With April almost at an end, it’s time to look at seven more tracks which have been rattling our eardrums for the last two weeks, including new cuts from Blur, Florence + The Machine and La Pegatina.
BLUR – ONG ONG Blur’s hotly anticipated new record The Magic Whip is released at the end of this week, an album which couldn’t have come at a better moment in time for the Damon Albarn-fronted group. The album itself only emerged as the result of a cancelled Asian festival date, which gave the band a handful of free days in Hong Kong which they used to their advantage. The Magic Whip is what resulted of these studio sessions, with album highlight Ong Ong encompassing
everything which makes Blur great. A sing-a-long, “la la la” chant and super catchy chorus intertwine with wavy verses and Graham Coxon’s trademark guitar jabs. “I wanna be with you” sings Albarn in its chorus, his voice complementing the rest of the band as they sing in unison on their first album as a four-piece since 1999. Ong Ong is the kind of song that you want to sing along to at the top of your lungs after a drink too many, hugging all your best friends as you forget about the world for three minutes. Blur are back, and this time it’s for real.
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE – SHIP TO WRECK
Following a long period of silence, Florence Welch recently returned with the
first hints of upcoming studio album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by unleashing its powerful lead single What Kind of Man upon the world. Follow-up track Ship to Wreck carries that same Florence charm, edging towards an even catchier chorus than before. “Don’t touch the sleeping pills, they miss with my head” sings Welch on its opening line as we’re confronted by her familiar and instantly recognizable voice. It might not carry the instant-hit vibe which accompanied older cut Dog Days Are Over, but it’s certainly enough to showcase Welch’s seamless transition into festival headliner, a role she’ll have to start getting used to in the near future.
LA PEGATINA – HERIDAS DE GUERRA
Everyone’s favourite Catalonian party band, La Pegatina, are back with the first cut from upcoming studio album Revulsiu. Heridas de Guerra may not be the most unique song ever written, yet it bears all the hallmarks of a song which screams, “PARTY”. Although it opens with an electric guitar melody, something which La Pegatina have never been known to incorporate, it soon explodes as blaring trumpets enter the frame alongside frontman Adria Salas’ catchy vocal. “Y lloré, y lloré tanto que me vacié” sing the band during the chorus, perfectly encompassing the happy spirit as trumpets and accordion’s intertwine. It might sound suspiciously similair to other La Pegatina tracks, yet that doesn’t hold it back from trotting along in an upbeat manner that only these men can achieve.
BRANDON FLOWERS – STILL WANT YOU
The Killers’ frontman Brandon Flowers is currently gearing up to release his second solo album, The Desired Effect, this time employing 80s pop specialist Ariel Reichstad to assist him in on production duties. Lead single Can’t Deny My Love had Reichstad’s fingerprints all over it, from its massive 80s chorus to the pop sheen which was embedded within the music of bands like Haim and Vampire Weekend. Still Want You, its follow-up, encompasses swirling synths and a call-and-response chorus which sees Flowers declare his love for a significant other despite all the, “hurricanes and floods” or “nuclear distress”. It’s an interesting contrast of topics to employ in what is essentially an 80s pop banger, but has anything ever stopped Flowers? Exactly, nothing has.
MUMFORD & SONS – THE WOLF
For their upcoming third album, Wilder Mind, Mumford & Sons have completely ditched everything that made them who they were in the first place. Gone are the banjo’s and kick drums, with electric guitars and full drum kits being the sole replacements. Frontman Marcus Mumford, who formed the quartet in 2007, previously told NME that the band didn’t want to make the same music forever, as they wouldn’t be able to stand it much longer. Had they made another album similair to their first two records, Sigh No More and Babel, Mumford didn’t think they would enjoy it at all. This is why they moved to the electric instruments and ditched banjo’s altogether, something which shocked many people when they revealed Wilder Mind’s lead single, Believe. Its follow-up, The Wolf, goes down a similair path with upbeat, radio-friendly alt-rock taking control. Mumford’s voice is unnecessarily auto-tuned for the most part, yet once you get over that you come to realize that Mumford & Sons have changed their direction for the better. The Wolf is a refreshing and interesting track which ultimately showcases Mumford & Sons’ ability to change tack without it sounding forced.
SAN CISCO – RUN
Australian quartet San Cisco are the kind of band that look set to soundtrack every single summer sports show with their brand of catchy, summery indie pop. RUN, the opening track from new record Gracetown, is all funk and sunshine as its opening bassline accompanies frontman Jordie Davison’s catchy vocals. “Baby, won’t you talk, talk, don’t talk” he sings in the chorus as handclap beats enter the frame alongside brief guitar stabs and tambourine courtesy of drummer/percussionist Scarlett Stevens. On the surface, San Cisco look like ‘just another indie band’, yet if you look closer you’ll see one of indie’s hottest prospects slowly but surely emerging into the limelight.
FFS (FRANZ FERDINAND + SPARKS) – JOHNNY DELUSIONAL FFS is a collaboration between Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand and legendary duo Sparks, who are set to release a debut album coming summer. Debut single proper Johnny Delusional exquisitely combines Franz Ferdinand’s rockier elements alongside Sparks’ electronic vibes, with Alex Kapranos and Ron Mael’s vocals complementing eachother perfectly. “Oh I want you, but I know I haven’t a chance” sings Mael in the chorus, one which makes way for a gloriously absurd outro perfect for singing along to after you’ve had one too many. FFS have only got a mere two songs to their name, but they’re both promising enough to spark enthusiasm the world over.
Check back in two weeks for another roundup. In the meantime, you can listen to all new tracks here.