This coming week will already mark the end of January 2013, meaning we’re now only a couple of weeks away from the much loved/loathed Valentine’s Day, not to mention the 2013 BRIT Awards. Before we get too ahead of ourselves, why not take five minutes or so to peruse this week’s newest musical offerings? Alongside established artists like Calvin Harris and Devlin, we have three up-and-coming British acts who all show promise. First up on today’s Singles Of The Week is the unusually named We Are Animal…
‘Royal Wolf’ by We Are Animal (Rating: ****)
Reviewed by Jeremy Williams
There is no denying that if Wales were to sit a music qualification it would receive a resounding distinction. Having spawned everyone from Sir Tom Jones to Dame Shirley Bassey, Cerys Matthews to Charlotte Church, Super Furry Animals to Manic Street Preachers – the Welsh have time and again proved their pedigree. With their tasty talent pool still overflowing, North Walian quintet We Are Animal are hoping their latest single, ‘Royal Wolf’, will help lift them to the next rung on the ladder of success.
While their curious name, We Are Animal, might align them closely with the better best forgotten Welsh comedy poppers The Automatic and Goldie Lookin’ Chain (Wales, with your pedigree produce, you are forgiven) and The Bloodhound Gang, their sound places them atop the indie-art-fuzz pop tree, akin to early output from Leicester’s Kasabian.
Currently on tour with fellow North Walians, The Joy Formidable (whose latest album intriguingly also nods to the wolf – Wolf’s Law), the quintet are garnering rave reviews for their live set. With the performances generating great interest for their impending début album, they have selected to precede the release with single ‘Royal Wolf’.
‘Royal Wolf’ is an intriguing affair. Endearing fuzz pop, it opens with a misleading air of calm, which explodes into a hypnotic union of the guitar and bass. While the guitar/bass team have you entranced, a flurry of sonic experimentation ensures that all of your senses are fully engaged and entertained. ‘Royal Wolf’ is a cacophony of sound that draws you in to its brief journey, leaving you hooked and awaiting your next hit.
Download the single now from Bandcamp.
‘Drinking From The Bottle (feat. Tinie Tempah)’ by Calvin Harris (Rating: ****)
Reviewed by Jon Hornbuckle
Drinking From The Bottle is a surefire hit if ever we’ve heard one. Calvin Harris and Tinie Tempah have teamed up for this all-out ‘drinks in the air’, euphoric anthem which looks set to be the biggest hit of 2013 so far.
There are some bizarre name drops hidden in the lyrics – including Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, the Kardashians and Danny Devito – but the spotlight here is on the pounding bass and dramatic synths. This is a cut made for the clubs and, whilst it may be lacking any sense of deep meaning, it has mountains of attitude that make it impossible to resist. To put it simply, you will dance to this whether you want to or not. This is mainstream chart music at its best – the definition of music of the past few years.
The music video, however, is slightly less mainstream and a lot more explicit than would be expected from two very chart friendly acts. There’s a lengthy appearance from the Devil, amongst lashings of nudity, drugs, violence, drinking and arson. It’s clearly NOT a video suitable for all ages.
Tinie Tempah hasn’t released a solo track for almost two years now and this will only heighten anticipation for his second studio album, Demonstration, due this summer. ‘Drinking from the Bottle’ is the sixth single lifted from Calvin Harris’ latest album, 18 Months, which recently hit the top of the charts. There appears to be no stopping the Scottish singer, songwriter and producer at the moment, with no sign of his popularity waning. A collaboration from two popular male acts at the top of their game? Easily a smash hit.
‘Next Year’ by Kyra (Rating: ****)
Reviewed by Ben Kelly
After a successful year supporting acts like Wretch 32 and Rita Ora, So So Gay favourite Kyra is facing a new year and a new single. We caught up with her in an interview a few weeks back, and now she’s releasing ‘Next Year’ – a youthful and fresh upbeat song about New Year’s resolutions…which we may or may not keep.
The track is catchy, light-hearted and totally relevant to her contemporaries. ’Next Year’ puts Kyra in a musical bracket somewhere between the pop sound of Little Mix, and the more alternative urban tones of Jessie Ware. The production on the track, by Tre Jean Marie, is particularly noteworthy. There’s just the right tinge of retro to make this track sound old school, but the lyrics bring it right into the here and now with funny quips about selling things on eBay and trying to ring instead of text.
Although this is a fun record, it’s very obvious that Kyra’s vocals are on a bigger scale – quite like the first listen to Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’. She has moments where her voice soars to the heights while a sweet tone remains in tact throughout. With an EP coming in the next few months, it looks like 2013 could be a big step up in the career of this west London soul girl. Stay tuned!
Download the single for free from Kyra’s official Facebook page.
‘Kings’ by Sukh (Rating: ***)
Reviewed by Jamie Clarke
This is a really interesting song. It’s country, yet it’s folk, and strangely enough it wouldn’t be out of place on a Christmas compilation album, or a barn yard hoe-down. Perhaps an appropriate word is ‘festive’.
Sukh is a Manchester based singer-songrwiter and ‘Kings’ is his début single. He also has a day job as a doctor, as well as scoring music for films. Talk about multi-talented.
There are elements of sadness and longing in the choices of tone as he sings about the insignificant details of day-to-day life and love. The uplifting lyrics are laced with meaning. It’s a refreshing change to hear lyrics that are influenced by literature, theatre and philosophy rather than the bog standard odes to DJs and dance-floors.
The music itself is nothing groundbreaking in any way, but it’s pleasant. There are clear similarities between ‘Kings’ and the sound displayed on Mumford & Son’s Babel.
Sukh has written, performed and even produced this track himself. Managing to create something that clearly has such heart and meaning is no mean feat and should be applauded. Perhaps more doctors should get out of their scrubs and into the recording studio if the results are this interesting.
‘Rewind (feat. Diane Birch)’ by Devlin (Rating: ****)
Reviewed by Lewis Shepherd
As a member of the grime collectives O.T Crew and The Movement that both feature other well-known British rap artists such as Wretch 32, Devlin has already experienced some significant success on the UK charts. He’s had four top 40 singles and a top 40 album that was certified gold, and also featured on a remix of the number one hit ‘Price Tag’ by Jessie J.
Here he teams up with American singer-songwriter Diane Birch – who has yet to match the success of her musical partner – to put forth the tale of lost love and regret on ‘Rewind.’ It uses the combination of rapper and singer that has worked well for numerous other artists of late: Eminem, B.O.B and Professor Green who used Rihanna, Emeli Sandé and Hayley Williams respectively on their tracks.
The song does put you in mind of ‘Love the Way You Lie’ and ‘Read All About It’ with its wanting to push rewind on a part of your life, which is something we can all relate to, and features a great dark and moody base with a thumping beat in the background that we’ve all become very familiar with in the last few years.
Although a competent rapper, Devlin isn’t as good as some of his contemporaries and whereas the previously mentioned tracks have both superb rapping and singing, the highlight of ‘Rewind’ has to be Diana Birch’s vocals. The little known singer carries the song, coming across as a less depressing and morbid version of Lana Del Ray, occasionally sounding as though she’s about to burst into a rendition of Heart’s ‘Alone.’
Given the trends of rappers and singers over the last few years and with this song being reminiscent of previous hits, not to mention its catchy tune and Birch’s great vocals, it all points toward ‘Rewind’ being a huge hit for 2013.