Every week, we at Pugwash News get sent quite a few promo CDs in for us to review, some good, some bad, some mindblowingly indifferent. Here is our fortnightly round up of all the singles we have been sent.
Fran Healey – Fly In The Ointment (Out now) – 8/10
‘Fly In The Ointment’, the new single off the Travis front man’s debut solo album Wreckorder plays out very much how you would expect, in that it favours soft rock aspects over the Britpop sounds of Healy’s more recognisable work.
Not that Travis were ever bombastic but the intentional absence of energy is immediately characterized by the slow, repetitive percussion and long drawn out brooding bass notes, with guitar playing that’s cadenced yet fairly varied in its rhythmic structure. Somewhere down the line the strings will kick in, and it must be said the way all these elements suddenly congregate in the chorus is fairly bone chilling and easy to nod along with.
Whether you liked Travis or not, they stood outside of the same circle as comparable bands such as Coldplay and Stereophonics in how their music actually had identity, and whilst some of this is present in ‘Fly in the Ointment’, it bears few markings that really pervade its melancholic prowess into your subconscious. In the end it’s the standard dilemma of adult contemporary music: nice, easy listening but otherwise totally forgettable, though the lyricism sure is beautiful.
Metronomy- She Wants (Out now) – 8/10
A definite great return from the London electro lads, with a totally deep and nice Cure vibe to this single. The radio edit stands just over a minute shorter than the original, but both manage to retain the band’s sound from previous albums while bringing another great song to a growing set list. A taster of what’s to come from their new album out in April and their tour which will be stopping here in Portsmouth on the 17th.
The Chapman Family – Anxiety (Out now) – 8/10
From the very start The Chapman Family’s fifth single ‘Anxiety’ surprises in how well mixed its own blend of remorse recollection is with its jaunty guitar playing, a refreshing compound of catharsis juxtaposed with jubilation. This a
ttempt to remove itself from ‘angry noise’ is indeed the band’s intention with their forthcoming album Burn Your Town with front man Kingsley saying: “we’ve tried to do an album in cinemascope, Avatar, 3D style”.
Ambitious? Too right, but it’s easy to see the broad range of directions they’re attempting to go in. The song writing is fantastic in getting across the cultural indifference marred by the band, helped immensely by Kingsley’s restrained vocal style and a guitar solo that doesn’t in the slightest feel at odds with the rest of the track.
B-side piece ‘Remarks’ does feel a little too messy to match its aggressive tendencies, though the plodded use of vocals gives it a dark occupancy, especially as a follow on to Anxiety’s retrospective approach to the frustration felt for the modernisation of the quiet towns we call home. Speaking of which, the video for the single is phenomenal and woefully lacking in viewership. A unique and very promising release.
Spark – Crave (Out 28th March) – 6/10
This clever little mashup of Egyptian instruments with a grimy electro beat and a lead vocal resembling so many British female singers, Spark’s debut single seems a catchy but passing song, which you’d like at the first listen, but maybe not so much care for after the fourth or fifth time. Nevertheless, definite radio potential, as the mainstream currently adores the all-generic combo of female vocals, mashups and electro.