Single Reviews: 11th February, 2003
The Good North - Define Worth Waiting (Primary Voltage)
The Good North try to combine warm guitar sounds with subtle base touches and heartfelt vocals. They almost pull it off. There's just something a little uninspiring about it. I don't think they're quite at where they want to be yet, but I hope they get there. It sounds like fun.
Blind Eye View - Perfume - (Fluffer)
As Perfume shudders into action, you feel that something interesting is going to happen. The music shifts and vocals soar enticingly and you feel rewarded as there is enough going on underneath the surface to keep this from languishing in back yard porch music hell. It's sincere - I like that.
Echoboy - Automatic Eyes (Mute)
If the fact that the music sounds like a broken alarm clock that just wont stop doesn't piss you off, then the lazy vocals and pounding drums will finish the job off nicely. There's nothing to recommend this feeble ringtone other than its polyphonic optimism. It is, to mirror its tiresome nature with an equally worn metaphor, the weakest link.
Woodstar - the last sad verse of a dumb punk song (Wet Clay)
Considering that they've just made me type one of the clunkiest song titles in the history of the English language and thus tired me, this had better be good. Oh shit, it isn't. Breathless singing and trite use of keyboards mean this is one of the dampest musical squibs in recent memory. In fact, looking up the meaning of the word squib is far more appealing than listening to this again.
Beyond Dawn - Far From Showbiz (Peaceville)
Peaceville is generally such a reliable label so let's see what they've served up for us here. Hmm, delicate beginning - good, good. Rumbling base and tight beats - interesting. What's this, terrible vocals and beatnik finger snapping? Ah, crap. After a promising thirty seconds it goes the way of the inflatable dartboard. Obviously the manager was out that day at Peaceville.
Appliance - Go Native (Mute)
With the swagger and attitude of the Stone Roses infusing their sound, Appliance can hardly fail. This is quirky and near irresistible, but just too close to the old masters to truly succeed. Highly entertaining and deep enough to perhaps imply a touch of the Doors, this is well worth a listen, especially if you're a fan of the dense atmospherics of the above-mentioned bands. You can't really go wrong unless you put the CD in the toaster by accident.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Bring It On (Mute)
When the opening bars of a song remind you of "Red"-era King Crimson or Tom Waits' more eccentric releases, it fills the heart with joy. When those sounds are quickly followed by Nick Cave's dignified voice in surprisingly positive mood, satisfaction is guaranteed. Not his finest song, or even the finest on his new album, this is still tasty fare the memory of which nurtures the soul even long after the last hearing. Classic Cave, just as tempting in small single servings as on four-course albums.
reviews above by Dominic Body
Chumbawamba - Jacob's Ladder (Not in my name) (Mutt Records)
There's war in the air, so you can rely on the Chumbas to get a single out there. They've taken the anti-war track from their most recent ladder and changed the lyrics to make it an anti-"this war" track. It's a great track as well, a melodic piece with a great folk song sample thrown in for good measure, this is the Chumbas in "speak softly and carry a big stick" mode. Also included are the album version of the song, and a funkier dance track, 'Round 'em up and throw 'em in', which is more like their usual style, but does include another folk sample.
Curve - Perish (FatLip)
This CD looks cool, it's a mini-CD with clear plastic around it to make it regular size and a big flower on it. The main song, 'Perish', is taken from their second to last album "Gift" rather than "New Adventures...", it's that strange track where Toni repeats the word "surely" a lot (which sounds strangely like Shirley, as in yer wan from Garbage) and sings about "staying together for the sake of the memories". It's a fairly slow track to lead off a single with, 'Want more need less' is a full-on old school Curve electro-rock track and has a far greater punch. 'Recovery', a new version of the track from "Come Clearn", is a very slow track, in the atmospheric electronica style Curve were doing long before trip hop. Good stuff.
Fields of the Nephilim - One more nightmare (Jungle)
Putting aside the controversy that surrounds this single and the album it comes from (the band has denied they wanted it released), there's the question of whether its anywhere close to the classic Gothic Rock the band used to release. Well, it's not the same anyway, the track (a reworking of 'Trees come down') has an electronic backing driving it, which is closer to what Rob Zombie does than they used to, and there's elements of the harsher sound of Nefilim in it too, but it's not half bad all the same. It's a driving powerhouse of intensity and venom, heavy as all get out and likely to appeal as much to metal fans as Goths. The same can not be said for the second track, a new version of 'Darkcell AD', which is FotN by numbers and not particularly impressive.
Conjure one - sleep/tears from the moon (Nettwerk)
Not a lot of people probably know that one half of Delerium had left the band before 'Silence' became such a massive hit, but Rhys Fulber split from Bill Leeb after recording the album from which 'Silence' is taken and got none of the glory. This is his comeback and he heads straight for the top of the trance scene with the main mix on this single, which is an Ian Van Dahl mix of 'sleep'. It's basically all you'd expect, tired cheesy chart trance that's not worthy of Mr Fulber. Music fans should just skip the first track and go straight to the two mixes of 'tears from the moon', which features the vocals of Sinead O'Connor (who seems to be everywhere these days). The "hybrid twisted on the terrace mix V.2" by mike truman and chris healings is a throbbing monster of a track, with a great beat, a lush and intense sound and topped with a fabulous vocal performance from Sinead. The Robbie Rivera mix, which has a strong old skool flavour, is slightly less impressive, but it's still a fairly good dance mix and still has that great vocal.
Dirty Stevie - Do you wanna have sex with me (Komodo)
Dirty Stevie play down and dirty, balls to the wall, rock music, or should that be RAWK music? It's not big, it's definitely not clever, but it is fun stuff. Obviously drawing their musical influences from classic bands like Free, Bad Company and the Stones and their lyrical influences from teenage schoolboys, Stevie are sleazy, noisy and pretty good at what they do. Three songs, the title track, 'Untitled' and 'Livin' in a hole', loads of guitars blasting out ripped off riffs, loads of the singer going "baby" and loads of not so subtle sexual references.
reviews above by Donnacha DeLong
For more singles, check out the new Sordid 12"s section, featuring dark dancefloor sounds on vinyl.
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