Davina Earl
13:59 15th June 2005

Crumb By Crumb
Rufus Wainright’s come up trumps with this piece of ear foreplay. 'Crumb by Crumb' is a merry croon which sashays along as contentedly as a fat man picking daisies in a meadow. Wainright’s laidback, mellow tones float out of your stereo and caress your ears like pixies’ fingers, whilst the crystal clear ladies warbling in the background, take you straight back to 1930s small town America. It’s the sort of arrangement Jamie Cullum dreams about in his wildest wet dreams. You feel that the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the fat man inside you is happy. For that reason and that reason alone, it’s Single of the Week. Lovely jubbly.

Do Me Bad Things’ ‘Move in Stereo’ sounds like a subdued Scissor Sisters collaborating with eighties pop munchkin Nik - I’m too cool for the ‘c’ – Kershaw. The bass line is so dated it could have been ripped straight out of a two decades old Eddie Murphy cop flick and it contains a big fuck off cheesy key change. It’s pure genius. A very close contender for today’s single of the week - but how it took nine, yes nine, people to produce this song is a mystery. Daniel Beddingfield could have recorded an inferior version in his bedroom studio by himself…with just a little help from his horse-faced sister.

‘Manifesto’ is the latest offering from roguish Cockney trio, DrinkMe. It makes you want to don a pair of braces, rush down to the East End and bounce up and down on the spot to the dulcet tones of ‘Rabbit, Rabbit’ before going home, exhausted, for a cup of rosy lee and a ruby murry. This is bubbly, upbeat punk-pop wreathed with synths and spattered with an occasional incredibly high-pitched hollering of the word Manifesto. It's much fun to imitate, “Maniiiiifesto”. Go on try it, “Maniiiiifesto”. Annoy all your friends, “Maniiiifesto”.

Tom Vek’s ‘C-C (You Set Me On Fire)’ is a cheeky little number. On first impressions it seems a bit mediocre, another bog-standard guitar tune but you think to yourself “well I’ll just have one more listen because it is rather catchy…” You slip it into your CD player for a second, third, fourth then fifth time and before you know it; you’ve listened to it on repeat for six days solid, have Tom Vek tattooed on your left buttock and are the editor of a new fanzine called ‘Tom Vek saved my life.’ Not really. It’s pretty darn good though.

The music press are currently showering compliments over Hard-Fi like one of those people who talks to close to your face and spits all over you when they get excited. This means that ‘Hard To Beat’ should be, er, hard to beat. But unfortunately it’s a bit bollocks. Basically a boy band ditty with heavier guitars. The melody is bland pop, the lyrics are shameful: “You had a dirty look, you caught me on your hook, turn up the thermostat… I want to see you sweat.” We could go on. If this is your kind of thing, try arse-faced McFly instead.

Another magnificent offering from Be Your Own Pet – ‘Fire Department’ is sure to tempt even the most sloth-like of you to the dance floor. Jemina Pearl’s icy fresh vocals cleave through a satisfyingly chunky bass line and rousing drumming and the ‘Take That Walk’ B-side isn’t half bad either. All this and they’re still at school. It makes you sick. And this is why they aren’t having single of the week; it serves them right for being too talented.

‘Slowly, Slowly’ is a good effort from ice cream tongued popstrel Bird. The broadsheets posit her next to Dido, even though they sound sod all like each other and she is more a hybrid of Norway’s Annie and Aussie favourite Natalie Imbruglia. A simple ditty that worms its way unashamedly into your head with no pretence of being anything more or less than a good pop tune. She may be a Bird but she’s not this week’s turkey. Ha ha.    

Ambulance Ltd’s ‘Primitive (The Way I Treat You)’ isn’t the best track from their debut album – but that doesn’t matter much because they’re all rather spiffing. This offering, which has been snapped up by American wank-fest the OC, is a mixture of unbelievably cool guitar, laid back drumming and dispassionate vocals: “relax, don’t think about the way I treat you” Congleton orders us. And with that voice you just know that you’d let him get away with anything: “Relax, don’t think about the way I just slept with your mother.” Oh Marcus, we’re so relaxed we won’t think about it at all… 

‘Sugar’ is Ladytron's first release with their new label, Island records and it's a saccharine electro-pop offering sung by the honey-voiced Helen Marnie. Relentlessly repetitive and just a, dare we say it, teensy weensey bit uninspired, ‘Sugar’ is nevertheless likeable, catchy, danceable and cute. Are they playing it safe for this first new release? Only time and the new album, due out in summer, will tell.

It’s easy to see why the Kaiser Chiefs are such fans of fellow Leeds lads, The Cribs, because they too are making radio-friendly guitar pop with character. True ‘Mirror Kissers’ is not breaking any boundaries and it’s a bit ‘chug chug’ predictable. But, hey, who cares? It’s brimming with energy and hooks, has a sing-a-long middle eight with some military tattoo style drumming, and they shout wa-oooo every now and then. Summer’s on the way, everything’s right with the world and I’m going to go and kiss my reflection in the mirror to prove it. Before licking my window.

At first it appears as though R.O.C seem to think they’re just a little bit cleverer than they really are. Don’t get us wrong, ‘Princess’ is good, but it’s not that good. It could be better. In fact it would be if it was prefixed with “hello” and sung in the style of Dirty Den serenading piggy faced Sharon. That would have been a nice touch. As it stands we have a bitter-sweet ode for those days when you just want to forget the worries of the world, kick back and get drunk. Fred sings: “So let the bombs drop and all the guns shoot and the children all burn while there population is…because that’s all happening a million miles away and nothing’s going to spoil our perfect day.” Half light, half dark; it makes you feel relaxed and uncomfortable, reassured and disturbed all at the same time. Hmm, R.O.C were right all along, they really are musical smart-arses. Bravo!

The Shout Out Louds are the latest offering from Stockholm and judging by ‘Very Loud’ sound very much like a male version of fellow Swedish crooners, The Concretes, just not quite as good. Don’t actually expect any shouting out loud, the name is more than a little misleading. Instead be prepared for gentle, loveable, indie folk pop sung in Adam Olenius’s cutely cracked Swedish accent. Although strangely enough, the fella also sounds startling British; like the guitar-toting love child of a drunken coupling between, say, Robert Smith and scrawny-necked weather harlot Ulrika Johnson. Interesting.

Turkey Of The Week: There was nothing so offensive in this week’s singles that it immediately sprouted arms and legs and ran around Screaming “I’m the turkey of the week, it’s me, pick me!” So it was with a sigh of relief that we spied the Stereophonics’ ‘Superman'. They didn’t let us down. The effort to reinvent themselves as cool is not good, not good at all. We were under the impression that Kelly came from Wales and possessed a gruff-and-ready Welsh accent. We’ve obviously been wrong all these years because from the sound of this offering, he was born and raised in Detroit with a vocoder welded to his chin. Perhaps it is a desperate bid to try and disguise what one Gigwise writer has called his ‘filthy vocal vomit.’ On the upside, it’s a great soundtrack for leather jacketed men going through a mid-life crisis. You can see them now, winding down the windows of their newly-purchased sports cars, surreptitiously sliding ‘Superman’ into the CD player and cruising the streets looking for an affair. Thanks Kelly.