Every week, one of our writers will be given a selection of 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, James Conmy takes his 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.
Rita Ora – R.I.P
Produced by the ubiquitous electro-Gods Chase & Status and dexterously introduced by Tinie Tempah, R.I.P is the sort of anthemic head bouncer that works as well in the car as in the club. It’s positive swagger, girl-power hook and euro clubland dub beats lift an accomplished vocal above the clamour – but they never really soar despite the edgy stringwork underscoring. If there’s a problem here for Rita it’s identity: you forget it’s her halfway through the song and replace her with Rihanna. Which should be high praise – right?
Eyes on Film – Something Wicked (this way comes)
This one hits the ground running, infectious reverb guitar strings smash ‘n’ grabbing your attention with an insanely catchy riff. There is something fresh yet familiar here: try taking a dark distorted bite of INXS, Placebo and Mark Bolan and you’re getting there. A vocal of hushed menace is egged on by guitars with teeth. This, my friends, is a song that struts into the room and says something dirty to your mum. As pretty as a flick-knife, I can’t recommend it enough. Something wicked has arrived.
Christiaan Webb – We’re Under the Same Stars
In this track “Christiaan” Webb (additional “a” singer’s own) seems so mystified by the most basic of natural phenomena that I’m not entirely surprised he’s kicking around on his own. The sun, the moon, the stars, his true love and even “air” (!) all appear to be beyond his grasp. The lyrics boil down to the well trodden country path of question after question following a break-up, but it lacks the necessary cohesion to be evocative. His scattergun droning rhetoric, like his probable view of the Earth, can best be described as “flat”. Unless you like whinging-to-music, avoid.
Et Tu Bruce – Never say Trevor Again
Funny, playful and sad, imagine a tongue in cheek updating of “Jolene” sung by a Beatles tribute band and you’re on your way, but it’s so damn polished it’s better than it has any right to be. If this is representative of the band’s style then it’s head-out-of-the-car-window refreshing. The divine comedy and “Corky and the juice pigs” used to do a nice line in this sort of facetious folk merrymaking and like them, you can’t help but feel that intelligences vast and cool sit behind all the silliness.
Centre Excuse – Drop and Roll
This talented trio have whipped away the chintzy tablecloth of 80’s synth pop and left all the important things still standing on the table. If the eco message is a little worthy given the messenger’s obvious predilection for electric over acoustic then we can forgive them this once as they are creating an energy all their own. Although the rock guitar suggests otherwise there’s heart here rather than anger which keeps them just on the right side of likeable and away from the commercial suicide of preachy. Accomplished scouts on a familiar frontier – but no more than that.