Monday, 1 November 2010

Dance4Daddy

Apart from the disconcertingly pervy-sounding name, there’s not much else particularly interesting about Dance4Daddy and this single. It bounces along nicely enough, but it sounds so 2003 Sophie Ellis-Bextor it’s a surprise when Jacy Mai (excellent pipes, by the way) pops up singing half the lyrics to ‘Feeling Good’. A cheeky reference is one thing, but the opening “It’s a new life for me/It’s a new dawn/It’s a new day” will probably have Anthony Newley pinging around in his grave. Also, Dance4Daddy appear to have forgotten that it’s probably a good idea to have a chorus at some point. Not that its important or anything, it’s just EXACTLY WHAT I WAS WAITING FOR FOR THE WHOLE SONG and means that it more or less breezes by without making even a dent in the consciousness.

Tom Nicholson

B.o.B. - The Adventures of Bobby Ray

At a time when the music industry is filled with so many differing artists emerging everyday, it becomes increasingly difficult to stand out and make a name for oneself. Though the diversity continues to expand, B.o.B. has found no trouble in setting himself apart and announcing his entrance into the industry. The debut album of Atlanta local Bobby Ray Simmons truly shows how talented he is and raises the bar for other artists to reach.

“B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray” is an album that has the ability of appealing to a vast number of tastes, while remaining true to one distinct style. With no two songs sounding alike, there is one to suit every mood and every personality. From head-bobbing beats to catchy chords and riffs, B.o.B. expresses himself with non-commercial, meaningful lyrics that explain his story to success. Songs like “Ghost In the Machine” and “The Kids” illustrate the difficulties faced in societies today, while others like “Nothing On You,” “Magic” and “I’ll Be In the Sky” are much more upbeat and get everyone singing along.

The hit song “Airplanes” is what he is most recognized for and it is one of the biggest songs of the year. When songs are as successful as his are, it is then no surprise that he works and tours with headlining artists including Eminem, Haley James, Lupe Fiasco and Bruno Mars. The album is a true depiction of his creativity and musicianship, with B.o.B. playing piano, guitar and trumpet, as well as rapping and producing, demonstrating a higher level of artistry that is yet to be seen among other artists in the industry.

Aliena Haig

3OH3 - Streets of Gold

The band that brought us 'Don’t Trust Me' are back. And they’re back with a whole new flavour. When Green Day teenage rebel anthems meet the Klaxons, throw in a few sound effects and you get 3OH!3’s new album “Streets of Gold.” Feisty, passionate and fist-pumping are just a few of the words that come to mind when listening to this album.

With a variety of synths, drum beats and various noises, including kissing sounds, whistles and beeps, “Streets of Gold” is full of surprises. You can never guess what will come next or how the song will develop, as each song takes an unexpected turn. One thing that is consistent though, is the driving beat behind every song, pushing them through to the end. Singing with Kesha and Katy Perry, 3OH!3 (pronounced “3 oh 3”) are quickly emerging within the industry and are certainly standing out with chanting lyrics that allow for no misinterpretations.

“Starstrukk” and “My First Kiss,” similar to “Don’t Trust Me” are packed with lyrics that verge on being disrespectful, but the fact that they are easy to learn and are combined with fun rhythms makes them popular when listening to them with a big group of people. Though not one of te top ranking albums of the year, 3OH!3 are not to be neglected and definitely bring something fresh to our ears.

Aliena Haig

Tinie Tempah - Disc-Overy

From a purely musical point of view this album is fantastic. Collaborations with names like Swedish House Mafia, Kelly Rowland and Ellie Gouldberg ensure that it sounds original and multi-faceted.

While remaining a hip-hop album tracks ‘Pass Out’ and ‘Frisky’ move flawlessly to drum n bass, whereas ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’ flaunts what Swedish House Mafia do best.

The influence of Ellie Goulding in ‘Wonderman’ sums up the most melodic side to Disc-Overy, with ‘Let Go’ also embracing a more guitar based rock style.

Unfortunately Mr. Tempah’s lyrics let this album down indescribably. We’ve all heard the clich├ęd ramblings of singles like ‘Pass Out’, with its rehashing of that done-to-death tune about having lots of dosh.

Be prepared for inspired lines like “I grew out of the dirt like a vegetable”, “I’m fire… don’t listen to doubt it’s a liar… don’t be Mrs. Doubtfire” and my favourite “ravin’ with the freshers” which, as we all know, is an oxymoron. Three Jagerbombs and a Tinie Tempah gig at freshers are as far as you can get from a rave without going for tea at your Nan’s house.

Tinie also seems to have an unhealthy obsession with his mother; she’s mentioned at least once in every song between tracks one and four. This led me to believe that he either ran out of new things to sing about or this is some kind of Freudian slip.

Tinie Tempah is a talented rapper but his sometimes ridiculous, often incoherent lyrics just don’t do the music the justice it deserves.

Rowan McCabe

Fenech-Soler - S/T

Despite the melange of genres that this Peterborough band attach to themselves (‘glam’, ‘psychedelic’ to name but a few according to their Facebook page), it is essentially electro-pop in the truest sense of the word. That is not to say, however, that the self titled debut album is not worth a listen. There are some serious floor fillers, despite many tracks being a bit samey. The 80's synth is fun and nostalgic for the first four tracks, especially the single ‘Lies’, but it runs the risk of becoming rapidly irritating, especially in the already crowded electro-pop market.

After being compared to the likes of Friendly Fires and the Klaxons, Fenech-Soler’s ultra radio-friendly record is undoubtedly in for some relentless air play; it is probably only a matter of time before we are all completely ‘Fenech-Soler’ed out. Yes, it’s a weird name, and not a wholly original concept, but it is definitely danceable, fashionable and guaranteed to not leave you alone once word gets out.

Rose Spittles

Black Soul Strangers – Animate

As I struggled through the cellophane that almost ended this review the cover let little go relating to what the CD would actually sound like. With a switched off lamp face on adorning the front and a multi coloured segmented circle the back it could be dance, rock, or folk. It is rock.

Falling somewhere between YouMeAtSix and Snow Patrol it makes me wonder why they are not signed to a major label. Then I spotted the independent label and the Google Mail email address doing nothing to hide self-management. The fact they have not been picked up is no surprise. They claim reverence from big names on radio such as Dermot O’Leary and Jo Whiley but this clearly rubbish.

Not chart friendly enough to satisfy the twelve-year olds that determine it and need to hire some management to sort a tour that will garner older support. This is by far and away the ‘should have been a success’ of the year. There are creative flourishes and the stand out tracks: The Haunting, Leave, Gallows and Wichita are gems among a pretty shiny rough. The kind of rock the current rock generation would enjoy as background listening at their dinner parties in their 30’s this album is 10 years too early. It is however wonderful to hear some well produced new rock music that isn’t over produced, preachy, overhyped, over considered but there lacks the bombastic ambition needed to get noticed or create an impact. The largest sparkle came in the last sixty seconds but that was evidently not the start point.

Max Beavis

Stromae – Alors on Danse

The Belgian has created a track targeted directly at our very own trebled up students... and what is not to like about this track apart from its repetitive nature. Punctuated by French and a deceptively catchy beat this track must be on every DJs playlist by now.

Verdict on the ‘feat. Erik Hassle version’ however: NO! Just no. The lyrics are do hilariously awful and shows that having versions of dance tracks with rappers is becoming apparently essential as having 6 remixes used to be. Just stop it! You had a perfectly good dance track and ruined it with unnecessary backing vocals and a completely superfluous rap!

Max Beavis

Linkin Park - Blackout

They should have stopped while they were ahead. Showing mastery only learnt by experience in places, yet total desperation in others and utter naivety in the vocals. A shame, as if he didn’t scream and they removed the centre breakdown (in so many senses of the term), it would an excellent return to form.

Max Beavis

Klaxons - Twin Flames

It took them long enough to record the second album, but what they have returned with is pleasingly more of the same. Yes, the album's now a long time ago and this track lacks the spark to take it from good to awesome, but it’s good to have them back. It is carried by the vocal, so the inclusion of the instrumental on the B-side is baffling.

Max Beavis

The Great Statesman – One Way Street

This band are Placebo-lite with airs of Lostprohpets also. Solid production and clear controlled guitar with clear lyrics make for a rock track away from the generic vein of indie. There are probably loads of bands out there doing this, but these guys are doing it right.

Max Beavis

Chase the Sun – Nights Like These

Bands with talented guitarists and singer who choose to overdrive the amps and scream into the mic annoy me. This is no different. Fans of Korn and possibly on the extreme end of Enter Shikari on account of the guitar melody may like this.

Max Beavis

The Quails - Fever

Party pop rock with echoes of the Strokes and Orson throughout. Ultimately a boring post indie wave track. I can imagine they’d be a fun live act to see but this won’t be bothering the radio waves anytime soon. Also why on earth did they feel it necessary to include an instrumental of the track?

Max Beavis

The Quails - Fever

Party pop rock with echoes of the Strokes and Orson throughout. Ultimately a boring post indie wave track. I can imagine they’d be a fun live act to see but this won’t be bothering the radio waves anytime soon. Also why on earth did they feel it necessary to include an instrumental of the track?

Max Beavis

Plan B - Prayin' [Remixes]

I have been a reluctant fan of Plan B for some time now. Reluctant because it is difficult to explain to others why I took a shine to him. He just has a knack for tracks that wind up stuck in your head and that you find yourself singing aloud to without realising. Prayin' is just such a track. The remixes on this release include Breakage's Bad Week Remix and Bad Week Edit (the edit presumably for radio), and the Riva Starr Club Mix, Riva Starr Edit and Riva Starr Dub Mix. Of the two artists, the stand out remix is Riva Starr's Club Mix: Breakage's mix is good, but it is not worth shouting about. The Dub mix is reasonably similar to the Club mix, and just as enjoyable. Overall both Breakage and Riva Starr have done a cracking job, but Riva Starr's mixes shine the brightest.

Helen Stephenson