Singles Roundup (June 2012)

This week, we’ve had a veritable feast of singles headed our way. This is what we thought…

This Year’s Winner Is – When In Rome (2.5/5)
Isle of Man pop-punkers This Year’s Winner Is haven’t quite hit home with their latest single. Woefully underproduced, they’ve let themselves down with a fuzzy, fairly unintelligible track. If you strain closely, there are some very catchy verses, some fun breakdowns a la Set Your Goals and some cracking, yet highly Americanised (though not whiny!) vocals but it’s just really hard to hear all those elements without turning the volume right up and trying to sift through the crackling, even on decent quality headphones. Here’s hoping their next affair is a lot better mixed, as they show potential and the score would have been a fair bit higher if I could easily tell what was going on.

The Roughneck Riot – Ignorance Is Easy (4/5)
The latest offering from The Roughneck Riot hits you with a bang. Taking a departure from the typical folk-punk formula, they fuse both genres effortlessly without compromising either. It’s great to hear some electric guitars getting involved, I have to say. There’s an awesome banjo solo about midway through and some brilliantly aggressive vocals forcing you to get up and get busy. A fantastic idea of what’s to come from the debut album, The Roughneck Riot have got it down.

Jaya The Cat – Here Come The Drums (4/5)

Despite the reggae influence, Jaya The Cat’s latest single is in no way chilled out, instead becoming a rousing battlecry. There’s definitely some cool keyboard coming through, but the real highlight of the song is the simple, yet anthemic chorus – lots of na’s, lots of drums, lots of awesome. The instrumental section in the middle is also pretty rad with some sweet distortion effects and overall, bound to get you dancing down the front. No doubt I’ll be singing this for days, Here Come The Drums is definitely my single of the week.

The Skints – Part and Parcel

The Skints are back with their second, Pledgemusic funded album, Part and Parcel. The band have been firmly establishing themselves as one of the most exciting live acts that the UK ska scene has to offer, but is Part and Parcel an album for the fans to be proud of?

The short answer is a resounding yes. Part and Parcel is quite simply, magnificent. Opening track, Rise Up, is surprisingly downbeat for the first track upon first listen but provides a call to arms for their fans alongside a ridiculously catchy reggae beat. Right from the start, an element of experimentation begins to show as a clear hip-hop influence starts to rear its head, which is weaves its way throughout the album and creates a really unique sound. The Skints have always stood apart from their contemporaries but Part and Parcel truly celebrates those differences as well as showcasing some great songwriting and musicianship. While the album is significantly less influenced by punk than previous offerings, this is by no means a weakness and the band present an intricately crafted record that is no doubt will become one of the most important albums of the year.

One of the most noticeable traits throughout is the soulful vocals from Josh Water Rudge and Marcia Richards in contrast to their impressive rapping. The track that probably showcases this most is Ratatat, which is potentially one of the best songs The Skints have ever written. Ever. Vocals aside, Ratatat has an insanely dirty bassline and is guaranteed to tear the dancefloor apart. While Part and Parcel is, at times, fairly understated, almost every track makes you take notice. Marcia makes a much greater appearance in this album and takes their sound up a level, from some subtle vocals in Up Against The Wall Riddim to a much wider range of instruments penetrating through. It’s not to say that this wasn’t there before, but on Part and Parcel, it’s much more apparent and as a result, helps in crafting a much more impressive sound.

In this album, more so than perhaps their previous work, The Skints show themselves as true storytellers and the pictures they paint of lives and London throughout the album are incomparable. There’s cheeky romance in Lay You Down, poverty and struggle in Live East Die Young and self-doubt and relationship breakdowns in Sunny Sunny, as well as a number of other significant topics. Part and Parcel is simply so relevant – every song has a different message and while those messages are completely current, they’re also timeless.

Part and Parcel is absolutely sublime and a fantastic example of what can be achieved through Pledgemusic. Do yourself a favour and don’t miss out on what could well prove to be the best album of the year.

5 out of 5 high fives!