Awkward Silences
Jess Trash makes polite conversation

Cosmo Jarvis's "She's Got You" is, apparently, "a blissfully intoxicating single... sure to give the recorder the attention it richly deserves." Now, I'm all in favour of this, in principle -- hey, who didn't have a recorder in primary school? It's the ultimate in democratic instrumentation, right? -- but sadly, the execution ain't so sharp. It's just a pointless and barely-audible gimmick, sprinkled over three minutes of bog-standard indie-pop that's chirpy, self-conscious, and all kinds of other ick. 4/10

I've been unimpressed by Red Light Company before, and "Meccano" doesn't do much to change my mind. Sure, it's got a couple of redeeming features -- fuzzily dirty guitars, and a chorus that aims towards anthemic -- but that's about it. There's no wit or fire to it, and the whole thing just falls flat. 4/10

Ohh, but that's more like it. Dolly Rockers' "Gold Digger" takes the good bits of '90s girl-pop (Shampoo's Cockney sneer; the Spice Girls' gang-up-on-you glee; the balls-out bitchery of the scary girls at the back of the bus) and smears it over a deceptively laconic backing track like spraypaint. And they look like pop stars should, all glitter and too much makeup and screw-you stares instead of come-hither smiles. It's the spirit of all those girl bands you wished would never grow up, and it's fucking awesome. 8/10

Last Temple Orchestra's "Let's Pretend" sneaks up on you. It's downbeat, but oddly compelling, and the catatonic delivery belies the triumphant lyrics, highlighting the empty nature of escapism and feeling like you own the world on Friday night. B-side "I'm Losing Sight" is more interesting, though, building up through stages of spiralling desperation, and cutting off suddenly enough to feel two minutes shorter than it actually is. 6/10

Desperation is clearly something with which Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences are familiar. You can practically taste the bile on "I've Had My Fun," its flayingly sarcastic evocation of nine-to-five living spat out over pounding chords. It clocks in at over seven minutes, and its venom gets diluted a little along the way, but as it all falls apart in an anguished snarl at the end, it grabs your attention right back. 8/10

Jess Trash