Review: Singles roundup – 30/6/13

Single of the month – Counting Coins – Blue On Blue (5/5)
Stupidly upbeat ska with a political angle. Don’t let that put you off – instead stand up, take notice and get down to some hip-hop influenced rhythms and brilliant brass. And try and keep up with Harry Burnby’s vocals if you can. Featuring Robin Leitch (Random Hand) and Pat Pretorius (The Talks), it’s a melting pot of some of the best ska coming out of the UK at the moment. Genuinely exciting stuff.

Blitz Kids – Run For Cover (4/5)
K! darlings Blitz Kids have come forward with another banger. An absolutely massive tune with a classic rock and roll riff underlying the whole thing and a whopper of a chorus, this is going to be dominating the airwaves if it isn’t already. Plenty of fun, and the strings are a positively inspired decision.

PaperPlane – Chariot (4.5/5)
Chariot is an interesting slice of post-hardcore with folk punk influences threaded throughout. Jack Bennett’s vocals are incredible – somewhere between a rasp, a growl and a drunken sailor and that still doesn’t cover it. There’s a lot more to love here too, as PaperPlane intersperse beautiful, atmospheric verses with crushing guitar lines and some great synth work. One to watch.

Giants – It’s Not All Bad News (4/5)
Fast and furious punk rabble with a different slant from Giants here. It starts off like your typical hardcore punk fare, but dives into a seriously melodic chorus and rounds it off with a skate punk style breakdown in the middle. It’s a little disorientating at first, but the gang vocals bring it all together to create an interesting look at media misrepresentation. Nice one, lads.

In Dynamics – Liposuction (3.5/5)
Liposuction is a great rock track. The chorus has the potential to be the biggest chorus of the summer, but the hip-hop influenced vocals in the verses just doesn’t work as well in contrast. Nevertheless, In Dynamics build up an incredible atmosphere, particularly in the instrumental bits towards the end, and it’s the sort of thing that hopefully will be rocking the festivals this time next year.

The New Lows – Missive (4/5)
The first new song to be released from The New Lows since I Couldn’t Sleep, Missive has built on the band’s penchant for witty lyricism and catchy hooks and provides a bold statement of intent with some crashing guitar filled with punk rock fire. Short and sweet but with a great deal to adore, it’s a slow jam like no other.

The New Lows – I Couldn’t Sleep

The New Lows have come up with a total low-fi delight in their third full length, I Couldn’t Sleep. Equally an indie chill out and a punk rock party, I Couldn’t Sleep is fourteen short, sweet little musical bites of joy.

The Floridian quartet are pretty tricky to pin down. Opening track ‘Losing Streak’ is melodic punk at its best, as is ‘Ferposhknickt’ (which incidentally, is one of the best song titles in the world to say out loud), but ‘Ghost’ then takes it in a totally different direction. Reminiscent of a more mellow Fake Problems track, ‘Ghost’ is unfailing in its ability to burrow its way in and embed itself in your skull, echoing around in there forever. Then The New Lows disappear in another direction as they get to ‘Stove’ and ‘Abeyance’, which are like more stripped down Weakerthans tracks, only with lyrics about Xboxes rather than Winnepeg.

Not everything is wistful and bouncy though. ‘Pilgrim’ is completely crushing, with some outstanding synthesiser work and backing vocals. However, it’s ‘Leaves’ that will be the sleeper hit of the season – with some positively sublime ‘oohs’, incredibly rocked up riffs and unrelentingly cool vocals, it’s truly brilliant. Nevertheless, almost every track has a real highlight – whether it’s the cheeky bits of piano in ‘St Sans’ or the whistles in ‘Arbor’, these little touches catch you by surprise on every listen, and I keep noticing new bits every time. The New Lows have taken cues from their punk rock beginnings though and each track is simply structured and wholly addictive, allowing poignant and thoughtful lyrics to seep through the background and into your consciousness.

I Couldn’t Sleep should please a good number of people, and the rest should be soon converted. Perfect for anyone who finds punk a little too abrasive and indie a little too pretentious, or for anyone that just likes good music, really.

4 out of 5 high fives!