Post Precious – Timebomb

“Bold start there, and it plays out interestingly.”

Tim: As far as I can tell, this duo doesn’t actually have anything to do with the girlband who represented us at Eurovision.

Tom: Good heavens, that’s an obscure reference. Well done.

Tim: They’re instead two indie pop folk who’ve teamed up to bring us this joy. I don’t want to spoil it, but don’t have this too loud if you’re in a public place.

Tim: Bold start there, and it plays out interestingly.

Tom: I honestly can’t tell whether that’s “love, you’re fucked” or “love your foot” as the first line.

Tim: Rather than a standard build up to the chorus, it almost builds down throughout the verses before coming storming back in with a PROPER BANGER of a chorus, at least, sort of.

Tom: Oh, I’m glad you qualified that.

Tim: I’m about to criticise it, but I want to say first: overall, this is great. Love it. HOWEVER, I think it’s a lot better on first listen than it comes across later, or at least if you pay attention and study it after a couple of listens it somewhat loses it. First time, you’re blown away by that chorus, you don’t notice that it calms down quite considerably after that first note, and doesn’t *quite* ever make it back up there, which it doesn’t, upsetting.

Tom: Imagine if you weren’t blown away by that first chorus. I mean, I don’t have to, but you might want to.

Tim: Now, as I said, though, I still think it’s great, lovely, and listening to it in the background it’s fantastic, because it’s still big. Just, never quite hits that sweet spot that it did the first time.

Tom: Yep, despite my cynicism, this isn’t a bad track. It’s just a bit anemic for me; it never hit that sweet spot.

Donkeyboy – Kaleidoscope

“Discount Phil Collins going into the first chorus”

Tim: With advance warning that the video has one of those irritating bits where the song cuts out for no reason: here’s the first one off Donkeyboy in aaaaaages!

Tom: The Discount Phil Collins going into the first chorus works surprisingly well—

Tim: I’m sorry, WHAT? I…I don’t even know how to respond that.

Tom: —although I’m really not sure about the choice of synth patch that follows. The composition’s good, I’m just not sure about the production. And as for that video cutout…

Tim: It’s a bit unfortunate, really, because with the exact placement of it at the end of the final chorus, all it really does is draw attention to the fact that there’s thirty seconds of largely instrumental stuff that isn’t strictly necessary. Those thirty seconds are good, though, as indeed is pretty much all of the rest of the song – in fact, listening to the song rather than watching the video, I absolutely love this.

Tom: There are moments of absolute genius in here — the start of the pre-chorus — but I’m not convinced about all of it.

Tim: See, I am. It’s Donkeyboy doing what they do at their very very best, and that’s good.

Hanne Leland – You Don’t Own Me

“It’s a shame the verses have to suffer”

Tim: Our reader, Bjørnar, reckons this is “a powehouse synth pop ballad giving me chills. Strong message and catchy chorus.”

Tim: And I’m not really tempted to disagree with him.

Tom: That reminds me a lot of LIGHTS in style, and I mean that as a big compliment. It’s such a similar style, actually, that even after writing this I’m still half-convinced it’s some unreleased material from her. I don’t think I can give this an objective judgment, because it sounds so familiar.

Tim: It may sound familiar, but that could just be because it’s a good style. Now, in most songs the chorus is the stand-out part, but here it really is – I got a bit distracted and when the chorus came along I thought “oh, yes, I forgot that was playing”. That’s not to say the verses are bad, because they’re not at all: they’re very good at doing what they do, conveying a quiet and gentle message that’s just waiting to be amplified.

Tom: There’s still a lot of good work going on with the synths underneath, though — and the vocals are great, too.

Tim: They are. It’s just a bit of a shame, though, that with that structure in mind they have to suffer for the chorus to come in with the effect that it does. I’d suggest turning everything up by 25% or so, but then the chorus might sound too loud, and it’s that contrast that makes the song what it is. I don’t know – either way, I’ll take it.

Moment – Indigo

“The intro on this… completely restored my faith in music.”

Tim: I don’t know if I’m in a bit of a funk at the moment, Tom, because I’ve listened to a good half dozen new tracks today and not a single one has done anything for me. The intro on this, however, completely restored my faith in music, so have a listen.

Tom: Restored your faith in music? That’s quite a…

Tom: …yep, okay, that’s fair.

Tim: A classic? No. But something that’ll get me sitting up and somewhat enthusiastic after a long day? Yeah, it’ll fit the bill for that nicely. It reminds me of a track that Bright Light Bright Light might come out with (or possibly did come out with, as some of it is a tad recognisable), and that’s certainly never a bad thing.

Tom: I was thinking more Miike Snow: those synths, and that wall-of-sound-esque style. Both are good comparisons to make.

Tim: I was slightly worried by those verses, that it might suddenly have lost its energy never to return, but of course it hadn’t. That chorus brought that sound back just as big and strong as before, and it’s thoroughly enjoyable. Good work.

Hanna Turi – Richochet

Tim: Hanna’s off Sweden, and we’ve not featured her before; it’s good that I came across this via SoundCloud and not YouTube.

Tim: Because, damn that takes a long time to get going (if in fact it ever does, which is debatable), and it was only the promise from waveform that kept me from switching off in boredom after ten seconds.

Tom: And given all the loudness-war hyper-compression that’s going on lately, that’s an unusual waveform to see.

Tim: I’m glad I stuck with it, because it’s nice – really nice – when the choruses come along, in a Röyksopp-y kind of way, but I really do wish there was more happening outside them.

Tom: Given the overall sound of the track, I’m happy with that; it’s not trying to be something that it’s not. Instead it’s calm, it’s chilled-out, and it’s got some lovely melodies in there. I’ll take this.

ZABO feat. Mery Granados – Vida Nueva

“I know its not even a good tune, but I find it unacceptably catchy.”

Tim: ZABO is from Argentina, but this has been sent in by our reader Gian, who says “I know its not even a good tune, but I find it unacceptably catchy.” Certainly an intriguing intro, so…

Tim: Well. First off, I can’t remotely be bothered to type all those lyrics into Google Translate, although I do know the title translates to ‘New Life’.

Tom: Full marks to them that actually hooking up a smart phone to a screen recorder for the video. I don’t think the minutes of introduction were required, but it’s an approach I’ve not seen before. And opening up Tinder, only to get a phone call from the person they’re (presumably) just dumped, is a really good ending.

Tim: Gian expects us to disagree about the catchiness, what with us not speaking Spanish, but I’ve got to say: it’s still catchy. Not necessarily in a good way, because he’s right about it not really being a good tune, but it’s certainly a song that’s got stuck in my head.

Tom: Agreed: it’s the first one you sent me this week where I’ve gone “I like this”. And I think that’s mostly because it’s a really simple pop song; there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of complexity there, but you know what? Sometimes there doesn’t have to be.

Tim: Fair point. I’m not remotely a fan of the verses – don’t think I would be even if I did speak Spanish – but that chorus actually is really enjoyable. I’d probably, in fact, be happy with the whole song if she was singing throughout.

Tom: You know it reminds me of? “Wasn’t My Fault“, which I loved. Similar instrumentation, similar melody, similar message.

Tim: So not all bad, then.

Born Stranger – Be Someone

“How about something to make you get up and about?”

Tim: End of the week, how about something to make you get up and about this weekend?

Tom: Methylphenidate? No? Okay.

Tim: Got this for you, from a duo consisting of David (on vocals) and Raife (on electronic bits).

Tim: In their words, this is “a wake up call; a realisation, a message to say ‘you’re better than this, get out there and do it'”, and I’ll take that. My initial thought was that that first drop was a bit weak, but then the main one came along and all was right with the world.

Tom: Agreed: not sure about those bass synths in the chorus, but everything else about it is good.

Tim: Beat was there, strong vocals (particularly the lengthy drawn out ones over the chorus, and its always nice to have a guy hit the high notes), and, yeah – a strong message.

Tom: That’s a very British indie singer voice, too, and it’s interesting to hear that over the top of something electronic rather than just guitars.

Tim: Yeah – not a million miles away from him off Bastille, really. I like this a lot.

Hakuna – California

“In November?”

Tim: I know we binned off Tropical Fridays, but that was largely because all that was really happening was your otherwise normal act sticking a steel drum on to boost streams. Sometimes, though, a properly decent tropical track does still come about. But even in November?

Tom: Oh COME ON, “California / waitin’ for ya”? Will whoever wrote those lyrics please turn in their union card. I don’t care if they’re not a part of the union, I want them to turn it in anyway.

Tim: Okay, that’s fair enough.

Tom: Also: that ‘California’ bit seems remarkably familiar. Anyway. Sorry. Tropical in November. You were saying.

Tim: Well, yes, because actually, as it turns out the song is all about not wanting to wait, but having to, even if it will be another six months or so before this becomes acceptable again.

Tom: I’m not even sure that’d be acceptable then: it’s a bit too dull and plodding to be worth it.

Tim: Seriously? I think it’s very much at the higher end of the spectrum – certainly got me out of my tropical grump. Admittedly the song is more likely talking about some woman or other, but I prefer my slightly more meta interpretation – it’s a just about valid excuse to bring out the pineapples again, and to be honest it was more the cynicism than the genre that wore me down. BRING ME A GRASS SKIRT and a BANANA DAIQUIRI.

Tom: Just don’t bring me the lyricist.

PAIR – Northern Lights

“High hopes”

Tim: I’ve more or less given up on The Sound of Arrows – Stefan’s said they’re working on some new stuff, but that was when I saw them a year ago and nothing seems forthcoming (except the soundtrack for a recent Swedish TV version of The Neverending Story, which was pretty nice). Therefore, I need a new source for pleasant dreamy pop, and so I clicked on this, from a new Swedish duo, with high hopes…

Tim: …and didn’t really have them met.

Tom: Really? Because this sounds like the sort of thing you’d love.

Tim: The problem is, it wasn’t until that chorus hit at 1:27 that I was actually drawn in and engaged by it.

Tom: I’m surprised by that. Because the part where the introduction kicked in woke me up. Granted, the first verse isn’t quite as exciting, but I literally sat up and listened.

Tim: Listened, yes, but not excitedly. Thing is, it’s a lovely chorus, and one of my favourites of recent times. But then all too suddenly (but largely predictably) it drops down way too low for the second verse. Sure, it’s back up for the second chorus, and up again after the dip for the middle eight, but I just want something heftier. Perfect genre, too light.

Busted – On What You’re On

“Daft Punk”

Tim: There were a number of Big Releases last Friday (by which I mean music, before you jump in with something rude), some of which (HI NIALL) were a tad disappointing. Others, though: not so much.

Tom: This does not sound like Busted. It does, however, sound good.

Tim: I got all worried a few months back, when Busted said their new stuff wouldn’t be like their old stuff, and it’d be a bit more serious. Turns out that is all true, but all that my worries were unfounded, because this is at least five times better than what I was worried it might be. (I had, incidentally, completely forgotten about their comeback single.)

Tom: That’s a difficult sentence to parse, Tim, but yes, I agree.

Tim: It’s a curiously funked up number, which to be honest I’d be surprised if anyone was expecting, but it works well. I don’t know if I’d have enjoyed it as much if it was, say, on the next Daft Punk album (yes, a surprising comparison but still appropriate), but as a new Busted track? I’m game.

Tom: I actually thought ‘this sounds like something off Random Access Memories’. Which might be a bit of a backhanded compliment, but even so. Well done them for trying something new and pretty much pulling it off. Even that sax solo.