Remember, remember, the fifth of November, Stooshe, The Wanted and other pop. Or something. With Halloween out the way and Bonfire Night tonight, there's almost nothing to distract from the impending retail frenzy that is Christmas. We're sure it used to have something to do with a carpenter from days gone by, and we don't mean Karen. However, before you've all maxed-out your credit cards and bought enough food to survive a nuclear winter, why not check out today's Singles Of The Week? Today sees a controversial cover of a 90s R&B classic by spunky girl group, Stooshe, the return of (did they ever go away?) boy group, The Wanted, in addition to new material from up-and-coming singer-songwriter, Helen Boulding, and Birmingham based foursome, Swim Deep.
Waterfalls by Stooshe (Rating ****)
Reviewed by Jon Hornbuckle
Covering a song as famous as TLC's global hit 'Waterfalls' could backfire on a girl group, but Stooshe shouldn't be worried. Their take on the classic 1995 hit is yet another opportunity for them to showcase their fantastic voices and is a sure-fire hit, with its radio friendly vibes and sing-along chorus.
The funky instrumental sounds as fresh today as it did over almost two decades ago. When the chorus arrives and the girls vocals soar over the saxophones, that's when you will see why this track should hit the top of the charts.
The video is perhaps the most colourful promo from a girl group for years, and we love the choreography the girls pull out on the chorus. Stooshe make being cool, classy and fun all at once look effortless.
Whilst it's quite a brief cameo, it's a nice touch that remaining TLC members T-Boz and Chilli agreed to be in the video, with the ladies allegedly being huge fans of Stooshe's version.
There is no doubt that 'Waterfalls' will appeal slightly more to fans of Stooshe's most recent and successful track so far, 'Black Heart', as opposed to their earlier singles 'Love Me' and 'Betty Woz Gone'.
Karis, Alex and Courtney have still managed to put their unique Stooshe stamp on the track though, and the way that they breakdown the iconic rap by the late Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes, is both inventive and respectful. This isn't a carbon copy of the original by any means and the girls clearly care.
The lyrics still pack an emotional punch in 2012 and whilst we are huge fans of TLC, we think in future we will be playing this version a lot more. If only all cover tracks were like this - a re-interpretation, rather than a copy-and-paste cover.
'Jerusalem' by Helen Boulding (Rating ***)
Reviewed by Greg White.
Sheffield-born singer-songwriter, Helen Boulding, released her second album, Calling All Angels, this summer. On the new record, Boulding has added some electronic elements to her style, which was previously more acoustic and folky. This week sees the release of her latest single, 'Jerusalem'. It's a synth-laced track with a fast pace and a big helping of spiritual gratitude.
This is a classic case of a Marmite song; some people will adore it, and find a comfort in Boulding's ethereal message. Others will no-doubt roll their eyes, due to the extremely cliched message of: 'I once was lost and now I'm found … What goes around comes around / Calling all angels / What do I say?'
Musically, there's some great drum work and guitar picking, and Boulding's voice is angelic and airy. Co-writing/production credits go to Pete Glenister, who has previously worked with Alison Moyet and Kirsty MacColl. It’s a glistening track that perhaps tries a little too hard to be enlightening. The song references the album title, Calling All Angels, which can't help but conjure comparison to Jane Siberry's 1993 single of the same name (and similar message).
The video is quite simple and nicely done. We see Boulding frolicking on a grassy landscape, channeling a bit of Stevie Nicks. Interspersed with that is footage of a man walking around a city with a 'free hugs' sign around his shoulders. Some people hug him and that's nice, some people give him the cold shoulder because they probably haven't had their morning coffee yet. The message is all a bit of stop-and-smell-the-roses cheesiness. Boulding's talent as a singer and songwriter can't be denied, but the inspirational element of her material is just not for everyone.
'Honey' by Swim Deep (Rating: ****)
Reviewed by Jake Basford
To be honest, when we started playing the YouTube video our immediate reaction was ‘oh God, what fresh hell is this’, but ‘Honey’ by Swim Deep really stopped that reaction before it became a pathology. Thankfully.
As the commentators have picked up, this is a 90s chillout indie track and is heavily reminiscent of a cross between Mazzy Star and any generic 90s pop-band.
What makes this stand out is that all of the musicians are so young – they couldn't possibly have been influenced by what was being played in that decade because they were still trying to figure out how to go to the toilet without the need of a nappy. This creates an interesting paradox in our head, as there is evidence for developmental theories on music and how that influences the mind later on in life, but could it also be evidence of this kind of music coming around every ten to fifteen years or so?
Back on target, this starts off slowly and builds the beat up, bringing in electro-sounding instrumentation and vocals later on. Primarily bass, drums and vocals, all of the elements of this track are simplistic and reductive, but convey a melancholic positivity that would make this a perfect summer tune. Of course we don’t have a summer in this country, but if we did this is the kind of music we'd play.
The message from the lyrics, 'don't just dream in your sleep – it's just lazy', is the kind of thing that we need blasting into us every so often. Now this is by no means 'blasting', but the subtle undercutting that occurs as a result gets the message across much better.
Refreshing change for the music that we usually have laid into us, this is a chillout track we love and want to hear more of.
'I Found You' by The Wanted (Rating: **)
Reviewed by Ben Egan
The music industry is one that is so very over populated with boy bands already. Man bands, boys bands, teen bands, we have the lot... So, apart from having remarkably flawless looks and some killer beats, boy bands nowadays should really pull something out of the bag to be classed as commercially successful. This leads us to today, where The Wanted - who only made their début back in 2010 - are set to release their ninth single, 'I Found You'.
After breaking on to the international stage last year with their highly addictive summer anthem, 'Glad You Came', the band have struggled to comeback with something as commercially pleasing. And alas, the same is to be said for ‘I Found You’. The single includes the typical pop-synth opening, just catchy enough to keep you listening, leading to the chorus which is sung in falsetto in its entirety. Now, the boys have reasonably impressive vocals, and again, it is just about enjoyable, but unfortunately the song just isn't up to the standard of ‘Glad You Came’, and we question if the band will ever change it up.
The song's saving grace are the lyrics. The track is a bit deeper than previous efforts and the bridge nicely sets up the scene for the final chorus, ‘I said people, we're all looking for love tonight / Sometimes we can't see it / We're all blinded by the light’.
The Wanted need to try a lot harder in future to be original if they wish to really take off.