Mike Atkinson

Stylus Singles Jukebox, 15th August 2006

Posted in singles reviews, Stylus by Mike A on August 15, 2006

Bela B ft. Charlotte Roche – 1,2,3… 

Now, you really do need to understand a bit of German in order to extract maximum value from this, as it could easily be dismissed as a booze-addled bar-room stomp from a past-it old rocker (Bela B fronted Berlin’s merry punky-popsters Die Ärzte back in the 1980s, before turning to an acting career).  However, once you figure out what’s going on (and the video does help enormously), then this reveals itself as a tidily constructed comic mini-drama, in which Bela rebuffs the drunken advances of some random creepy dude, before making similarly creepy moves on a Hot Chick who turns out to Creepy Dude’s main squeeze.  Uh-oh, threesome alert!  What’s a guy to do!  Notable also for the ace chat-up line: “Hi, my name is Bela, I like Nelson Mandela.”  Oh come on, you’ve got to admire the man’s front.  (And guess what: in the nudey Swinger’s Club video, you can literally do just that!)  (8)

David Guetta vs. The Egg – Love Don’t Let Me Go Walking Away 

Apparently, The Egg took some persuading to let this DJ mash-up go out under their name – as well they might, as this bears no residual traces of their original mid-tempo guitar-based chugger.  Instead, French producer David Guetta has grafted the vocals from his recent dance hit “Love Don’t Let Me Go” over the Tocadisco remix of The Egg’s “Walking Away”, twisting the latter’s central riff in a variety of ways, and augmenting its sturdy electrohouse sound with some of the trappings of French filter-disco. Happily, the riff is a chunky, seductive killer: an instantly recognisable “OH MY GOD IT’S THIS ONE!” affair, whose already lengthy shelf-life is hence usefully expanded by a few more weeks. (6)

Alesha – Lipstick 

Nearly three years after Mis-teeq’s last hit, Alesha Dixon returns with a self-penned solo début, which maps out very different territory to her former band’s tolerable if unremarkable soul-pop. Fatally—because I can’t think of one instance where this has ever worked—she has pitched herself to a younger demographic than before, attempting to unite warring factions in playgrounds across the land by means of a latter-day anthem to Girl Power. Playing to none of whatever strengths she might once have had as a soul-based singer, Alesha yowls her “message” over a stridently clomping rock-based backing, which takes “Let’s Get This Party Started” era Pink as its starting point.  Alesha’s other mistake is to start the track at full throttle – after which there is nowhere else to go, other than repeatedly bashing you round the head with a nagging shrillness that swiftly grates.  Having dutifully played this track at least half a dozen times over the past few days, I find myself bitterly resenting every second that I have spent enduring this wretched, wretched piece of work. (1)

Da Buzz – Without Breaking 

In which a late 80s Stock Aitken Waterman Hi-NRG vocal rides atop the sort of burbling chugalug “wally disco” rhythm that might have graced something by Kelly Marie or Liquid Gold in 1980, the sum total also sounding rather like a typical Scandiwegian Eurovision entry from the early 2000s. It could almost have worked, but Da Buzz bring nothing new to the party, and the song suffers from a tediously flattened melody line, which stands still in all the places where it should soar. The musical equivalent of a “shit, why did I do that” hit of stale amyl nitrate, from the dregs of that funny little bottle that has been lurking at the back of the refrigerator since the night when… yes, well. (4)

The Spinto Band – Oh Mandy

At the very real risk of repeating what everyone else has to say about this (because I think we might safely hazard a reasonable guess), there’s just no getting away from the fact that “Oh Mandy” has “Arcade Fire” written all over it – albeit an Arcade Fire stripped of its grandeur and depth, and replaced with a winsome, plaintive, floppy-fringed indie-boy feyness.  Consequently, the only emotion that such reductive mimesis can provoke is the strong urge to exhume Funeral from the bottom of the CD pile and give it another listen.  Because it’s been a few months.  So, you know, cheers for the reminder. (4)

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