REVIEW: December/ January Singles | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Winter is wrapping its icy claws around us, but luckily this month’s selections of singles contain varying shades of warmth to combat the festive frost.

If Fucked Up replaced their singer with a scrawny, insincere lookalike, they’d probably sound a bit like Digits. For all its satisfying heavy distortion, their track Embers sounds a bit amateurish – lost in a fading void between indie, alt rock and post hardcore.

Serinette get all Paramore with the urgent indie rock of Bigger Better and its belting vocals.

City Lights is not quite as interesting as Back Into The Woods’ other material, opting for some nursery rhyme lyrical content and slightly unconvincing ‘ooos’. Some tight bumbling basslines might just get you through a quiet winter evening without a coat.

Ever wondered where Peter Bjorn & John went? Turns out they’ve re-invented themselves as Bosco Rogers, doing that Young Folks whistle thing over Black Keys riffs and Tame Impala-esque neo-psychedelic vocals. The Middle is an adequate copy of good things.

Also up on his imitation is Ed Harcourt. The Way That I Live has just enough of the uplifting yet melancholic drama perfected by the likes of Nick Cave to sustain the track’s four and a bit minutes.

Delivering the crunchy, drum-heavy alt rock are Ilser, who have a nicely rounded tune in Forgotten Youth. It’s dark and gnarly in all the right places with some interesting haunting production techniques if you listen close enough.

There’s some proper winter cold in here thanks to The Unthanks. The sisters’ Geordie accents come wrapped in the early Christmas present that is Mount The Air. Helped along by a decent amount of brass and strings, it also serves up some aptly grey and gloomy storytelling.

Pipping the post of this month’s singles though has to be much loved North East DJ duo Smoove & Turrell with their latest soul-infused endeavour Will You Be Mine, providing that much needed shield from the brisk, seasonal temperatures. Imagine Get Lucky without Pharrell’s whiney voice and you’re left with pure funk, dance and electronic bliss; perfect for getting down to by the fire.

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