Well, as we all know the entire music industry was shook to the very core last Saturday – Little Mix were crowned winners of the X-Factor. You really do have to pity the poor buggers that are releasing singles this week who have to cross swords with such a behemoth. I jest… whilst I’m not even half as anti-Cowell as some people, the main element I have a disagreement with is the abuse of original songs for the debut single of winners. Little Mix’s version of Cannonball isn’t bad, but it, along with Alexandra Burke’s attempt at Jeff Buckley isn’t really contributing anything to music. Defenders of the X-Factor et al will vehemently point to these covers showing ‘real’ music to a new audience, and that Simon Cowell is merely the new amalgamation of artist control and manufacturing that stems right back to Motown. No matter…let’s see what singles are being released without a band full of merry little helpers (except the lovely PRs).
With a little hint to what the sound resonating throughout 2012 could be, Hook & The Twin are releasing We’re So Light. The second single from their forthcoming album, the urban-synth sound possesses all the grit and bite of a modern metropolis whilst retaining a subtle innocence. The result is a track that’s cutting-edge with rapier-like agility that will pierce your heart and develop your mind. The hulking, steam-engine electronic drums drive and push the song on, allowing the melody to go against the norm at times with its foundations firmly set deep in the listener’s ears. The Phil Collins-style drum fill in the first chorus is as dainty as a butterfly, but is just one of countless sinews that binds We’re So Light into being such an interesting and intriguing piece. There’s everything from Kraftwerk to Goldfrapp in the single, with something that finally sounds like it’s not just recycling the old but digesting it and offering us something wholly new and imaginative. H&TT have forged a single that’s as deep as the ocean and twice as mysterious in its depths.
After their debut album was crowned in our top 100 for 2011 here at GIITV, Little Comets have continued their relentless onslaught of giving optimistic music to the world with Worry and a new EP. The lyrics, both fantastically enigmatic and devastatingly close to home, will intrigue and delight the listener. The most endearing thing about this band is how much they can uplift your soul – Little Comets could cheer up a hungover squirrel that’s lost all its nuts for the winner and just seen its best mate being run over. Worry picks up where long-player In Search of Elusive left off, with twangly plicky-plucky guitar holding hands with deep bass danceability and infectious vocals. The lead track is perhaps not their best effort (it does get a little repetitive), but the listener can’t help but buy into the Little Comets mantra of smiling. Yet, the essence of their tracks are often that of heartache and sadness, with thought-provoking ideals that have the potential to really hit home – this is what sets them apart from countless ‘indie’ bands that almost always fail to offer any substance to their music.
In the first 20 seconds of The Model Behaviour you’ll go from thinking its Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to Siouxie and the Banshees to The Cure. But, it is in fact The Collectable Few who continue in Little Comets’ path of creating indie music that is actually, genuinely, good! And interesting! The opening bassline gets the attention of the listener immediately, and continues to add a bit of snarl and growl throughout the track. The Model Behaviour is guaranteed to enthral countless adolescent males with its sentiments, as well as make us older ones chuckle in hindsight. Despite the track having quite a simple arrangement, it doesn’t become dull or tedious because of the inventive lyrics that burrow in your mind and beg to be repeated. Everything in the song is geared towards the excellent chorus, where the guitars go up a volume number and the imaginary crowd scream back the words. Unlike many tracks of this nature, the guitars aren’t overpowering or are the main centrepiece – a nice change.
We now come to Little Racer with their surfer-cool Split for the Coast. Despite coming from Brooklyn, you’d be easily mistaken for visions of sandy coastlines and hot summer days when listening to the track. Reminiscent of early stuff by The Cardigans (which is criminally underrated) Split for the Coast has us laid-back and melancholy, with just a hint of helplessness – this mirrors the break-up context within the track, which tells of a relationship parting ways to different sides of the United States. The overdriven vocal range of the chorus carries on a similar trend to the 90’s grunge-revival this year, in particular Yuck, but the music is radiant and bright. We might be in the depths of winter right now, but I can almost feel the sand on my feet and see the a clear sun in the horizon. If you need something to warm your soul, then Split for the Coast is the perfect fire to stoke your heart.
Glasgow outfit Song of Return have released a new EP this week, Trajectory. It’s easy to dismiss the EP as too familiar and bland, but once you batter down the massive wall of sound the band places in front of the listener, you get to the heart of what is a darkly euphoric collection that harks back to nu-metal of the early 2000’s (that’s not meant in a bad way). In the modern age of synthesiser saturation it’s refreshing to be offered something with a bit of brooding malice and backbone. The opening track of the EP is possibly the lesser of the four songs, with Heavenly Bodies showing more what the band is capable of acheiving. It’s not revolutionary and doesn’t break new ground, but Song of Return’s new EP at least prods modern music into remembering avenues that have seldom been tread for some time.
And now for something completely different to everything else in the round-up, with Michael Canitrot and the heavy house heaven that is Blue Collision. Don’t think of this as just another pill-head looped drum beat – Blue Collision takes the listener on an ambitious audio journey that leaves you wide eyed and delighted. Slowly building up from humble beginnings, the track grows and mutates into a beast that will swallow you whole. When familiarity is beginning to set in, the bass drop sticks two fingers up and headbutts listeners, but we can’t help but be enchanted. Just as the sound is becoming too chaotic, Canitrot bridges the track with a momentary breather, before hurling us back into the jungle of mythical Siren-esque electronica and grooving percussion. Electronnica isn’t difficult to get right – a long-standing beat that makes people nod their head – but to create something of this magnitude, in the current climate of dubstep and drum & bass overload, is jawdropping.
Upon listening to Hook & The Twin’s track I was all set to award them the Single of the Week…then the same happened with Little Comets…then Little Racer…and at the end none of them are getting it, because Michael Canitrot is with his up-and-at-them, thumping new single Blue Collision. Canitrot’s track might not cheer you up like Little Comets, but it will certainly get your blood pumping and make you enthusiastic for whatever you face.