November Singles reviews

19 November 05 words: Ollie Smith
The Modern, Kaiser Chiefs, Humanzi, The Elements, The Automatic, Athlete, Tsar, The Kull, Insane Macbeth, Dap-C, The Fallout Trust

Kaiser Chiefs
Modern Way

I'm getting bored of the Kaiser Chiefs. They remind me of some of the less endearing characteristics of my bed-wetting northern flatmate, who proclaims them to be 'grand' with Tetley's bitter in hand, flat cap on head and struggling ewe under arm. The Modern Way is a decidedly lazier number than t'other three singles; plodding along with no obvious end, it looks likely to freefall out of the top 40 and thus give the Chiefs the occasion to indulge in the most popular of Yorkshire pastimes; whinging. 3/10

The Modern
Jane Fell Down.

Another fizzle-on-your-tongue dollop of electronic pop from meticulously coiffured hipsters 'The Modern'. Roaring organs power this 80s glam-slam uber-ballad, along with deliciously chugging guitars and tidy beats to match. Vocalists Emma Cooke and Chi Tudor-Hart who, despite having a name like an Etonian buggermeister, proudly boasts a home economics A-level to his name on the website - have a combined sexual energy that bounces about like Rik Waller on a spacehopper.  9/10

Girls - Money

With such an unsubtle title it is unsurprising that this single is a quite unsubtle affair. So here we have paint-by-numbers rock; big dumb guitar solos, Angus Young-alike voice, obligatory quieter bit and shrieks of 'allriiiiight' (which when played live should be accompanied by a bathetic place name, e.g. Arnold). This is rock made for some of the more slouched Neanderthals on the evolutionary diagrams. Tsar should be in exile. 2/10

The Kull
Tic Tac Toe

The Kull's press release says that 'Tic Tac Toe' would 'kill my stereo', a brave statement for a single that sounds like something that would make your feet smell nicer in less than 2 calories. Resuscitation wasn't necessary, however there is an undeniable spark in this grungy apocalypse. The raw energy of the guitars is well captured on this low fi recording with the deranged, hoary vocals of Andy Shipley complimenting the underground dirge. 7/10

Insane Macbeth feat. The Icepick
True Heart

Rap stars like to proclaim themselves as 'making history', Insane Macbeth included in their ranks. But will the school children of 2500AD really tremble at the prospect of the Jay-Z module in their history GCSE? Insane Macbeth and Icepick give their best shot to get the attention of Edexcel, with grinding old skool beats proving an effective antidote to the ubiquitous grime of our times. Clever rhymes aplenty, a claim to be a 'modern day robin hood' really hits target with Leftlion, although the sampling does get a bit stale towards the end.  6/10

Walking in the Rain

Another piece of UK Hip-Hop, this time with a refreshing Geordie 'flava to it. I haven't heard much hip-hop from the north-east (and when I did it was only Stumpy Beardsley Slimebag from Byker Grove busting some rhymes to get the attention of Chardeece), but Dap-C's lyrical dexterity is impressive as he recounts the Tyneside grievances of a 'true Angel of the North'. But does all this sit comfortably with a catchy chorus seemingly sung by Papa Smurf? Why, aiii. 8/10

The Fallout Trust
Before the Light Goes

Three-fifths of The Fallout Trust are the Winter family, which sends alarm bells ringing in from the start. But before you think of the Corrs, the Von Trapp family or some other examples of master-race merriment, bear in mind this second single starts with the line 'The future is blind, it has forgotten me'. Think Interpol soundalikes; an eruption of instruments culminating in a mildly distracting... squelch. Alternatively think of the deathly existential silence at the Winter family breakfast table. 6/10

Fix the Cracks

Congratulations! You are the 100,000th band trying to sound like New Order/ Joy Division at this moment in time. You have won a day with a graphic designer who will make your website look even more like a tribute to Soviet realism. Style snobbery aside, this Irish quartet don't do that bad a job of it - a happily pulsing verse and a I'm-a-repressed-poet-shouting chorus, all washed down by fizzy synths - it's just a job Bloc Party, Maximo Park et al. have already done. Better. Why doesn't anyone fancy sounding like Iron Maiden? 7/10

The Elements
White Soul Blues EP

After getting demos from London, Newcastle, London, Dublin, London and London, it's nice to have a bit of a musical homecoming. And lo, the Elements are a quintessential Nottinghamshire pub band; nothing less than competent and nothing more. Guitar lines are nifty but sound laboured, especially on 'Wreckin Ball'. Drum beats are rolled off a production line and although lead singer Lee Martin sings with flair, it is in an anonymous, look-sincere-on-the-X-factor-ish way. His attempt at a cod-American accent on 'Lost and Found' is cringe worthy, sounding more Newstead Abbey than New York. For those who like their rock with milk and two sugars. 5/10

Twenty Four Hours

With every day Athlete look less likely to return to being fresh-faced simple 20 somethings who make kids songs. So here comes the third angst-saturated single from their album the Tourist; chiming guitars, wheezy singing, starving orphans, stopthewars and earnestly soaring strings aplenty. The musical equivalent of being in a coma. And then waking up to find you don't have legs any more. Or arms. 2/10

The Automatic

So many Welsh bands have snuggled down in the great couch of the mainstream and devoted time to making spectacularly average albums. Feeder, the Manics, Stereophonics but to name... the only three I can think of. But here come The Automatic, whose jolty brand of art-rock fun promises to resonate through the valleys and will have the male voice choirs quaking in their coracles. Welsh jokes aside, this is a rarebit of disco-friendly rock (think Take Me Out but happier) from a young band deserving some chart success. Makes me proud to be half Welsh. Almost. 9/10


Tell us what you think