Singles - September 2008
Posted by Kuang on Mon, 01 Sep 2008.
Infadels - A Million Pieces
You could never accuse London based 5-piece The Infadels of coasting. They've bounced from pillar to post over the past five years, at times balancing on the edge of critical meltdown, but have still hung onto their principle of taking complete control of their musical output and clocking up over 350 shows in the process. 'A Million Pieces' comes from their latest album 'Universe In Reverse' and packs a hefty emotional punch among waves of blissful uplifting synths and a scattershot backbeat. There's a seamless fusion of rock and pop sensibilities here, melted into a dramatic and playful blast that would easily melt the hearts of a late evening summer festival crowd. The Infadels haven't had an easy time of it, but soak up the joyful energy that pours out of this single for a few lazy minutes and you'd never know.
Duffy - Stepping Stone
The Welsh soul diva returns with a moody tale of lost love and confusion, 'Stepping Stone' flows like honey, laced with deep introspection and heartbreak - 'The words of love lie on my lips just like a curse'. - capturing the softer side of motown a la Dusty Springfield and Roberta Flack. It's melancholy and wistful, but none the less captivating for it - you might not play 'Stepping Stone' at a party, but if you were picking through the wreckage of a rough day and needed to get away for a while, there's little more soothing or capable of taking you there.
Black Tide - Shout
It's 1990, and all is not only well but is bouncing off the walls and chucking chairs out of the windows. Black Tide may well sound as if they've just fallen through a timewarp from stadium rock's swansong years, but they have it where it counts - amazing for a band whose members weren't born for most of that era! Shout is a raucous fuzzbomb jaunt through the finest moments of rawk, throwing saccharine harmonies and sorching solos out left, right and centre. If you were into Skid Row, Motley Crue, Testament and their kin, christmas has come early.
Conor Oberst - Souled Out!!!
Bob Dylan was there, and he was taking a look through Grant Lee Buffalo's songbook when Zappa leaned in, passed the suspicious cigarette he was smoking and suggested a few additions to 'really make people think their ears are on the blink'. Ok.. maybe that didn't actually happen, but if it had then 'Souled Out!!!' might be the sort of track you'd expect to stumble out into the light a few days later. Over a mellow drifting country-fried backing, Oberst spins a strange and surreal tale of progress set against history. He has a lazy, almost narrative vocal style and isn't so precious that he's not prepared to laugh audibly mid-verse once in a while, which proves strangely endearing. It's not instantly catchy by any means and my just be too bizarre and laid back for some, but there's always the sense that if you stick with it you may divine something deeper below the surface.
Nick Harrison - Oi Rude Boy
Timing is everything, none more so than when you're releasing a single that needs to drift out over beaches rather than wade through floods. It may well be that Harrison's infectious mix of ska and pop, drizzled in fuzzy guitar may have the power to drag a bit of summer forward as the clocks go back. 'Oi Rude Boy' skanks and fizzes in equal measures, dosed liberally with horns, dubby basslines and a flyaway chorus. It plays like The Police, The Specials and Bloc Party stuck in a revolving door, and will get under your skin faster than a rat up a drainpipe trouser leg.
David Holmes - I Heard Wonders
You'd probably expect something soundtrack-ish from a new David Holmes release.. rich mellow electronica, maybe a bit bombastic in the middle eight.. and on this occasion you'd be completely wrong. 'I Heard Wonders' could have been the Jesus and Mary Chain / Tangerine Dream collaboration that never was, packed with constantly shifting layered guitars and chiming synths. Now, I like JAMC a lot and I'm partial to some of Holmes cinematic work, but I can't quite settle with this. You get the feeling that it wants to fly higher with every verse, but there doesn't seem to be the defining sunburst moment that would make it soar. It's genuinely pleasant in a roof down, arm out, Route 66 kind of way but it doesn't grab you as it should. I've recently heard the rest of the album 'The Holy Pictures' and I can safely say that there are some lovely moments in there, but I'm not convinced that this was the best track to showcase Holmes' new angle.