This week’s new music round-up finds Getintothis’ Patrick Clarke lapping up leisurely lo-fi, salivating over suave psychtronica, basking in big, bright pop, and getting weird with an Amsterdam threesome.
As I work my way through the week’s new music for this column, I’ll often come across a band I just want to be good. Sun Machine, for example, come armed with a boss name, an even bosser cover for new single The Loudest of Them and an enticingly freaky photo. All three are bright with a measured haze, direct without giving the game away, yet so often do such groups fall flat on distilling that aura of presentation into much of musical substance.
What’s so great about Sun Machine, then, is that whatever hype one’s own mind might make from their aesthetic, The Loudest of Them lives up to it. It’s the kind of guitar single that doesn’t really get made any more; confident enough in its own craft to revel in the straightforward, to attack in a manner that, though anthemic, never borders on the hammy cod-stadium toss of the revivalist landfill.
In short, the group succeed in that they’re just not trying too hard. It feels as if they know how good they are, as if they’re reveling in their own confidence, and in an age of alt-rock gone sour and sycophantic, it’s just what Britain needs.
Speaking of first impressions, the email that accompanied Amsterdam trio My Baby‘s new single, Remedy II, declares that “If you like Yeasayer you will like these”. I quite like Yeasayer as it happens, I think I saw half their set at Latitude 2010 before leaving to see Girls or someone be twenty minutes late in a forest or something, but I like My Baby much, much more.
Remedy II anchors itself on a throb, a vital pump of dinge around which guitars chop and whirl in twisting fissures, a corunucopia of vocals heaving and hypnotising as the threesome launch from one beguiling groove to the next in the suavest of style.
Colorado singer-songwriter Devin Whitaker, who records as Noble, is a straighter arrow, sticking to familiar guns of an anthem-ready chorus and a verse of direct electro-simplicity on new single Human. On paper it’s little more than pop of the most melodramatic order, yet within his tried and tested boundaries Noble stuns with sheer craftsmanship.
Not afraid to embrace an abrasive edge, Human booms with a sonorous thud, Whitaker‘s vocal detached in a louche, low resonance and an electro instrumental skyrockets with calculated ease. Straightforward, perhaps, but undeniably quite impeccably well done.
The debut LP from Seattle-based Big Eater, the solo project of Matt Bachman, is essentially the polar opposite. Tender, organic and hushed where Noble thrives on bombast, his album, In Between, is a whole-hearted hunk of drifting melancholia at its most very affecting.
Lead single Lazy Days is the record’s peak, Bachman‘s soft, blanching vocal cutting through layers of harmonious lo-fi warmth before dovetailing to a crescendo of surprising intensity. Midwestern Dreams is a glorious, immediate freakout of brief, potent emotion, while Parked the Car on Union unbottles pent-up lo-fi pop that it’s impossible not to adore.