Ellen & The Escapades – Without You
‘Without You’ sounds like country music on fast-forward, and Ellen Smith’s soft and surprisingly low vocals are the cherry on top. Although it could be argued that the whole song might benefit from fewer bpm, the overall impression is of a cute, upbeat track that is resplendent with twangy harmonicas yet manages to sound just-poppy-enough and not-too-twee. The chorus is catchy and bittersweet (‘Sometimes I think about the things we used to do/And the love I gave to you’) and Smith’s voice presents the lyrics perfectly. ‘Without You’ is the second single from the band’s debut album ‘All The Crooked Scenes’.
Spector – Friday Night Don’t Ever Let It End (image above)
One need only take a look at vocalist Frederick Macpherson’s dress sense to confirm that Spector make pretentious indie music. However, ‘Friday Night’ is catchy and the tongue-in-cheek mock interview inserted in the middle of the admittedly generic music video where director Alan Del Rio Ortiz comments: ‘It was a wild idea; I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received.’ It’s funny. The track stomps along at a quick pace, it is very light and upbeat and perfectly encapsulates the giddy delights of the weekend. A little pretentious? Maybe, but somehow, in the case of Spector, this can be forgiven.
Fold – Mr President, We’re In Trouble (ft. Jimmy Carter)
Fold describe themselves as a ‘down-tempo, trip-hop band’. The music is chilled – downbeat electro with a melancholy ring to it, but the remarkable thing about the band is the way they incorporate voice samples of political speeches (in this case words from Jimmy Carter) into their music. It’s very clever, that much is obvious, and it clearly requires a lot of artistry which can be admired even if the subject matter isn’t what you want from your music. In their mission statement the band claim they don’t want to sound ‘preachy’ and they don’t, really, but the track comes across more poignant than anything else.
Placebo – B3 EP
The oh-so-distinctive, tortured vocals of Brian Molko have for the last 18 years ensured that however much Placebo develop their music, they can hardly stray from their signature, sinister sound that fans have come to know and love over the years. As such, B3 is no ground-breaker. The opening track of the same name starts with heavy, twitching, buzzing synth and quickly flourishes into familiar heavy guitars and over-pronounced vowels. The remaining four tracks (including a cover of Minxus’ ‘I Know You Want To Stop’) are all solid, catchy, dark and exciting. ‘Time Is Money’, the closing track, is a highlight; it sounds more dreamy than nightmarish, but the lyrics are still typically morbid (‘War, is spreading like a cancer’). We wouldn’t want it any other way.
Madness – Oui Oui, Si Si, Ja Ja, Da Da
The London legends are set to release their tenth LP on the 29th October, opening with ‘My Girl 2’ which was released as a single last week. It is everything Madness ever were and more; catchy, cockney, clever and classic. ‘Death Of A Rude Boy’ is also a storming track. It is a bit slower but no less impactful, very reminiscent of The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’ and delightfully sinister. ‘La Luna’ and ‘Kitchen Floor’ look set to follow in these ska footsteps, but there is no shortage of the quicker, more upbeat Madness that the British public exalted at the Olympics. Definitely not an album to miss.
By Hannah Voss