Back In The Day when I created my own Greatest Hits videotape album by watching Kerrang! and MTV2 on Tvfor hours on end, and diving for the 'Rec.' button every time a good song came on. One of the tracks lovingly pirated was 'Get Over It', and listening to 'White Knuckles' has made me realise how much I've neglected this brilliantly innovative band over the years - must listen to them more often.
The best thing about this next song, is the sudden way it bursts into life - no intro, no slow build-up…just BANG and you're straight into it. It immediately makes you sit up and pay attention, and with that interest sparked you wouldn't be blamed for thinking that Chapel Club's vocals were coming from a young Morrissey or Bernard Summer, though it's actually the brilliant Lewis Bowman. 'All The Eastern Girls' is dripping in confidence, and a lovely alternative to the synth-rich artists currently usurping the popular music we are bombarded with. The song feels real, and genuine…the lyrics aren't something that's been dreamt up - they're words that have been lived and experienced by the young protagonists. The single is melancholic and maddening in the best way possible - when listening to it, you feel the frustration and longing just as much as the writer would have.
With bass-drum thumping that would make most metal fans proud, The Joy Formidable's new single 'I Don't Want To See You Like This' has a lovely mixture of sounds and musical tastes all rolled into one. The heavy drumming is offset perfectly by Ritzy Bryan's soft, Welsh tones in her voice (which kicks into life when the track needs an extra wallop). The chorus is begging to be roared out by fans during a live gig, which would sound brilliant considering how well thought-off TJF's live sets are. It's perhaps a bit on the long side, but there's plenty going on during the song to keep the listener's attention, with the quiet-to-loud moment about half-way through sounding excellent. The sound they've used on the guitar is really nice, and doesn't unnecessarily overpower the drums or bass. 'I want to find those books, search your face tormenters' - I keep thinking that's some sort of reference to Facebook (damn my addiction!).
Another beauty from my North-east comes in the form of Newcastle's Detroit Social Club and their string-indulged track 'Northern Man'.It could very well be a Richard Ashcroft song, and is sure-fired to get interest from fans of The Verve and perhaps Ian Brown. In a lot of ways it's very similar to Chapel Club and their release this week, with a certain amount of cool grime (not as in the Dizzee Rascal type) surrounding the anthemic style of the piece. 'One day we will have the answers, but for now I'm trying to understand…because I am just a Northern man'. Brilliant lyrics that highlight the discouragement found by many young men in the North of England. It reminds me a lot of a Manic Street Preachers track, with the rhythm and feel of the song. The ideals found in 'Northern Man' are also pretty similar to something Nicky Wire might very well have came up with.
Finally, with somewhat of a surprise is The Ting Tings with 'Hands' - something that could have easily been conceived thirty years ago. A very odd mixture between Blondie, The Human League and Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark, there's no prizes for detective work proclaiming that the eighties sound is well and truly back in modern popular music (and has been for a while). This new single sounds very different to previous things released by the two-piece. It's less kiddie and cartoony than Shut Up And Let Me Go and That's Not My Name, with a similarly ambitious video to accompany the track. If you're anything like me, you'll be singing along to the chorus before you've finished listening to the song for the very first time whether you like it or not. It is very, very catchy, as is all Ting Tings amalgamations. The disco-style bassline that reverberates throughout the single almost demands that you tap your feet. It's a bit of a change for the band, but it also feels sort of bandwagon-esc. However, if it's good enough for everyone else, then why not these too?
As much as I enjoy synthy music, it's also quite refreshing to hear some music again during the GIITV Singles Round-Up with a bit of balls and steel about it. The world needs some new proper anthems to associate with our current generation - at the minute we're still mostly stuck using the (excellent) nineties tracks. Maybe I'm just being biased and wanting something most other people don't want, but Hey! It's my article so, tough luck. And with that, I've chosen Chapel Club's brilliant single 'All The Eastern Girls'. In twenty years time I don't want people to look back at the 2010's and think Taylor Swift or Scouting For Girls - I want them to think of groups like Chapel Club to prove at least some of us had a soul. Thankfully, we're only 10 months through this decade, so fingers are still crossed for some sort of anthem resurgence.