Another week and another mixed bag of musical offerings from artists new, old and frankly past it. Some of the most satisfying music to review is those new artists who surprise (see this weeks Single of the Week). So prepare to be pleased, surprised or disappointed by how our reviewers rate or slate a selection of new music making its debut over the few days and weeks.
Single of the Week
This weeks highlight comes in the form of London based, Alt-Folk band Urusen who charmed reviewer Sean Howlett with their refreshing brand of infectious folk pop.
Urusen // The Islander/A Once Was Tramp & Tree (Double A Side)
Urusen’s double A-side single The Islander/A Once Was Tramp And Tree is a joy to listen to. Their folk-inspired melodies don’t just fit in to the current folk spectrum, marked by Marling and Mumford, but rely on a greater heritage of alt-folk. The songs are great, first of all. The lyrics are bold yet calming and the production really presents archaic images of Britishness. Lush harmonies and orchestration accompany these incredibly catchy ditties, taking them from nice songs to melodies that get stuck in your head for days. You can really tell that at the core of this act is incredible passion, yet they remain to touch the heartstrings and offer a beautifully constructed pastiche of sound. In this David Guetta day and age, it’s a stunningly refreshing change. Out November 14th. (by Sean Howlett)
The Submarines // Shoelaces/Fires (Double A Side)
Brimming with Electronic-Indie Pop goodness and some damn fine melodies, the Submarines are worth a listen. ‘Shoelaces’ keeps the raw vocals of the husband and wife duo contrasted against a mix of experimental style instrumental. Reminiscent of The Cardigans; a definite feel-good song. Meanwhile, folky vocals against an Electronic backdrop, Fire is a beautifully layered song with a catchy melody and punchy beat. The Submarines have done it again, a song to make you feel good…it’ll have your foot tapping. (by Emma Sims)
Maverick Sabre // I Need
Maverick Sabre burst onto the music scene this time last year when he featured on Professor Green’s single, Jungle. Since then, his music has been going from strength to strength. In March this year he released The Lost Words EP which featured 4 singles, including the amazing song Look What I’ve Done. His voice is highly distinguishable, quirky yet beautiful, and that tone certainly doesn’t differ on his new single I Need. The single, which is out on the 6th November, is a smooth, chilled out track featuring silky strings flowing throughout, along with the odd guitar strum and piano motif. The great thing about Maverick Sabre is although he is able to sing in a beautiful way, he still manages add an urban vibe to the music with his almost rap like vocal style. I highly recommend this track, but just to warn you, if you press play it is more than likely you’ll have to put it on repeat! Look out for Mavericks album, due 2012. (by Georgina Upton)
The Bullits // Supercool
Infectious ‘Supercool’ vocals, the swagger of early Kasabian with added dance ability makes this track from the Bullits an instant hit in my books. Perhaps not as full sounding as earlier single Landspeeder but a different direction from London producer and song writer Jeymes Samuel’s group is very much welcomed. (by Rob Dewis)
Wretch-32 // Black & White
I must admit, I was never a big fan of Wretch 32 when he first came out with Traktor or Don’t Go and before playing the album Black & White I did have pre-conceptions about the album, expecting to hear the sound of your typical rap album. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the album as a whole, especially certain songs such as I’m Not The Man and Anniversary depicting his effortless style. The phrase “write about what you know” is evident in his songs as he mentions life growing up in Tottenham, London and some of the worries of youth living in similar areas. The album shows off some great collaborations between Wretch 32 and other artists such as Chipmunk, Example, Ed Sheeran and Delilah to name a few. The collaborations seem to stand out from the other tracks on the album, pulling on from different influences in the music industry. (by Saadiya Yusuf)
You Me At Six // Sinners Never Sleep
Sinners Never Sleep is You Me At Six’s third album and having only just come out of their teens is quite the achievement. The album is definitely an attempt at leaving behind their pop punk songs about girls breaking hearts and leaving their lipstick on your best friend’s car and instead have opted for a more serious rock sound. This is shown by having Parkway Drive’s lead vocalist; Winston McCall to emphasise the more hard-core side of the new album in “Time is Money”. It would have been a disaster if the boys totally left their pop punk days behind, so there are still songs about those who have broken poor, unlucky in love lead singer Josh Franceschi’s heart to keep already devoted fans happy. Personally I enjoy the sound they already had going for them, it has brought them so much success, and feel that they shouldn’t have to mature and turn into the Foo Fighters just because they are now in their early twenties. The album has some good songs, including “Bite my Tongue” a song Josh wrote about the tensions within the band at the time, but surely the band is still young enough not to take themselves too seriously and keep on chasing “blondes with green eyes”. (by Tilly Sharp)
The Kooks // Junk of the Heart (Album)
Listening to the marmite-esque vocals of Luke Pritchard, consistently sounding like he can’t quite be bothered to open his mouth properly, the new Kooks album comes across more relaxed than their previous, Konk. They seem to have stripped down their up-beat songs in favour of a more mature, acoustic sound. Unfortunately lacking any prospects of matching the hits (Naïve and She Moves In Her Own Way) heard on Inside In Inside Out, Junk of the Heart seems to be taking a slightly different direction that just isn’t different enough. Some songs come across dated and repetitive with lyrics sounding suspiciously like they were stolen from the diary of a thirteen year old girl. Undoubtedly die-hard Kooks fans will still enjoy this album; they ultimately retain their distinctive style but honestly, don’t get too excited. (by Emma Sims)
Skrillex //More Monsters and Sprites EP
For anyone familiar with Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP, the question is how can you actually get ‘More’? With so much wobble bass, Skrillex should probably call himself ‘Obi Wub Kinobi’, the original hits you over the head like Godzilla with a laser gun.
As individual tracks, this ‘extras’ EP is pretty decent and has some unexpected gems. Who would have thought a Phonat remix would include slow dub, more in line with SBTRKT number. However there are only so many ‘OH MY GODS!’ that you can take in one listening. In other words, Skrillex’s intensity, that is often so genius, actually creates the fall of this EP. For me, More Monsters and Nice Sprites EP is just a means by which a box gets ticked with the words, ‘new release’. (by Rob Dewis)
Next week we’ll have reviews of Lou Reed & Metallica, Jay-Z & Kanye West and Delilah. Until then, have a good one!