Singles Round-Up 01/08/11


By Bryan Gregg

Apparat – Black Water

Back when singles were (or just seemed) more important – heralding a new album for example – they used to be statements: big sounds which grabbed your attention and made you listen. Start by the Jam, Step On by the Happy Mondays, Crazy in Love from Beyonce. Whether you liked them or not, they got your attention, made you listen…with the proliferation of digital music formats and the ease with which artists can get their work out, it seems the “single as statement” may be a thing of the past.

Certainly in the case of Sacha Ring’s Apparat incarnation’s latest offering what we get is more of a late night, chill out offering rather than what might once have been called an “obvious” single. That’s not to say it’s not good, it is. Calling to mind filmic pieces from David Lynch scores to Groove Armada, Black Water gives a taste of the forthcoming album, Devil’s Walk. As is often the way with slow, meandering, ambient electronica, Black Water seems as if it’s just about to go somewhere, to explode into life before swirling back to quietness again and as such it never really gets going. Which, if it’s half three in the morning and you’re just back in from a hard night’s clubbing, is probably what you want really. Following in the creative footsteps of the first three Apparat albums, this latest work will keep Berliner Ring’s existing fans happy but I can’t be certain it will win him any new ones.

Jesse Mills – Live for What I’d Die For

I really couldn’t love this single. It’s sub-Katy Perry dirge. Really, there’s not much that can be said for it. It already sounds terribly dated and Mills’ vocals sound weak – whether that’s just the mix could be debated but having checked out the variety of remixes from Disclosure, Loadstar and Distance it seems it’s the singing voice which is at fault. Again, there’s no sense that the song is ever going anywhere – hardly the mark of a great “buy this, buy my album too!” single.

Chromeo – When the Night Falls (feat. Solange Knowles)

My goodness. What’s happened to the releases this week? Is it 1985? Is there a new Beverly Hills Cop movie out? Bucks Fizz/Aha quality synth work and a weak as Earl Grey tea backing vocals give this a distinctly mid 80s feel. I hope it’s ironic. Disjointed woo-hoo-hoos and yeah-yeah-yeahs don’t really help either. “When the night falls/Oh yeah/You can tell her ‘bout the way that you feel/Make the right calls, oh yeah.” Come on. Must do better. Avoid.

Bibio – Take Off Your Shirt

This started promisingly, pretending to be Owner of a Lonely Heart by YES. It then featured a pseudo Mike Skinner rap type thing which sat slightly dischordantly with the rock anthem style guitar work but at least if FEELS like a single. There’s a definite hook there. Hey, it’s even catchy which used to be all you expected from a single “I like it, I like it, I like the funny feeling being here with you”, “Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode, he’s Ebeneezer Goode”. Remember? It used to be easy…

Steven Wilkinson, the man behind Bibio studied Sonic Arts at University and makes good use of his skills here to blend the late 70s riff with the 80s style backing vocals and 90s/noughties narrative chat-rap sensibilities. The result is something vaguely anthemic. Not bad at all…

Scenic – Another Sky

Hailing from Perth, Western Australia, “Scenic create enchanting dance music rooted in pop” according to their Soundcloud site. Another Sky is their first EP for the wonderfully named Future Classic label and features another retro sound to add to this week’s clutch of sonic time-travellers. Another Sky might never be a floor filler but its swirling vocals and poppy synth give it an early OMD feel; no bad thing. Again, the vocals are quite far down in the mix but that doesn’t mean they get lost whilst the steady build of keyboards, drum fills and echoey backing vocals gives the track a really nice balance. Destined to be a late night effort this one: perfect near-the-end-of-the-party music when everyone’s too knackered to really bust out their moves. Well worth checking out.

The Lost Cavalry – Desert Tracks

This starts off very, very like Mumford and Sons and – unfortunately – never gets any better. It’s technically nice enough; harmonies, accordion, unusual drum structure, wee bit of brass…all the elements are there. Alas they are also the elements already done to death by Marcus Mumford’s mob. Desert Tracks doesn’t add anything new, nor does it do anything old particularly inspiringly. There’s even a medieaval sounding instrumental middle eight – worth of Monty Python and The Holy Grail. Which may be just about the most positive thing I can say for it.

Pick of the bunch? Tough call between Scenic and Bibio but I’m going to plump for the Aussies. Scenic’s Another Sky is a real summer nights with your mates sort of sound and for that alone it’s worth a download. Crack open a bottle of something nice, light the firepit and relax…

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.