The Streets, Jamiroquai - Singles Round-Up 31/01/2011
Sian Lower 31/01/2011
Hello again GIITTV fans and welcome to the inane ramblings of yet another singles round-up! This will be my second attempt at the weekly overview, so I hope I've done it some justice.
2010 has been and gone and the new music we're hearing this January/February is bringing in 2011 with a few bangs, many crashes, and occasionally, some very nice pieces of music.
First up is Devlin and his new single Let it Go, which was released on the 31st January. The 21 year-old from Dagenham has already been making waves in his genre since 2006 when he released Tales from the Crypt. His sound is described as grime meets MC, but this track has more finesse. Thanks in no small part to Labrinth (who you will no doubt recognise from Tinie Tempah's hit Pass Out), who not only features on the track, but produces it. The track is typical of the new wave of UK-based grime/rap we've experienced over the last 10 years and unfortunately, Devlin seems like yet another angry MC with a too-familiar sound. The topic is the breakdown and turbulence of a bad relationship and the video mirrors the theme, with equal measures of fighting and sex to keep those watching half-interested. The lyrics could be clever but the delivery is messy and overdone. Labrinth however, brings a more sophisticated and original feel to the track with use of sub bass, guitars and strong vocals throughout.
Ok, to even this out, I really liked this next one. The Finnlys are a four-piece Indie number from Leeds and their new single For Love Nor Money has actually been available via iTunes since 2009. The band are releasing this single under their own label, but you can download the track on their website and pay whatever you like for the privilege - not bad eh? The best way I can describe this song is a well-done, non-invasive anthem - it's a bit of a contradiction and I'm not entirely sure why this band aren't bigger than they are. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of bands out there with a similar sound but the lyrics and tempo of this track are spot-on. It's catchy, it's well written, and you can listen to it in any context. The track slowly builds up with an energetic rhythm and some cracking guitar work, and ends with a crescendo of every individual sound. The Finnlys are very much an indie band - just a little less pretentious than most.
JK is back and on top form. Jamiroquai released their new single Lifeline on Monday and it's a breath of fresh air - both in terms of current music and their own catalogue. The band have been making funky, acid jazz, house music since 1992 - that's 19 years of Jay Kay's strange outfits and stranger hats. Their latest offering is an echo of previous work which is more light-hearted at times and more soulful at others. It has a strong beat for an intro - like the majority of their best work - and it gets you dancing. The video is a backstage look at their tours and gigs with, of course, a nod to the enigmatic lead singer's love of very cool and very fast cars. Essentially it's one of those Jamiroquai tracks that are perfect for summer days - or one of those pissing-it-down-with-rain days like we've had all year so far. Whenever, really.
The Weirdest Single of the Week Award goes to - Jack Hayter, for his opening song I Stole The Cutty Sark from new EP Sucky Tart (see what they did there?). The track starts with what sounds like pots clanging, and just gets more jumbled and displays more musical variety as the song progresses. A lot of the sounds jar and clash but the song itself (odd though it is) is actually very harmonious...in its own way. His first line, “There's a wind in my ear, that cries whisky and beer, and I'm feeling as weak, as a kitten” pretty much says it all. It is folk music but with a very modern, very tongue-in-cheek deviation from the norm. Mellow and worth a listen.
Now to my favourite track this week. Just before I was going to send the search party, The Streets have returned with new single Going Through Hell, which will be accompanied within Mike Skinner's final album under the guise of The Streets. Skinner's 2001 hit Has It Come to This? brought The Streets to the UK Top 20 and since then he has went from strength to strength. Tracks like Blinded by the Lights have also encouraged previous sceptics to stand up and take notice of his talent and realise what he has to offer as an artist. His latest release has an instantly catchy beat and a strong rhythmic bass-line from the start. Witty lyrics have always been a staple of his music and this track is no different. The video keeps you watching through the drilled hole against the screen (you'll see). Vocals from The Music's Robert Harvey work well against Skinner's familiar tones and you can pick up fragments of his traditional sound. A very welcome return that sadly, will probably be over-looked by mainstream stations and websites for a while yet...watch out for the spider.