It’s the end of the first quarter of 2017 and who could have predicted the quality of new music we have already seen so far: The xx, Sampha, Sundara Karma, Elbow and so many more artists have given us brilliant new tracks and albums and the final week of March is no different. Here our our track’s of the week with in depth reviews:
Track of the Week: alt-j – “In Cold Blood”
The second track from the alternative trio’s forthcoming third album opens with one of the catchiest opening lines of a song in recent memory with “01110011 / Crying zeros and I’m nearing 111” which cryptically is the band’s name in binary. Referencing summer and parties, the track has a dark theme running through it, one of death and deceit which is bolstered by a big key change and other twists that run throughout the song. Triumphant fanfares from an enriched horn section plus a wave of enchanting electronic effects that infiltrate the end section of the track add to the intensity of the track. It’s bold, fierce and shows the band in full stride. The more you listen to it, it’s every bit an alt-j track that you’d want but amplified to an almost ridiculous extreme. The end result is quite simply brilliant and we cannot wait for the new album.
Oh Wonder – “Ultralife”
Oh Wonder are London duo Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West who together have made some brilliant mellow pop tracks which are led with their beautiful use of harmonisation. New track Ultralife, the first single and title of their upcoming second album, is an ambitious, thundering pop track which sees the duo increasing the tempo and their instrumentation yet keeping the melodic harmonies that make them so unique. Written about the uplifting effect that falling in love has on you, the track is also an ode to their fans who have been with them from the beginning. It’s a lovely song and one that is sure to connect with many people.
Dermot Kennedy – “Glory”
One of the biggest rising singer songwriters in Europe at the moment, Dermot Kennedy shows his full range both vocally and emotionally on latest track Glory. Written about the death of a loved one, the track follows the journey taken by the singer for example with lines “He made his peace with letting go / Said some things he’d never dared to say”. The chorus is full of rawness and emotion which with it’s gospel styled backing vocals, lifts the track to a whole new level. It’s another brilliantly written track from the Irishman and we look forward to the upcoming release of his EP.
Kasabian – “Comeback Kid”
Whilst it’s been on the FIFA 17 soundtrack for several months now, Kasabian finally released track Comeback Kid as their second single from For Crying Out Loud. With triumphant horns introducing the swaggering guitar rock track, it’s clear to see the effect of Leicester City’s shock Premier League win last year on the band. It’s chorus rallies far and wide like a call to arms whilst bursts of heavy bass break down the verses to a slow and swaggering groove. Comeback Kid is ultimately a return to the emphatic stadium rock sound that first made them, and it’s the sound we wish they’d always stick to from now on. It’s an emphatic, uplifting track build for huge crowds.
The Howl & The Hum – “Godmanchester Chinese Bridge”
Youk based quartet The Howl & The Hum are a band you may not have heard of yet but after listening to their debut track Godmanchester Chinese Bridge, they might become an instant favourite. The track starts in delicate fashion with stripped back guitar before distorting itself into an atmospheric whirl of emotion and reflection. Lyrics “But now you’re something big in the city / So cruel to say but it’s such a pity / So cruel to say but I hope you lose your way” long for the return of a loved one before the track launches into a chaotically brilliant and thumping ending which sees drums and guitars thrashing in synchronisation. It’s overall a stunning track from a band that we can’t wait to here more from.
The Kooks – “Be Who You Are”
This week sees the return of The Kooks, a band who have been one of the most important indie rock bands of the last decade with tracks like Naive. New song Be Who You Are sees the band going back to the very beginning in terms of style and songwriting. It’s a sprawling, bouncing rock track which sees Luke Pritchard’s glistening vocals taking centre stage during the classic Kooks styled verses before opting to turn the guitars up for a thundering chorus. Lines “You are a liar / You are a thief / You are a star / But you don’t know who you are” are a reminder to stay true to yourself whilst the lyrical format of the track is written like a love note to a partner. With a brilliant guitar solo at the end, the track is a welcome return for the former indie stars.
Lewis Capaldi – “Bruises”
We’ve had our fair share of big male vocalists in recent years, with Hozier and Rag’n’Bone Man both releasing triumphant and emotive debut songs. Scottish singer songwriter Lewis Capaldi is a name who very much is in contention to join that list following the release of his astonishing debut single Bruises. A simple piano line allows Capaldi to showcase the full range of his voice, from gravelled richness to haunting whispers. The raw power that Capaldi has is enough to resonate with even the harshest of critics but his ability to make what seems like a simple song seem so beautiful is what we love about this track which sees the singer looking back at a failed relationship.
The Chainsmokers – “The One”
Just a week before the release of their debut album, dance superstars The Chainsmokers dropped surprise new track The One this week. Musically, the track sees a change in style to other previously released material with this track being a ballad about selfishness and neglect within a relationship. Lines “I won’t make it to your party / Got caught up in my own selfishness / It won’t let me be a part of this” show the effect that getting the wrong balance between a relationship and other things has on the relationship. Singer Andrew Taggart said that the first verse was written as a way to keep him checking that he is not neglecting various parts of his life. Musically, it’s very stripped back for the duo, with places of silence left to enhance the effect of the piano. It’s a rather beautiful song from the duo and sees them in a different light.
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
Last week, Kendrick Lamar surprised everyone by dropping The Heart Part 4 which concluded by announcing that his third studio album will be released April 7th. This week, he released track HUMBLE. which potentially signifies a change in direction for the artist, away from his jazz infused To Pimp A Butterfly and more towards hard-hitting rap. Whilst titled HUMBLE., the lyrics contrast each other all of the time, with parts proclaiming that everyone should be humbled by the rapper’s achievements whilst other parts looking back at his humble past. It’s another powerful reminder that Lamar is one of the most creative artists in the world.
San Cisco – “Hey, Did I Do You Wrong?”
Australian indie pop band San Cisco released their first new track in two years this week with Hey, Did I do You Wrong? The track sees the group stripping back to a more melodic and calm sound, perfect for relaxing in the sun with. It’s stunningly beautiful to listen to and sees singer Jordi Davieson examining what is happening with a relationship and whether it’s falling apart. It’s a reminder to everyone that the band are kings of feel good indie pop tracks.
Other Noticeable Tracks
Calvin Harris Feat. Young Thug, Pharrell Williams and Ariana Grande – “Heatstroke”: Chilled electronic pop track from the superstar DJ which highlights a shift to a more refined final product than the EDM styled tracks we are used to hearing from him. With world leading collaborators, the track oozes coolness and sees Harris developing into a better producer and songwriter.
Will Joseph Cook – “Plastic”: Warm keys and steel drums conjure a carnival type atmosphere for the indie singer songwriter who is slowly being recognised as one of the most promising new artists in the UK.
Seramic – “Same Mistakes”: Uplifting gospel infused funk from British producer Seramic which is enchantingly addictive with its electro-organ pulse driving through the track.
Wilsen – “Final”: Acoustic folk from trio Wilsen which with haunting vocals, intricate and gentle acoustic guitar and lyrics of loss and reflection, create a stunningly atmospheric five minute masterpiece.
Showtek Feat. Brooks and Natalie Major – “On Our Own”: Uplifting dance anthem with one of the best drops in a dance track in recent memory. Wonderful vocals from Natalie Major cap off a brilliant end product.
Becky Hill – “Rude Love”: With a The Verve styled strings intro leading into the deep, swaggering beat of the verses, the track highlights the confidence to move away from a relationship. A huge contrasting drop flips the track on its head but overall it’s a well made pop track.
Cheat Codes Feat. Demi Lovato – “No Promises”: Perfect summer anthem from LA trio Cheat Codes and former Disney star Demi Lovato which takes the bliss of new relationships and texturises it with tropical house.
Bliss n Eso Feat. Gavin James – “Moments”: Unifying track from Australian hip hop trio which recalls the important times in our lives. Sounding similar to Macklemore, the track is boosted by Gavin James’s emotional vocals and the group’s sense of nostalgia.