Hopefully that’ll get someone listening…
Morrissey – I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris *****
After years of a remarkable comeback fuelled by a ‘rock’ revamp and endless touring, Moz has finally returned to his original love: trite, throwaway pop a la Cilla Black. Kitsch ’60s girly music was the driving influence behind The Smiths, and its overtones here herald a welcome return to true form. Because this is superb. One and a half minutes in and you’ve already had three soaring choruses; verses are short and, for once, sweet; chugging macho riffs finally get scrapped in favour of a simple, pretty, repetitive arrangement. With Marr, Moz perfected the 2:30 pop song – an achievement he’s suddenly remembered.
Saint Etienne – Method Of Modern Love ***
Ephemeral disco-pop with strong strains of the ’90s. Little whizzing sounds zing about like cheap fireworks. A Eurobeatbox chugs like some infernal machine. Sugary vocals ice a sparse and insistent melody. The chorus goes up like all choruses should. Frankly, it’s all a bit old-fashioned.
Doves – Jetstream *****
Doves are back! That’s, Doves are back! Here’s hoping Some Cities was merely a temporary dip below their remarkable earlier form. And that they’ll eventually get round to releasing ‘Spaceface.’ In the meantime, here’s a free download to front their new album. It starts out like one of the more experimental numbers from James’ Laid, before the affectedly unpleasant vocal scotches the comparison. But some gorgeous guitar arpeggios restore the proper tone, then a whole load of thumping electro comes in. Less like a modern pop song, far more like the soundtrack to an N64 game. Which is obviously incredible. Doves are back!
Telepathe – So Fine ****
Doubtless you know their song about chrome, even if you don’t have the album. They’re like this year’s Hercules and Love Affair without the wailing guest hermaphrodite, which is a shame really, because that extra spark would make this tune explode. It’s still excellent, in a predictably ’80s sort of way. Sexy singing always helps. It’s like a DIY Victoria Bergsman effect. Yum.
James Yuill – No Surprise ****
The surprise, really, is that James here is one of those brilliant, innovative singer-songwriter/solo-electro guys who are so hot at the moment, and no one’s really noticed. The truly radical thing, of course, would be to take the beats back out – but then you get 5/10 from NME like poor Emmy. As it is, this arrangement is really damn lovely and the tune’s strong too; the sort of thing Belle and Sebastian might have done on The Boy With The Arab Strap if they’d had an extra Korg. Woozy sleepy nice.
For once, I’ve hit a run of good songs, so I’ll stop there before I get to MCR.
Something Old, Something New
Noel Coward – Mad Dogs and Englishmen
Ebay’s normally rubbish for cheap music. But there’s currently a bit of a glut on this brilliant collection of 24 remastered classics, which are going for £1-3 if you’re quick.
James Yuill – Turning Down Water For Air
That lovely aforementioned lad, with his lack of commercial success, is being sold short on itunes to the tune of £4.74 for his excellent last full-length album. Go grab.