Oliver Cobbin reviews the latest singles in ‘New Releases Round-Up’. Featured this week are ‘VULTURES’, ‘Fuzzhoneys’, ‘The Pale White’ and ‘Cara Hammond’.
VULTURES – MURDER BALLAD:
First on this week’s ‘New Releases Round-Up is ‘Murder Ballad’, the latest single by Sheffield-based quintet, ‘VULTURES’. Circling the corpse that is modern rock, ‘Murder Ballad’ opens with an extremely dirty bassline, courtesy of one Dillon Willis. The guitars are distorted and gritty, giving off that crunching sound that marks so many great alternative rock songs. The gothic overtones of the title are matched by the crooning of Luke Thompson, whose voice is somewhere between the dark warbling of Nick Cave and the claustrophobic mumbles of Ian Curtis. The bass-centric verses are accompanied by Conor O’Reilly’s thunderous drumbeat and the guitar interjections of Nathan Keeble and John McCullagh. A post-chorus circular riff sees an interesting change in time-signature, whilst showcasing each member’s musicianship and band interplay.
For those who like to head-bang and wave their arms, you’re in luck, as the mid-section of the song features a stomping rhythm and a riff straight out of Josh Homme’s secret fretboard book. An accompanying music video, produced by Chris Aitkenhead, is also available to watch and sees this rag-tag bunch of vultures performing in an empty studio. It’s simple, but effective, and ‘VULTURES’ know that the song itself is the selling point. They’re performing at ‘Party in the Pines’ festival, so if you have the chance to see them, do-so. Make-sure you book a post-festival appointment with your chiropractor though, as your neck will be feeling the full effects of the headbanging!
FUZZHONEYS – PERIOD:
The second single on this week’s ‘New Releases Round-Up’ is ‘Period’, by ‘Fuzzhoneys’, a garage rock duo consisting of guitarist/vocalist, Francesca Mercieca and drummer Caroline Spiteri. It’s their first release since last year’s EP, ‘CD tal-ġenn’, and carries on nicely from that fuzzy debut offering. Featuring a guitar riff indebted to Iggy Pop’s ‘Search & Destroy’, the song is a short, sharp, shock of punk energy. The lyrics consist of sparse couplets, such as ‘lunar bliss, aching kiss’, which are all manically howled at regular intervals by Francesca. The garage rock vibes are strong on this one, with Caroline’s drums being simple & unobtrusive, yet they pound away to form a great backbeat to Francesca’s squalling guitar. I’ve got some odd YouTube recommendations from watching the video, which sees the duo performing in various locations amidst some graphic, Python-esque cartoons.
‘No shame in the stain’ being the chorus line shouldn’t have anyone confused about the song’s subject matter, being a great punk-infused statement about female empowerment. A half-time outro ups the fuzziness and sees Francesca’s greatest Courtney Love impression, before reverting back to that insistent guitar riff. ‘Period’ is a great come-back single for ‘Fuzzhoneys’ and should please any fan of Garage Rock, Punk…or people who like songs about menstrual cycles.
The Pale White – Turn it Around:
‘Turn it Around’ by ‘The Pale White’ is the third song to be critiqued on today’s ‘New Releases Round-Up’. For those bemoaning the lack of good indie rock in this modern age, look no further. ‘Turn it Around’ has all the makings of an indie rock classic, but with a modern twist. Just think back to when ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ dropped in 2013 and how Arctic Monkeys managed to blend the old with the new. You got that? Now fast-forward four years and listen to ‘Turn it Around’, by Newcastle-based trio ‘The Pale White’. Kicking things off with a fervent guitar riff and pulsating bassline, Adam’s vocals soon enter the sonic picture and have a resonant tone about them, perfect for this sort of song. Brother Jack provides the thumping drumbeat, intent on making even the shiest of indie fans get up and dance.
A pitch shifted guitar riff makes for a smooth transition from chorus to verse, whilst Tom Booth’s bassline interlocks nicely with the drums. Those hoping for a rip-roaring, mid-section, guitar solo are in for a treat too, with Adam being let loose on his 6-string for the outro, which also features some subtle harmonies and a crunching bass workout. If you like what you’ve heard, then check out their previous releases, such as ‘Reaction’ and ‘That Dress’, which are also slices of indie rock not to missed.
Cara Hammond – No:
Last, but not least, on this week’s ‘New Releases Round-Up’ is ‘Cara Hammond’ and her latest single ‘No’. Having gained some exposure from recent features on ‘BBC Introducing’, ‘No’ is the first taster from her upcoming EP, ‘Ray’. Opening with a woozy piano line, straight out of a downtown jazz bar, ‘No’ is a great showcase for Cara’s soulful contralto voice. Some light percussion and a healthy dash of double-tracking on the vocals complement the subdued nature of the verse, before being joined by a sultry guitar line in the first chorus and some beaming brass in the second. The art of layering is key to a good pop song and Cara has ticked all the boxes with these arrangement choices. A trumpet solo, from Alex Chivers, makes way for a downtempo final verse, before an explosive outro bursts through the speakers. Kudos to Cara for writing a R&B-infused pop song, in an era where digital instrumentation is the norm. Amy Winehouse paved the way for this style 10 years ago and it’s nice to see the remnants of her music are still strong in 2017.
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