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

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Most of this month’s singles reflect the current state of music and its relation to real life. It’s hard to tell whether they’re an antidote to the heated political climate of late, or just a distraction. There’s a lot of folk steeped in escapist nostalgia, but not much dissatisfaction with how a load of idiots are fighting to run the country into the ground.

Slime’s My Company is a chilled, genre-less track that re-arranges weird mechanical noise into glassy modulated synth waves and dashes of R ‘n’ B akin to artists like Mount Kimbie and Jai Paul. Wide Skies manage to make their folk-tinged pop work in Take Care Of Love. Layered guitar and violin atop the duo’s straight vocal exchanges adds an atmospheric dynamic to an otherwise standard track.

Led by the sampled speech of American Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, Fold’s Two Past Midnight utilises a wealth of funk-driven influences and sounds and choppy guitars to form a cool undercurrent for the bold vocal delivery of Hamer’s rallying calls.

After a mere thirty seconds I’m bored by Barna Howard’s country-folk nostalgia; Indiana Rose is just too repetitive and mundane for these beat-thirsty ears. Thank goodness Tamara Lindemen knows how to make folk sound a bit more 2015. Under the guise of The Weather Station she creates sombre experimental music like Shy Women, which is perfectly underpinned by her softly wilting vocal and lively, atmospheric production.

Perfection though, is The Wooden Sky’s downfall. In Maybe It’s No Secret it becomes clear why the weathered Toronto quintet haven’t fully taken off; their brand of big indie rock showcased in polished form here is all too familiar and un-challenged to be anything better than average.

Twisted Arrow by Aborist features Pixes/The Breeders’ Kim Deal, and it’s a nice enough track, but lacks the get-up and go of other folk offerings this month. Its melancholy wanes and is only ever revived by a decent(ish) chorus.

Finishing off with something a bit more interesting, Champs are like a more chilled out Everything Everything and Vamala proceeds to satisfy that indie pop itch with chugging guitars and some Bee Gees-style androgynous vocal.

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