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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, May 4, 2018

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

Biffy Clyro

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: BIFFLY CLYROBLACK CHANDELIER (MTV UNPLUGGED LIVE): Biffy Clyro offer up another irresistible glimpse of their forthcoming MTV Unplugged Live at the Roundhouse LP in the form of fan favourite Black Chandelier. And it’s another gem. If Many of Horror whet the appetite, then this should have fans salivating. It’s delivered with typical relish and passion by the band, slow-building to some rousing acoustic guitar playing and even some fan sing-along moments. The emotional content of the lyrics is enlivened and enhanced by the more intimate feel to the song, creating moments that are genuinely bittersweet and even poignant (especially early on). But the song avoids drifting into anything too sentimental or downbeat, with the guitars providing a beautiful and belatedly rousing backdrop. Having already won rave reviews for the concert from fans and critics alike, this MTV Unplugged collection of songs raided from the extensive Biffy back catalogue promises to offer up a complete set that’s utterly exceptional.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Celine Dion and Deadpool

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: CELINE DIONASHES: Celine Dion delivers another ballad. So what? You may well ask… Well, the novelty value here is that while, yes, it is another impassioned ballad, the type of which she excels in delivering (like them or not), the song itself features on the soundtrack to Deadpool 2. And, wait a minute! Deadpool himself is in the accompanying video. And it rocks. Or should we say, it f**king rocks, using Deadpool parlance. It’s a great video, part concert footage of Dion giving it her all, part mock-up as Deadpool – donning high heels – does a breathtaking dance routine, and part clips package from the film itself. And maybe it’s because of its Deadpool 2 association, it somehow feels like a better song. A piano-soaked, cinematic offering, this has that Titanic-style weightiness you wouldn’t normally associate with a film of Deadpool 2‘s variety. It’s an unexpected treat. And the video is an absolute blast, right down to the Spider-Man put down at the end. We can’t wait to see how it slots into the film.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Snow Patrol

SNOW PATROLWHAT IF THIS IS ALL THE LOVE YOU EVER GET?: Snow Patrol’s third offering from their forthcoming Wildness LP in the form of the ballad What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get? And, like its name suggests, this is a rather sombre offering. There’s a stark piano score underpinning proceedings, while Gary Lightbody reflects on one of life’s big questions. Sure, there’s a ‘whoa oh’ harmony, but this is a reflective offering that resonates by virtue of its thought-provoking elements. Lightbody sings lines like “I’m in the ruins too, I know the wreckage so well”, before dropping the question of the chorus: “What if this is all the love you ever get?” Unlike some Snow Patrol songs, which deliver similarly big questions, this particular track doesn’t build to anything big or epic. It’s low-key and sparse to the end, and all the more poignant for it. In addition to dropping the track, the band have concurrently debuted the cinematic and cathartic music video for the new song, which was directed by Brett Simon.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Kojo Funds

KOJO FUNDSSTALLIN’: A mellow yet powerful foretaste of Kojo Fund’s eclectic musical qualities and harmonious flows, new single Stallin’ continues to assert Kojo Funds as the ‘king of afro swing’, the originator of a sound dominating the airwaves and Internet. Produced by Team Salut, the track arrives alongside captivating visuals providing a deeper context and narrative, with the assistance of Wretch 32 lending his wisdom and wise words. “We all want power but you’re most powerful when you choose your choices. You have everything to win but you only have yourself to lose,” sings Wretch 32. The mellowness of the track works in its favour, with minimalist beats, soulful vocals (especially the female backing ones) and thoughtful lyrics combining to create something that’s more ear-pleasing than a lot of more rap-based offerings. The Afro Swing element works too. It’s an appealing listen. Platinum selling, 23-year-old Kojo Funds first made his mark on the UK music scene with Dun Talking, a track that catapulted him to the forefront of the UK Afrobeat inspired sound. Stallin’ is an interesting change of pace and one that actually works in his favour in broadening his appeal.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Lxandra

LXANDRADIG DEEP: Finnish-born one-to-watch Lxandra has shared an acoustic version of her recent singe Dig Deep, complete with a beautiful flower-strewn video. The impressive track follows previous releases Hush Hush Baby and Flicker and perfectly combines electronic influences with classical piano building up to a powerful anthemic chorus. Reminiscent of Florence + The Machine and Lana Del Rey but with a distinctly Finnish slant, Dig Deep is a statement of intent for Lxandra as she criticises the outdated image of women in society, a notion which is explored in the accompanying video. Her vocals are impressive in the way they build passionately, while the accompanying piano is nicely delivered without ever overpowering the song or detracting from the lyrical message. The stripped back acoustic nature of the song makes the song altogether more intimate and emotionally resonant, marking Lxandra out as a fierce female talent to watch.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Lindi Ortega

LINDI ORTEGALIBERTY: Lindi Ortega has unveiled the video for Liberty, the title track from her forthcoming three-part concept album which will be released on May 25 on Shadowbox Music exclusively licensed via Soundly Music. Shot in Nashville and directed by Travis Nicholson, executive producer on CMT’s Still The King, the atmospheric video pays tribute to old Western movies but with a modern twist. “It was important for me that we had wild horses in the video because, for me, wild horses represent ultimate freedom and liberation, as well as physical strength and beauty,” says Ortega. The song itself is a powerful testament to the idea of bring true to yourself and to overcoming diversity, especially as Ortega recently had her own experience with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which she wrote about movingly for Lenny Letter. It has plenty to say. But instrumentally, it’s cinematic in the extreme, paying a sonic tribute to the Old West with its country guitar twangs and bold stabs of brass. Ortega’s vocals, meanwhile, add to the romanticism inherent in the nostalgic tribute to the Old West. It’s a great song.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Florence + The Machine

FLORENCE + THE MACHINEHUNGER: Art-pop specialists Florence + The Machine drop Hunger as the second track to emerge from their forthcoming LP High As Hope. A soulful pop-ballad, this finds Florence Welch examining the correlation between beauty and love, not to mention mortality, while a lively pop backdrop builds and builds to a stirring strings-backed finale. In that regard, it’s a classic slice of Florence + The Machine songwriting in the way that it combines big ideas and themes with easy listening pop sensibilities. Welch’s vocals remain as powerful and appealing as ever, while the fusion of beats, pianos and strings blends seamlessly to create a swirling, sweeping, upbeat but thought-provoking pop gem. Commenting on the track herself, Welch said: “Hunger explores the ways we look for love in things that are perhaps not love, and how attempts to feel less alone can sometimes isolate us more. I guess I made myself more vulnerable in this song to encourage connection because perhaps a lot more of us feel this way than we are able to admit. Sometimes when you can’t say it, you can sing it.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Alice in Chains, The One You Know

ALICE IN CHAINSTHE ONE YOU KNOW: Alice In Chains (vocalist/guitarist Jerry Cantrell, drummer Sean Kinney, bassist Mike Inez and vocalist/guitarist William DuVall) have released The One You Know, their first new track in five years. The first track to emerge from the band’s upcoming album and their first release on their new label home BMG, this is a typically heavy, ominous offering that is strictly for the fans only. There’s a crunching central guitar riff that pummels you from the start, while the vocals have a drone-like quality that seldom changes tone. It’s got the epic rock grandeur of Alice in Chains material of old but it will struggle to breakout and crossover. That said, the mid-track guitar solo does kick ass. Cantrell discussed the eagerly-anticipated album in a recent interview, saying: “It’s a record we haven’t done yet, but it’s also a record that has all the elements of anything you would expect from us. It’s got our fingerprint. And we’re really proud of the material we wrote and the performances we captured. There’s some really heavy sh*t, some really ugly stuff, some really beautiful stuff, some weirdo trippy sh*t… it’s good.” We’re not 100% sure where The One You Know fits in to those descriptions… ugly/heavy/trippy? Check out the Adam Mason-directed video below and judge for yourself.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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Jess Glynne

JESS GLYNNE – I’LL BE THERE: I’ll Be There is the first solo single to come from Jess Glynne since her debut album released back in 2015, which saw her dominate the UK pop world. Directed by Adriaan Louw (Major Lazer/Mabel), the official video sees Jess embarking on a journey to the breath-taking backdrop of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Selling over 2 million copies worldwide, I Cry When I Laugh became one of the defining pop records of its era, with a mass of smash hit singles including Hold My Hand, Take Me Home and Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself. As she sold out arena’s across the country, Jess’s intimate and universal themes in her lyrics connected with people as she demonstrated her ability to tell the truths young women want to hear about their concerns; the loves that build them up and let them down; the aspirations and dreams that might turn sour but you’ll smile through them anyway. The new song cements that reputation, combining some anthemic pop hooks and sing-along anthemic moments with a message of empowerment and support for anyone who feels they need a little help. The harmonies are tight, even sun-kissed, the chorus catchy as hell and the overall message one to get behind. It’s a welcome return for this particular artist.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Jessie Reyez, Body Count

JESSIE REYEZBODY COUNT: Jessie Reyez started off 2018 by adding one of the highest accolades to her resume, winning Breakthrough Artist at the JUNO Awards in Canada and performing Figures, A Reprise with fellow Toronto artist Daniel Caesar. For the first time since then, after feature collaborations, new tracks and her impressive debut EP Kiddo, Reyez shares her new song Body Count. Meant as an anthem to empower, the song asserts that women (and men) are equally allowed to embrace their sexuality rather than be modest. It’s a return to form for Reyez, with her lush voice simply set against acoustic guitar and some toe-tapping beats. Indeed, the guitar has a very Jack Johnson vibe to it, which lends it greater potential for crossover. While the beats are nicely laidback. Vocally, Reyez seems to be having fun while declaring “We gonna love who we wanna love”… a fine sentiment indeed. It’s a song to enjoy and rally behind.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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