Singles & Downloads

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Plenty of local interest stuff this issue, so let’s crack on. Forres outfit Dan Against the World show plenty of confidence and gusto, but their ‘As Their Kitchen Sinks EP’ (demo - three stars) sticks too closely to their Yank college rock influences, particularly Weezer. Glasgow singer songwriter Keiran Docherty creates a slick piece of folk pop with ‘Fall From Grace/She’s the River’ (River - two stars), but the triumph of earnest pomp over melody and imagination lets it down.

Much more intriguing is the unholy racket of Glasgow foursome Vancouver Deluxe whose ‘The Black Hearts EP’ (demo - three stars) comes across like the sick mongrel offspring of Ministry and Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Annoying, but different, and therefore good.

Also different and therefore good is ‘Carry Me’ (Human Condition - three stars) by Royal Treatment Plant. The London five-piece (local by dint of being on Edinburgh label Human Condition) deliver a no-frills fuck you of riffing indie pop, like Blondie or The Runaways airdropped into a new century.

Attempting a similar thing but less effectively are The Hedrons. Despite crunchy guitars and throaty rasps, ‘I Need You’ (Measured - two stars) somehow falls short of having the necessary oomph to impress.

And so to bigger guns. Beck’s ‘Cell Phone’s Dead’ (Interscope - three stars) is pleasant enough squelchy electro-funk with trademark white trash rap over it, but it’s also the sound of treading musical water. Similar, but more energising is Hot Chip’s ‘Over and Over’ (EMI - four stars). A clanky, grimy piece of DIY geek-disco, its nagging melody, scuffed rhythms and scuzzy guitars are downright irresistible.

As is ‘When We Were Wolves’ (Bella Union - four stars) by My Latest Novel. A strange and intense folk anthem, it’s like The Arcade Fire dancing round a wicker man, and is the sound of a band entirely confident in their own originality and vigour.

But Single of the Fortnight goes to a great band of a different vintage. The Lemonheads’ ‘Become the Enemy’ (Vagrant - five stars) sounds like they’ve never been away - Evan Dando’s gloriously cracked voice, the effortless pop genius of the melody, the deceptively clever lyrics and the heart of purest bittersweet joy. Fuck, it’s good to have them back.

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