Singles and songs review

Scissor Sisters

Scissor Sisters, Magic Hour

Best in Me

 

Best in Me might not be a single (yet), but its laid-back attitude, which perhaps sounds a little pedestrian on first listening, is so even-tempered and chilled that it’s like floating in a swimming pool before ducking under the water and swirling around in circles, only to emerge for a towel and Tahiti cocktail. The song’s reprise, which comes with coos of “You take what’s good and make it better,” is an apt description of what makes this song so great: it’s the sound we all associate with the five-set but polished, stripped back and above all, better. By blending Shears’ catchy falsetto with the band’s easy-to-listen-to electronics, the Sisters have managed to devise an easy-to-stomach dance floor ballad that comes minus any overindulgent, melodramatic choruses.

Maybe it’ll never make its way into the singles totem but in the song’s own words, “May not hear it on MTV, no big deal, fine by me.”

Alt-J (∆), An Awesome Wave,

Matilda

Presumably hitting ‘alt-j’ on your Mac computer sends an instant, automated message with the subject line “CODE NERD” to a 24-hour hotline dedicated to those who spend too much time exploring Apple keyboard functions. It also, for the record, makes a triangle symbol not unlike this one: ∆.

Bringing their Steve-Jobs brand of nerd to music, Alt-J’s single Matilda sees the group quoting English folkster, Johnny Flynn – a chap also known for quoting- over a medley of strings and an undercurrent of tip-tapping drums, all the while declaring, This is from Matilda. Initially I thought this song sounded a little like a Gotye-Elliot Smith regurgiation but on second-take, well, I had to do a double-take and concede that it was actually very good. Damn you, oh sour, reluctant praise.