March 1, 2008
BritPop Brunch: Fickle XO
Let us take the month of February and bury it in the ground. The anxiety, grief, anger, depression, panic, etc, etc. We are this close to Spring and, while the exchange rate suggests I won't be in Londinium anytime soon, there's always the music scene to distract me.
The Kooks Always Where I Need To Be
Catchy is not enough, boys. I am in the camp that loves the Brighton group, mainly on the strength of Luke Pritchard's vocals and 2 songs, Naive and She Moves In Her Own Way, which are smart Britpop. The new single features Luke mixed right up front, but it's decidedly lackluster. Some A&R guy may have thought the doo-doo-doo-doo bits would translate into sales, but the song just lays there. "[Wah wah wah] I'm a man on the scene." Well, no Luke, unless it's the "scene" of Tesco shoppers on a Saturday morning.
Duffy Stepping Stone
The Rockferry album turns out to be a solid piece of music with some clear singles and slow burn album cuts, this one from the latter category. If each song has a time of day it should be played for best effect, Stepping Stone is for dusk. It's slinky, yet defiant: "I will never be your stepping stone / Take it alll or leave me alone." As if Duffy's putting on her makeup for a night out - glass of wine in hand - and she's totally wary of the whole fucking thing. [Hmmmm. Sounds like someone I know... minus the makeup]. Expect critics to slash and burn this album, out Monday, but it contains real melodies, vocals and diverse arrangements.
The Feeling Without You
Funny. A song I like, in which my review will sound like I don't like it. Without You is the finest moment on The Feeling's overcooked new CD, Join With Us. I can't even bear to review the full album, I dislike it that much. This song has several things going for it: a great melody, a lush orchestrals, some nice squizzy electronics and a melancholy theme of being away from those you love. I do find it a bit creepy how Dan G-S sings the line "30 dead and one teenage gunman" in an almost come-hither voice, though, and the song - like much of the album - has some outright clunker lyrics: "Even though your heart's in the dungeon / I wonder what the time is in London?" Huh? And a minor detail: no one calls it "North Virginia." It's northern Virginia. Whatever, a solid single.
A brilliant title to launch Delays third CD, Everything's A Rush. The song starts promisingly with synthy strings, chiming bells and a nice guitar line. Greg's verse vocals are subtle and cool, but there's something wrong here, perhaps because the chorus has the same melody as A Fine Frenzy's superior Come On Come Out (hear the latter at FF's myspace). That said, Hooray has an urgent bridge and is ubercatchy. Of course, if previous singles Hideaway and Valentine can't propel them, I don't know what will.
Your Vegas In My Head
No, it's not my Vegas at all. A British band from Leeds with Vegas in the name is always suspect. Who do they want to be? The label is pushing them hard, but I was willing to give them a shot, even if they don't sound terribly British. In My Head is pure American radio pop/rock, incredibly slick and a bit of an earworm. Nothing less, nothing more, but it could be a hit. I think I prefer Troubled Times on their myspace.
Supergrass When I Need You
"All the shit that we face everyday / Somehow works itself it out any way." Supergrass has defied all odds and survived for 13 years, out of the ashes of the original BritPop 90's invasion. This track is evidence of how much they've grown, with a sophisticated melody, adult lyrics and an arrangement that straddles the line between slick and practical. "I looked at old photos for hours and hours" sings Gaz Coombes, but his band is not resting on any old image of itself. This track is magnificent in every way.
The Kooks Always Where I Need To Be via Hype Machine
The Feeling Without You hear it on their myspace
Delays Hooray check via Google Blogs
Supergrass When I Need You at Obscure Sound
Your Vegas In My Head MP3
photo from London Daily Photo Blog