Alternative music reviews


Singles November 2003

Remember Me by British Sea Power

Remember Me is a great track – a classic English Indie single. It sets off like a rabbit with four greyhounds after it and all I can say is the rabbit wins again! It's very Northern like The Wedding Present with a smattering of Buzzcocks. The excitement of Remember Me isn't matched by most of the other tracks but for some reason I keep remembering the Lancashire Moors when I listen to them. There are 2 CD singles and a 7" single as well for this release. I can recommend the 7" single because the b-side has the mainly instrumental The Scottish Wildlife Experience and is a blast with some feedback thrown in.

3 Track Sampler by The Magic

This is a very early demo from a young UK band. They have a jazz sound which is unusual in itself – 18 year olds who don't sound like Radiohead! In terms of sonic approach, it sits between a soft late-night Jamiroquai and the best of 80's soul/jazz-funk but doesn't get trapped by either boundary and ends up as being closer to Turin Breaks or even Elbow (both are mentioned as influences). It's obviously not my sort of music but there are some lovely, gutsy guitar solos and the songwriting is of high-quality. The fact that The Magic are so young and doing something different is a warning to the sad Pop Idol wannabes.

Long Time Coming by The Delays

The follow up to Guiding Light is a rocky little number that is very catchy but with a bit of bite and suggests that The Delays are more than just also-rans in the indie-pop stakes. There's a vocal born of melody and a touch of sandpaper that is enticing over the jangly rock guitar music. This band have the potential to come up with a great pop anthem.

Step Into My Office Baby by Belle and Sebastian

A single taken from the lastest album Catastrophe Waitress that is the most memorable song. Unfortunately, memorable for the wrong reasons because it is bunch of clichés about their imaginings about what office life is like. I may be completely wrong, but it just sounds so false. Crap melody too.

Shake Me Down/Forget To Breathe by Mantra

Shake Me Down is simply awful – too hurried and tuneless. Surprisingly enough, the second track Forget To Breathe is a really good song with sweeping synthetic strings over a romantic epic. Simple, lush, and kind of beautiful.

Mantra website

Transportation To Nowhere by Nurotica

Phased Rock guitar, falsetto moments, metal tinged riffs and all the grunge you can handle – Nurotica are firmly in the hard alternative rock category. Not great originality yet, but lots of energy and a bit of ear-bleed never did anyone any harm, did it? I love the quote from Penthouse – what do they know about music? Neurotica are a great prospect for a live show.

Nurotica website

Three Songs About Dreams, Lovers & The Sea by Inch Blue

An imperious Scottish band coming on like Positive Noise did in the 80s, Inch Blue throw the gauntlet out to everyone else to compete in overblown, passionate, indie rock. They have an epic, melodramatic sound like The Mighty Wah!, Teardrop Explodes. and even Simple Minds. I haven't heard such a confident sound in ages plus the best titled EPs I've received. The production is magnificent – bringing together the guitars, keyboards, drums and vocals into an atmospheric whole while each instrument is still clearly heard This isn't so much case of a band that are going somewhere, as of a group that are already there and just waiting for the audience to catch up.

Inch Blue website

Dinosaur Jr
Sonic Youth
Bill Callahan
Jeffrey Lewis
Florence & The Machine
Resonance Association
The Roe Family Singers
The Peter Parkers

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