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Single Reviews: 28th July, 2003

The Icarus Line - Love is happiness EP (Sweet Nothing)
When I saw the Icarus Line live, I felt distinctly sick. I actually had to sit down. This new release is no different. In fact, it's so discordant and unsettling that you're probably better off listening to it on the toilet. Vicious, evil, dirty - look these words up in a thesaurus and you'll have some idea of what the Icarus Line sound like. With only one thousand copies pressed, this sounds exactly as rare as it is.

Bluebird - Falling back to earth EP (Sweet Nothing)
Soft-boiled stoner rock is today's special. It comes with a side of Dave Grohlish vocals and is garnished with Kyuss riffs. Should go down quite easy and keep you going for the rest of the day. You ever had Monster Magnet? It's kinda the same, only a little less meaty. So, you want fries with that?

One Minute Silence - We bounce (V2)
One Minute Silence are of the rare breed that walk the walk with confidence and poise. Their problem has always been talking the talk. Unfortunately, this new offering only shows that their quest to capture their legendary live sound is set to go on. The lyrics are clumsy, the riffs unwieldy and obvious and even the passion is missing from the delivery. Don't give up yet lads.

Awakening Queen Maebh - Hey Dublin (Awakening Queen Maebh)
Mixing drum-machine beats and violins with mother-singing-a-lullaby vocals was never likely to work. Oh look, it didn't.

Goldfrapp - Strict Machine (Mute)
A shit dancey version of Garbage - it actually sounds like diarrhoea. Hey, this really gets easier with age.

Playmaker - Arizona (Pale Fox)
Playmaker deliver passionate, glowing rock that floods the head with light. What a relief, I can get down off this ledge now. Comforting, but not smothering; warming, but not burning, this is quite a treat. Why not? Go on, you deserve it.

Fingercuffs - Champion the underdog (Holier Than Thou)
If I gave prizes for song titles, well I'd be an idiot, but Fingercuffs would win hands down. Pity their performance here is so pedestrian and half-hearted. In fact, if I just made up a review, you wouldn't be missing anything. This is going to make about as big an impact as Lipton Ice.

Dannii Minogue - Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling (London Records 90)
Hand-claps, touched-up vocals, sub-funky bass? I spy modern disco by numbers. Reminds me of those awful in-house songs that sometimes play over the endings to dodgy Japanese video games. Kylie-versus-Dannii debates are becoming increasingly irrelevant considering neither has even the musical value of marmite.

Dreamchild - Lovebug (Dreambuggy)
This makes me think of Bagpuss for some reason. Maybe it's that wistful, sepia photograph atmosphere. Maybe it's those plaintive, Steve Wilsonesque vocals. Maybe it's the bells. Anyway, this is just enough to keep my attention for three minutes. Pity it's four and a half long. Still, Bagpuss was pretty cool.

The Real - Red (Warner)
This floaty, cloudy rock is getting quite popular. Thank you fucking Coldplay. The problem is it just doesn't go anywhere. You wait and wait while it dips and soars in an ugly fucking void and you know you shouldn't hate it, that you should look into the heart of the song and love it for what it is, but it's just so goddamned boring, the kind of music that calculators would make if they could, ultimately a complete and utter waste of several minutes you just won't get back and you simply don't know why it makes you angry but it fucking does. Sorry.

Serafin - Things fall apart (Chrysalis)
Slow, slow - fast. Slow, slow - fast. 'Things fall apart' isn't quite emo, but the difference is like that between sheep and goats. Fortunately b-side 'Spanish Water' demonstrates a venom-spitting attitude more reminiscent of The Vines. This won't enrich your life in any way, but it won't exactly kill you either, so suit yourself. And they had the balls to try a Bowie cover. It dies on its arse, but at least they try.

Stars of Aviation - Snow on snow (Kitchen Recipe 5)
Contrary to popular belief, a good acoustic band is incredibly rare. The ability to squeeze interesting sounds out of such an instrument has almost vanished. Stars of Aviation are not the ones to bring it back. 'Snow on snow' is perfectly acceptable, but in a very real sense that's the problem. Shouldn't we want more form our music than slow "intimate" verses and a "soaring" end section? I say we should. Throw this on the heap with Travis and Turin Brakes and forget about it.

Hot Water Music - Remedy (Epitaph)
How can a band so bludgeoningly direct on record be so muffled and bland live? The complete opposite of One Minute Silence, HWM are like heartburn on CD. Surging and pulsing with belief like a heart about to burst, it's clear this is a group who have honed their studio craft. Nice, but dampened by the fact that they can't translate this raucous energy on stage. Makes you wonder.

Sam Obernik - Mr. Butterfly (Warner)
Another dancehall classic that sounds like it was created on one of those music CD-ROMs being given away with Cinnamon Grahams cereal. Mmm, buy Cinnamon Grahams. See this is an advertisement and not copyright infringement. Go Grahams.

Loki - 56 Seconds (Loki)
According to their blurb, Loki deliver a "hard-hitting emo sound that is unique and loud". Unique might be pushing it a little, but give them a chance. This shows a lot of promise and with the right direction, Loki will surely deliver some classics in the future. On the other hand, they might fuck it all up. It's all up to them now - I hope they get all the help they deserve.

reviews by Dominic Body unless otherwise stated

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