Artrocker Magazine’s Single Reviews for the week commencing April 26th
This week we've got singles from The Neat, Mariachi El Bronx, Ocean Colour Scene, We Rock Like Girls Don't and more...
In Youth Is Pleasure
(Chewing Gum Records)
Writing an original rock song often depends on one simple twist, and with ‘In Youth Is Pleasure’, The Neat have invented some kind of bizarre new drum pattern. Is it grime ‘n bass? Is it acid techno? Who knows, but by adding a B-52s-style vocal and an adrenalin gland’s worth of urgency, the results are obscenely brilliant.
We Rock Like Girls Don't
Welcome To My World/Feeling Lonely Now
Come in, come in. Close the door. Relax and lie down. Now prepare yourself... for the leatherman!
Yes, like a date with a gimp, 'Welcome to My World' is the sound of a slightly mental sexual encounter - singer Ros creeps up your leg with a demented smile and a twinkle in her eye. "Wanna play along?" she asks, while drums 'n guitars cut 'n paste like rock 'n roll all around her. It's all a bit like Hole gone down Rodney's English Disco.
More interesting perhaps is 'Feeling Lonely Now', which wafts around the room like a vaguely concerning but ultimately polite ghost... then suddenly starts cackling like a freak and spurting flames out of its ass. It is, in short, not very predictable.
Ocean Colour Scene
These chaps were cool for about a week in the late 90s, when Chris Evans picked them up to soundtrack his beer 'n pop TV show TFI Friday. A week later they were being mocked in the classrooms, but somehow their popularity has endured in reality and not just, y'know, the Twilight Zone.
It's reassuring and weird to find they still sound the same: this single steals from the graves of the greats (ABBA, Joe Cocker) without offering the necessary pelvic thrust of invention to ignite anything more.
Who needs 80s synths, choppy beats and gold teeth when you've got a good old honky tonk piano, eh? 'Evil' is a melancholy pop song themed around mortality, and in its forgiving, late night melodies it offers a way out for the spaced out, pitching itself musically somewhere between Mercury Rev and some long forgotten '60s soul number. Touching.
Young British Artists
Lived In Skin / Million Miles
Young British Artists are a young Manchester indie guitar group, who win props immediately for exploring less obvious influences than many of their peers.
‘Lived In Skin’ in particular is a fine tune, recalling Felt or Monochrome Set, though the influence isn't obvious.
Sharply side winding through melodic direction changes and accompanied by a soft Hammond in the background, the song has a twilit quality which gently evokes Mancunian melancholia without bringing it on too heavily.
Quite obviously ones to watch, Young British Artists could well be the male counterparts to fellow Mancunian Lonelady in exploring post punk’s lesser known tributaries.
Mariachi El Bronx
It’s a strange proposition; The Bronx, known for their post-hardcore muscle music and intense live experience, don ponchos and sombreros’ and take to the streets as the hopelessly romantic Mariachi El Bronx; strange but true.
Sure they’re having fun with us, but who cares when the summer is fast approaching and ‘Holy’ could potentially provide the soundtrack to the copious amounts of Margarita making we’ll be doing as soon as the first days of sunshine show their pretty face.
With its trumpet flourishes, perfectly picked Spanish guitar and yearning string arrangements, you’d be forgiven for thinking 'Holy' was a pleasant little song about love. But check out those lyrics; when they talk of "a life on the run" or ask "Mother Mary let them all die slowly", you just know there's some Robert Rodriguez-style small town ultra violence on the horizon - and it just make the whole thing one hundred percent more awesome.
The ABC Club
(Things To make & Do)
Accusations of someone or another being the "female Morrissey" have been thrown around as frequently as general election coverage lately, so let's spare The ABC Club the cliches, and just say that 'Thieving Magpie' is a luminous piece of artrock with a soulful croon stretched out over the top. Exhilarating but intimate, this single is just a glimpse into the band's excellent DIY pop catalogue.