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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, May 31, 2019

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

Noel Galagher's High Flying Birds, Black Star Dancing

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDSRATTLING ROSE: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds continue to tinker with their sound on new single Rattling Rose, a swirling, retro-tinged, David Holmes-inspired, cinematic offering of very high quality. A follow-up to Black Star Dancing, taken from the EP of the former single’s name, it’s further evidence of how, post-Oasis, Noel is striving to keep the sound of his new act fresh and exciting, while also nodding to his various influences. Rattling Rose boasts the sort of instrumentals that would make former collaborator Holmes proud, while also keeping things mellow and dropping in a catchy chorus. There are hints of classic Oasis, in the easy accessibility of the chorus, but this feels more cinematic and adventurous. The instrumentals are particularly great. Noel says of Rattling Rose: “It manages to combine the influences of Chris Rea, Chris De Burgh, Mike And The Mechanics and Slipknot FFS!!! I may have eaten too many gummy bears recently… anyway it’s ‘jolly good’… not my words but the words of David Cameron, who literally did the hokey cokey at Soho Farmhouse when he heard it.” You can make what you will of that last statement!
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Mark Ronson, Find U Again

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: MARK RONSON feat CAMILA CABELLOFIND U AGAIN: Mark Ronson continues to impress ahead of the release of forthcoming LP, Late Night Feelings, with new single Find U Again, featuring Camila Cabello. Co-written with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, this employs the slickness of classic Ronson with something more resolutely mainstream. Hence, the pop element is sure to guarantee a massive success. Cabello’s feisty vocals lend it a terrific centre-point, albeit one that’s wrapped in sorrow. This is a song, after all, about the loss of a loved one, which finds the singer despairing that “I know I’ll never find you again”. She attempts to bury her sorrows in other lovers, but the one that matters has clearly lone gone. The accompanying instrumentals are as lively as we’ve come to expect from Ronson, though, giving the song an effortlessly upbeat pop gloss that will enable it to become a summer anthem and a fan favourite. Coming off the back of successful partnerships with both Miley Cyrus and Lykke Li, Find U Again is yet another track that looks set to make Late Night Feelings one of the year’s biggest selling albums.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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James Deacon, Calling Home

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: JAMES DEACONCALLING HOME: South African newcomer James Deacon releases his rousing new single Calling Home through Bad Future Records and continues to impress with his soulful intensity. If songwriting is a way of processing the loss of a loved one, then singing about it is a way of surrendering to it. Calling Home is a raw anthem that grips, breaks and rages only to release you at the end to the possibility of light in death. Written from more than one perspective, and soulfully sung, the track is a tribute that pleads with pain, and at its most vulnerable, speaks to the hope of living on in others. Lines such as “praying to Gods I don’t believe in” and “how do I see, sense in all this pain” resonate to anyone who has experienced similar loss, while the central refrain of “I’ll never let you see my tears” screams both defiance and inner heartbreak married to unseen strength. Deacon’s passionate delivery heightens the sense of emotion, combining moments of falsetto with something deeper, more moody and more soulful. It’s a song that deserves to become recognised as a classic ballad. And it could even form the basis of a soundtrack moment. Speaking about Calling Home, Deacon said: “I wrote Calling Home over the course of three months. I began writing the song to help myself process some overwhelming emotions that I was going through as a result of watching my family member Anton be diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was a long battle and it took a very heavy toll on the entire family. I began writing the song from the perspective of Anton’s son Neston and I tried to imagine to the best of my ability what it must have felt like to have this happen to his father… The second verse I wrote after Anton had passed away and I wrote it from his perspective based off what he said in his final days and the message he had – that everyone should be strong and move on because he knew that this was his time. This song is a tribute to the memory of Johannes Antonie Kotze and it is my attempt at immortalising his memory. I’d like to think that this song could help anyone going through a similar battle or situation.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Katy Perry, Never Really Over

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: KATY PERRYNEVER REALLY OVER: Katy Perry knows how to deliver a pop anthem, even though new single Never Really Over carries with it something of a trademark sound. For fans of the singer, however, this can only be a good thing. And where 2017’s Witness material carried a political undercurrent, Perry now seems to have opted to make things more personal for her comeback. Hence, Never Really Over finds her in something of a confused Alice in Wonderland mode, striving to avoid “falling down the rabbit hole” again, while delivering telling lovelorn lines like: “Two years and just like that, my head still takes me back, thought it was done but I guess it’s never really over”. Hence, for all the pop confection attached, there’s a deep sense of heartbreak married to resolve. The result is something bittersweet. It’s honest, emotional, yet enjoyable (unashamedly so), and one for the masses. Perry’s popularity only looks set to grow. And the accompanying video is a sugar rush confection, featuring Perry in various states of colourful dress, and dancing masterfully amid some borderline psychedelic scenes. There’s even an early nod to Alice in Wonderland, courtesy of a blue dress. It’s eye-catching and toe-tapping as hell.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Chainsmokers, Call U Mine

THE CHAINSMOKERS feat BEBE REXHACALL YOU MINE: Prolific as ever, The Chainsmokers continue the rollout of their third album World War Joy with the release of their latest single, Call You Mine, featuring guest vocals from Bebe Rexha. And it’s typically Chainsmokers, mixing easy pop sounds with something a little more edgy lyrically. The theme of the song is coping with a relationship that is starting to turn old. Bebe sings: “I look at you and you look at me, like nothing but strangers now. Two kids with their hearts on fire, don’t let it burn us out.” It’s a song shot through with emotional sincerity, with Bebe being given centre-stage early on, to allow those lyrics to hit home. Once the track hits the minute mark, however, some more recognisable Chainsmokers elements land, in the form of club-friendly beats and those charged electronics. But, again, there’s darkness and more restraint than on some of their earlier, more instantly catchy material. Here, the pain and uncertainty inherent in the lyrics also informs the overall approach of the instrumentals. It’s telling stuff.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Tove Lo, Glad He's Gone

TOVE LO – GLAD HE’S GONE: Multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated artist Tove Lo is back with a new single taken from her forthcoming album. The single, Glad He’s Gone, is an intelligent [if foul mouthed] and infectious pop track served with her usual sauciness and tongue-in-cheek lyricism and wit. Lo reveals: “We’ve all been on both sides of the break up pep talk with our friends and we all know how good it feels to get your partner in crime back when they finally leave that idiot behind.” The provocative nature of the song poses questions such as “did you go down on his birthday?”, while adding: “Baby, no tears for that sucka… I’m glad he’s gone.” It’s unapologetically brash, yet delivered in a style that is the very definition of radio friendly. The melodies are cute, the beats slick and the production values so mainstream focused that this can’t help but further Lo’s overall appeal. If you like P!nk, then you’re sure to dig this. The saucy video, which finds the singer donning a denim jacket and not a lot else, shows just how tongue in cheek the whole endeavour is. But for anyone who is striving to get over a difficult relationship, this might just offer a go-to track for moving on. The Stockholm-born artist has also confirmed that her fourth full-length album is on its way. Recorded between Los Angeles and Sweden, Sunshine Kitty represents a new chapter for Tove, marked by a reclamation of confidence, hard-earned wisdom, more time, and a budding romance. The title is “a play on pussy power, but it’s a happy, positive way of seeing it,” Tove Lo states. “It ties in with the lynx. This cartoon cat (featured on the artwork) is an extension of me and part of the new music. She’s super cute, but she does stupid shit like getting in fights and getting fucked up. It’s how I feel the album sounds.”
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Metronomy, Lately

METRONOMYLATELY: Following an incendiary performance at All Points East last weekend, Metronomy return to share their new track Lately. Both inventive and ear-grabbing, the song captures the most immediate and enticing side of Metronomy’s sonic spectrum. From the glistening synths to the animated beats and a chugging guitar riff, it carries the elative summer atmosphere that Mount and co. have become renowned for, now through a fresh radio-friendly sheen. And yet, while certainly striving to stay on the right side of radio friendly, the track also boasts enough of its own identity to suggest that Metronomy are determined to do things on their own terms. Hence, there are mid-track breakdowns into psychedelic territory, synth workouts that border on the pop-sublime, and those chugging riffs that imply an indie sensibility. It’s a song that isn’t afraid to mix things up, or to keep the listener on their toes, exciting and surprising them at every opportunity. And while the business of the track may be too much for some, it wouldn’t be Metronomy if it was anything close to generic.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Cheryl, Let You

CHERYLLET YOU: Cheryl’s new single, Let You, is – in the singer’s own words – the result of conversations with her friends about men and relationship patterns. She explains: “I loved this song from the moment we wrote it in the studio. I knew I had to release it! I’ve made mistakes in relationships. I’ve been with men who were controlling, who made me unhappy, but I allowed it to happen. That’s what this song is about. You have to recognise it, and you have to try and not let it happen again.” As such, it’s a song about empowerment that makes a powerful stand lyrically. The surging synths and disco friendly beats give it a pop sheen, of course, while helping the song to surge. But while certainly sassy in the sense that it’s defiant and honest, the song is a little too mainstream to really stand out from the masses. It’s something that Cheryl would undoubtedly be looking for, though, as she’s also all about appealing to the record buying masses. It’s a decent listen.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Liimo, Pink in Heaven

LIIMOPINK IN HEAVEN: Pink In Heaven is the new single from Edinburgh natives Liimo, available now through B-Unique Records. A tropical, electro pop offering, the track also has a trace of melancholy attached courtesy of the soft vocals and lines such as “we live in a broken paradise, is it really pink in heaven?” Talking about the new single, Liimo’s frontman Kieran explained: “Pink in Heaven was the first song that we wrote as Liimo and the one that started it all off really. It’s about being with someone who’s down for the struggle and with you through thick and thin, finding comfort in the little things and not giving a care for the things you lack in the material sense.” As such, the bittersweet element of the song is offset by the sense of positivity and hope that’s also contained within. And the longer the song lasts, the bolder the sound becomes, with a more brash vocal delivery, a bigger chorus and a greater emphasis on the electro pop. It’s ethereal, in places, and euphoric in others. The mix is intoxicating.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Childcare

CHILDCARECHAMPAGNE BRAIN: London’s softcore-psych quartet Childcare invite you on a wellness adventure with their debut album Wabi-Sabi, available now via Get Well Soon. The 13-track album includes Radio 1 playlisted singles such as Sugarcane and Big Man, plus new material including lead single Champagne Brain. The single encapsulates one of the album’s key themes – a struggle to be better. Singer Ed Cares said about the single: “Champagne Brain is what happens when I have too much fun. This song follows the journey of my misdemeanours from temptation to acceptance and finally, release.” There’s a bittersweet, psychedelic element attached, which endears, as well as traces of experimental Blur in the vocals (especially over the chorus). Cares vocals have a Damon Albarn-like quality, which can only be a good thing in helping to get the band noticed. Late on, the instrumentals threaten to drown the song in a wall of reverb, undermining some of the earlier, more mainstream friendly elements. But even when the song drifts into experimental territory, there’s always something interesting going on. Talking about the album as a whole, Care went on: “Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese world view which considers true beauty to be imperfect and incomplete. Despite the many reviews from highbrow publications we get as a band, e.g. ‘I can’t imagine CHILDCARE to be any more perfect or complete’, [myindieband.com] we are in fact fallible human beings, just like you. This album is therefore a reflection of the journeys we’ve been on to better ourselves and we hope that in combination with all that the Get Well Soon project has to offer, you can feel better too.”
Rating: 3 out of 5

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