Mike Atkinson

Stylus Singles Jukebox, 8th August 2006

Posted in singles reviews, Stylus by Mike A on August 8, 2006

Debojit – Jeena (My Heart Goes Duma Duma)

This 30-year old crooner from Assam won an Indian TV talent show last year, and “Jeena” – the title track from his debut album – is an endearingly easy-going, old-fashioned soft-shoe-shuffle of a love song, with melodic and harmonic touches that evoke something of the spirit of 1960s MOR.  Somehow, it just about manages to stay on the right side of corny – unlike the cheesy little reciprocal hand movements which Debojit and his lady friend demonstrate during the chorus, which involve a mixture of breast-tapping, baby-waving and sign language. (7)

Laura Lynn – Jij Bent De Mooiste

The “Schlager queen of Flanders” doesn’t quite scale the dizzy heights of last year’s sublime “Je hebt me 1000 maal belogen,” this being more of a straightforwardly traditional, four-square, oompah-at-the-beer-fest belter: all blaring brass and sturdy unison, and unapologetically old-fashioned in a late 1960s/early 1970s Eurovision kind of way. I had no idea that people were still making Schlager records like this, and a large part of me is immensely cheered by the discovery. (6)

Kasabian – Empire

Much as it pains my kneejerk if-the-NME-likes-it-it-must-be-shit sensibilities to admit this, Kasabian—much like their close contemporaries Razorlight—are beginning to show signs that they could develop into quite a decent little band. The neatest trick on display here is the tempo shift into the schaffel-glam-stomp of the chorus, with its nods to “Rock And Roll Part 2” and its insistent chant-along refrain. (“We’re all wasting away!”) They could still do with a decent lyricist—but, you know, small steps. (6)

Sistem – Never 

Sistem are the Romanian Stomp-esque percussion troupe who backed Luminita Angel at Eurovision 2005 (a.k.a. The Night Of The Big Drums, as all who witnessed it will testify). This suffers by comparison, being let down by a weedy, under-par vocal and a disappointing lack of variety in the banging and crashing department (although this is partially redeemed by a rather nice marimba break). It also suffers by comparison with Mihai Traistariu’s mighty “Tornero,” which has set a benchmark against which all Eurovision-related Romanian dance music must be judged. (5)

Marisa Monte – Pra Ser Sincero

Frustratingly enough, my favourite song on this week’s Singles Jukebox is also the song about which I can find the least to say. Marisa Monte belongs to the same culturally well-connected Brazilian popular music tradition as Caetano Veloso, and “Pra ser sincero” is a fine example of that tradition: graceful, sophisticated, elegantly restrained music for grown-ups, which shimmers like fireflies at dusk, and soothes like an ice-cool Caipirinha after a hot shower. (7)

Adem – Launch Yourself 

Sporting remixes by Four Tet and Hot Chip, you know what you’re in for straight away: laidback, sun-drenched folktronica, which combines delicate intricacy (Adem does some lovely things with toy bells and musical boxes, if that’s what they are) and shambling dourness (those slightly ragged multi-tracked vocals, which anchor the track’s sonic flights of fantasy in glum everyday reality). (6)

Shanadoo – King Kong

Cultural cross-pollination ahoy!  Double the sugar rush, double the fun!  Girlie J-Pop meets boshing Eurodance, as specifically engineered for the German and Austrian market by Swiss producer David Brandes. However, it’s the Eurodance that wins out: swamping the winsome Japanese four-piece with all the usual tricks: orchestral synth stabs used as counterpoint, one-fingered rinky-dink melodies in the bridge between chorus and verse, and a general relentless giddiness which eclipses even the 2001 original by fellow Brandes protégés E-Rotic. (6)

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