Singles of the month: Blood Orange - Sutphin Boulevard
Emeli Sande, Dam Mantle, Radiohead, Seafieldroad, Bright Eyes, Hudson Mohawke and more reviewed
It’s a good month for Scots musicians, both electronic and otherwise. Probably the best ever, in fact, for 24-year-old Aberdonian Emeli Sandé with ‘Heaven’ (EMI) ●●●●, her instantly recognisable, ‘Unfinished Sympathy’-like major label debut after high-profile guest appearances alongside Wiley, Tinie Tempah and Magnetic Man. Despite the rather obvious reference, it’s a fine pop song set off by a great voice.
Perhaps destined for less mainstream success is River of Slime’s ‘Volume One’ (Phuturelabs) ●●●●, a brain-melting 17-minute epic of hip-hop-redolent glitch electronica from FOUND’s Kev Sim with excellent remixes from local collaborators including Glasgow’s S-Type. Dam Mantle’s ‘We’ EP (GETME!) ●●● meanwhile, is an extended odyssey of four quality uptempo ambient soundscapes. Both are acquired tastes, but still smart and forward-thinking slices of synthesised songwriting, which means they might file easily alongside Radiohead’s double A-side ‘Little By Little (Caribou remix)/Lotus Flower (Jacques Greene remix)’ (XL Recordings) ●●●.
Briskly sidestepping Mona ‘Shooting the Moon’ (Zion Recordings) ●● on account of their not being the American Glasvegas let alone the American U2, let’s ponder how well the tender Seafieldroad ‘Cramond Island Causeway’ (Biphonic) ●●●● stands up to Bright Eyes’ ‘Jejune Stars’ (Polydor) ●●●. Both are intelligent, literate songs from skilled songwriters, but tender piano ballad beats rock song with too many words levered in this time.
A definite contender for Single of the Month is Hudson Mohawke’s ‘Satin Panthers’ EP (Warp) ●●●●, if only because it features five brand new tracks from Glasgow’s retro-redefining cut-up producer, but nothing quite touches Blood Orange with ‘Sutphin Boulevard’ (Domino) ●●●●. The brainchild of Lightspeed Champion Devonte Hynes, it’s a laidback touch of Oriental electronic soul with a definite touch of the Terence Trent D’Arby about it.