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CD reviews - stuff that was sat on our desk

Katie Slade, Katie Franklin and Heather Price judge some recent releases

Written by . Published on June 10th 2011.


CD reviews - stuff that was sat on our desk

Delta Maid: ‘Of My Own’
DeltaMaid.jpgVery, very Dolly Parton – which isn’t a bad thing but it seems rather identical. This country-blues singer genuinely has a lot of talent, though not all of it may be entirely original. Her voice, a sweet, rather homely American one, brings to mind a tribute to 9 to 5 and Baby I’m Burnin’. Yet the funny thing is, Delta’s a Liverpudlian, although all her inspiration comes from the USA. ‘Of My Own’ is chirpy, giggly and entertaining though. It’s one of those catchy country ‘independent woman’ songs which appeals to most women in the midst of batting off an irritating ex-partner. After several listens it becomes kind of addictive.

The Sound of Arrows: ‘Nova’
This song is the definitely going to be the soundtrack to the summer. The Swedish know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to pop music. ‘Nova’ is a wonderful 80s-inspired dance synth affair. It transports us to a transformative utopia set to reconfigure the music industry. As the lyrics state, it’s ‘something better’. The Sound of Arrows might have taken their motivation from NYC electro-pop duo Fischerspooner or the electro B-sides of Scissor Sisters. Who knows – but they’re good.

Auction: ‘Statues’
auction-band-promo.jpgIt seems these boys have nothing really to write home about. The lyrics are barely audible, casting yet another drunk-sounding Arctic Monkeys band into the indiesphere. It’s rather simulacra (it's Latin - Ed), a careless guitar slamming blur. Joseph Sigee’s vocals are not offensive; he can definitely sing. But his tone makes one wonder if he’s bored. Then angry, when he starts to shout through the chaotic cluster. On a positive note, it might prove popular to fourteen-year-old boys desperate to find something else to accompany their skin-tight jeans and floppy hair. When you can hear them, the lyrics are almost poetic. Some folk out there must be able to relate to this band. But not me.

Awolnation: 'Sail'
awolnation%281%29.jpgThe dirty gritty buzz of a beefy baseline shifts the whole song from a tropical beach in Ibiza to an underground indie haunt in some urban landscape. The raw and rough vocals of front man Aaron Bruno, screaming ‘Sail’ in a tone so painful it’s almost Kurt Cobain-esque. In fact, the minimalist lyrics and simplistic rhythm are similar in style to Nirvana, yet the band retains its own sound throughout. With its strange yet delightful fusion of genres and startling vocals, ‘Sail’ is a real treat for lovers of indie, grunge and rock.

The Naked and Famous: 'Girls Like You'
From the outset, the soft, melancholy vocals and bass-coated beat grabs your attention and refuses to let go. Sorrowful yet uplifting at the same time, the record gradually builds to an astounding explosion of anthemic electro-pop full of synthesised sugary goodness. Admittedly, the melody and lyrics are monotonous, and as the track fades out it feels like you’ve been listening to the same line forever. The tune is so infectious enough to get away with it though.

The Pierces: 'Glorious'
pierces.jpgThe beautiful vocals of Alabama sibling duo Catherine and Allison Pierce deliver yet another wonderful piece of stylish pop with their latest single. Individually, the sisters sound gorgeous but when combined, it's seductive perfection. The lyrics are a little repetitive, but the tune is catchy and interesting so it never becomes too cloying. ‘Glorious’ and the band in general have an aura of 1960s and 70s counter-culture, bringing rock music back to basics with good old fashioned song writing.

Twin Atlantic: 'Free' (album)
Plenty of emotion and passion, but it’s hardly a fresh sound. The slightest hint of individuality shines through in the Scottish accent of lead man Sam McTrusty, but it's majorly overshadowed by brash, whiney Americanised vocals.
Most tracks on the album sound like the same song repeated and rehashed over and over, and if you weren’t familiar with the tiny quirks of contemporary emo bands, you could easily be listening to Kids in Glass Houses or My Chemical Romance.
Twin Atlantic are obviously talented but the distinction and originality are just not there. The riffs and melodies are no different to anything that’s gone before and the whole sound is just far too polished to be deemed honest.      

Rise to Remain: ‘Nothing Left’
Rise to Remain are playing Download festival, have supported Korn on tour, and have the son of the an Iron Maiden frontman on vocals. It's about as far from my taste in music as you can get.
‘Nothing Left’ begins with a ferocious energy balanced by a melodic, more downbeat chorus. The sudden change in angry to upbeat and melodic doesn’t exactly work, but the vocals are nonetheless impressive, as is impressive is the guitar instrumental after the second chorus, although it does go on a bit.
Rise to Remain sound like a cross between Bullet for my Valentine and Green Day. Make of that what you will.

The Good Natured: ‘Skeleton’ EP
Fronted by eighteen year old Sarah McIntosh, who describes her music as “dark, electric pop,” The Good Natured offer a perfect theme tune for this summer. Its feisty lyrics place The Good Natured in strong competition to Eliza Doolittle (they're both in the Parlophone stable), yet The Good Natured possess more pizzazz, but not as much attitude as the likes of Lily Allen.
Also on the EP, ‘Wolves’ has a more mature tone and ‘Hourglass’ is an epic, slowy.
Sarah's Mockney accent is trying a little too hard thoughm, but there could be great things from The Good Natured in the near future.

James Blake – ‘Lindisfarne’ & ‘Unluck’
james-blake.jpgAs a pioneer of post-dubstep, Blake knows how to fuse ambient and minimal music. ‘Lindisfarne’ and ‘Unluck’ are no exception.
The vocals in ‘Lindisfarne’ are Imogen Heap-esque, and have a soothing rhythm about them. There's something comforting and a little unexpected about this song. Unlike ‘CMYK’, ‘Lindisfarne’ has soul and I hope this is a style Blake chooses to continue with.
‘Unluck’ begins with an alluring piano, which is then hacked and mixed up. The sporadic clicks add a hectic tempo which then drops and ends up sounding a bit repetitive.

FutureProof – ‘One More Chance’
Futureproof.jpgCharacterised by a series of warbling ‘whoah woah’s’, ‘One More Chance’ is the epitome of teenage pop that McFly fans and Belieber’s everywhere will fawn over.
FutureProof will probably do alright in the charts, given their targeted fan base, but please don’t expect anything remotely original or refreshing. ‘One More Chance’, with its annoyingly repetitive vocals and tales of desperation in a failing teen infatuation, is the sort of song you listen to without actually hearing anything.
The band members look like precocious teens that have spent too much pocket money in Topman.

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