Singles & Downloads

SINGLES & DOWNLOADS

I declare it the Summer of Dross! Kicking off the half-arsed festival-promoting releases is Mika's 'Big Girl' (Casablanca, 1 STAR), which flaps along like Scissor Sisters devoid of the camp charm and melodies. Pointless, in other words. Fairing slightly better is birdnest-bonce Amy Winehouse, whose 'Tears Dry on Their Own' (Island, 2 STARS) is a washed-out, colourless facsimile of Motown, and not a patch on her only cracking tune, 'Rehab'.

With the insipid and dreary 'Who's Gonna Find Me' (Deltasonic, 1 STAR), The Coral prove they've lost any cheeky charm they once had, along with any songwriting talent. Similarly dreadful these days are Manic Street Preachers. The only good thing about their last single was her off The Cardigans, and she ain't on the pompous dirge 'Autumnsong' (Columbia, 1 STAR), which makes time stand still with its awfulness. The lyrics also completely rip off an Aerosmith classic, for shame.

I expected better from Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Alas, despite the occasional burst of decent guitar riffage, 'Down Boy' (Dress Up, 2 STARS), with its half-baked moody keyboards and hackneyed yelping, makes for sorry listening. Ditto Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, who regurgitate every dumb sub-Mary Chain blues thing they've ever done, only less interestingly, with 'Berlin' (Drop the Gun, 1 STAR), a song which shames the German capital.

But wait! It's not all Grade A cack and finest ear-mince. First, our souls are saved, appropriately, by Soulsavers. With Growl King Mark Lanegan whisper-singing, 'Kingdoms of Rain' (V2, 3 STARS) is a beautiful, piano-led understated ballady thing, scary and uplifting in equal measure.

Good sounds continue with Gothenburg oddball soul-popsters Little Dragon. 'Twice'/'Test' (Peacefrog, 3 STARS) features a moody piano ballad on one side and a dubby-pop gem on the other, both imbued with the kind of skillful pop sensibilities absent from this fortnight's bigger name releases.

But Single of the Fortnight goes to The Heavy's 'That Kind of Man' (Counter, 4 STARS). This debut offering from a bunch of West Country weirdos sounds like a manic, unhinged lost recording from a jam session between Marvin Gaye, Parliament and Led Zep, and, by Christ, it's got buckets more soul, funk, energy and heart than anything else out this fortnight.

(Doug Johnstone)

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