5. Just Like Blood – Sharon Van Etten
Blood’ comes not from an upcoming album from Sharon Van Etten, but her ‘I Don’t
Want To Let You Down’ EP, as the second track. This and the title track are
both of the same level of quality as the best tracks on her last two LPs.
Sharon Van Etten is one of those artists that I feel like if she didn’t exist
we would have to invent her. Every generation needs a Sharon Van Etten. Mine
was probably Cat Power, or before that Fiona Apple or Tori Amos. Maybe Aimee
Mann too but I was never really into her. Anyway the point is you can always
rely on Sharon Van Etten to produce some good, solid tunes.
4. Caught – Florence & The Machine
Florence had about changing her sound for her third album must have been
quickly dismissed. Advance releases ‘What Kind Of Man’, ‘Delilah’, and ‘Ship To
Wreck’ are as bombastic as anything on ‘Ceremonials’. Once again though
possibly my favourite track is one that is kind of hidden among the
roof-raisers: like ‘Breaking Down’ on ‘Ceremonials’ and ‘Hurricane Drunk’ on
‘Lungs’ the one that I am fond of is a nice song called ‘Caught’, which is a
bit dialled down from the songs around it. Florence’s ‘ooh-ah-ooh-ah-ooooh’
would work well sitting in a small club in a hotel around 11pm, aperitif in
hand, which is probably some way down from her ambitions, but is the mark of a
good singer nonetheless.
3. Reapers – Muse
know how ridiculous they are, right? Like the prog-rock gods of the ‘70s I am
sure I can hear moments in their music when they are parodying themselves, and
making sounds that no rock band completely concerned with cool would ever make.
The chorus of ‘Reapers’ is an example of this, as is the interlude. They are
also two of the best parts of Muse’s new album, which is an hour-long concept
album about drone warfare, naturally.
2. Hotel California – Swim Deep
When can we
say that a tribute song measures up to the song it is referencing? Having heard
the Eagles’ original ‘Hotel California’ about forty squillion times Swim Deep’s
tribute (‘I was drunk, singing ‘Hotel California’) feels considerably fresher
to me than that worn-out classic.
Amazingly it is ‘just’ a B-side, but of my first dabbles into the music
of Swim Deep this is the song that has stayed swirling around my head.
1. Regret – Everything Everything
New Order worked out thirty years ago that nothing
fuels an indie-pop song like the subject of regret. Now Everything Everything have worked out how
to make the kids mope and dance with their question/chorus of ‘Did you imagine
it/In a different way?’ That tilt into the chorus is so dreamy that it covers
up that I actually find the repeated chant throughout the verses of ‘Regret!
Regret!’ semi-annoying. This is almost as good as their ‘Duet’ song.