Every week, one of our writers will be given five tracks – they could be unsigned, they could be international superstars. Any genre could be included, and the writer gets one week to give their verdict on each song in under 100 words. This week, Janice Jong takes her turn. If you like what you hear, click on the band names to visit their website, and if you want your music to be included in the future, send an MP3, picture, short bio and link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WIRESCAN – “Amps”
I’m not usually a fan of electronica, but this track was a pleasant surprise. It is a cheery song with a sunny disposition that reminded me of ‘80’s music without being cheesy. At first, I thought this would be great music to play in the background at a party, but my kids both loved the track and it got them dancing – it’s definitely fit for centre stage. This track is the perfect length – it is interesting the entire way through and there are no slow bits, even without any vocals.
Jo Hamilton – “Alive, Alive”
Jo Hamilton has a beautiful, haunting voice. She sings like a human cello, with clarity and emotion. I loved the first thirty seconds of this track where Jo Hamilton reminded me of k.d. lang with her soulful lyrics and serious temperament. Then, the beautiful sounds were invaded with otherworldly alien noises. This ruined the track for me – as soon as the strange sounds started, the piece took on a cartoonish quality and the delicate emotional balance was destroyed. I found myself unable to focus on the lyrics – I could only hear the invasive sounds. I kept thinking about Bjork and outer space and the entire experience was ruined. Pity.
Pepper – “Running Rings”
This is a song that I would turn up to full volume in the car. It is also a song that I would be tired of listening to after a couple of weeks. (Ahhh…such is my fickle nature.)
“Running Rings” is a high-energy pop track with a repetitive and pervasive raw acoustic guitar backing. It has a slightly angry vibe that showcases Pepper’s gorgeous voice as it intertwines with the choppy guitar. Our local pop radio station loves to play chipper tracks like this; it would fit right in to their regular playlist.
Padraig Whelan – “Off & On”
I wanted to like this track. It is exactly the kind of music I love to listen to – a folksy-slow track sung by a man with an interesting voice. Problem is, I found the song boring. At full volume, it barely seeped into my consciousness, the music and lyrics did not pique my interest, and the emotional effect of the track was entirely benign. I loved the relaxed feel of the song and Whelan’s smooth voice with the pared down band and clean guitar notes. It was just so boring…
Alonestar feat. Ed Sheeran – “Real Life”
Listening to hip-hop, rap or urban music of any sort is way out of my element, so I was not sure what to expect from Alonestar. My impression of this track is that it is hip-hop “lite” – it is not particularly gritty or tough. The “Real Life” lyrics are appropriate for an after-school special, with a peppy and utterly unconvincing hook about how “this is the real life and it will only get harder…” This track reminds me of the only old school rap I had any contact with – Will Smith in his “Fresh Prince” days. It is easy to listen to and not offensive.