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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, April 20, 2018

IndieLondon gleefully checks out the cream of the week’s singles

Lykke Li

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: LYKKE LI – DEEP END: Any new material from Lykke Li is always welcome… but especially when it’s as good as this. Deep End is the first of two new tracks from her forthcoming new album, So Sad So Sexy, which is out on June 8. Featuring production from Malay, T-Minus and Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Mark Ronson), this retains the ethereal vocal style that is Li’s trademark, while adding some more polish and mainstream sensibility. Indeed, there’s a very hip-hop vibe to the back-beats, which are massively impressive, while the pianos and electronics are, by turns, emotive and atmospheric. The mood the song creates is very cool: by turns laidback, sexy, ethereal and distinct. Li’s vocals occasionally assume a Sia-like vibe (which is no bad thing), adding to the radio friendly nature of the song as a whole. Indeed, it’s fair to say that this constitutes Li’s most mainstream offering yet. But it could afford her the step up to the big time that she so richly deserves.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The Coral

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: THE CORALSWEET RELEASE: The Coral have announced details of their new album, Move Through The Dawn, which will be released on August 17. So, if that seems like a long time to wait, they’ve also dropped the first taste of what lies in wait, in the form of the robust Sweet Release. Built around lyrics that proclaim “I’m in love, I’m in love with the sweet release”, this is a guitar-driven slice of propulsive indie rock that finds the band at, arguably, their most muscular. But there are traces of psychedelia in the vocals, which add some nice balance. The song is instantly catchy… by turns comfortably radio friendly yet alternative enough to please the under-nourished indie fraternity of late. It’s a rollicking good listen. The accompanying video, directed by James Slater, features a synchronized dance routine by a boiler-suited, paper bag hat-wearing dance troupe. Hence, the video continues the band’s tradition for visually exciting and wryly amusing promos. It’s all shaping up nicely for the new album, then…
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Anne-Marie, 2002

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: ANNE-MARIE – 2002: Anne-Marie has unveiled her impossibly catchy new single in the form of 2002, which is available now on all DSPs and will feature on her forthcoming debut album Speak Your Mind (out on April 27). Co-written with Ed Sheeran (who also provides vocals on the track) and produced by Steve Mac (Sheeran’s Shape of You, Pink’s What About Us), the track highlights the stars’ celebrated humour and characteristic story-telling. A huge champion of pop music from the early 00’s, Anne-Marie quotes some of the most iconic and her personal favourite songs from that era throughout the chorus: Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time, N-Sync’s Bye Bye Bye, Jay-Z’s 99 Problems and Nelly’s Ride Wit Me. And yet, the song itself has plenty of identity of its own, including a free spirited pop sheen that is undeniable. The finger click beats enhance the overall catchy quality, the acoustic guitar licks add breeze and Anne-Marie’s sweet vocals are dream-like in nature. It’s easy to fall in love with her. 2002 has summer anthem written all over it.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Off Bloom, Love Actually

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 4: OFF BLOOMLOVE ACTUALLY: Anglo-Danish trio Off Bloom are back with cracking new single Love Actually, a tropical-flavoured self-effacing love song made with their good friend, the rising Danish producer Vera. Written in the midst of a hefty post-house party hangover, the band had this to say about the track: “The song is about being so in love it’s almost unhealthy, but you can’t help yourself from falling! The feeling that something is almost too good to be true and you’re slightly dreading what’s to come but feeling ecstatic at the same time. A time where everything is about sex and fighting and constantly trying to figure out what’s happening inside the other person’s head. The title is, of course, a ‘90s movies reference. When we wrote it we started listening to the stuff we grew up with in the ‘90s / early ‘00s – everything from Green Day to Natalie Imbruglia – and got SUPER inspired by the vibe. It felt like going back to a more ‘innocent’ time.” Anyone anticipating the type of drippy ballad that could easily slip into the movie of the same name had best rest assured: it’s not. This drops a super-sultry central vocal, some slick beats and synth arrangements and a soothing pop vibe. It’s upbeat, self-deprecating, sexy and toe-tappingly enjoyable. In short, it’s a very welcome return. The fun, lo-fi video was shot in the band’s London flat by Aria Baradar.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Novo Amor

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 5: NOVO AMORSTATE LINES: Novo Amor has unveiled a surprise new track, State Lines, which is out now on AllPoints. The project of producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ali Lacey, this is the first solo material we have heard from Novo Amor since his collaboration with Ed Tullett, which culminated in the release of the Heiress album at the close of 2017. State Lines is therefore the result of Lacey getting back to his home studio in Wales. The track grows from humble beginnings of acoustic guitar and Novo Amor’s now familiar falsetto vocals, and blossoms into an expansive and cinematic cut. Speaking about the new track, Lacey said: “The name State Lines represents the idea of bordering something, it reflects a feeling or place of uncertainty.” There is, however, no uncertainty when it comes to reviewing the song: it’s beautiful. The early acoustic licks are disarmingly simple but rife with ear-pleasing melody, while the accompanying falsetto vocal is beautifully realised (with a touch of the ethereal). When the track adds instrumental layering, however, it blossoms in stunning fashion. It’s the type of song that’s easy to kick back and lose yourself in.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Lykke Li

LYKKE LI – HARD RAIN: Hard Rain, the second of two new tracks from Lykke Li’s forthcoming new album, So Sad So Sexy (out June 8) isn’t quite as good as Deep End but it’s still impressive. This time around, the track features production from ex-Vampire Weekender Rostam, but it’s a slightly less mainstream venture. Opening with an eerie background synth stab and a heartfelt, intimate vocal from Li, this takes a little time to get going. Early on, there’s some vocal harmonic layering, before another hip hop orientated backbeat drops and adds some style and edge. Li retains the ethereal edge to her vocals, yet sounds somehow more sad this time around. But the chorus still manages to sound powerful, even if it lacks the bounce needed to make it as radio friendly. That being said, it’s good to hear that Li hasn’t abandoned her more individual tendencies completely in favour of mainstream approval. Hard Rain is swarming with the imaginative production values that have long been a hallmark of this exeptional artist. It therefore combines the cinematic with the ethereal and elements of pop, making this another cracking track to usher in the arrival of a new album. We’re officially very excited about this one!
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Alex Lleo

ALEX LLEORISING WATER: Fresh from a run of spring solo headline shows across the South West, Alex Lleo has unveiled the third and final track from his debut Park Studios, JQ EP. True to form so far, this is another acoustic based piece of folk-pop that is shot through with ear-pleasing melody. Lleo brings trademark husk and emotional depth to the vocals, while the inclusion of some strings (cello) add some extra instrumental layering late on. It’s a warm slow-burner of a record, albeit laced with some bittersweet lyrical sentiments that give the listener plenty to ponder. Alex will next head out for two headline shows in London and Birmingham. Firstly, he will make his London debut at St Pancras Old Church on May 2. Judging by the quality of the tracks we’ve heard so far, this should be a night worth making.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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The Chainsmokers, Somebody

THE CHAINSMOKERS feat DREW LOVESOMEBODY: The Chainsmokers continue what has been a highly productive 2018 with the release of new single Somebody, featuring Drew Love. Boasting intimate, honest lyrics about realising one’s potential and having the bravery to be yourself, Alex Pall and Drew Taggart employ a more restrained approach to the accompanying instrumentals. Hence, the beats and synths are even more atmospheric than some of their recent material, with the falsetto vocals injecting plenty of doubt. The lyrics, meanwhile, deliver insights such as “I don’t really like anybody, so please don’t tell me I’m like anybody”, showcasing that greater emotional depth that has crept into new material. Admittedly, there is a woozy electronic lift around the midway point, when Love unleashes her sultry vocals, but it works a treat in making the track more memorable, before things get stripped back down once more. It’s a strong new release from them.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Maliibu Miitch

MALIIBU MIITCHGIVE HER SOME MONEY: Bronx native Maliibu Miitch has unveiled her new single, Give Her Some Money and piles on the sass. Featuring provocative lines like “pussy good, give us the money” and “bad bitch, better give us the money”, this is a hard-hitting slice of R’n‘B/hip-hop that, quite possibly, positions Maliibu as the new enfant terrible of the US hip-hop/R’n‘B scene. Certainly, her lyricism isn’t for the faint hearted… and it could even set the female empowerment movement back a few steps. Certainly, it’s the kind of provocative song-making that can create confusion in terms of what it’s saying (and, most pertinently, the language it’s employing). But the production values are undoubtedly slick, with some moody back-beats and electronics helping to accentuate that overall feeling of sass. It is, however, an acquired taste and one that isn’t without problems. Give Her Some Money follows the success of Miitch’s last release, The Count, and serves as another primer to her highly-anticipated upcoming mixtape, due later this summer.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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The Pale White

THE PALE WHITEPEACE OF MIND: Newcastle indie-rock trio The Pale White release their barnstorming new single, Peace of Mind, and immediately attract generous comparisons with the heft and swagger of bands like Queens of the Stone Age. Thunderous from the outset, courtesy of its robust central guitar hook, this hits you with full force from the get go and seldmom takes its foot off the gas. The guitars are continually gutsy and explosive, the drums as thunderous as previously mentioned, and the vocals as moody and gritty as you’d expect from a track garnering comparisons with a Josh Homme outfit. Oh, and then there’s a mid-track breakdown into the deeply psychedelic that adds a surprising late twist. Speaking about the new single, Adam (from the band) said: “Our second offering this year, let it rip through the bone-structured cage, which cradles the unpredictable and often misunderstood muscle that is the human brain. We are vultures circling our own demise, until we choose to regain consciousness.” Hmmm… not sure about that statement – but the song rocks.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly

GET CAPE WEAR CAPE FLYANIMATE: Hitting the road with a full live band, Sam Duckworth and company – aka Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – will play an unmissable headline hometown gig at Southend’s Chinnery’s venue on May 12, 2018 before supporting Frank Turner at the Lost Evenings Festival at London Roundhouse on May 14, as well as making other appearances at the likes of Liverpool’s EBGBs, Handmade Festival and beyond throughout the month of May. In celebration of what will be Get Cape’s first UK tour run for over four years, Sam and band mark the announcement with the release of new single, Animate. And it’s a typically appealing, alternative offering. Animate has an indie-pop sensibility (in that it’s slightly leftfield), yet it also displays a keen melodicism that’s married to a lively chorus. Duckworth also raises the tempo of his otherwise laidback vocals late on (sounding impassioned and anguished), before then dropping a kooky synth arrangement that ushers the song to a giddy, happy-go-lucky close. It’s a nice juxtaposition of styles, as only Get Cape know how.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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