Artrocker Magazine’s Single Reviews for the week commencing July 26th
A day late, we have singles from These New Puritans, Tribes, Magic Numbers & Crystal Castles...
These New Puritans
Asking someone if they can please "shut the door" might not seem like the basis for an avant-pop work of genius, but with its follow up line ("because if I stay here, the world might disappear") These New Puritans show they can turn even mundane things, like... well, doors, into acute observations of urban paranoia. How do they do it, eh?
As you'd expect, 'Hologram' is revolutionary in its own little way, being both as emotionally absorbent as a Kleenex and as artistically abstract as Derek Jarman movie. They have got the cake... they are running with the cake... they have eaten the cake, repeat, they have eaten the cake.
(Ban Jam Records)
Some summer evenings have a sense of magic and mystery to them, with air to breath and clarity in the mind. Such a spirit is summoned by the debut single from Tribes, who know how to be heavy but, in their own words, "keep the soft bits quiet."
The result is kind of like Nirvana en route to Jeff Buckley, a song with a gentle sensitivity combined with a grungey, stomp-box chorus. It's not really breakthrough material, but let's give these pups some time.
Welcome back to the Gothic Rave of the Cyborgs Part 2! In this episode, Alice is having problems speaking in any decipherable human language, so she's taken up primal screaming therapy. Meanwhile, Ethan has accidentally locked himself in the attic with all his synths, resulting in an epic composition which bleeps gracefully one minute, then flashes with euphoric church-synths the next.
Tune in next week, when Alice will be shooting death-rays through her eyeballs because she's got a parking ticket!
The Magic Numbers
Why Did You Call?
It seems only yesterday that the Magic Numbers crawled out of a cave curated by Yo La Tengo and stunned the world with that single which was quite good. But while ‘Forever Lost’ saw them presenting softly shampooed beards, unthreatening physiques and a kind of checkshirt-indie Noah and the Whale, and their subsequent two albums did very much the same - it appears that a change of direction is in the offing.
‘Why Did You Call?’ is actually closer to (‘80s paradigm poppers) T'Pau than anything else, but more credibly invokes a Beegees through Prince pillow of indie disco.
Admittedly it's less Studio 54 and more studio flat with soft brown furnishings, less disco biscuits and more home-made biscuits, the kind of environment where homely residues of shake 'n' vac are the only white powder. But laboured metaphors aside - this is a skilful and very pleasant single.
Daniel B Yates