New Soundbites Extra

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Getintothis delves into the records which have gathered dust over the first half of the year, and Matt Eland delivers his verdict on the best of the rest.



The Long Blondes: CouplesAlbum of the Week
Rough Trade
Things haven’t been going well for the Long Blondes recently.
Ticket sales have fallen at the apex of their NME-led hype campaign and there are whispers of discontent within the band, but on this evidence they’re far from a creative spent force.
They kick things off with Century’s under whelming intro, but once the dull synth and crass lyrics are displaced by some cheeky loops and Kate Jackson’s staccato description of a “white-black-grey-light-space-craftâ€?, the standard never drops.
We’re on more familiar territory with Guilt and Here Comes the Serious Bit, as anyone who’s heard their previous hits can attest to, and it’s here that Jackson’s vocals really cut through.
It’s been said before and I’ll say it again now; she’s a born star in every sense of the work, her immaculate hooks pitched perfect and lifting the band above so many of their contempories. Just to prove that the band can keep up as well, there’s some unexpected weirdness on Round the Hairpin with a loopy bassline and an understatedly catchy beat.
8/10

Steven Malkmus and the Jicks: Real Emotional Trash
Domino
I’ve never been too bothered by anything Steven Malkmus has done.
Pavement never interested me, and on Real Emotional Trash he chooses to imbue his music with embarrassing tweeness.
Song titles such as Hopscotch Willy and Wicked Wanda tell half the story – he’s not writing about anything with any kind of weight, despite the raw, bluesy nature of the music. On Dragonfly Pie he interrupts some promising noise with nonsense about a ‘dragonfly wanting a piece of piece’, and even a bit of cutsie-poo glockenspiel in the background. Maybe I’m being unfair, but there’s no danger here, no depth, and despite multiple, multiple listens, nothing inspires.
4/10

Moby: Last Night
Mute
I put the new Moby CD on and a strange thing happened
it was as if I was suddenly sucked through time into an M-People 90s hellcatraz.
Ooh Yeah is indicative of the rubbishness of most of the record (the final three tracks gamely try to rescue it, but more on that later).
It keeps building layer upon layer of rubbishness
shit sampled vocal, dull ‘funky’ guitar riffing, treble heavy nineties dance keyboard
a quite catchy vocal hook wades in, but by then the child is already fitting on the seabed.
At least you can rely on Moby to provide some nice advert music, and that comes at the end – Sweet Apocalypse starts to inject a bit of darkness into things, hinting that maybe, if he tried to stop hitting every genre base, he could produce something a bit nastier next time around. On Last Night he lets the vocals take over, lets his super producer attitude slide, and it’s so much more effective.
5/10

Midnight Juggernauts: Dystopia
EMI
I was excited about hearing this band, a total unknown quantity for me, and from the cover alone it looked like I was in for some prog fun.
First comes the synth, then the R2D2 bleeping, and I was all ready for the rock to blare out of the speakers, but then, a moments silence – and something like AIR comes out, mixed with falsetto vocals and a disco beat.
Unexpected, then, but not entirely unwelcome. It’s almost a little too chilled, however, lacking the streak of lunacy that the Klaxons, for example, would bring.
This means that the album tends to blend into one, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The chord progressions impress most
impossible to second guess.
6/10

Charlottefield: What Are Friends For
Fat Cat
Charlottefield are probably ace live, but on the evidence of this record there’s not much too them, since they never deviate from the blueprint set by first track Beatings. Roving basslines and steady fill heavy drum beats holding together intermittent lo-fi guitar work – it’s impressive at first, but it’s all at the same head banging tempo, no light or shade or texture. It’s a shame that they’ve just broken up, as I would have liked the live experience to contextualise all this.
6/10

Teenagers: Reality Check
Merok
I don’t want to say too much about this band, they annoy me that much.
They could be good – the music has promise, there’s some catchy stuff but lyrically, the spoken word bits it all exposes their lack of soul. This is fashion music, crass and charmless, devoid of ingenuity, passion or depth, with stupid French accents.
All the songs are vacuous tales of fucking and drinking and being a trendy teenager. This would be all well and good if you felt a bit of empathy, maybe even raised a smile now and again.
But this isn’t ironic. They just come across and nasty, self obsessed brats bragging about shagging their stepsisters. And no amount of Bret Easton Ellis references can save them.
0/10

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