Oliver Cobbin reviews the latest singles in ‘New Releases Round-Up’, featuring ‘The Curious Incident’, ‘Cherry Hex & the Dream Church’, ‘The Happy Somethings’ and ‘Katie Cooper’
The Curious Incident – Get What You Give
First up on this week’s ‘New Releases Round-Up’ review is; ‘The Curious Incident’ and their latest single, ‘Get What You Give’. Those hoping for a cover of the ‘New Radicals’ classic may be a little disappointed at first but need not be, as this is a great slice of Caribbean-influenced indie pop. Starting with a whistle, that sounds like it’s straight out of a Ennio Morricone score, the song soon ramps up the gears for the verse, which sees lead singer Kairo showcase his highly-rhythmic singing style. Backed by a thumping drumbeat, courtesy of Diaz, ‘Get What You Give’ doesn’t waste time in getting to the chorus, which features a Caribbean-tribal-chant style melody. Not since ‘Moves Like Jagger’ has a whistle been so well utilised in a pop song. It’s a very well layered song and ‘The Curious Incident’ know how to tease the listener; strip back the instruments for the middle section before bringing them back for an explosive outro, in which we hear ‘call and response’ vocals, a stuttering guitar part and Kairo’s soaring voice. It’s a unique style of music, but is very well integrated into this pop song setting.
The melding of cultures is seen on the single’s cover, although the choice of the ice cream confuses me – maybe I’m reading too much into it, who knows? Symbolism aside, ‘Get What You Give’ is a very well-written song, with excellent production to boot. I’d be interested to see if ‘The Curious Incident’ follow up this style with later singles, or intend to make an album full of Caribbean-infused music.
Cherry Hex & the Dream Church – Toska:
Next on ‘New Releases Round-Up’ is ‘Toska’, the latest single by local Indie-Pop outfit, ‘Cherry Hex & the Dream Church’. It’s their first release since last year’s EP, ‘Tea of Tears’, and it’s been getting a lot of hype from various media outlets. It’s not hard to see why either, as ‘Toska’ has all the makings of a dream-pop classic- I’m getting ‘Beach House’ vibes from this song and it wouldn’t have sounded out of place on their 2015 album ‘Depression Cherry’. The minimalist production works really well for Maddy Chamberlain’s sweet, but chilling, vocals and a wall of sound, consisting of glitchy beats and ethereal synths, slowly makes itself heard. Alex Blake’s bass guitar bubbles along nicely underneath, giving the song an almost post-punk feel before the claustrophobia levels are raised with the inclusion of a glockenspiel. The use of the percussive instrument transforms the song into an almost creepy nursery rhyme, whilst Maddy’s sparse lyricism is perfect for her gloom-laden vocal tone.
The Happy Somethings – Jalapeno Kiss:
Third on the ‘New Releases Round-Up’ billing is ‘The Happy Somethings’, a fairly underground band, and their latest offering, ‘Jalapeno Kiss’. If the title makes it sound like a not-so-serious song, then you’d be correct. Opening line ‘They bumped into each other at the shop, one was choosing lager, one was crisps and alcopops’ sums up the tongue-in-cheek style of the song, which is somewhere between the jangle-pop stylings of many 80s bands, such as R.E.M., and the Latin influences that ‘Misirlou’ displayed all those years ago. I can imagine ‘Jalapeno Kiss’ being included on a Tarantino film or on a modern TV drama, being used in an ironic fashion during a violent sequence. I like the mix of feel-good vibes and slightly silly lyrics – this is coming from the composer of a song named ‘Fizzy Pop’ after all. The spacey middle 8 is joined by some ‘lalalalas’ straight out of Acapulco, only adding to the mariachi stylings on display.
I really enjoyed listening to ‘Jalapeno Kisses’ and it presented a nice change in mood. In an age when many bands take themselves too seriously, ‘The Happy Somethings’ offer an alternative, where songs don’t need to be all deep and pensive.
Katie Cooper – Fading:
The last single on this week’s ‘New Releases Round-Up’ is ‘Fading’, by local singer-songwriter ‘Katie Cooper’. It’s a down-tempo song, awash with Katie’s soulful vocals, and some ambient instrumentation. For a début single, it’s a great way to showcase her style, which takes inspiration from old soul with the modern production bringing it into the 21st century. The woozy electric piano makes up the basis of the arrangement, whilst a light drum beat makes for a good sway-along tune. The light piano notes in the background give the song a jazz-esque feel, whilst Katie’s vocal overlaps harmonise well and display her emotive tone. An accompanying music video, directed by Herbie Elton-Rowley, complements the songs neo-noir tones very well and sees Katie alone in a downtown bar.
‘Fading’ is a smorgasbord of many styles and is sure to please fans of various genres; R&B, neo-soul, jazz and ambient music. Keep track of her social media presence as there’s some exciting announcements apparently, including a slot at ‘Macmillan Fest‘ in September.
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