Lowri Williams

16:01 17th August 2004

Folky-Pop seems to be making something of a comeback- with the Kings of Convenience at the top of the pile. ‘I’d Rather Dance With You’ is another taste of one of their delicious melodies and this helping of Norwegian pop is about as upbeat as these guys are ever going to get. The simplicity of this song is what makes it a catchy one with the harmonies of Oye and Glambek Boe taking centre stage along with that distinctive guitar and plinky plonky piano. This radio mix has a lot more going for it then the slightly more down tempo album version, for this reason and others it is worth parting with your hard earned pennies for it.

‘Nehemiah’ is the name of the man who in 500bc rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem after the Babylonians burnt them to the ground. It is also the title of The Hope Of The States most recent single. This track is full of really strong guitars, great drums and cool bass line. It’s just that voice, I’m sure some will adore it but for me it is a little too forced, a little too whiney. Put it like this, I get the feeling I should like this track as it has all the necessary ingredients for a good rock track but I just don’t. Sorry!

I never thought I’d hear a 21st Century Beach Boys, but Meow Meow have proved that anything is possible. ‘Sick Fixation’ is the second single release from this LA foursome and it is the perfect mix of west coast harmonies, jingly jangly guitars and synthesisers. Whether or not these boys have aspired to sound like their LA counterparts or not is unclear, but I think that the inclusion of lines like ‘into a new vibration, cause you’re my sick fixation’ kind of gives it away. Nevertheless this is a welcome addition in the midst of a drought of really good summer songs.

From West Coast to East Coast now, Mad Action hail from Philadelphia but this didn’t stop them from employing the skills of Scouser Ian Broudie to produce this single ‘Smile’. Surprisingly the fingerprints of Ian ‘Lightning Seeds’ Broudie are in no way evident on this track, instead it is a simple, fragile and pretty boring ballad, a shame really as from the press release you’d think that brothers Paul and Ryan Cobb were proper bad boys. I could just about cope with this if it was 2minutes shorter, however it limps on until it is nearly four minutes long, if you know what’s good for you leave it alone.

‘The Sound Of Settling’ by Death Cab For A Cutie is a rocking pop track that like the best of them is over just as you begin realise its greatness. With melodic guitars, thumping drums, harmonies that only consist of the noises ‘Ba-Ba’ and unusually interspersed rhythmic clapping this track is quite an orthodox approach for these Seattle guys. I much prefer them doing this sort of thing, they make it sound so easy and have effortlessly produced a track that other bands could have agonised over for months, good on them!

Fountains of Wayne are apparently ‘Masters of the 3 minute rock/pop song’ (since when?) Therefore ‘Hey Julie’ must be one of these delightful gems. Unsurprisingly it’s not, instead it is a story led song about the trials of an office worker’s life (what would they know about it?) and how love saves the day. This is just as whiney, irritating and crap as all the rest of this American drivel, however, I’m sure we will see it in the top ten this time next week.

Dashboard Confessional were the ‘lucky ones’ who were chosen to perform the lead track from the ‘Spiderman 2’ movie and they came up with the wonder that is ‘Vindicated’. Having not yet seen the film and having just about managed to avoid the inyerface marketing for it, this track is fresh to my ears. A love song based around the desperate vocals of Chris Carrabba, it is totally self indulgent, and with spider influenced lines like ‘hope dangles on a string, like slow spinning redemption’ it becomes obvious that this is totally crap and totally not worth buying.

‘The Valley Of The Dolls’ is the latest track from Mylo taken from his critically acclaimed album ‘Destroy Rock & Roll’. It is a concoction of all things electronic. From cool bass lines to funky electro all aspects of this track are combined within a package of funky and slightly trancey summertime grooves. Mylo is renowned for his relationship with his computer, his one and only musical instrument. The outcome of this beautiful ‘man and machine’ relationship has spawned a perfect summertime electro tempo.