Single Review – Catfish And The Bottlemen – Cocoon

Someone obviously enjoys reading my rants about these guys so here I am again, to review their latest track ‘Cocoon’ from their upcoming album The Balcony. This time I hope they’ve stumbled across some originality, imagination or dynamism as opposed to every other piece of beige clad, guitar simplicity I’ve heard before. It opens in a typical mindless thrashing fashion plucked straight from 2001. It then goes on to go about a floating piece of Indie pop and then a Mumford-like tumble on the bridge section and then back into the lethargic predictability of a swooning Indie chorus with the cascading riffs and the sweeping backing vocals. To be fair this is the closest to any musical creativity they’ve ever came notwithstanding the blatant guitar solo and stomp-like finish. The only way I can see if this is enjoyable is if you’ve been in a cave on mars with your fingers in your ears since 1984. In desperation their PR have labelled them heroes of guitar music, but as far as I’m concerned they are it’s nemesis. Batting away any new ideas and showing guitar music to be plain and outdated so the sooner that tag is dropped the better.

 

Polly Scattergood – Arrows Review

Polly Scattergood is back with her second album, Arrows as a follow-up from her debut, Polly Scattergood which was around four years ago. That’s quite a large space of time from debut to second album as you catch some artists releasing their following material even less than a year after their debut work. However, you’ll have the whole of your life so far to use as writing material for your debut, yet you have to draw new ideas in a shorter space of time and with the fact you can judge it against what you’ve already done. But then again; in that sense she isn’t one to fit into such perceptions of normality and typicality and certainly seems like someone who is most comfortable doing the opposite. She did graduate from the BRIT School though, along with the likes of Jessie J, The Kooks, Adele and Amy Winehouse. A mixed bag of talent and the lack of it if ever you needed one. She does have something to prove as is always the case with second albums. She had mixed reviews with her shimmering electro-pop debut and now she has to show that those four years have paid off.

‘Wanderlust’ was released early in the year and is a solid song from Arrows with the whirring synths opening the song in a subtle manner before the primary blast of sound from the main electronic elements. Her vocal is one that could pull you either way. She utilises this well though. The soft and slightly whispered yet with a slight depth vocal. Behind it sits the more naïve and harmonic backing vocals which bring the focus upon her vocals. She does this on her own in the chorus as she hits the high notes in an understated and calm fashion and one that’s slightly off centre from convention too. The stripped back pause in the song, while atmospheric is a little bit tarnished by the lyrics of her hearing a synthesizer on a battlefield. Lyrics can be whatever they want to be but it felt a little out of character from what the music and the other lyrics were geared towards. Despite this though, it’s a great piece of sophisticated pop music and the simple and repetitive rhythm of the primary synth acted as a solid hook and foundation for the rest of the song to fall upon. ‘Cocoon’ is subdued and atmospheric and plays on this and the space created as a result to build up the sound gradually. The same goes for Polly’s vocals that ever so slowly rises in tone as the synths and percussion arrive to build up the layers of the song. Following the chorus she goes off towards the peak of her vocal in that song which has more of a hint of power about it yet still retains the soft edged naivety about it. The song in general is at a fairly decent level but at times it just felt a little too subdued with little atmospheric or soundscaping quality coming to fruition either.

‘Subsequently Lost’ leans more towards a dance track or just an electro-pop song with a more obvious hook and rhythm. Its a welcome shift in tone and feel and the songs elements as well as her vocals tie in nicely together despite the more weighty and rapid sound of the synths this time around. ‘Disco Damaged Kid’ is the solemn and highly thoughtful track off the album which slowly develops into a sombre and tragic feeling dance track. Polly’s vocals at the start are some of her best. They’re emotive and vulnerable. She perhaps didn’t need to have the backing vocal behind her on the chorus as it steals away from her main vocal slightly. Though the shift in tone was unexpected and pretty effective in general; the piano was also stealing away from the main body of her vocal too and was almost at odds with it. But on the whole the song is a solid one. That seems to be the theme really. Her strongest tracks are those that are better than average. There’s nothing really pulling you by the collar and grabbing your attention. With that in mind I’d say that she’s had some new ideas but they just haven’t been perfected yet. If she sticks with it for her next work then she’ll probably do that. But it’s just not there at the moment.

Polly Scattergood – Arrows = 6/10

Images from www.billboard.com / thefourohfive.com