Stars Are Blind
Paris Hilton – heiress, Heat staple, (home) movie star – has been threatening to launch a singing career for almost two years now. In fact, the Paris album had become something of an urban legend, even starting to rival the age-old rumour that Jamie Lee Curtis is actually, y’know, a hairy great fella. So it comes as a bit of a surprise in July 2006 to find her peddling a rather lovely slice of sun-soaked, pissed-on-the-beach reggae pop. So what if Stars Are Blind bears more than a passing resemblance to reggae classic Kingston Town? So what if her vocal performance is the least convincing since Patsy Kensit trilled her way through I’m Not Scared? And so what if her upcoming cover of Do Ya Think I’m Sexy is enough to have us waking up in a cold sweat begging for a Lisa Scott-Lee comeback? Right now Stars Are Blind is the perfect summer pop single, and we’re not ashamed to admit that we’re bloody loving it.
All kinds of funky-ass singles reviews after the jump, from Boy Kill Boy, Raconteurs, The Hedrons, TV On The Radio, The Common Redstarts, Frank, The Horrors and Panic! At The Disco…
Boy Kill Boy
Leytonstone’s Boy Kill Boy must have the record collection of the archetypal hip, slightly despondent early eighties student. The type who never became a full-blown goth – hey, that was just another way of conforming, wasn’t it? – but definitely experimented with eyeliner and always favoured an asymmetrical haircut. Civil Sin – the third single from the band’s top 20 debut album Civilian – mixes the gloomy synths of Depeche Mode with the energy of The Jam and the strut of pre-MTV Duran Duran. The best way to listen to it? Get pissed; have a bitch about Thatcher; then jump around the room in a self-consciously rickety fashion.
We feel as though we’ve known Hands – the second single from Jack White’s 'new band made up of old friends' the Raconteurs – for, like, ever and ever. It mixes trademark elements of sixties pop – verses that sound like choruses, dreamy, lovelorn lyrics and wonderful "woo woo" backing vocals – with muscular guitar riffs straight out of classic seventies rock. What’s more, it makes our dad want to show off his air guitar skills whenever it comes onto the radio. Like a wet flannel to your forehead on a scorching summer’s day, it’s in no way modern or innovative, but it is completely satisfying.
Be My Friend
These all-girl bands are all the rage lately, what with The Like and The Pipettes and, um, you know, the others. But The Hedrons are slightly more muscular than the latest crop of girl bands. The Hedrons, for want of a less disturbing description, are The Pipettes with big hairy testicles. The new Hedrons single Be My Friend is a great big wedge of incessant melodic guitar rock – the kind that Ash wish they'd make every time they say they're going to go heavy. The Hedrons say that they're the lovechildren of the Foo Fighters and Joy Division godfathered by Iggy Pop. Don't actually try to imagine the sort of mangled freak that that particular union would create, though – just give Be My Friend a spin instead.
TV On The Radio
Wolf Like Me
TV On The Radio are an incredibly cool 'avant-garde indie rock band'. How cool? Well, David Bowie sings backing vocals on their album. You want more? Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs has appeared in one of their videos. You’re still not satisfied? How about this: their lead singer’s called Tunde, which is a proper, iconic-sounding rock star name (even though the lead singer of the Lighthouse Family is called Tunde as well). But – hang on! – it’s not time for Kate Moss to start kissing one of them just yet, because there’s one little issue that changes TV On The Radio from Keith Richards to Cliff Richard. Their new single’s chorus sounds a bit like The Police. What a shame!
The Common Redstarts
Save It For Your Friends
Wait a minute, didn't you hear this song on Eastenders in the caff once? And, come to think of it, hasn't it been playing pretty much constantly on Sky Sports lately? Why yes, yes it has. And it's not hard to see why – Save It For Your Friends by The Common Redstarts is just about the most perfect summer slice of guitar pop we've heard since The Libertines disintegrated into a mess. We can't get enough of this one and, since it's been all but ubiquitous over the last few months, that's really saying something.
I’m Not Shy
Have you ever watched Channel 4’s Totally Frank? Yeah, we think we caught about five minutes’ worth after the Hollyoaks omnibus one time, too. Apparently it’s a teen drama serial about a struggling girl group who get into all sorts of kerayzee japes on the long, winding road towards pop stardom. A bit like Sugar Rush, but with guitars instead of muff-on-muff action. Anyway, the band from the show – Frank, name fans – have taken it upon themselves to release a proper, not-just-on-TV pop single. About as an appealing as a few hours on Hampstead Heath with a 58-year-old potbellied truck driver, isn’t it? But, luckily for Frank, lead singer Lauren Blake has a sexy, drawling voice and I’m Not Shy was written and produced by Xenomania, the geniuses behind Girls Aloud’s run of stunning singles. It’s not as immediate as Sound Of The Underground or The Show, but after a few plays its sultry pop charms begin to emerge, like an eyelid coyly opening at 9am the morning after the night before…
Death At The Chapel
These are the only things we know about The Horrors. 1) There are five of them. 2) They have wacky names like Spider Webb and Joshua Von Grimm. 3) Their last single had a video starring the bald woman out of Minority Report dancing around while aliens explode out of her head and vagina. 4) It was directed by Chris Cunningham, which probably means it's quite good. 5) Judging by their new single Death At the Chapel, the only music The Horrors have ever heard to is The Saga by The Libertines and a tramp hitting a cheap organ with a stick. 6) Despite this, we quite like Death At The Chapel. 7) They need to sack their hairdressers as soon as they can.
Panic! At The Disco
Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off
Why emo is the most irritating musical sub-genre ever:
- The self-consciously lengthy song titles.
- The legions of frontmen with that identikit whiny teen vocal style.
- The relentless plundering of Nirvana’s quiet, LOUD, quiet, LOUDER! dynamic
Why Panic! At The Disco’s new single is preferable to most emo ‘songs’ (but not preferable to the Paris Hilton single):
- It has a chorus.
- Lead singer Brendan Urie displays a modicum of vocal charisma.
- They’re not Fall Out Boy.
[reviews by Nick Levine]