Friday, 26 March 2010

First Time In My Ears.

Seems like there are eight new applicants today (I know they're not new applicants but Wes has only just put them up on the list). I think I'll listen to them all rather than write a post about only five. That brings the total number of bands I've commented on to 32 I think but my maths sometimes isn't as good as I think it is.

TOOB have come up with one of the best titles so far in "Unsound Skin". It begins with an interesting rhythm that sounds like it should be played over the opening credits of a horror movie. I love the breathy voice that seems to have been sampled into that rhythm. The voices of the the singers work together beautifully. It's a laid back number with a sharp edge. I enjoyed it.

ADAM DAWSON is a singer songwriter from York. His "In the Beginning" has echoes of your last holiday in Greece in the way the music is played behind a decent voice that can hold a tune. It's a nice song but I hear little in it to stand out from all of the others. That's neither a good nor a bad thing. It's not quite in my personal top forty from these applicants, but it's probably in my top sixty. Hmm, on second thoughts, I just found myself singing it. It IS in my top forty after all.

APRIL ELIZANBETH begins her track "Love" with a hint of acoustic percussion and an acoustic guitar that's reminiscent of the first Tracy Chapman album. Unfortunately, that's where the resemblance ends. Her voice is good, clearly well-trained but it doesn't move me and I found the song quite dull. Sorry April.

EMILY BARKER AND THE RED CLAY HALO have entered "Nostalgia", which is the theme tune from Wallender. Yes I love it. It's a great song but I'll be surprised if it's not already in the charts well before the charts get stormed. If it doesn't make the top forty, I'll buy it anyway... but I don't intend to vote for it.

SEFIROS entry is a horse of a different colour. "Ultimatum" begins with churchy organ music, then builds up with some excellent drum work over a burbling synth until I'm aching for the vocals to come in. But we don't get vocals, we get another texture added to the mix instead (is it cello?), and we're dancing but you know what, I still want the vocals. I can't mark it down on that though. This is a fine instrumental piece. Well worth a listen even if it's not my cup of bovril.

FRIENDS AS FAMILY are another band from the East (so I'm biased in their favour). That's until I listen to the opening of "Doesn't Happen". It reminds me of a cross between Toto and Prefab Sprout. I used to be a big fan of Prefab Sprout but this mixture just doesn't work in my opinion.

Turn it up. It's LONG TALL SHORTY with "Turn it up", a brilliant, hard rocking number that'd get me up and dancing in any of a hundred dark and seedy clubs. I was disappointed by the voice at first, but I find it's growing on me. Another keeper. NIIIIIICE! Now bear with me while I listen to it again.

LUSITTANIA play funky rock music and "Big Bear" is no exception. This is an uptempo number with virtuoso guitar work and layed back vocals over controlled percussion. It's nice but I have a feeling this particular band could do better. I'd say they are a band to watch but this isn't the breakthrough single they need.


  1. thanks for all the reviews -fab,
    big bear does grow
    you are definitely right on the more to come
    the bass player only started learning a year ago and the average age of the band I think is 14!

  2. Phil, sorry I just saw your comment. I should have replied earlier. I have to say, Lusittania are way ahead of other fourteen-year-olds, with the possible exception of Free or Eater when they were that age back in the seventies. If they keep at it, I'm sure they'll be making hit records by the time they're old enough to leave school.