The Charlatans, Crocodiles - Singles Round-Up 02/08/2010

Sam Lee 05/08/2010

Well, this is my first bash at the Singles Round-Up, and, to be honest, I'm pretty disappointed. I was secretly hoping for something that was so bad, so shockingly abysmal that it would leave me with no choice other than to absolutely slaughter it, but, alas, it seems that most of the singles out this week are pretty good. Damn.

Ash, with 'Carnal Love,' are at the letter 'V' now in their A-Z series of singles, (which, if you didn't know, is a little thing they're doing where they put out 26 singles in a year, each one representing a letter of the alphabet, what fun!) and still nobody seems to be taking much notice of them. Which, after listening to 'Carnal Love', seems a bit unfair. There's no surprises here, kids - it's straight-forward and infectious pop-rock, just the way Ash like it. The video is a bit of an interesting one though, featuring an innocent-looking Tim Wheeler and more not-so-discreet sexual references than you can shake a stick at. Kind of obvious, then, what the 'V' stands for...

Alex Winston is not, as I expected, a boy. Trust me, I've seen one or two of her pictures (i.e. spent all afternoon leering at them) and she's definitely not a fella, OK? Secondly, don't be put off by the slightly annoying Kate Nash-y intro to 'Choice Notes'. Once it gets going this is a catchy-as-hell and carefree pop song tinged with a hint of psychedelia that - shock! - actually sounds a little bit different to the myriad other female synth-pop artists in the charts at the moment. But, based on this track, she could well be joining them pretty soon.

Reading reviews on Curly Hair is a bit like running away from a baddie in Scooby Doo - the same things just keep popping up again and again. Except, in this case, it's not picture frames and vases that are continuously reappearing, but a few words, like "lo-fi," "nostalgic" and "lovely/charming/something similar." Honestly, get some imagination, people! The band describe themselves as "thrift-shop pop," which I reckon sums them up nicely, and to avoid falling into the trap of using any of those recurring words I'm just going to say that 'Pumpkin Eye' is pretty good, and leave it at that.

So you thought Detroit was the home of garage rock? Wrong-o. OK, so maybe it's New York then? Nope. Contrary to popular belief, the spiritual home of rock is in fact Tel Aviv. Alright, so Tel Aviv is probably about as rock 'n' roll as Swindon (don't worry, I'm allowed to slag it off, it's my hometown) but Israeli garage-rockers Monotonix are doing their bit to change this. 'Fun Fun Fun' is relentlessly high-octane and shouty, and although it's not really the best song in the world, it is, as the title suggests, quite good fun.

Hazy, reverb-drenched and psychedelic, 'Sleep Forever', the new single from Californian hipsters Crocodiles, sounds a bit like The Jesus and Mary Chain vs. The Stone Roses. At one point it feels like it might be getting a little bit too cool for its own good, but then the anthemic and reliably uncool "la la la la la" chant drags it back onto the right side of that line that separates 'cool' and 'try-hard loser'. Phew.

I've got to be honest, I've always found The Charlatans a little bit dull. But I quite like 'Love Is Ending'. With fuzzy My Bloody Valentine-esque guitars it's a little bit shoegaze-y, but not boring. It's not exactly revolutionary, but when you're The Charlatans, you don't really need to be, do you?