Singles review

The XX, Angels:

It’s probably a regressive way to begin (and an even more regressive way to think), but generally speaking, anything with the word ‘Angel’ in it is probably a bit shit. Think about it, Angel Delight; Angels by Robbie Williams; One of Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls being named “Angel” after Stefani’s debut album, “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” Yep, as pop-culture diagnoses go, it’s clear that ‘Angel’ is interchangeable with either, ‘Total Rubbish’ or ‘What The Bloody Hell is THIS?’

Fortunately however, The XX’s new single, Angels, is neither rubbish nor some awful, pink powdered dessert concoction.

Opening with an electric guitar, a subdued plucking of strings carries Romy Madley Croft’s voice like a treadmill threatening to slow to a stop. Each chorus is bracketed with a pause, giving the song an almost chapter-in-a-book feel as it charts its terrain, pauses and starts all over again.

It’s very much an XX tune except more crafted and far from monotonous. Whether the same can be said about their new album waits to be seen however.

Bloc Party, Octopus:

I’m beginning to think music writers are more affected by ‘Second Album Syndrome’ than musicians are. It’s like some kind of journalistic Tourette’s; “Can you discuss the new second album?”– TWITCH! “Was there a lot of pressure for your second album to be as commercially successful as the first? — TWITCH! “Did you worry that your second album might alienate fans? — TWITCH!

Of course everyone knows that third albums are where it starts to go awry. And awry it went for Bloc Party. While “Intimacy” boasted some great songs like “Talons” and “Signs”, the album was radically different and incredibly weak when compared to its siblings, “A Weekend in The City” and “Silent Alarm”. Thriving from the electronic wave that swept across music in the late 2000s, the album was gimmicky and a bit mundane.

That said, I’ve always maintained faith in Bloc Party and waved the Bloc Party flag whenever I could. And apparently, it’s been worth it. The new single is an absolute cracker!

Brimming and bubbling over with energy, it’s as if the guys cooked the tune in vodka and now that tune is raring to go out dancing and slosh some lager and wiggle its double-clef bum to a catalogue of Brit-pop hits. Admittedly, the lyrics are a bit weak, the chorus ending with a chant of “I don’t know why I feel like crying, Well come on, come on, Say come on, come on.”

Not exactly Paul Simon but I’ll continue to wave the flag.

Two Door Cinema Club, Sleep Alone:

Two Door Cinema Club are releasing their second album soon — TWITCH!

The new single, Sleep Alone, was previewed on BBC1 last night, and made available for free-download for a 24 hour period on the group’s website. It’s a typical enough Two Door Cinema Club song: kicking off with a catchy drumbeat, the chorus is where the fun’s at while the lyrics serve to cushion the aforementioned pop climax.

Once it’s sound-tracked every ad on television, I’m sure the tune will have truly welded itself into my brain, but currently it doesn’t seem to have the hooks that “Come Back Home” and “This is The Life” did. Then again, “This is The Life” essentially had no lyrics, except ‘This is The Life’ being sung over, and over again. Time will tell, I suppose.

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