Each week we are given a huge selection of brilliant new releases that it seems impossible for the following week to top. Last week we were gifted to the comeback of Kasabian and Frank Ocean – two world defying artists in their own rights. However, this week seems to top that, with an eclectic mix of new tracks. Here are our tracks of the week with in depth reviews:
Track of the Week: Cigarettes After Sex – “Apocalypse”
Brooklyn four piece Cigarettes After Sex have been slowly making their way to the forefront of ambient pop rock over the last few years, with added support from The 1975. Apocalypse is a lengthy but haunting piece of beauty. The track conjures mystery and devotion, detailing the longing and frailty that relationships are capable of producing. The hush, whispering vocals of singer Greg Gonzalez create an atmosphere that only The xx are capable of beating. It’s a spellbinding masterpiece from the band and now leads to more anticipation ahead of their debut album which will be released in June.
Gorillaz Feat. Vince Staples – “Ascension”
One of four newly released tracks this week from Gorillaz, Ascension is a gospel infused dance masterpiece which features Californian rapper Vince Staples. Starting with a lengthy hooter, the track immediately introduces its sinful theme with line “You are now tuned into the tomb of Jehova”. Line “Heard the world is ending soon” hints at current world issues whilst the tracks drum and bass styled chorus hints at lust, carnage and enjoying al moments amongst a gospel boosted backing vocal line. Staple’s verses flow with such ease it’s impossible not to admire and ride along his joyous rollercoaster which touches on racial tensions and slavery. It’s upbeat, fast paced and addictive making the track one of our favourite Gorillaz tracks ever made.
Kendrick Lamar – “The Heart 4”
US rapper Kendrick Lamar surprisingly released new track The Heart 4 this week, a track which is enriched with layers that shine as classic Kendrick Lamar music does. The music itself, twists and turns from a minimalistic beat to smooth jazz but it’s the lyrics that make the rapper stand out as one of the most talented rappers ever. Lines “The richer the poorer / The bigger the picture / The more blood pours” touches on world inequality whilst “Tiptoein’ around my name” is a shot fired at Drake who’s known for hidden shots at Lamar in many of his past tracks. The track highlights Lamar’s ambition and line “I am the greatest rapper alive” shows the belief that the rapper. He then turns his head to politics with line “Electoral votes look like memorial votes”, a line that hints at the downfall of the US. After further shots fired at Russia and NBA star Kevin Durant, Lamar ends the track with the news that he will be releasing his next album on 7th April. It’s a snarling statement of intent from the Compton rapper and is sure to go down as one of his most ambitious to date.
Declan J. Donovan – “Fallen So Young”
Essex singer songwriter Declan J Donovan is a name that you might not have heard until now but it will be a name that many will be talking about after the release of the beautiful, acoustic ballad Fallen So Young. Written for his his brother and his brother’s wife, it celebrates the power of love and how it can stay and develop over time. The track’s heartfelt lyrics resonate much like that of a Kodaline track and altogether it’s simplicity creates quite simply a beautiful track.
ZAYN Feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR – “Still Got Time”
The former One Direction star wowed the world with his own blend of R&B on his debut album and now he’s back with a different, relaxed sound. Main lyrics “Just stop looking for love / Girl, you’ve still got time” highlight the need for people to have patience with finding love and not rushing into things. The laid-back track attracts a positive calmness and an element of humour with PARTYNEXTDOOR’s line “I know you’re digging my fabric / I’m boyfriend material”. It’s hard not to compare the new direction to the one taken by Justin Bieber but still it’s a good listen.
Tors – “Merry Go Round”
Devon four piece Tors released the stunning track Merry Go Round this week, an alternative folk track that mixes elements of Fleet Foxes and Half Moon Run. Lyrically, the track is about a girl who focuses too hard on finding “the one” and so misses out on various things in life. Vocally, the track is raw and natural which with the track’s warm texture, draws us all in. It’s a delightful listen and we hope to hear more from the band in the near future.
David Guetta Feat. Nicki Minaj & Lil Wayne – “Light My Body Up”
The French superstar DJ returns with his fourth collaboration with Nicki Minaj plus a guest spot for rapper Lil Wayne. The track is musically restricted in its verses, which allows Nicki Minaj to shine, singing and rapping with subtle shots fired towards rapper Remy Ma. Minaj’s chorus build up is powerful so much that it resembles Lady Gaga but it’s the chorus drop from Guetta that makes the song brilliant with its huge production and varied beats.
Perfume Genius – “Slip Away”
Mike Hadreas aka Perfume Genius released first single, Slip Away, from his upcoming fourth album this week. The track balances intimate and calm reflections with primal power which pulsates with huge drums and supersonic electronic elements. Lines “Don’t look back, I want to break free / If you’ll never see them coming / You’ll never have to hide” sum up the tracks fighting spirit and with an ending that’s as chaotic and instrument packed as an Arcade Fire song, it’s a sprawling piece of excellence.
Gorillaz Feat. Jenny Beth – “We Got The Power”
Another of the four new Gorillaz tracks, We Got The Power sees Gorillaz enlist Savages frontwoman Jenny Beth on an inspirational call to arms type single. Amongst a bed of keys, the lyrics see the band standing up to the struggles in today’s society, particularly the presidency of Donald Trump. Chorus line “We got the power to be loving each other / No matter what happens” tries to inspire and rally us all to look out for each other. It’s a joyous piece of inspiration and adds another dimension to the already varied looking new Gorillaz album which is on its way.
Other Noticeable Tracks:
Blackbear – “do re mi”: Perfectly produced R&B track highlighting the moving on from a relationship with the singer’s glistening vocals taking centre stage.
Rex Orange County – “Sunflower”: Jazz infused summer anthem from the Tyler, The Creator supported teen which delicately flows in a variety of directions to an upbeat warm ending.
London Grammar – “Truth is a Beautiful Thing”: Atmospheric piano ballad filled with emotion towards a distant lover whom singer Hannah Reid is yearning for.
Virginia To Vegas – “Selfish”: Canadian pop singer Derik John Baker aka Virginia To Vegas uses warm Shawn Mendes styled pop to create an addictive track.
Luke Sital-Singh – “Hunger”: Rolling, drum led track sees the singer-songwriter moving towards a bigger, atmospheric sound.
Jesse Elvis – “Paint The Picture”: A crawling, minimalistic R&B track that injects influences like Ne-Yo to add a rich soulful vibe.
Mr Jukes Feat. BJ The Chicago Kid – “Angels / Your Love”: Uptempo, jazz and hip hop crossover track with elements of gospel which concludes with rousing vocals and jazz solos.
Blaenavon – “Alice Come Home” – Six and a half minutes of brilliant indie rock with touches of intimacy mixed upon waves of atmospheric guitar rock and big drums.