Singles & Downloads
As it’s all a bit gloomy outside at the moment, here’s a mellow selection of singles to wrap your freezing fingers round. Starting off the collection is the latest offering from Kate Walsh ‘Tonight’ (Mercury - 3 stars), with vocals so warm and lovely they’re like a crackling fire. Unfortunately, crackling fires are nice in the background, but they also have a tendency to send you to sleep. For mellow with a bit more bite, look no further than ‘Heretics’ (Fargo - 4 stars) from Chicago’s Andrew Bird. This is reminiscent of John Mayer at his best, with a remarkable talent for use of strings, intelligent lyrics and a sound that’s altogether soul-assuring.
Fancy something livelier? Well, Ian Brown is back with ‘Sister Rose,’ (Fiction - 3 stars) a not-at-all bad reminder of his talents, but with some strangely teen-goth lyrics: ‘I’m just like a rose, I’m beautiful and I can hurt you with my thorns’. Ouch! Following in the same vein, are Desolation Yes! with ‘Temptation’ (Neon Tetra - 3 stars). This Glasgow outfit have got more than a whiff of the heyday of Madchester about them: all swaggering beats and soaring synthesised vocals.
Talking as we weren’t of getting sick of people, James Blunt has squeezed out another one. This time he’s whining about making the ‘Same Mistake’ (BMI - 2 stars). Stop releasing singles then, Jimmy boy. If you insist on releasing music, for the love of God, please use a different tune. And vocals. If you love him, you’ll love this. Everyone else: you’ve been warned. Then we come to the most intriguing single this issue. ‘Top of the Flocks’ (Tug - 1 star) is, apparently, by Shaun the Sheep the silent, woolly animation from Aardman. It’s available in a horrible number of remixes, including a ‘whistling mix,’ presumably for suicidal parents wanting something to tip them over the edge. Vic Reeves is the culprit behind the murder-inducing lyrics. Will someone tell him that doing a Neil Morrissey won’t earn him brownie points with Santa?
So, in direct protest at Mr Reeves’ behaviour, Single of the Fortnight goes to The Poems and ‘I am a Believer.’ These Glaswegian kittens have got themselves a dreamy line in hypnotic pop, driven by the vocals of Kerry Polwart (sister of Karine). ‘I Am a Believer’ (X-Phonics - 4 stars) is all harmonies, and bouncing undertones, like the chirpy nieces and nephews of Belle & Sebastian. Now, that’s something to request for Christmas. (Siân Bevan)