Singles and Downloads
Take four kids from Northern Ireland and force feed them AC/DC from birth and you’d create The Answer, a scarily authentic gonzo rock outfit who create a fun fluster of riffage and shrieking on ‘Tonight’ (Albert Productions) ●●● Brainless fun, essentially.
Which is the inverse of TV on the Radio, a much-lauded cerebral outfit who someone manage to be completely anonymous and joyless on the clinical modern funk of ‘Crying’ (4AD) ●● Cheer up, lads.
It’s more fun to be dumb, right? So it proves with million-selling Aussie twin pop pixies The Veronicas, whose ‘Untouched’ (Sire) ●●● manages to conjour up ghosts of Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Tatu simultaneously while also having enough edge to its ragged melodies to make it intriguing.
Less successful in the Antipodean pop stakes is Ladyhawke’s ‘Back of the Van’ (Modular) ●● a monotonous and uninspired take on 80s synth-pop, which has neither the ballsy front of Lady Gaga or the quirks of Little Boots.
At the other end of the pop world are The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, a cutesy indie quartet from NYC who tap into thirty years of alternative jangle with predictable results on ‘Young Adult Friction’ (Fortuna Pop!) ●● complete with bog standard squirty keyboards and insipid guitars.
More charisma is on display on Speech Debelle’s ‘Go Then, Bye’ (Big Dada) ●●●, a wonderfully loose-limbed slice of vitriolic rap, swaggering eloquently around over a backdrop of jazzy, lethargic beats.
Didn’t Royksopp used to be soft as warm putty? ‘The Girl and the Robot’ (Wall of Sound) ●●●● featuring some feisty vocals from fellow Scandinavian Robyn, seems like a different band, a driven and robust piece of ice-cool dancefloor-filling mayhem, all juddering beats and sinister synths, Robyn’s anxious voice adding depth to proceedings.
And someone else who seems to have given himself a welcome kick up the arse is Jarvis Cocker. ‘Angela’ (Rough Trade) ●●●● wins Single of the Fortnight for starting off like T Rex with a humungous grinding fuzzy riff, before ripping through a chorus that is pure dumb genius, then winding up in a mess of garagey shouts and shakes.