Cloud Nothings, Darwin Deez - Singles Round-Up 18/10/10
Hayley Flynn 18/10/2010
Amidst the autumn gig fever I'd be surprised if there's spare change in your pockets to pick up any of this week's singles but, for the spendthrifts amongst us, here are some of the aural extravagances you can look forward to, you Rockefeller you.
Cloud Nothings' latest offering, Hey Cool Kid, seems to be faring well online but on first listen I was in two minds. The catchy intro kicks in like a muffled Go Team track and is both fun and foreboding in the same instance. There's a certain surf element to this track so it's a bit repetitive in that respect, yet it's much more substantial than most of the 60s influenced lo-fi we've been hearing of late. The catchy little guitar hook keeps your attention throughout and on second listen I warmed to this much more, it's unfortunate then that Dylan Baldi (the man behind the moniker) makes the hamfisted decision to fade to end. The B-side shifts further away from Cloud Nothings' lo-fi beginnings with a rich sound not dissimilar in style to The Strokes. There's a lot of very obvious influences in Baldi's music and nothing I've heard could be said to be particularly ground breaking but that's not a slight on the song, or the band, because for all the comparisons both songs on this release are melodic and accomplished. With a more obvious pop slant than its peers, Hey Cool Kid is a fuzzy little gem and I look forward to the tour next month on which we'll see support from the wonderful Veronica Falls.
Darwin Deez is up next with Constellations. Listening on Spotify I find myself compelled to flick between windows every now and then to peep at young Mr DD. It's the silly headband you see. I want to look away but his poor choice of hair accessory has me coming back for more. I have developed Stockholm syndrome for his headband. Luckily though, I switch to the singles version of this song and the cover is now a pretty image of a constellation. That is, it's a constellation of Darwin Deez's face. A re-release here, in case you didn't find it jarring enough the first time round. I think this track starts off ok, almost promising for a few bars but my overall verdict on this one is drab, drab with annoying undertones. The tune itself isn't so bad (although the guitar loop starts to feel like a broken record very quickly), it's the structure of the lyrics that drive me to distraction. I've tried to listen to this release four times now and can't make it past the second 'chorus' before switching off. It's flat and samey and unless there's an Easter ggg built into the dying seconds in which the image of Darwin's Constellation implodes and the track then recreates the silent effects of a vacuum, then I'm going to struggle to hear this track out.
Much more pleasant than Constellations and a rather nice surprise this week, is Eliza Doolitte's Rollerblades. This is exactly the kind of song the Orange advertising department is searching the music shops for and that's not really a bad thing. It actually surprises me how often the Lilly Allen comparisons are drawn when it comes to Doolittle when, on this song certainly, there are other influences that spring to mind way ahead of Allen. Not dissimilar to Corinne Bailey Rae's Put Your Records On, in that I'd really like to sing this out loud whilst riding a bike (and I might, so watch out) but with a much simpler, almost childlike melody (think 1-2-3-4 by Feist). It's pleasant and fun and a little bit of Indian summer for your cold October.
From Doolittle's nice little pocket of sunshine I suddenly find myself in a 90s nightclub with the cast of Queer as Folk. Yes, it's Drums of Death. I'm sure if I was actually in a club with those guys I'd be having a ball right now, jumping around and getting totally off my box but I'm not so sure I can fairly review this track, Won't Be Long, whilst sitting in an office dunking digestives into a mug of tea. What I can say is that, after Joe Goddard and Alex Waldron (Hot Chip) signed this guy to Grec-Roman, he's been building quite a reputation for his fearsome live shows. I'm sure Drums of Death is more than appealing at the right time and in the right place but as a release the energy is lost in the refinement and comes across a bit cheesy and bland.
A slightly affected release is Isles by Little Comets. Pleasingly the vocals sound much like Brett Anderson but the whole British-ness of this fails to grab me. It's a little uninspiring but as such, inoffensive and therefore sure to rack up a decent number of radio plays. The guitar, the angst, the patriotism; it's a track which a brooding teen audience will lap up. The single has a definite Brit Pop direction to it and I can see this indie band doing pretty well in the charts. Not untalented by any stretch and maybe it's their 'epic' lyrics that switch me off but Little Comets are not band I'll be keeping an eye on.
I'll finish with 6 Day Riot and their first release from the new album. Take Me has that stark contrast of darkness and celebration, a quality not really replicated since Funeral which is why the band sound so enjoyable. It's a strange folky mix with a powerful rhythm throughout and I really like the vigour in Tamara Schelsinger's voice on the shout-along bits. Emiliana Torrini's Jungle Drum would've been a fair comparison if only she'd been more impure and fuzzy. An exhilarating release from 6 Day Riot that despite not really covering any new ground, is the most unique of this week's releases.
The most unique, certainly, but by no means the best; that plaudit this week goes to Cloud Nothings and the reassuringly refined sound of Hey Cool Kid.