New Soundbites: May 21-28

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The Ting Tings master three-minute pop magic, while Portishead, The Explorers Club, Howlin Rain and Four Tet get the review treatment.



The Ting Tings: We Started NothingAlbum of the Week
Columbia
All the best pop music calls for a reaction – and right now everybody has an opinion on Salford’s The Ting Tings.
The haters are out in force, namely because they’ve done what very few pop bands manage to do successfully which is start out as a wee indie band with a DIY ethic and a questionable live routine and quickly, with the power of a major label backing, make the crossover to become a chart-topping, Apple-endorsed major league player.
But so what. It’s ok for stable-mates MGMT innit?
And also, what these haters fail to address is that We Started Nothing contains a run of sassy, one-hook winners right the way through its 38 minutes which is almost unheard of in pop’s singles-orientated landscape.
Inevitably, like many pop records there’s a throwaway charm, and doubtless we’ll be fed up of hearing That’s Not My Name for the billionth time in six months time, but for now The Ting Tings are pop’s new golden duo.
For fans of: Bananarama, lollipops, CSS
7.5/10

Four Tet: Ringer (EP)
Domino
Keiron Hebdon spent almost the entirety of All Tomorrow’s Parties eating fast food.
That’s because he’s PHAT. Hahahahaha.
Anyways, this mini LP bridges the gap between the mindbogglingly bombastic Everything Ecstatic and the accessible looped fun of Rounds. True, there’s little to give the ear an orgasm, but after eight minutes of opener Ringer‘s cyclical clatter and the beat drops you realise Hebdon is quite possibly the thinnest phat man to ever come out of Putney.
Surely, there’s no finer moniker than that?
For fans of: Mouse wagglers.
7/10

Howlin Rain: Magnificent Fiend
Birdman
Waahoooo!
Hot diddly damn, pardner, I’m being roasted like a pig on a salty stick to this cotton-damn, chickin-lickin scrap of Southern Fried geeetar tootin rock ‘n roll.
Heck, if it aint Lynard Skynard then I’m Charlie Parker and you’ll be Lil’ Miss Cherry Pie. So quit your hollerin, slap on a pair of chaps, and wait until sundown when Uncle Billy Bob’ll sort you out with a bit o’squirrel meat and burnt beans farts.
For fans of: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Southern Comfort.
5.5/10

Portishead: Third
Island
When this came out last month I was initially bowled over – the intensity, the growling blackened doom and relentless unforgiving beats all equated to something seemingly quiet remarkable.
However, on reflection the show-stopping dazzle of their ATP-headlining display back in December and the slavering hyperbole showered upon Third‘s release may have foxed all powers of perspective.
So while there’s little doubting the inherent malevolent charm of Silence, the Brad Fiedel-apeing industrial genius of Machine Gun, or Threads‘ Land of Drone nordic horns, there’s also some humdrum fat which could have been shed.
Also who wants to listen to schizoid, paranoiac aural depression in June?
For fans of: Sunn 0))), sharks, John Carpenter.
7.5/10

Explorers Club: Freedom Wind
Dead Oceans
Imagine you’d never heard of The Beach Boys.
And then you form a band, say, The Explorers Club, went into a recording studio and penned 12 tracks of sunny delight imbued with all your favourite themes: girls, fun, the surf, cheery pop – ahh, what a lovely idea.
That is until someone slaps a copy of the Best Of The Beach Boys into your hand, and you’re left asking, what was the point in that?
For fans of: Take a wild guess.
5.5/10
* Stay tuned for a full in-depth review of the whole of Liverpool Sound City over the coming days.

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