Moody, dark, dirty, gritty, but somehow cosy too
Alan Smith Gets Mucky With Some Singles
Feeder - Idaho
You already know whether you like Feeder or not, and this single
isn't going to change anybody's mind. They get a lot of stick, unfairly
I feel, for continuing to put out music that doesn't change the world.
Not all music has to. They are consistent in their output, making
catchy bouncy light-indie-rock songs that their fans love. Is that
really such a bad thing? NME, for example, reviewed this single by
saying "it really is time these feckless wankers fucked off for
good, innit?", a review showing unrivalled levels of depth, incisiveness
and journalistic prowess. I've no idea why Feeder get such hate; their
days of heavy radio play are behind them so there is no reason to
listen to them if you really don't want to. This single then: it's
from their eighth (eighth!!) studio album Generation Freakshow, which
was received, well, rather quietly by the mainstream media. It's no
Buck Rogers, but it has a memorable chorus and upbeat "riffy"
sound that reminds me most of their Echo Park album. B-side Stay If
You Want To is in a similar style, pleasantly not a dreary acoustic
number. They are touring in November if you want to party like it's
Skinny Lister - Colours / Rollin' Over
Skinny Lister were (officially) the "hardest working band
of 2011". I'm not sure who awards this; I'm pretty sure it's
not BAFTA or even The BRIT Awards, but apparently it is something
to do with performing more festivals than any other band, Ed Sheeran
included. Where that leaves them in 2012 is a mystery. They are signed
to Rob da Bank's Sunday Best label, so credibility is guaranteed.
They are a British folk band. And no, this doesn't mean they sound
like Mumford & Sons. Colours is a gently inoffensive, unexciting
gentle female voiced gentle song, and it is easy to picture them singing
this gently at 2.30pm in a gentle festival field somewhere. In fact,
I'm surprised I didn't see them at Green Man recently. Rollin' Over
is much better, in my opinion, in that it's actually got some life
and more of a melody. I'm no expert on folk music, so any comparison
from me is inevitably going to wrong, but listen to this if you are
a fan of traditionally English folk with a mixture of instruments
from accordions to banjos and violins. Honestly though, I'll never
listen to this again, too twee for me and the music is just Rollin'
Over me. Gently. www.skinnylister.com
Matt Finucane - Hard Science
Matt Finucane has made a delight here. Moody, dark,
dirty, gritty, but somehow cosy too. Like Mark Lanegan if he had become
a preacher and laid off the booze and fags. The b-side Cast Off Yr
Mask is equally good, slightly more gruff and freewheeling with more
room for guitar solos, unlike the single which is more er
in that it pays more attention to lyrical repetition than to creativity.
It's always great to hear an artist doing things their way, producing
a unique sound that is surely infinitely better than what you would
get were he "produced" with more money thrown at the project.
The album is called Glow In The Dark and on the basic of these songs
is well worth checking out. I'm also intrigued to discover if his
absorbing sound translates as well in a live performance as I think
it will. www.mattfinucane.net
Dub Pistols - Alive / Mucky Weekend
Built around a repetitive (and irritating) chorus of "because
you are alive and you will survive" this rather bouncy dance
number doesn't really go anywhere, but I guess it isn't meant to.
Other than some excessive but nice enough use of horns throughout
what exactly does this have going for it? Not a lot in my opinion.
The melody reminds me a lot of Superstylin' by Groove Armada. In fact,
everything about this song reminds me of Superstylin', just not quite
as good. B-side Mucky Weekend is better, although that obviously isn't
saying much. It is better because it is built around some actual lyrics
(courtesy of Rodney P). There still isn't much beyond a beat behind
it, but I can at least see the appeal of the song.
The Proclaimers - Whatever You've Got
Is this come kind of joke? Oh, it's from the album Like Comedy so
I guess it is. This is shit, it's a bit like Whatever You Want by
Status Quo, it is nauseating and begins to grate before the first
minute is up.
Mercifully there is no b-side. www.proclaimers.co.uk
By Alan Smith