Single of the fortnight: Austra - Beat and Pulse
Single reviews February 2011
Oh hello. You join The List in the middle of some hot cheek-to-cheek shimmying on a New York dancefloor … What’s that? We’re actually sitting in a minuscule one-bed flat reviewing the latest singles and downloads?
All right, yes, there’s no Big Apple and no sexy face action this fortnight, BUT Arthur’s Landing’s sumptuous version of ‘Love Dancing (Is It All Over My Face)’ (Strut) ●●●● had us fooled for a whole six minutes there.
Continuing with the sublime electronics, ‘Another Girl’ (LuckyMe) ●●●● by Jacques Greene is well worth a listen, as is Naum Gabo’s ‘Songs From a Great City EP’ (Optimo Music) which features covers of Simple Minds and Fingerprintz tracks. Sometime visual artist Martin Creed brings us back down to earth with an almighty bump next though; his ‘Thinking/Not Thinking’ (Telephone) being one-and-a-half minutes of pointless riff scrapings. Meanwhile Neon Trees are doing their best to kill rock music off completely with the abhorrent ‘Animal’ (Mercury/Def Jam) and Alexis Jordan is pounding feminism to a bloody pulp with this wholly bad ‘Good Girl’ (Columbia) tripe.
Thankfully Penguins Kill Polar Bears and Verse Metrics fare infinitely better, as both ‘Vessels & Veins’ (Mercury/Def Jam) ●●●● and ‘VM1’ (White) ●●●● boast fully wow-some majestic guitar music. And even Lupe Fiasco does well with ‘The Show Goes On’ (Atlantic) ●●● , a Modest Mouse-sampling R&B sing-along – yes really.
But three acts streak ahead by a clear mile to contest Single of the Fortnight this issue. Cults’ gorgeously glockenspiel-tinged ‘Go Outside’ (In the Name of/Columbia) ●●●● is a clear contender, as is Lykke Li’s ‘I Follow Rivers’ (LL Recordings/Atlantic) ●●●● but they’re pipped to the post, and only just, by Katie Stelmanis aka Austra whose ‘Beat and the Pulse’ (Domino) ●●●●● is a stirring slice of dark evocative pop.