SINGLE REVIEWS: March 2015 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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So once again, I find my inbox bulging to the brim and breaking all kinds of data plans, my poor old email almost buckling under the strain: yes, this writer must be on singles duty…

There’s plenty to be getting on with, so let’s just plough through shall we?

First up are The Montagues, who seem intent on shaking off the remnants of winter on Vertigo. There’s a hint of early Vampire Weekend to the trebly jangle of the intro, but this strum-along ultimately caters for more of a Radio 2 crowd. A ruder awakening comes from Gallery Circus, who make the most of their road-hardened muscle on new single Hollywood Drip. Alongside Elephant Memoirs and their new single Mug, they offer a big slab of unapologetic rockisms likely to appeal to anyone who’s ever let Biffy Clyro, Muse or Pulled Apart By Horses into their life.

Charlie Don’t Dance hedge their bets with double A-side Little Branch/Robot Heart, the former offering an IDM-hardened take on the Kelly Clarkson pop-rock formula while the latter goes for a gentler, acoustic driven balm. Far more lively is Orphan Boy’s track Beats Like Distant Tides, which plays out like a Doves single stuck on fast-forward – there’s worse fates for sure. Also lively but to much less enjoyable effect is Town Called Ugley by Ward Thomas, which is every bad thing about modern country in one sickly dose.

There’s also the debut single from Wigan band The Nouvelles. Rising deploys some of the stadium-indie-goes-pop tricks that Coldplay were up to a few years ago – start off with the big drippy piano riff, then whack in some parping, brickwalled synths like a big neon sign stating ‘THIS IS WHERE THE CHORUS STARTS’. Your opinion on this song can be gauged from the above description with frightening accuracy.

Pick of the pops is the latest single from Happyness, A Whole New Shape. Often compared to Yuck, there’s a similar fuzz-rock fetishism at work, but there’s something far more plaintive and emotionally driven about the whole thing: occasionally, you can hear the influence of the much missed Mark Linkous at work.

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