The Drums – Days *** (3 stars)
Beach-Boys infused vocals meet melancholic guitars in The Drums' latest offering from second album 'Portmanteau'. While the band's unusual mix of The Smiths and Joy Division may seem like combining chalk and cheese, the simple chorus and haunting lyrics demand to be regurgitated by your ears. Overblown and self-deprecating words such as “And I work so hard, And I kill myself, And I never needed you” are surprisingly matched against chill-plucked guitar and uplifting harmony to create an eerie and memorable track by this fast-rising New York band.
Ed Sheeran – Drunk *** (3 stars)
The ginger-haired British singer releases his fourth single from uber-hyped debut album '+' and this brooding song finds him pontificating about his love for the sauce. Rather than complain about celebrity parties and rehab, Sheeran mourns his lost love, and the resulting alcohol-filled void:"A house gets cold when you cut the heating/ Without you to hold I'll be freezing" against lamenting beats and lilting, longing melodies. While it lacks the traffic-stopping heartache of “The A-Team” Sheeran still cobbles together refreshing pop-storytelling.
Niki and The Dove – DJ Ease My Mind **** (4 stars)
After coming 5th in the annual BBC Sound of 2012 countdown, Scandinavian Electro-Pop duo release an intriguing dance number that demands to be listened to on repeat. Gustaf and Mahlin have concocted a beguiling potion of ethereal synths and ambient beats, combined with one of those sing-out-loud chorus that screams to be chanted aggressively at the end of a night on a dark disco dancefloor. “DJ, Ease My Mind” attempts to accomplish that difficult task of combining a leftfield gothic-drenched sensibility with bouncy pop nuances – and if not perfect, boy they get mightily close.
The Black Keys – Gold On The Ceiling ***** (5 stars)
The Black Keys are two singles into their acclaimed album El Camino and they know they are onto a good-thing. This blues-infused number drips with seventies-flair, and will sound great both on the radio while your in the bath, and blasting out on a dancehall in Hoxton. Uplifting electric-guitar riffs keep the energy high and the tempo chugging, while a relentless bass and drums won't let your feet stop a'moovin'. This is pure roots-rockabilly-Americana, melding glam-flair, a sexy but sleek chorus, and a frivolous, fun bassline. This is the soundtrack to your next party, and you will not want it to stop.