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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, February 5, 2016

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

The Heavy, Since You Been Gone

SINGLE OF THE WEEK: THE HEAVYSINCE YOU BEEN GONE: Bath quartet The Heavy will return on April 1 with their new album, Hurt & The Merciless, the first taster of which is the lead single Since You Been Gone – and it’s as rousing and brilliant as ever. A high-octane slice of soul with Motown horns and dirty guitar, this also features some typically blistering vocals. It’s a powerhouse return – one that effectively embraces their now trademark sound (think How You Like Me Now?) with something both excitingly fresh and vaguely retro. The stabs of brass and guitar riffs are particularly effective. You can well believe that another soundtrack moment beckons. The video for lead single has been directed by Focus Creeps (Arctic Monkeys, King Krule) and stars Thomas Turgoose (This Is England) and Abigail Hardingham (Nina Forever) as a couple in the throes of a break-up. It’s just as stylish as the music itself.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes

EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS – NO LOVE LIKE YOURS: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, the euphorically confrontational 10-piece band that has made a permanent impression on the music scene, is back with their highly anticipated fourth album, PersonA. The first taster is lead single No Love Like Yours, a slickly produced, epic slice of piano-jazz-pop that soars. Opening with some country sounding guitar licks, and some deliciously yearning vocals, this then proceeds to open up into a sweeping record that’s clearly in search of love, complete with falsetto vocals. It’s uplifting, cinematic and utterly addictive. Recorded in New Orleans without studio tricks like click tracks, digitally doubling of voices, or other manipulations, the 10 tracks that comprise the album are clearly influenced by the jazz-saturated sound of that city. PersonA will be released on April 15, 2016.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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James, Nothing But Love

JAMESNOTHING BUT LOVE: As James limber up for the release of new album, Girl At The End of the World in March, and the May UK tour that follows, they now drop the new single, Nothing But Love. A rarity in the James canon, the track is an unadorned love song featuring the refrain ‘nothing but love gives the world some meaning’. Says singer and lyricist Tim Booth: “Love songs tend to tread such a well-worn path that I avoid them unless I have something new to say or I’m so blinded by emotion I can’t help myself. It’s about love’s euphoria and ecstasy – that love-bomb that goes off and changes everything. But love is a high-stakes game, as something you love can also be lost.” As ever, Booth’s vocals remain the compelling reason for listening, but the intricately layered instrumentals are also as classily delivered as usual. And while the track may overall lack the immediacy or lasting appeal of classic James cuts such as Sound, Born of Frustration or Come Home, this is a solid reminder of why they continue to rate among Britain’s very best bands.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Lacey, I Don't Owe The World A Thing

LACEY – I DON’T OWE THE WORLD A THING: An often-melancholic collection of tracks, Lacey’s new EP I Don’t Owe The World A Thing is a nevertheless endearing collection of punk-pop tracks that showcase the best of the band. The lead single, Shadow highlights the sentiment that some things are best left behind us (“I won’t chase my shadow”) and is constructed around some epic, echoed guitar riffs and some genuinely anguished power vocals. And while it has a ring of familiarity to it within the pop-punk arena, it still manages to impress. Of the other five tracks, Take Me Home benefits from being a more stripped back and restrained ballad, showcasing an even more emotionally exposed side to the band, and once more making maximum use of the lead vocals. Ghost While I’m Alive, meanwhile, delivers a sharp mix of echoed guitar loops and pop-friendly vocals that continue to combine the dark and edgy with the vaguely optimistic. It’s another favourite. Produced by Drew Lawson (ROAM, While She Sleeps) at Steel City Studios, the EP continues in a tradition of compelling songwriting as Lacey take cues from Jimmy Eat World, Kids In Glass Houses and many a classic band that have gone before.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Ellie Goulding, Army

ELLIE GOULDINGARMY: “When I’m with you, I’m standing with an army”, sings Ellie Goulding over the chorus of her empowering new single, Army. Biuilt around minimalist beats and subtle electronics, this slow-builds into something soaring by virtue of a chorus that continues to blossom each time it comes around. Indeed, by the time the song reaches the two-minute mark, the beats become more pronounced, the electronics more lively and Goulding’s vocals more emphatic. There’s a mid-track breakdown that strips things back briefly, before the song once again explodes into life for a euphoric finale. It’s a very good pop record that continues to show why Goulding has been able to win such an army of fans of her own.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Matt Corby

MATT CORBYKNIFE EDGE: Knife Edge is the third track to be released from Matt Corby’s debut album Telluric but it underwhelms somewhat. A sort of jazz-soul-pop hyrbid that finds Corby adopting some deeply soulful smooth groove vocals, this also features slick beat arrangements and some piano and guitar work. But there’s a slight feeling that perhaps Corby is trying to be a little too ambitious on this one, tossing in many elements but sometimes losing a satisfying structural form. The vocals play a big part of this, sometimes sounding a little at odds with the instrumentals. The singer himself says of the track: “Knife Edge is one of the most intentional songs on the record. You might even call it upbeat. It was written in the same little house in Berry where I wrote Monday and the rest of the record.”
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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Nicky Rubin, Never Forget You

NICKY RUBIN – I’LL NEVER FORGET YOU: Nicky Rubin is a man who followed a dream. After a lifetime travelling the world playing live music he is back with a new single and promises of a new studio album later in 2016. I’ll Never Forget You, his latest single, is being hailed as the quintessential soundtrack of a free life spent travelling the world. It is notable for featuring the lush strings of Stella Page (Elbow/Blur) and drums of Nikolaj Bjerre (Lamb), as well as providing a showcase for Rubin’s earnest vocals. But while the instrumentals are certainly ear-catching and even cinematic when heard on their own, the vocals actually mark it down somewhat. There’s a spark missing thanks to the sometimes gruff delivery of the verses. Hence, what turns out to be Leonard Cohen-esque at times could actually have done with being more like Fyfe Dangerfield in terms of bombast. And that’s despite the soulful voice of Valerie Ettienne (Galliano) on backing vocals.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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OhBoy!

VICTORIA+JEAN – HARLIGHT SVERIGE: Härligt Sverige is the atmospheric debut single from Swedish/Belgian duo Victoria+Jean. Translated as Glorious Sweden, the track was inspired by the Brussels-based Victoria’s longing for her homeland. It is deeply intense and something like a cross between Bjork and PJ Harvey for the way in which it combines stark vocals with ethereal elements. And yet while impressive in places, it’s also very deliberate and therefore potentially polarising – its distinct elements likely to leave some people alienated. Victoria says of the song: “I’ve always had a need to come back to Sweden, it’s like I miss the smell of the trees, the taste of it’s food, and a need for coming back to my roots. The song is about that, the blue and yellow flag, the lakes, the forests, family, mid summer… and me wanting to show it to the ones I love.” The film-noir inspired video was shot in Mälmo and directed by Corentin Kopp.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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OhBoy!

OHBOY! – THE CARROT AND THE STICK: Northampton five-piece OhBoy! pick up where the New Year hangovers left off, exploding into 2016 full of intent by announcing that they’ve signed to Alcopop! And to celebrate stil further, they drop the powerhouse new single The Carrot And The Stick. A carefree slice of noise-pop that evokes comparisons with bands like Ash, this is also shot through with distortion heavy guitars and punchy choruses. It’s a confident statement of intent – a brash, no holds barred, even frenzied record that is sure to go down a storm for them when played live. Released via all of your favourite digital retailers, and as a significantly awesome limited edition Tee Shirt single, the video also features a cut together montage of classic on-screen footage. OhBoy! are Lee irons (guitar), Jay Brook (guitar/vocals), Dan Battison (bass) Meg Amirghiasvand (guitar/backing vocals) and Mark Nicholas (drums).
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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