Singles and downloads - April 14th 2010
The singles pile: always an education. What have we learnt this time? Only that Sandi Thom still lives, breathes and makes singy-like noises, this time aided and abetted by widely-revered American guitar-twiddler Joe Bonamassa on ‘This Ol’ World’ (Guardian Angels) ●●●, which comes across like a budget supermarket version of the Plant/Krauss axis. Like the Terminator, she will not stop.
Here’s another lesson: These New Puritans will probably never again better their best song. ‘Attack Music’ (Angular) ●●● is a suitably weird collision of Wu-Tang Clan and The Specials but it’s also, like so many things in this life, just not ‘Elvis’. Likewise, Kate Nash’s ‘Do Wah Doo’ (Fiction) ●●● foregoes the frankly crackpot allure of her new material in favour of a dollop of the same old sassy pop, and Hot Chip’s ‘I Feel Better’ (Parlophone) ●●●, a slice of functional house-pop (the promo video’s boyband gag isn’t far off), distances itself from the epic standards of ‘One Life Stand’.
Meanwhile, out by the bike sheds, all the bad lads are trying to see who can be as hard as Biffy Clyro. There’s Aberdeen’s Turning 13, giving it a good shot with ‘String She Pulled’ (Fat Hippy) ●●●, and Dundee’s Pensioner with the rawer but no less accomplished recording ‘Goodbye Tension, Hello Pension’ (self-released) ●●●. Biffy Clyro bloody all noses and win this round though, with their now familiar tactic of presenting a song in ‘Bubbles’ (14th Floor) ●●●, which sounds subtly different to anything they’ve released before. And Josh Homme’s on their side for this one.
As usual, however, wells of inspiration can be found from wily old geezers in the staff room bemoaning the day they banned smoking and gin in here on lunch breaks. There’s Paul Vickers and the Leg, whose ‘A Horse Hoof in the Soup’ (SL Records) ●●● is touched by a certain kind of deranged psychedelic folk madness, and the grand old man of these parts, Mark E Smith, delaying retirement thanks to a promising young bunch of students in the form of a new label – The Fall’s ‘Bury! Pts. 2+4’ (Domino) ●●●● is about as good as we’ve come to expect from the band’s current vintage. Yet Single of the Fortnight goes to the bunch of charismatic young supply teachers with their fancy new methods, in the shape of Edinburgh’s Meursault and the delicately unique electro-folk of their ‘Crank Resolutions’ (Song, By Toad) ●●●●.