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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, June 16, 2017

IndieLondon gleefully checks out the cream of the week’s singles

Meadowlark

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: MEADOWLARKBODY LOSE: Meadowlark follow-up the official unveiling of the video for the album’s title track, Postcards with new single Body Lose, another gem. Another perfect slice of mellow pop from the boy-girl duo of Kate McGill (on keys and vocals) and Dan Broadley (on guitars and production), this puts the main focus on Kate’s crystalline vocals before swelling into a summery haze. It’s awash with sunny melodies, slick beats and an overall sense of mellowness that has the effect of a cool breeze on a hot day. It’s further evidence of why Meadowlark’s debut album is so keenly anticipated. Body Lose is available for instant download upon pre-ordering digital copies of Postcards. The album brings together some of the duo’s previously released tracks (including Headlights, Eyes Wide, Satellite) alongside new material written during various retreats the pair took around the UK, working from any cottage they could find that had a piano. Free from distractions and loaded up with ideas gathered from observing the world around them, they used such spaces to craft the songs that form Postcards.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Arcade Fire, Creature Comfort

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: ARCADE FIRECREATURE COMFORT: Having come over all Abba-esque with their last single, Everything Now, Arcade Fire now turn to futuristic disco pop with latest offering Creature Comfort – and it’s immediately more instantly satisfying. Built around a humming synth sound that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Blade Runner soundtrack, the track then builds into a bass-heavy crowd-pleaser that drops a huge chorus. There’s background choirs, Talking Head-inspired vocals and several bombastic flourishes that heighten the overall sense of grandeur surrounding the track. And yet, lyrically, there’s a darkness inside that talks of assisted suicides and making people famous. It’s a fascinating juxtaposition of emotion that whisks you on something of a rollercoaster ride – between the highs of the instrumentals and the harmonies, and the lows of the lyrics. It’s a typically complex, yet highly addictive creation from this Montreal-based outfit. But you can’t help but love it.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Coldplay

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: COLDPLAYALL I CAN THINK ABOUT IS YOU: Taken from the upcoming Kaleidoscope EP, which is out digitally on July 14 and on CD and vinyl from August 4, All I Can Think About Is You is the new single from British super-group Coldplay. And it’s no small compliment to suggest that it emulates another of Britain’s massive bands, U2, in the way that it slow-builds to something quite emotionally compelling. Without touching the sort of euphoric highs of some of their most famous material, the track nevertheless remains highly effective in taking you on its journey. It’s almost comparable to a track like One in that regard. Early on, Chris Martin’s vocals are hushed, in keeping with the low-key beats and subtle guitar licks of Guy Berryman. But while the track does eventually open out, it’s perhaps not in the way you might be expecting. The guitars continue to be held back, allowing the piano to raise the tempo, along with Martin’s vocals (which become more impassioned). The guitars do eventually weigh in, but they’re backed by more electronics, piano and a brass sounding effect, before the track stops you dead in its tracks. It’s sure to be one of those weighty, anthemic offerings that slowly builds the crowds to a frenzy in live form. But it underlines Coldplay’s ability to deliver the goods slowly and effectively, thereby reaching the highest audience possible.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Kasabian, Bless This Acid House

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 4: KASABIANBLESS THIS ACID HOUSE: Kasabian deliver another cracker of a guitar anthem in the form of Bless This Acid House. A seamless fusion of the band’s own signature style and something befitting early Beatles, this is a real good-time record that captures all that’s great about the indie-guitar scene when it’s on form. The hooks are instantly appealing, the chorus effortlessly crowd-pleasing and the song as a whole as sweeping and swaggering as we’ve come to expect from this band. As further evidence of this, just check out the final moments of the song, as a rousing guitar solo is accompanied by Beatles-esque harmonies, thereby ensuring you depart the song on the highest of highs. It almost goes without saying that this will be one of the new live favourites of their live set. It certainly stands as another instant classic from the new album For Crying Out Loud, which is available now.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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John Smith

JOHN SMITHLIVING IN DISGRACE: John Smith has released a new single, Living In Disgrace, as the latest to be taken from his new album, Headlong, due out June 30 through BARP Records. Produced by Sam Lakeman, mixed by Ruadhri Cushnan (Mumford & Sons, Flo Morrissey, The Maccabees) and featuring Cara Dillon on BVs, Headlong is dedicated to the memory of John Renbourn and follows Great Lakes, John’s widely-applauded and Radio 2-supported release of 2013. Speaking about Living In Disgrace – an homage of sorts to belt-tightening – Smith said: “It’s about me and my wife being skint, living in Liverpool before we got married. And thinking, I’d much rather be skint with her than be by myself.” The song has an acoustic-troubadour kind of vibe that should effortlessly appeal to fans of acts like George Ezra, Ben Howard and Newton Faulkner. The harmonies are tight, the husky voice highly emotive, the chorus melodic and ear-pleasing and the guitar work particularly effective in the way they cascade throughout. Smith has served up a real beauty here.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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George Ezra, Don't Matter Now

GEORGE EZRADON’T MATTER NOW: George Ezra unearths another summer crowd-pleaser in the form of infectious new single Don’t Matter Now. Featuring an almost do-wop style vocal harmony, some sharp stabs of brass and some lively guitar licks, this has an easygoing, laidback charm that invites the listener to put their troubles in the back of their minds for the song’s duration (something the world probably needs to be able to do right now). It may even encourage them to toe-tap and hum along at the same time, thanks to the sing-along nature of the anthemic chorus. Ezra also manages to conjure up the spirit of similarly laidback summer tunes such as Bruno Mars I don’t feel like doing anything standard-bearer, or the beach-front acoustic style of Jack Johnson, therefore creating something that is timeless and genre-defying. It’s the kind of track that should bring a wide and appreciative following.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Imagine Dragons, Walking The Wire

IMAGINE DRAGONSWALKING THE WIRE: Imagine Dragons continue their march towards anthemic act of the year status with new single Walking The Wire. Using the same kind of chant-worthy formula as former single Thunder (in that it delivers the type of chorus that’s effortlessly easy to sing along with), they’ve also rediscovered the knack for dropping an impossibly catchy melodic hook too. Hence, while you know there’s something cheesy about listening on appreciatively, or singing along at the top of your voice, there’s equally something unapologetically inspiring about being swept along by it. The guitars are big and brash towards the end, too, having been held back early on, while each individual chorus grows and grows in stature with more beats being layered in. It’s another pleasing headrush of a single that underlines how Imagine Dragons’ decision to turn more mainstream has really worked out for them.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Nikhil D'Souza, Beautiful Mind

NIKHIL D’SOUZABEAUTIFUL MIND: Here’s another song for the acoustic pop crowd… those who get their musical kicks from the likes of ballad-driven Ed Sheeran, acoustic pop Newton Faulkner and, yes, the aforementioned George Ezra. Recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles with producers Jamie Hartman (Rag n Bone Man) and Jeff Cohen (Macy Gray, Josh Groban), Nikhil D’Souza’s Beautiful Mind builds in emotive power from its stripped-back introduction into a crescendo of soaring vocals and sweeping strings. But crucially, it doesn’t overplay things. The acoustics are disarmingly simple early on, in keeping with the similarly affecting vocals, before the strings are intricately realised and used in a fashion that doesn’t detract from the subtle beauty of the rest of the song. As with former single Still in Love, D’Souza exhibits a sharp ability to express a maelstrom of emotion, from passion and yearning to love and sorrow. According to D’Souza himself, the song is about a complicated situation in which you want to be with someone, but she’s a close friend of yours. Who knows, maybe this song will swing the deal?
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Fickle Friends, Glue

FICKLE FRIENDSGLUE: Fickle Friends return with Glue – their biggest and boldest statement to date. Led by striking frontwoman Natti Shiner, Fickle Friends have spent the last 18 months releasing a string of popular singles, including Swim, Brooklyn and the most recent Radio 1 playlisted Hello Hello. Glue continues that momentum by serving up an unashamedly feel-good, sun-drenched synth-pop tribute to that person you’re inescapably stuck to. It’s loaded with easy-going harmonies, some ’80s leaning synth hooks and euphoric sing-along moments that declare “I want to love you, I want to love you”. Introducing the track Natti said: “After signing we ended up doing a bunch of obligatory writing sessions and nothing came from them… the more we got asked to do them, the more frustrated we became. In the end we were like, ‘Gah, we can write our own pop tune”. So, the day after another fruitless writing session we literally wrote and produced ‘Glue’ in one afternoon in Jack’s bedroom. I imagined the times I’ve been out (and inebriated) and thinking that I’ve fallen in love with someone after only 5 minutes of talking to them at the bar…so I wrote a song about it.” Mission accomplished in breezy style.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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