Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Little Indie Roundtable Review - w/e August 25 2017

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: Francois 'Mido' El Alfy, tour manager/ sound engineer for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Temples (and scores more over the years); George Sims, lead singer with the band Family Jools; Little Indie contributor Jane Davies.

Premiered on Daniel P Carter’s Radio 1 Rock Show, and taken from their August 18 released third album 'The Peace And The Panic'. Produced by Mike Green (Paramore, Pierce The Veil), and out via Hopeless Records, the Wrexham pop-punk five-piece reveal a slightly softer side. Says vocalist Ben Barlow: "It’s pretty down-tempo for us, yet it builds throughout and climaxes in one of my favourite arrangements we’ve ever created."

Mido: Pop-punk? Feels like this genre hasn’t moved on in 20 years. The barbershop of punk; inoffensive, upbeat, melodic, and probably phones its mum once a week to make sure she’s alright. Expected a grittier sound on Hopeless Records, to be honest, but this is far from the worst spewed by this genre despite the Yank drawl from those very nice Welsh boys. It’ll probably be a hit. 3/5

George Sims: Not bad. I like the toilet paper in the video - you can never have enough in my opinion. It sounds like the kind of pop-punk that will do well. Not my thing, but can tell they're good at it. 3/5

Jane Davies: I automatically assumed it was an American band, influenced by Green Day and Good Charlotte, so was very surprised to find out they're from North Wales of all places. A well put-together, verging on indie, pop song, but sounds a bit too retro and like they are trying to sound American instead of developing their own original style. 2.5/5

Total score: 8.5/15

No, it's not Blondie 2017, this is LA quartet Happy Hollows with a synthy rock likeness, with Sarah Negahdari playing Debbie Harry. Taken from their September 8 dropping new album, 'Concordia', produced by Lewis Pesacov in Echo Park, California and mixed by Gareth Jones at Strongroom, London.

M: This isn’t for me. On first listen I hated it, upgraded to dreadful after a couple more saccharine spins, finally peaking at ‘bearable’ after a few more. Formulaic melody, busy production, unconvincing joviality, there’s only one place I could think of sending a meteor after this, although there’s some nice arrangements going on and I like her voice, the song itself doesn’t cut it. 2/5

GS: I never went to Studio 54, mainly because I wasn't born then. This sounds like a indie/disco anthem in that vein.
I'd lose the bridge. To many do-do-do's. Liked it though. 3/5

JD: The first few bars are reminiscent of the intro to Duran Duran’s ‘Planet Earth’: starting slowly with two synth lines underpinning the song. I detected hints of Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ in there too. The guitars eventually predominate to the point of the synth being somewhat drowned out towards the end - which is my only criticism. 3.5/5.

Total score: 8.5/15

New single release as part of a double A-side (w/'Cold Wash'), the Welsh alt-rock quartet follow ‘Strobe Lights' with this hard-hitting number, of chopped up guitar riffs and the vocal force of Tali Kallstrom, who describes the song as “a nursery rhyme about adult life. A bittersweet study of the fear of commitment and how people protect themselves by hiding their emotions.”

M: I don’t know what a ‘Glasgow Kiss’ is, but imagine it tastes like chips. Chips go with everything. This isn’t just chips, though, this is chips with gravy; sludgy, thick and overpowering in all the right ways. Like L7 or Babes in Toyland with better melodies and more bile. I like chips. 4/5

GS: I've heard of this band so they must be doing something right. Well produced track. I think a "Glasgow Kiss" is slang for being headbutted Scottish style, Mido! Suits the song. 4/5

JD: “I’ll give you loving/she’s got a heart, got a heart." This instantly grabs you. Big, brash, bold and bassy, gritty no-nonsense lyrics about real life, and a voice as powerful as a force 9 gale. 4/5.

Total score: 12/15

New single - released August 18 - from the fast-rising Mossley, Manchester band, following debut single 'Mr Brown' in April and EP 'Always The Same' in May. The track - said by the band to be "our best work yet by a mile" - comes with their rocket fuelled guitar riffs and driven by the grungey vocals of frontman James Cummins.

M: Oh dear. Generic riffs, familiar arrangement, hacked lyric and the production of a well recorded demo. It's Soundgarden without the soaring vocal or pounding polyrhythms, or The Cult without the operatic charm, plodding along and never getting anywhere. 1/5

GS: Arctic Monkeys all over this one, but still good. I'd like to see this band live. I imagine they'd be good. Quite gothic. 4/5

JD: A throwback to 70s punk; politicised and packing a powerful punch. Simply in awe of the guitars on this song. “Everybody’s talking but nobody’s listening” - a political anthem if I ever heard one. One of the best examples of the current crop of punk inspired emerging bands proving their worthiness to support Cabbage on their forthcoming tour. 5/5

Total score: 10/15

Follow-up to their debut ‘There’s A Honey’ from earlier this year, which brought them to attention via The 1975-produced single. Shimmering guitars, sweet synths and an infectious chorus sees the quartet do crucial pop, Manchester style.

M: I was expecting a mix of Pale Saints and Joywave from the name - which, it turns out, is exactly what I got. Sadly it’s all of the sugar and none of the soul, but certainly not without merit. Chirpy bubblegum chorus, twisting guitars, sense of forced well-being, probably great for the gym or in the background at Topshop. 3/5

GS: Dreamy pop. Don't mind this. Its not the sort of thing I'd listen to normally, but, again, you can tell they know their stuff. 3/5

JD: Bright, breezy, shimmering summer indie pop, helped along by the essential ingredient of a synth. Bit of a synth backing track revival going on at the moment. Produced by label mates The 1975 - and it shows. Sounds very much a Fickle Friends influenced track too. 3/5.

Total score: 9/15

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