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Music - Singles of the week - Monday, January 14, 2013

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

Biffy Clyro, Black Chandelier

SINGLE OF THE WEEK: BIFFY CLYROBLACK CHANDELIER: It may very well be playing to formula for Biffy Clyro but new single Black Chandelier is a welcome return that underlines why this is such a great band. Often hailed as the UK equivalent to Foo Fighters, this also re-emphasise that point with a radio-friendly rock effort that marries the melodic to the heavy in seamless fashion. Brooding and slow-building, this starts out almost like a ballad before slowly ushering in the heavy elements, to the point at which the guitars really take over and remind you of the band’s big rock elements. But then they strip things back down and build it back up again in suitably rousing fashion. The keen sense of melody that’s apparent in the chorus also makes it easy to get behind, bringing with it an infectious, anthemic quality that offers plenty of crossover potential. Welcome back, boys… this is an emphatic way to kick-start 2013.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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50 Cent, My Life

50 CENT feat EMINEM AND ADAM LEVINE – MY LIFE: When you have had as many problems as 50 Cent over the course of his career, the best way sometimes is to go back to the beginning. And so for his ‘comeback’ of sorts, 50 Cent re-hooks up with Eminem, comes over repentant and delivers arguably his best track in a while. What’s more, he’s also taken a look around the modern landscape and deduced that Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine is a pretty safe best to collaborate with in order to lend a track crossover appeal (a la Gym Class Heroes). Hence, My Life features a sung chorus from Levine that is genuinely catchy, and a battle of the raps between ‘Fiddy’ and Eminem that drops telling lyrics such as “I’m doing what I’m supposed to, I’m a writer”… A sizeable hit beckons, we think, even if it’s tailored to be that way rather than really containing any sense of identity.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Mikky Ekko, Pull Me Down

MIKKY EKKOPULL ME DOWN: Having hauled himself into the limelight by collaborating with Rihanna on her track, Stay Mikky Ekko now looks to capitalise by dropping his own single, Pull Me Down. The result is a moody R’n’B number that succeeds in showcasing a moody set of vocals, a slinky beat (the type that Massive Attack might be proud of) and a keen ear for a pop friendly melody. It’s a slice of R’n’B chillout that’s distinct enough to enable Mikky to stand out from the crowd and is a suitably blissful comedown offering that suggests this is a singer-songwriter who is here very much on his own terms.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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David Bowie, Where Are We Now?

DAVID BOWIEWHERE ARE WE NOW?: David Bowie celebrated his 66th birthday last week by suddenly dropping a new single and announcing a new album. It’s exciting stuff. Or sort of is exciting. Expectation may have diminished now that we’ve had chance to hear and digest the new single, Where Are We Now?. A thought-provoking, sombre slice of song-writing, it’s nicely delivered by a heartbroken sounding Bowie and comes wrapped in Tony Visconti’s production values. There’s atmospheric electronics (albeit understated), tender piano arrangements and a sense of intelligence that we’ve come to expect from this particular artist… social commentary married to a sense of hope. A guitar solo outro also brings the track to a suitably rousing close. It slowly eeks its way into your sub-conscious, though, and has to catch you in the right mood… that sense of jubilation at the prospect of hearing something new from Bowie replaced by the knowledge that it’s not instantly catchy and may sound better within the context of a whole album.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Bon Jovi, Because We Can

BON JOVIBECAUSE WE CAN: “I want to be the one you run to when you need a shoulder”… so sing Bon Jovi on their anthemic, crowd-pleasing new single, Because We Can. This is one of those stadium sized fillers that is made for easy sing-along value. The guitars are jangly and shimmering, the lyrics easy to get behind (if a little cheesy) and the overall vibe effortlessly easy on the ears. Indeed, there’s not much to dislike about this return to form from the boys, which lays down some impressive pop and rock credentials to all but ensure that Bon Jovi have another gargantuan hit on their hands. It’s utterly infectious, which is no bad thing.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Little Green Cars

LITTLE GREEN CARSHARPER LEE: Dublin five-piece Little Green Cars are one of the big new hopes for 2013 (especially in Xfm circles) and they look to lay down their credentials with the release of new single Harper Lee. And it’s so far, so good. The song itself benefits from some robust acoustic guitar arrangements, a keen sense of vocal melody (with a woo-hoo backing), some lived in vocals and some nice vocal layering and some cool tambourine percussion. There’s also a classic sense of song-writing imbued within the delivery of the song, which probably will draw comparisons with artists of yesteryear as well as the likes of Mumford & Sons. Harper Lee is a grower of a record that also has a certain sing-along quality once you get to know it and warm to its charms (“there’s a gun in the attic, let me go grab it”). Oh, and don’t be surprised if soundtrack placements beckon too. Their debut album, Absolute Zero, is released in May on Island Records and produced by Marcus Dravs. They look set to be big.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Suede, Barriers

SUEDEBARRIERS: Suede deliver a suitably stadium-sized return in new single Barriers. It’s big on large guitar riffs, swooning romanticism and sing-along tendencies (with a few whoa whoah moments to get behind) and is delivered in distinct vocal style by Brett Anderson. In short, it’s the sound of Suede doing what Suede does best and they sound genuinely rejuvenated and raring to go. Anderson recently told NME that Barriers was a “pulsing, romantic swell [of a track] that somehow summed up the feel of the album quite nicely”. It could well be something worth looking forward to. Bloodsports is out in March and an official single, It Starts And Ends With You, drops properly in February. This is just a taster.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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