Tuesday, 18 September 2012

I Am In Love - Pale Seas - The Mexanines - Single Reviews

I Am In Love – Palm
Released 8th Oct Velocity Sounds Records

Electro four piece I Am In Love return with their follow up to the critically acclaimed single ‘I Want You’ with an altogether less sparse affair in the shape of Palm. Largely gone are the laid bare falsetto vocals of its predecessor, to be replaced by a more syncopated approach that puts us in mind of early Heaven 17. 

The entire track is drenched in cavernous reverbs and delays that bathe synths, guitars and vocals alike, its roots firmly planted in 80’s electro pop territory, all-be-it with a dark underbelly. Our only quibble is that we wished they’d taken a leaf out of White Lies’ book and pulled back the FX on the lead vocal just a touch so the undoubted melody could truly punch its weight. In particular the song’s outro with its multi interwoven vocal lines lacks the impact it begs to achieve.

That said, we like it; It takes us back to salad days where an eyeliner pencil was a prerequisite for gig goers of both sexes.  Time will tell if they can build on a solid start and climb up those playlists. They’re certainly putting in the leg work (take note wannabes, it takes graft as well as talent) and so far the signs are favourable.

Pale Seas - Bodies c/w My Own Mind
Released 17th Sep Communion Records  

There is something comforting about the Pale Seas’ music, all west coast breeze and understated harmony. It’s not quite as immediate as The Byrds’ ‘Turn Turn Turn’ (perhaps more ‘Goin Back’) but it certainly ploughs a similar furrow. If you’re looking for more modern reference point think perhaps The La’s, ok not so modern but you get the gist, right?

The double A side release will probably see ‘Bodies’ pay the greater dividend in terms of airplay. Built round a simple chord progression and a melody that will have listeners making comparison to a myriad of historical sources, it’s sure to leave you craving simple summer pleasures, lazy days and for those of you inclined a spot of daisy-chain construction.

I suspect lyrically that a little heartache may reside at the song’s core, although there’s just enough ambiguity to keep you guessing.  The production, as with both songs, harks to heady analogue days with, I’m sure, the temptation to go over the top with a full on Phil Spector treatment almost impossible to ignore.  In truth, the melodies on offer here are not big enough for such grandstanding, but you do get the feeling that there is more to come. ‘My Own Mind’ dishes up more of the same simple and beguiling motifs alongside a retro drum sound that warms the cockles.  It’s early days of course, but whilst Pale Seas may not sweep the nation with a tidal wave on this occasion, the undertow is certainly moving in the right direction. They are due to visit Manchester in the not too distant future, so we’ll do our best to cajole an invite and get right back to you. 

The Mexanines – Shimmer
Out now 

We’re a little late getting to this I’m afraid. Perhaps it’s because we caught The Mexanines live at Kendal Calling and were none too enamoured with what appeared to be their too cool for school half-arsed efforts. So what of their debut release Shimmer, will we be forced to eat our words? Well, to cut to the chase, no.

Apparently the Yorkshire trio wowed the judges at the Musicians Benevolent Fund Song Writing Awards and one Alan McGee, who caught the band playing third on the bill in a small Leeds bar proclaimed, that had Creation Records still been around he would have signed them there and then. So what’s all the fuss about, On the evidence of Shimmer it really is difficult to tell.

This short punchy slice of lad rock is really doing it by the numbers so don’t waste your time looking for any surprises. The opening riff may well tip its hat to Jimmy Page or it could just be Ocean Colour Scene with the volume turned up, I’ll leave it to you to decide. Either way, Shimmer is pretty predictable and does little to inspire.  Young folk with skinny jeans will take to it with ease and probably file it somewhere in between the Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes, but they better have more in their arsenal than this if they want to keep them interested.

We would like to apologies to The Mexanines and Sony records for any confusion caused by the original version of this review that claimed that Shimmer was released on the Sony label. This is not the case.

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