Mums Of Death, Chapel Club - Singles Round-Up 17/01/11
Luke Langlands 17/01/2011
Hello everyone in GIITV-land! It's been a while since a round-up which I can only apologise for - you can blame pesky real-life for that unfortunately. January is just crap, isn't it? It's still freezing and we don't even have the plaything that is Christmas and New Year to take our minds of it. We might as well just all sleep until April…just forget the New Year resolutions…climb in bed with a pile of cigarettes, ten crates of lager and a plethora of artery-rotting fatty foods and just be done with it. Welcome to 2011, which will see everyone act exactly the same as they did in 2010, so stop kidding yourselves! At least the music might change a bit, although 2010 was a year that I personally thought offered some fantastic albums (Warpaint's The Fool and The Manic's latest, to name two). So, in a year's time who will we be applauding for these next twelve months?
Enjoy monotonous bands that seem to release exactly the same single over and over again? Then you'll love Pendulum with Crush. It's not that it's a bad song, which it isn't…it's just that it's EXACTLY THE SAME (at least to me) as everything else they've recently released. The drum-beat is just the one we've all heard in clubs when Slam has been played. A slow intro followed by a sudden burst of synthy notes and loud beats? Oh, well, that's a massive surprise. Jesus, man! Grow some balls and release a song that's a bit different! The thing is I actually like Pendulum, but they're going down the same road as what We Are Scientists have went down - they've become predictable and as a result boring, which may as well be a noose in music. It's not like they have to change that much…every band needs a 'sound', but it doesn't have to be exactly the same ALL the time in their singles.
Chapel Club show exactly what I mean. Their latest single Surfacing is definitive Chapel Club. The vocals of Lewis Bowman are instantly recognisable, as is the guitar style. Oddly enough, this time they've decided to lift the lyrics from Dream A Little Dream Of Me to create a completely different beast altogether. Three singles in, they still manage to alter things a little bit in each song, which keeps the listener interested and intrigued. Compared to All The Eastern Girls this new release feels completely changed but still keeps the essence of the band. It's like putting a brown bear on the North Pole - it's still a bear but at least it's a bit diverse! The thing I love about Chapel Club is how they don't sound like just 'another' band. When you listen to them, you're hearing what people in thirty years time will (should?) immediately recognize as the sound of the 2010/2011's. This shows perfectly in this piece, with how they have replicated the lyrics of a well-known wholly happy song, but smothered them around melancholic music - showing a lot of people's opinion of this era. Despite the lyric choices being rather abstract (doesn't have to be a bad thing), they seem to hit you at a place you wouldn't expect. Everyone who experiences Surfacing will get a completely different interpretation that is equally as profound as the person next to them.
Want something nice and merry to clear up that over-indulgence of sherry? (I love a rhyme). Then Jonny's Candyfloss is just the ticket! At just around three-minutes long, it's just a really good, pleasant song. Although, like I said about Gruff Rhys' Shark Ridden Waters, it could have benefited big-time with being released in the summer. However, a single of this nature being made available at this time of the year also has the up-shot of allowing a beacon of light to be shot into the darkness, even for just a few minutes. Norman and Euros talk about a girl with 'candy floss and baby-blue eyes…' though they're vocal-heaven strong accents. I love how laid-back and placid their voices are. They gently tell you a story and let the music do all the work for them. If you close your eyes extra tight and concentrate hard enough when listening to Candyfloss, you can ALMOST feel the warm glow of summer beckoning. It also helps if you're huddled by the radiator.
Time for a bit pop now I think. Here's Sunday Girl with Stop Hey. It's sort of a diluted-down Lady Gaga in a few ways (though most tracks can be accused of doing that now), complete with a massive dog in the music video. It's a actually quite an interesting track and is extremely addictive. However, one thing bugging me is who will be interested in buying it - it's sound is too anthemic and mature for younger people who would generally be the main audience for something like this, but it's also perhaps not interesting enough for the rest of us. There's some people out there who will absolutely adore Stop Hey, but I can't imagine there being that many of them. Inoffensive and jolly enough, but really it just doesn't have enough substance to be a big-hitter in the pop world - especially against heavyweights like Gaga and Ke$ha.
And now for something that's absolutely mental. Mumdance has teamed up with Drums Of Death by running head-first into each other in order to create the one single being known as Mums Of Death!! Accompanied by an absolutely brilliant music video, Golden Axe is just a PROPER dance track, with the body of a synth-laden computer-aided dance/trance world stripped back to the absolute bare-bones with nothing but the beating heart of an excellent tune left exposed. Apart from anything else, the video reminded me of my childhood and the countless hours spent playing on my Nintendo Entertainment System, and for that alone it's a winner. If you're in a club you don't want to hear something that sounds as if it's been worried and stressed over for a billion hours and as a result has masses of unneeded effects plonked on top of it - you want something like Golden Axe instead. In this day-and-age popular dance music doesn't really more lo-fi than this, and it shines out beautifully as a result, and exposes every other track that tries too hard.
If you haven't heard Everything Everything's fantastic Photoshop Handsome by now, then you've really achieved the impossible. Lifted from their debut album Man Alive, it was pretty much one of the anthems of 2010 despite only just being released. To be honest, I thought it had been out for months! It ticks all the boxes for fun and catchy indie/pop/rock (whatever it is) song - memorable and singable lines, parts you can dance to and it's well-known enough for you to attach it to your own personal experiences. A mish-mash of influences and lovely harmonies, the song changes and alters itself throughout, and has lyrics that don't really make sense but work perfectly for the piece. . If Everything Everything became well-known last year, then they could very well become truly mainstream in 2011, as long as they carry on form with further releases.
The Son(s) have been getting a lot of recognition up in this here Scotland. Big things have been tipped for the band, and their debut album is hotly anticipated. Radar is taken from that very album. Sultry sweet and brooding throughout, this moody folk piece has a lot more to it than you'd first expect, and could accompany you through any mood. There's something lovely about The Son(s) music…it's understated and classy. The sound isn't shoved down your ears in a bid to be heard. You get the feeling that the trio would still be making quality tracks even if they were never heard by anyone except for a select few, just for the love of creating music. It's not my normal type of thing, at all. But, it's certainly interesting and different, and is sure to add a bit of dramatics to the latter days of this winter.
And that's it for my first round-up of 2011. There's some very nice tracks this week, and the winner (DUM DUM DUM) of Single of The Week is going to Mums of Death and the brilliant Golden Axe. It almost went to Chapel Club with Surfacing - I can't get across how profound I find Chapel Club. But, just for sheer fun, it's going to Mums of Death, for reinvigorating electonic music.