Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The Maccabees – Love You Better

With so many of the gang of 2007 having fallen fowl of second-album syndrome (hell, even the NME can’t stand the new Enemy one), it’s hard not to suspect that Brighton tykes The Maccabees must be feeling the strain a little. But to their credit, new single “Love You Better” is a pop gem as delightful as any they’ve release to date, with Orlando Weeks’ vocals as impassioned and memorable as ever. While it’s no quantum leap from their debut, the horn arrangement that builds over the song’s three minute is a smart, impressively restrained addition to their arsenal, and with their imitable brand of slow-burning anthemics as sharp as ever, “Love You Better” bodes very well indeed for the full-length comeback ‘Wall Of Arms’.

Review by Mark Corcoran-Lettice

Passion Pit– The Reeling

Having burst into the public eye after the song “Sleepyhead” from their ‘Chunk Of Change’ EP was featured on MTV adverts and tipped in the BBC’s Sound of 2009 poll, expectations are high for the boys of Passion Pit, and while new single “The Reeling” (the first from their full-length debut ‘Manners’) might not be as immediate as its predecessor, it’s still a delightful piece of dancefloor-ready pop. Kicking off with 80s-inflected synths that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the last M83 album, “The Reeling” may be a more retro-minded effort for the band, but the wonderfully messy chorus keeps things rooted in the modern day. The jury’s out on whether they’ll break out MGMT-style as some predict (and, one would assume, their record company hope), but “The Reeling” is a great little single in its own right.

Review by Mark Corcoran-Lettice

Hockey – Learn To Lose

Portland, Oregon new wave revivalists Hockey have been making big waves already after only one single, and as such their second release “Learn To Lose” carries more than a little hype on its shoulders. As flailing Talking Heads guitars engage in a tug of war with frontman Benjamin Grubin’s vocals, the track quickly races into a chorus that shows that the band’s much more on the ‘Small Creatures’ side of the fence than the ‘Remain In Light’ one. While it’s a fun enough song, the overwhelming air of preppyness gets very grating after several listens (I mean, didn’t we only just get Vampire Weekend to shut up?), and this reviewer fears that this isn’t going to be the last we hear of this song. Enjoy the tune by all means – it’s a decent ditty, after all – just don’t be surprised when you want to throttle the fuckers by the time the year’s out.

Review by Mark Corcoran-Lettice

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Innerpartysystem – Heart Of Fire EP

Hailing from Pennsylvania, American band Inner Party System attempt that well trodden path of dance beats and rock lyrics with a degree of success.

Opening track Heart of Fire (and current single) mixes 30 Seconds to Mars lyrics with the Ministry of Sound. Surprisingly this works with a degree of success and sets the tone for the rest of the EP.

The Way We Move is an all guns blazing keyboard driven dance floor filler. Glows sticks should be included with the listening of this record and is possibly the best track on the EP. Third track, Night is Alive really fizzes along at a pace. The Heart That Heals is slow burner with a gives way to thumping dance anthem which ebbs and flows nicely.

Final track Lover’s Dancing and Lover’s Dancing Remix are roughly cut from the same electronic rock cloth. It has a definite rock edge to it in its lyrical content which keeping to the dance beats of the previous tracks. The remix sticks a little too close to the original although it is a good attempt at remixing an already good song.

Has my inner party system been woken? Well almost.

Review by George McSorley

Delta Spirit- People C’mon

Any song which comes with a promo of a lumberjack (complete with full beard and fuzzy hair) eating a chicken drumstick and drinking a glass of wine surrounded by a table of food has to be good surely?

Thankfully, a-side People C’mon fits the bill. A rousing call to arms to go out and have a good time is beautifully driven by a 1930s western style piano which drifts in and out and action to be finally taken out by a buzzing guitar sole.

B-side Trashcan is again a piano driven masterpiece. This instrumental is the almost perfect dovetail to the a-side. The effect of the recording the song out in the California desert is written all over it- it’s bright, breezy and lovely.

People c’mon and buy this single.

Review by George McSorley

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Peyoti For President - Rising Tide Of Conformity

Think the political angst of Rage Against The Machine mixed with the style and vibe of Gipsy Kings and you will have some idea of what to expect from Peyoti For President. Lyrics ranting about the corruption of Politics and deception of words are dominant throughout the album and the theme of revolution and uprising is consistently evident but unfortunately after a while becomes a little strained and too preachy.
However for all the political expressionism of the record there is also a sweet instrumental rhythm to accompany it. The Spanish guitar is the only instrument to feature throughout and even though played well after a while seems to be fairly repetitive with its tune. One thing this album is not is dynamic. Songs seem to blend into one another and there is nothing to differentiate between them.
The Song ‘A People’s Lament’ that uses real life audio recordings of excerpts of various George Bush speeches and soldier statements with a gentle strumming of a guitar are conveniently followed by a track called ‘Rhapsody Of A 1000 Lies’. Whereas tracks like ‘Yo No Quiero Trabajar’ begin with the band chatting in their recording studio before actually beginning the song which seems slightly self indulgent and a little annoying.
So if you’re not too bothered about the Iraq war or current international affairs then Peyoti For President may not be the right band for you.

Review by James Fairfield

Tommy Sparks – She’s Got Me Dancing

Whether you are into dance or not Tommy Sparks is easy listening music, more popish than anything else. His new single ‘She’s Got Me Dancing’ is a catchy little number with a feel good vibe that is likely to be overplayed over the coming few months.
The three remix tracks that come with the single are not as good as the original however the Freelance Hellraiser ‘reinterpretation’ of the song is worth a listen to whereas Heartbreak and Mowgli remixs are not.

Review by James Fairfield