Singles and Downloads
This issue’s singles and downloads rundown begins not with a bang but a whimper. Babyshambles’ ‘The Blinding EP’ (Regal - 2 stars) was set to be Britain’s most famous junkie’s return to form, and, in parts, his talent still flickers through. Sadly it further confirms Docherty’s muse departed him soon after he started chuffing rocks.
It takes only half a minute of They Came From the Stars (I Saw Them)’s single ‘It’s Time’ (Thisisnotanexit Records - one star) for the terrifying prospect to dawn upon the listener that this is what The Feeling would sound like if they were to overdose on Prozac. Better though are the efforts of The Dykeenies, the angular melodies of ‘Waiting For Go’ (Lavolta Records - 3 stars) almost justifying the hype the band have aroused in Glasgow and beyond in recent months. De Rosa’s double A-side ‘Father’s Eyes/Evelyn’ Chemikal Underground - 4 stars) sees both songs nervously taut and awkward, their production tying together all the loose ends. Matchsticks’ ‘Duvet’ (One Records - 4 stars) sounds, in the best possible sense, like a theme tune from a German game show, possessing enough joyful hooks and playful shouting to fill half an album. Paul Napier, on the other hand, seems like he could do with a dose of whatever they were drinking. On ‘Anti-apotheosis’ (RD - 2 stars) it appears he has been robbing Elliott Smith’s grave.
Aberdeenshire four-piece :( (Colonopenbracket) sound like the audio exploits of an emo kid having a particularly troubling time in a video arcade. Without the demented Gameboy sound effects, ‘First Blood’ (Must Destroy - 4 stars) would struggle to come second in a Fall Out Boy impersonation contest, but with them it becomes rather brilliant.
Nothing however can compare to The Pack’s ‘Vans’ (Columbia - 5 stars) (Single of the Fortnight). Exponents of hip hop flavour of the month hyphy (similar to Lil’ Jon’s crunk but with an even stranger vocabulary), The Pack devote four minutes to waxing lyrical on their preferred brand of footwear. While it may come as news to spotty skateboarding enthusiasts, they inform us that ‘only real niggaz wear Vans’ over a track sounding like it was composed on a soviet era computer in deep space, complete with guest vocals from a gangsta Stephen Hawking. The result is one of the strangest yet puzzlingly addictive tracks of the year.