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Archive for June, 2013

Vocals Please

Pet Shop Boys –  Vocal (single)

Following on from Axis released in May, The Pet Shop Boys release Vocal from their upcoming album Electric (due out July 15th 2013).

Vocal sees The Pet Shop Boys hit the dance floor with a new sense of gusto. Nowadays it is rare for a song and a video to connect but with its rave tinged production and old skool video footage the Pet Shop Boys manage to do so to great effect.

Vocal also finds The Pet Shop Boys at their wittiest, lyrical best, with the following couplet: “I like the singer, He’s lonely and strange Every track has a vocal, And that makes a change” Its as if they know my own personal aversion to early dance music without vocals.

Will Stuart Price do for The Pet Shop Boys what he did for Madonna? The last time The Pet Shop Boys topped the official charts was in 1988 with Heart and the last time they reached the official charts top 10 was in 2006 with I’m With Stupid, whilst Vocal may not restore Pet Shop Boys to the higher echelons of the chart, however, it is a welcome return to the dance floor
VeReView Star Rating VVVV/5
VeReView Vocal

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Yeezus West

Yeezus

Yeezus (Photo credit: achimh)

Kanye West – Yeezus (Album)

Following on from 2010 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (MBDTF), Kanye West unleashes his 6th solo album Yeezus. Like on many of his albums Kanye has a list of collaborators on board including Daft Punk , Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi, Charlie Wilson and Justin Vernon.

Daft Punk are credited to have written and produced a number of tracks on this album, whilst they have kept the disco party bangers for their own Random Access Memories album, on Yeezus they take Kanye West into deep dark territory, but is Yeezus any good?

On Sight – Kanye spits out “no sports bra lets keep it bouncing” and that’s what this track does over a sprightly electro opener, just don’t listen to the lyrics. Black Skinhead provocative title and a confrontational Kanye spitting lyrics over bleak dark industrial beats – definitely not a song to hum or sing out loud to!

On I Am A God something tells me that Kanye is having a rant about the media with the lines “Soon as they like you make em unlike you, Cause kissing people’s ass is so unlike you. New Slaves – another bleak electro track which talks about a bleak subject; racism both in days gone by and the type of racism that is prevalent today.

Blood On The Leaves – probably the most commercial track on the album and uses a speeded up Nina Simone sample, Strange Fruit, to good effect

Bound 2 featuring vocals by Charlie Wilson closes the album, with questionable lyrics with Kanye not wanting to leave a reminder on a girls mink; think Monica Lewinsky

Whilst most rappers are making party/euro trance lite records, Kanye has made the darkest, angriest,deepest rap/hip hop record you’ll hear this decade. Yeezus makes his MBDTF  seem like a Will Smith album.

Yeezus is not for everyone as it is dark, bleak, angry, confrontational, challenging; and at times hard to listen to, however, it is everything that innovative music should be. Is Kanye West a god? probably but only in a recording studio.

VereView Star Rating VVV/5

Not A Wasted Grammar Lesson

London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years (single)

London Grammar consists of Dot Major, Daniel Rothman and the Hannah Reid on vocals, fresh from their appearance on Settle the debut album by Disclosure, on the track Help Me Lose My Mind, and following on from the Metal & Dust EP, London Grammar release their new single Wasting My Young Years.

For those of you who have not heard of London Grammar before, I would describe their sound as a cocktail of Dido, with much more expressive vocals, with a splash of Judie Tzuke topped off with a measure of Florence Welch and then I am only halfway to describing their sound.

The radio version is both sparse and haunting in the verses and then we have the pulsating chorus, it lends itself well to being remixed. Wasting My Young Years is like a rave and chill out in one record, as it starts rather chilled with Reid’s vocals gliding in then builds and builds (in the way old Faithless records used to) and then you get the pulsating Baby We Are refrain and then another come down and then it builds again.

Reid’s vocals on this track are faultless, they demand that you take the journey of this song with her and right at the end when Reid sings don’t leave me hanging on, you just hope that they wont leave you hanging on for more quality songs like this.

Making records like this London Grammar are definitely not wasting their young years

VereVeiw Rating VVVV/5

Chvrches Aim Their Gun At You

Chvrches – Gun (single)

Chvrches came 5th in the BBC’s Sound of 2013 list of promising new talent but don’t let that deter you. Following on from their critically received Recover EP from March this year, Chvrches unleash their new single Gun on us.

Gun, taken from their forthcoming debut album “The Bones of What You Believe” flaunts its 80’s influences firmly on its trigger; a throbbing electro opening leads into fashionably kitsch 80’s handclaps, an undemanding but sweet vocal entwined with an electro synth sound, with neither outshining each other.

Chvrches have made a retro sounding song current and have fired a warning shot to La Roux who are currently working on that difficult 2nd album.

VereVeiw Star Rating VVV/5

VereView Chvrches Gun

House Disclosure

Discloure – Settle (Album)

Disclosure consists of the Lawrence Brothers, Howard & Guy, on their debut album Settle the vocals are handled by a number of artists some of whom are just coming to the publics attention such as Sam Smith, Jessie Ware & London Grammar.

2013 so far has been a good one for Dance Acts, with Daft Punk & Rudimental scoring both big hit singles and albums. Can Disclosure follow suit with their debut album Settle?

Settle opens up with a vocal that quite frankly it could do without, then we get exposed to the freshest UK garage and Deep House tunes that you will hear this year. Latch which features Sam Smith who croons “Got you shackled in my embrace. I’m latching onto you.” This song will Latch into your brain and wont let you go, as it did on charts spending 29 weeks in the Official Charts.

F For You is a deceptive track with its repetitive vocal lines, “Because I played the fool for you” and “I have been infected“, these lines latch into your brain as they are driven by a stylistic deep house vibe which sounds like it was aimed at late night dance floors & repetition certainly works with this track

White Noise ft. AlunaGeorge does itself a disservice as there is more than just white noise to this record, an infectious girly vocal over a throbbing techno beat

Settle does have the occasional misfire and the tendency to use what sounds like cut and paste vocals at times does jar a little especially on Grab Her, however the closing 4 tracks on this album surely makes up for that.

You & Me Featuring Eliza Doolittle On paper it seems like an unlikely pairing but it works a treat . January – Featuring Jamie Woon; this song does not evoke January but rather June, July or August but I presume that would have been predictable another deep house number Jamie Woon sings I will suspend your disbelief and he certainly does.

Confess To Me – featuring Jessie Ware – a stand out track on the album with Ware’s vocals lifting this garage track to higher levels. The album closes with Help Me Lose My Mind – feat London Grammar; this is the most mellow track on the album and after nearly an hour of House and Garage comes as light relief.

This is a straight to the dance floor album and for when you are getting ready to go out for a Friday or Saturday rave. Settle already houses 3 top 20 hits, with the possibility of more to come.

VereView StarRating VVVV/5
VereView White Noise

Disclosure – White Noise ft. AlunaGeorge (Official Video)

Disclosure – Latch feat. Sam Smith (Official Video)

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