This week our three guest reviewers take on another five new tracks and give them a spin through the headphones before they then air their opinion on each.
This week's panel: Scott Revell, vocalist with Chelmsford band Secret Company; Dave Beech from Manchester's Scruff Of The Neck Records; Phil Shaw, head of Scottish independent record label Smart Indie.
BLEEDING KNEES CLUB - CHEW GUM
Sydney-based Bleeding Knees Club return after an extended break (while frontman Alex Wall was living abroad and playing with his other project, Wax Witches) with their first single since 2013, and the lead single from their forthcoming EP, due April 14 via Inertia Music. ’90s alt-rock/punk-pop.
Scott Revell: Upbeat reckless pop-punk, 90s throwback at its finest. I wanna put this on in my car, turn it up real loud and hit the road. 3.5/5
Dave Beech: I like the fuzz and the melody in this but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. There’s definite potential and I can imagine that other tracks by the band would grab me a little more but this seems to meander. That hook is likely to be in my heads for weeks, though. 3/5
Phil Shaw: Metaphor, impressive guitar motif and catchy chorus all present and correct but I’m feeling they’ve gone for what’s expected of them, and after not putting anything out for some time I’d have hoped for more adventure. It’s slightly by the numbers and a little too polite for me. 2/5
Total score: 8.5/15
BARE TRAPS - ALL IN YOU
New single from the London four-piece released on March 13. Glistening synths blend with sun-drenched, tropical pop and indie rock.
SR: I love the percussion in this and the glittery lead guitar with steel drum vibes has a nice feel; good tropical summery vibe that's inoffensive and easy to listen to. 3/5
DB: I really like this. The tropi-pop vibe is very much in at the moment and while I imagine it’s an aesthetic that will eventually run its course, this is a great example of the genre from one of the most promising band’s making this sort of music. 4/5
PS: Beautiful sunny explosion of musical elements. Funky poppy jingle jangle with chill-out and gay abandon in equal measure. A vocal that sits really well in the mix, although it could so easily have been overwhelmed. Definitely a candidate for the Alex Rainbird channel this one. Best song I’ve heard all week. 5/5
Total score: 12/15
OTHERKIN - BAD ADVICE
Fresh from wowing festival crowds across Europe last summer, the Irish garage punks are back with this blisteringly energetic new single, out April 28. “We want our records to be punchy, lean and blazing. Straight in, no kissing,” they say.
SR: Digging the quick burst of fun and energy, no-nonsense-let's-all-have-a-good-time rock! 3/5
DB: Opposite end of the spectrum now but this is really good too. There’s elements of early Clash and The Strokes. Its short length time work in its favour, and even though it’s somewhat chaotic, there’s still buckets of melody behind the clattering percussion. 4.5/5
PS: Take me to the mosh pit! The raw punk energy driving this song just throws you straight in there. Almost like being at the gig. Oh, and that voice! Another ‘best song I’ve heard all week’ badge, please. Go see them live - or is that Bad Advice? 5/5
Total score: 12.5/15
MOSES GUNN COLLECTIVE - SPOOK CITY
After their debut EP 'Morning Shakes' and singles 'Shalala' and 'Mary', the eclectic mix of Brisbane musicians drawn from other projects (Confidence Man, Orphans Orphans, The Belligerents, The Furrs, Morning Harvey, The Family Jordan), return with this latest single from their upcoming second album. Mixing up psychedelic dreampop with soulful crooning and howling riffs.
SR: Yes! Guitar solo - yes, go on son! Big fan of the 80s vibe in this. I really like a lot of different elements, the whacky backing vocals, the distorted bass sound when that comes in, the chord changes/movements and the guitar solo, obviously. It's got a cool vibe. 4/5
DB: Not feeling this anywhere near as much as the others. It’s got a cool, funky bass-line but its reliance on the ‘80s leaves me cold. The guitar solo towards tips it over the edge too. I realise as well that there’s every chance it could be somewhat tongue in cheek, but even then that changes little. 2/5
PS: I do generally love MGC stuff. Sadly, I wasn’t taken by the vibe on this one - well, not until 2min.50secs when it goes absolutely apeshit awesome! I think I stopped enjoying music during the 80s. 3/5
Total score: 9/15
CUPIDS - GOOD THINGS (COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT)
Out on March 31, the latest from the Little Indie One To Watch Manchester band of 2015. Retaining their signature beat-influenced harmonies in a catchy earworm ode to the 60s.
SR: Not really my vibe, if I'm honest, but they do it well. Cool Wurli in the vid! 3/5
DB: Being Manchester-based I may be a little biased towards these guys but they’ve been on my radar for a while and I think they’re great. There’s definite Arctic Monkeys influence going on here, though it’s far from imitation. There’s a cocky swagger behind the track’s delivery as well, though thankfully not as pronounced as that of the Gallagher’s. Ace stuff. 4/5
PS: Oh dear, I’m a sucker for a distinctive voice and here’s another great one. Lots of drive and energy in this track too. Yet another ‘best song I’ve heard all week’. Wrong side of the Pennines but they can’t help that I suppose. 5/5
Total score: 12/15