MØ – When I Was Young EP Review 


It’s a shame that MǾ is probably most known for her collaborative pop efforts with the likes of Cheat Codes, Diplo and Major Lazer, because her solo work is something quite special – epitomised in her new EP When I Was Young. The six-piece track list comes as the most notable release from the Danish songstress since her debut album No Mythologies to Follow, and glistens with both imaginative contemporary pop at its finest, and also the grittier side to her style.

The eponymous track gallops alongside the earthy tones of MǾ’s vocals, opening with a classic synth bounce and a spacious bass to follow. The chorus builds until it dips into what can only be described as an extremely different/extremely clever “bass drop” – it erupts with sax and fizzes with vocal chimes, giving it a childish joviality that reflects the title of the track. It’s a seriously fun addition to the track list. The next most upbeat number comes in the form of Linking With You. The synths add sizzle to the thumping bass that carries catchy chorus lyrics and MǾ’s famous harmonies. Both tracks give a sense of bubbling, youthful elation.

Sat in the middle of the spectrum is Bb. It’s more relaxed than the previous two, but still centralises a thundering bass to parade MǾ’s – it feels less excitable, but still has a blissful glow about it. But it’s sharper, more coarse; it’s more definitive and less carefree. In a similar vein is Turn My Heart To Stone. The highlight of this song is the chorus, in which MǾ morphs her voice into something completely striking, piercing into the subtle synth backing track.

Then at the grimier end of the scale, we have Roots and Run Away. Both drawing similarities to the melancholic tenors of Lana del Rey, they explore a more relaxed and minimalist approach to pop. Roots opens with a bellowing organ – and being the opening track on the EP, it sets an unnerving tone for what’s to come, quite discordant from the reality. The monotonous organ riff seethes throughout, becoming lighter at the chorus to match the higher pitch, and meets some oriental instrumentalism that makes for a very interesting and diverse track. Run Away is something of an achievement; it’s rich and gravelly, yet keeps things simple and stripped back, with a guitar and vocals leading the way for much of the track.

MǾ’s When I Was Young is very much an accomplished EP, bringing out the best in pop music and attacking from all angles. She promises an LP is in the works – and if this is anything to go by, it will be huge.

MǾ – When I Was Young: 9/10

Ellie Chivers

Single Review – Fickle Friends – Vanilla 

Fickle Friends are proving to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to sharp alt pop. In Vanilla, Natassja Shiner deliberates a slump in a relationship to a truly delicious pick-and-mix of electronica – swimming synths, organ fx and reverberating guitars – all driven by subtle percussion and the pleading voice of Shiner. The track oscillates with instrumentalism, coming to its most climatic at the chorus, and its sheerest when Shiner is at her most sincere. It adds a level of movement and emotion to a track that is superficially another pop hit mastered by Fickle Friends. Look out for this lot.

Eleanor Chivers

Single Review – Parcels – Older

The Berlin via Byron Bay quintet that makes up Parcels are to release their new EP Hideout on January 27th and have released a third single taken from the extended play. ‘Older’ still retains the Euro-Disco sounds of the previous singles, but the crackling production and loose riffs are set to a Indie jolt led by the percussion and brought home by the back and forth, airy pop vocals. It is an upbeat and infectious track, but sees them loose a bit of their novelty to pursue a TDCC type sound, though delivered better nonetheless. Hopefully they can go back to shamelessly pursuing Disco or perhaps drop us a surprise in the future.

Owen Riddle 

EP Review – Foo Fighters – Saint Cecilia

The legends that are the Foo Fighters only go on to further their on-going perception as the nicest band around with their new free five track EP. St Cecilia is named after the hotel in Austin, Texas that they recorded these five tracks at and the Saint is the patron saint of musicians of course. The band also dedicated the EP to the victims of the Paris attacks, something which Dave Grohl’s friend Josh Homme was caught up in at the Bataclan theatre that night.

 

The EP in general is the band at their classic best with euphoric song progressions and heavyweight melodies and this is demonstrated best on the title track. The track swings from the rhythmic hooks of the chorus to the bulkier sections of the verses where the guitars are given a more free reign. Dave and Taylor Hawkins team up again for their trademark harmonies that run through the whole track to complete a optimistic piece of music. ‘Sean’ is a track echoing their earlier, rapid sound with an added kick behind it. ‘Savoir Breath’ is a keen play on words and is a track bordering on Heavy Metal which the band relishes in as we’ve seen in their documentary album Sonic Highways from last year. ‘Iron Rooster’ provides a change of pace in a more simple acoustic setting for a more considered and reflective track with Grohl’s vocals accompanied by a neatly places riffs and piano chords. ‘The Neverending Sigh’ is brilliant piece of unrestricted hard rock music with the riffs hitting peak after peak and the rhythm unrelenting in it’s pace.

 

For a free EP, Saint Cecilia is well worth getting your hands on as the Foo Fighters deliver some nuggets of their classic sound and indulge in a few variations too.

 

 

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Moushumi – Red Like Mine EP Review

Moushumi is a twenty two year old singer songwriter from Brooklyn who provides music of sweeping and rolling atmospheric soundscapes in a similar style to London Grammar, whose sound influences her music. She has recently released her debut EP entitled Red Like Mine in which she delivers these aspects of her sound in conjunction with her soft, wistful vocals and sharper edged instrumentation. ‘Alone’ is a track that best encapsulates all of the qualities of her sound as her vocals gently roll across the direct percussion and the steady, rumbling electronica. She achieves a great balance between intimacy and power in this track as the loosely produced elements of the track push forward that sweeping quality in an all encompassing manner. Songs such as ‘Stay’ are more subtle and maximise the soft tinged vocals of Moushumi as it’s surrounded by airy riffs and easy percussion. This heightens the focus of the lyrics and the emotive message behind them, matched by the emotive setting.

‘More’ swings back and forth between the fluttering riffs and snap of the percussion before being bridged by her sweeping vocals, a reverberating bass line and high pitched, understated synth. Each element plays off the other well and this also helps the song’s progression and development. In general, it is a cool and slick track delivered with an understated confidence that is present throughout the EP. Each track is made up a different instrumental variation to form a different type of soundscape with her fluid vocals being one of the only mainstays. She’s also shown that to deliver an album of perspective such as this, that making some elements bolder highlights those that are supposed to spaced out and this has given her more to work with as opposed to ensuring everything is spaced out. With this in mind, the simple and complex aspects of Red Like Mine are not only more prominent, but more appreciated too.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Calico – Euphorism

Brighton five piece Calico are a group that truly mix and merge the genres that influence their music and make them evident in their sound and their new single ‘Euphorism’ is evocative of that in combing elements of Post Rock, Electronic and Jazz into a four minute instrumental. It is through an expansive and echoed production and a sturdy percussion section. From this foundation the jazz and electronic variants can extend and stretch across the space created for it. A smooth and relaxed track from their self titled EP expected on October 19th.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Sharon Van Etten – I Don’t Want to Let You Down E.P Review

Sharon Van Etten’s new E.P. is a gentle reverie with a slightly dark edge. The Brooklyn-based singer songwriter has a knack for creating delicate tracks that perfectly match her serene vocals.

The layers of vocals on title track I Don’t Want To Let You Down softly ebb and flow to create a whimsical build-up of sounds and tones over the course of 4 minutes. Her soft, husky tones on Just Like Blood only just rise over the top of the piano riff, making it all the more impressive when her voice effortlessly soars during the chorus as she sings with resigned and weary frustration “You set me off, Just like a gun, And then you run, Just like blood.” Van Etten doesn’t try too hard with her vocals has no need to apply lots of power to her voice; the lyrics seem to drift readily from her and hang gently in the air, understated and soothing.

Upon the first listen to I Always Fall Apart, it seemed a slow, straightforward number that offered very little, but upon a close second listen it’s easy to begin to appreciate its simplicity. Van Etten manages to build up repetitive piano riffs slowly, drawing strings in at the end to create a light and airy lament. Next up is Pay My Debts which has a pleasingly ominous opening that immediately has you hooked. A pulsing bassline continues throughout the track along with subtle sharp chords to create a wonderfully uneasy and eerie atmosphere. The last track is a live recording and it seems that Van Etten has more punch to her live performance; her vocals have a lovely gravelly edge which transforms her voice into something a little more mature. Together, the 5 tracks make for a fantastic E.P; the biggest problem is that it simply isn’t long enough. Let’s hope we see a new album soon to enjoy more of the same.

Ellie Scott @elliemaryscott

Singles Review – Paperwhite – ‘Gold’ & ‘Galaxay’

Paperwhite are a New York based duo, and have just released their first EP ‘Magic’. They’re up for playing a gig in Camden tomorrow evening, and the tickets are very affordable, so if you’re in the area, I’d recommend a trip to The Stillery, Camden. Now on to the reasons why!

The first track I’m going to focus on is ‘Gold’. The second the tune began, I was instantly reminded of many of Fleetwood Mac’s hit songs, what with the heavy use of synth and the metallophone emanating from the background of the track. I was also reminded of Christmas songs, which may just give an indication of the Christmassy mood I am in at present. And, yet again, the vocals reminded me of that of Maximo Park’s more recent tracks and albums. This suggests that this band may have a solid future, what with the famous associations I can hear within this track.

‘Galaxy’, the second track on this EP, is, I believe, a magnificent song. The beginning is marked by a complete whirring of the senses, a feeling of disorientation, only to be remedied by the soothing, plodding sounds of the track about ten seconds in. I was instantly reminded of ‘Fireflies’ by Owl City because of its overwhelming simplicity and beauty as a track. Then the vocals came in, and I thought I was listening to a completely different band in comparison to ‘Gold’. I felt like the vocals were more clear-cut, and not so lost amongst the other things going on in the track, which I felt may have been a bit of a weakness in ‘Gold’. I also feel that there is a unique depth to this song, possibly because of its accessible sound, and its more harmonious message, allowing the listener to really get the essence of the song. If Paperwhite continue composing songs like ‘Galaxy’, I truly believe they will go a great distance in their career.

Written by Louisa Pennell

 

Single Review – Osca – Trumpet

Osca have released their debut EP Blood this week and along with that they released the lead single ‘Trumpet’. The track is an open, minimalistic and spacious affair. With long periods of sole, echoed vocals, subtle and muted drum beats, whirring effects and gentle acoustic riffs. These elements ever so subtly build up in sound in a gradual rise before fading into synths washes and vocal sweeps that extend and enhance the atmospheric quality of the song. The song never sacrifices style or refinement for the need to grab a cheap musical thrill and the song is all the better for it, while style fluctuating and progressing within itself.

De Staat – Vinticious Versions Review

De Staat

Vinticious Versions from Dutch band De Staat is their newest release following last year’s I_Con which was awarded an Edison, Holland’s most prestigious music prize. The EP consists of 8 re-works of songs spanning across the bands previous 3 albums including I_Con (2013), Machinery (2011) and wait for evolution (2009).

In this EP there is a sense the band wanted to pull away from their established sound and experiment with new ideas. The reigning in of the rhythm guitar from centre stage and use of other instruments breathes new life into the tracks and brings a more developed feel to them. A lot of the tracks are a lot less cluttered and become more basic but they bring with them a new sense of depth and thought. The new instruments also bring an interesting pathway into the songs whilst combining the sections of the tracks carried from the originals in a way that sounds different and exciting.

The first track on the EP ‘get it together’ takes a stripped back approach to the original. The main body has been taken away by removing the punchy guitar sections and the background hum of the synthesizer, allowing for a new cleaner sound. The track is more simplistic but it sounds infinitely more complex, the removal of two of the most prominent elements allowing the other instruments the space they need. Instead now a new free flowing bass line that walks the song forward, prickly guitar licks and strong vocals come to the forefront. The track steers away from the rock sound of the original and offers something fresh that sounds different but retains the same iconic riffs from the original.

‘Build that, buy that’ is the second track on the EP and it is another excellent take on the original. Once again the guitar has been taken out as the driving force of the song which in turn allows for more focus on the other elements. This Includes making way for new instruments demonstrated in the main riff which has become much more prominent in the song. What sounds like a xylophone has been used instead that brings a new defined layer which falls perfectly in line with the new upbeat groove the song has. The tempo and beat is very much the same as the original but the removal of the thick guitar chords that weighed the song down release the track and injects energy.

A stand out track on the EP is ‘sweatshop’. In this version the sluggish tempo fits perfectly making the song sound increasingly menacing. The vocals on the track are what make it such an excellent re-imagining of the original and create its new identity. The female vocals from the normal version have been completely cut out and instead deep vocals from the original have been included heavily throughout at various points. This coupled with the slower tempo creates an eerily dark tone that works very well. The iconic guitar riff has been kept as it complements the new feel with its droning, downward nature. The simplicity of the track brings the attention inward onto the sulking vocals as they dominate the song. The way they are delivered works incredibly well with Torre Florim almost talking into the listener’s ear rather than singing on a track.

A very different track on the EP when compared to the rest is, ‘input source select’. It brings with it an old school hip hop feel with which the vocals are the main element, being very reminiscent of Beastie Boys in both style and delivery. The track is edgy and full of momentum whilst also being very much bare bones in comparison to the original. (As what is expected from this EP). It revolves around a powerful drum and bass beat which gives it a potent groove that is carried throughout. Other instruments are added to the mix with melodies that help to break up the non-stop nature of the vocals, adding brief moments of respite before the song is hammered forward again.

This EP is a captivating release from the band with 8 interesting, creative and enjoyable reimagining’s of already excellent original tracks. The new approaches are intriguing and bring something new to the table in terms of De staat’s sound and style that both new and old fans can enjoy. Vinticious versions is out on November 24th.

De staat – Vinticious versions 8/10

Vinticious Versions  (+Free Poster)