Single Review – Sløtface – Pitted

A fizzy headed, joyously honest dose of pure pop-punk, at its absolute adolescent best, Sløtface’s new single ‘Pitted’ is an energetically, frank slice of modern life. Third track released in build up to the Norwegian band’s forthcoming debut album; ‘Try Not To Freak Out’, a title which without a doubt will be hard to abide by, ‘Pitted’ see’s vocalist Haley Shea tell the familiar story of protagonist who would rather stay home and watch Netflix on the sofa, while eating a family size bag of Doritos, than venture out into the wild. Forced to stray into the land of alcopops, luckily for all those involved, they soon find themselves quickly transformed into the life of the party. Perfectly encapsulating those blurring eyed, stumbling moments that leave you wondering; did I really scream Beyoncé is the true queen of the world or was that just a strange hazy dream? ‘Pitted’s punchy hook and heartwarming sarcasm create a hopelessly youthful, addictively life-affirming track.  

Hayley Miller

Sunday Suggestion – The Clash – Clampdown

By the turn of 1979, The Clash had become the enduring force of Punk that the Sex Pistols would not be. But at this time, they were starting to enthuse their punk with reggae and elements of new wave into their sound which culminated in on of the greatest albums of all time with London Calling. It is one of the most influential pieces of political statement in music that has been produced on this island. Almost every song was not just the worthwhile fusion of genres and truth telling. One example from the vast array on this album is ‘Clampdown’. Musically, it is the simple, yet effective combination of Strummer’s rough and unmoved vocal along with Mick Jones’ softer and more delicately animated vocal. Not only offering the harmony but the depth and a shifting nature in addition to this. The instrumentals carry out the same tasks with the jolting percussive beat, the rough wash of the guitars and the bass line anchor with the wiry lead guitar solos and ringing organs. This changes with Jones’ sole vocal part with the guitars shimmering and glistening in all directions. The lyrics too are about the endless, fruitless work of people in the capital system and with subtle references to the rise of Nazism and Revolution too. A song with as much lyrical relevance as musical relevance and it’s simply a hook filled anthem on top of that too. A token of the Clash’s talent and legacy.

Sunday Suggestion – Elvis Costello – Watching the Detectives

In 1977 there was a guy wondering around the streets of Islington and other parts of London, who went under the name of Elvis… Costello. Not only did such a bold name choice draw attention to Declan MacManus but at that time, such a name may have got you in trouble with all of the Rotten’s and Vicious’ hanging about. He wasn’t Punk and he wasn’t Disco so of course he was part of the New Wave and ‘Watching the Detectives’ from his debut album My Aim is True is encapsulates the musical edge the genre had at the time. This track is built around a reggae bass line and main stop/start riff. This is emphasised by the occasional bursts of New Wave vigour at the end of the chorus before sliding back into it’s darker tones. The isolated and haunting backing vocals and set behind Costello’s sinister and sort of blasé delivery of what are quite sinister and dark lyrics. At the it’s most uneasy moments, the song is more bare on instrumentals parts and is left with deliberate empty spaces to just hammer the pint home and heighten the senses of what you have left. A living and breathing track from one of the great British albums and artists.

Single Review – The Franklys – Puppet

The Franklys are an all girl quartet hailing from the UK, US and Sweden and are based in London. Their debut single ‘Puppet’ is out on April 7th and it is a fantastic piece of garage nostalgia enthused with small pop hints that adds a further dimension to the track which features a gritty punk riff along with a razor sharp lead riff. The vocal is evocative of Siouixsie Sioux in many ways with the hint of aggression wrapped around a cool and easiness of a bold 60’s garage vocalist. The song is full of hooks, handclaps and snarling gestures all rolled into one. It completes some key but pretty basic function in that you can sing a long with it easily, it has a simple structure and rhythm that you can dance along to and it also encourages you to go wild and I imagine this track being a real crowd pleaser at their shows or in a club. Speaking of which, they played the aptly named The Garage in London yesterday and go on to play at New Cross Inn on March 22nd and launch their single on April 2nd at The Barfly before heading to the well known Good Mixer in London on the 26th of April. If you are nearby then please attend as if this song is anything to go by; it will be well worth it.

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No Age – An Object Review

I’m starting to consider being in those California tourism adverts sat next to Arnie with an unhealthily healthy smile as I have yet another Californian band to take a look at and this time it’s the turn of L.A’s No Age who have emerged with their third album. It’s suggested that they lost their way slightly with their second album and that their third effort: An Object is more back to basics relatively speaking. Their promotion for An Object has also been slightly low key too but anyone expecting a departure from their core punk sound than you should prepare yourself for a let down as that core element remains and is fused with Art Rock references to seemingly create a novel sound.

‘An Impression’ is a pretty bare and stripped back track but fills it’s space nicely with the on off bass being plucked away in the background while distorted guitars of MBV likeness wash over the bass. The steady and calm nature of the song; led by the bass allows for the guitars distortion to be used to full effect in creating a wave of sound and filling up the empty space and the vocals are more drawn out and have longer held notes themselves so the space is filled while maintaining the calm and reflectiveness of the song. ‘No Ground’ is less steady and reflective than ‘An Impression’. It’s starts off with the gentle plucking of the higher notes of the guitar until the bass fades in and the more full on guitar joins in with it to give the tune which it repeats throughout the song. The vocals too are more akin to their core sound like the instrumentals are more shouty than melodic but the whole thing just seemed like a tame event and you were waiting for the song to come to some sort of dramatic up tempo conclusion or just for a change in scenery and it never did and it sort of flat lined half way through.

‘I Won’t Be Your Generator’ has a jangling 80’s indie guitar atop a heavy bass line and this leaves much room for the vocals and other subtle synth moments which is the effect that sort of contrast can have if it’s exploited. This song does have more of a destination too. The reverb and effects on ‘Running From A Go Go’ sort of drag the melody of the song out from the instrumentals in an undignifying way but the song improves when the percussion rises above it and some structure appears and the lead guitar elements briefly shines through at the end but not often enough. On the whole there is a good standard of music here which is produced in a clever and non generic fashion, but it really seems lacking in a definitive edge. By no means do I wish for raging guitars all the time; in fact for me the best song was ‘An Impression’ which is more calm and considered. The novelty of the genres they combined was perhaps not focused on and I think several songs sort of fade in the memory a little.

No Age – An Object = 6.5/10

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Throwing Up – Over You Review

I’ll be honest with Throwing Up. I know little about them. They just sort of appeared on Twitter and what can I say? I follow the right people! Maybe! I do know that they are grunge-punk hybrid and that they are signed to Tim Burgees’ O Genesis Records which is not a bad step at all. Tim knows good music when he hears it and really appreciates it. Camille Benett and Clare James Clare have been given freedom that some Label exectutives have nightmares over. The London group have made an album that has no song beyond three minutes and the album is only around 20 minutes long. Say what you like about that but it’s refreshing to have a little variation in that area don’t you think?

‘Mother Knows Best’ is two minutes of of churning and grinding guitars and bass that’s dragged, kivking and screaming into some sort of order by the percussion which is simple yet effective in how the drummer doesn’t go off on a drum solo for the whole song which sometimes happens in songs like this. Likewise it’s easy for some bands to scream their way through a song like this (nothing wrong with it either) but Camille Benett’s vocals are pretty easy on the ear and instantly makes the song more appealing and listenable and brings in the added lyrical element to the song too as it can be understood. Red Ribbon has that industrial churning of those grinding guitar riffs with the percussion leaning towards the cymbals which adds to the hectic nature of the song and the guitar solo at the end does likewise to end a song thats under two minutes. Again the vocals are easy to listen to and sit nicely on top of the frantic instrumentals which shows they have the producing side of the album covered as well.

‘Snake’ is a more steadier and more melodic affair with the riffs replicating a more recognisable tune and the solo guitar parts working well against that as do the vocals again to be this time complimented by the instumentals and also shows that Benett’s vocals work in more than one type of situation too. Songs such as Sarah and Toothache are more straight up punk moments with the bass leading the songs guitar elements like a conductor. All in all the album is great in defying the percieved logic of what an alum should be like and the songs while not being hugely varied; have a bigger range than you might think on first listen. That doesn’t matter much anyway. It’s not really an album to sit down with and lead into the darkest corners of your mind or whatever. It’s more of an album to just go mental with really and it’s main purpose is making ‘mosh-pit’s’ rather than creating some profound thought or image. To reinforce this the album is only around 20 minutes which therefore invites you to lose you marbles over it. But having said that the vocals do allow for someone to sit and consider the lyrics or the melody of some songs which again may suggest there is more to this album than meets the eye. Over You is fresh, raw and just a little rough around the edges but with some very subtle and unintentional refinements to make it that much more enjoyable. So don’t magnify every detail a million times. Just get up and enjoy it!

Throwing Up – Over You = 8/10

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