Song reviews

  Hands by Iida

Hands cover art

Swedish electropop

From the seemingly bottomless pit of retro sounding electropop that they seem to have in Sweden comes yet another practitioner of the ways of pop’s past glories. To her credit, iida makes light work of using her emotive voice to fog the underlying repetition of “Hands” but I would still guess that this will not be the song to break her into mainstream success.

Review date:  February 14 2014

  OCC by Sweetstone

OCC cover art

Belgian rock

Old fashioned but honest in their approach are Belgian band Sweetstone. Their rough sounding demo of “OCC” treads a path familiar to those who have listened to any rock music at all in the last 30 years but their enthusiasm for the task in hand shines through nonetheless.

Review date:  February 14 2014

  Radioactive Respective by Mountain Radio

Radioactive Respective cover art

Grown up indie pop

Although I would suspect that “Radioactive Respective” is actually the work of one Canadian rather than an actual group that does not detract from the melodic maturity of the song. Mountain Radio are therefore indie pop with the twee surgically removed and replaced by a good old fashioned chorus. Methinks it is time for me to sing along whilst I stroke my goatee.

  Don by Boggie

Don cover art

NYC nymph

With a voice made oddly appealing by the infusion of a certain childlike innocence, Boggie successfully floats her song “Don’t Wanna Be” high above a less than synergistic backing track although the lyrics seem almost too old for her singing style. That said, this song, and her voice, would really benefit from the support of a sensitive string arrangement.

Review date:  February 12 2014

  When Tyson bit Holyfield by Army Defense

When Tyson bit Holyfield cover art

Minnesota rock raiders

“When Tyson bit Holyfield” is something of a time travelling exercise with Army Defense drawing as much from American seventies soft rock as they do from more British influences like ELO. Yes, we actually have melody and harmonies in the same song and that is something to celebrate in these days of autotuned mediocrity. Respect is duly given.

Review date:  February 12 2014

  Pro Tempore by Crashfaster

Pro Tempore cover art

Technology revivalists

Perhaps because of their fondness for ancient technology from the good old days of analog, Crashfaster seem seriously retro although the electro/rap hybrid “Pro Tempore” also has the relentless momentum characteristic of the best of the past thus keeping your attention clearly focussed right up to the end.

Review date:  February 12 2014

  Between Worlds by The Visit

Between Worlds cover art

Canadian class

At last we have some sophistication. “Between Worlds” is an extended musical mediation between a cello and a wordless female voice and its bleak elegance is a credit to the skills of Canadian duo The Visit. It is the perfect soundtrack for those times when the Devil has called you by name.

Review date:  January 25 2014

  Love Death and Fear by Wolf Like Child

Love Death and Fear cover art

Brighton enigma

Downbeat in mood, Brighton’s Wolf Like Child add gothic sensibilities and a musical maturity into the melting pot that is their song “Love, Death & Fear”. It’s not quite an oddball concoction but it is one that those who regard attendance at arts festivals as mandatory would regard as essential.

  November by J P Kallio

November cover art


Obviously literate, J P Kallio shows a mastery of introspection in “November”. The result is stripped back to basics and undeniably depressing but, if redone with a proper arrangement, the song would probably be worth a placement or two on network television.

Review date:  January 23 2014

  Rules of Science by PictureHouse

Rules of Science cover art

Safe as houses

Mainstream polished and distinctly generic as a result. “Rules of Science” won’t help make a case for promoting PictureHouse into your aural affections. Even the sonorous male vocals are dragged into the mire of mediocrity by this turgid song.

Review date:  January 23 2014

  Rockstar by Naked Sunday

Rockstar cover art

Midland Mid America

It is actually refreshing to hear that simple American style pop punk sound again and Naked Sunday provide just that with their upbeat song “Rockstar”. Naked Sunday rock it like it was yesterday and your dial had been permanently tuned to AM radio.

Review date:  January 23 2014

  Southpaw Dame by The Bawlers

Southpaw Dame cover art

Rock backwards

Hitting the rock road like the likely lads that they are, The Bawlers run through “Southpaw Dame” just like it was 1974 with the enthusiastic male vocals overcoming the occasional clumsiness amongst the backing musicians. A positive impression is therefore left.

Review date:  January 12 2014

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