The Singles Jukebox
Bonus Bumper Edition



bumper bonus edition this week, covering lots of ends of the musical spectrum—a perennially re-released indie single that first surfaced about three years ago, a British popstar hitting their third album and slowly grinding to a halt, a Britpop band discovering that really, all they ever wanted was to be a nice bunch of boys with acoustic guitars, a trance record, and OMGWTF ALEX MACPHERSON LIKES NINE BLACK ALPS. But before all that, you may remember that The Mitchell Brothers’ previous appearance in the Jukebox was quite a successful one, primarily because Sway’s guest verse appeared to knock the entire panel for 6, leading to no-one actually mentioning the Mitchells themselves. This week, we find out why.


The Mitchell Brothers – Excuse My Brother
[1.75]


Joe Macare: This could just be a poor choice of single: a sludgy beat with a lifeless lame duck of a chorus. But a bigger problem is that lyrically the Mitchell Brothers peddle a mix of "Cor blimey" Englishness and ladmag obnoxiousness without the charisma or wit necessary to make it at all charming. One of them's drunk and obnoxious, the other apologises for him but then pretty much withdraws that apology with some 'don't dress like that if you don't want to get hassled' misogyny - I guess it sounds like inherently charmless stuff, but it's easy to imagine a more talented MC making a silk purse of the same concept, and the UK is hardly lacking in talented MCs right now. Note to self: start a campaign to get them to change their name to Ross Kemp & Steve McFadden's Appearances Outside Eastenders, in order to more accurately reflect the quality of what's on offer.
[4]

Dom Passantino: Last time round, the Mitchells' amazingly mediocre "Harvey Nicks" was saved by a third verse appearance from Sway, who came in throwing more punches than you see outside your local kebab house on a Friday night. This time though, they have to stand on their own four feet, and the outcome is basically a Channel U re-enactment of Chas & Dave's legendary "Gertcha" advert for Courage Best, except roughly 4,000 times more painful. They may model themselves on Grant and Phil, but the end result sounds more like Minty getting up to rip mics after a long day at The Arches.
[1]

Cecily Nowell-Smith: Insert joke about this being inexcusably tedious here.
[1]

Edward Oculicz: Jesus. This rivals "Ass Like That" as being the worst single of the year for me. They have Mike Skinner in full knocked-out-in-five-minutes mode. They also sound a bit like him, in a completely charmless way. The backing is nauseous in a vomitous-at-carnival way, the rapping is boring and provides none of the colour missing from the production and generally the whole thing is frankly inexcusable.
[0]

Alex Macpherson: Can Mike Skinner please fuck off and stop ruining grime? As if his own terrible music wasn't bad enough, he has to pick two astoundingly inept and deeply unfunny brothers as protégés and foist them on us as well. Their name makes them sound like they're straight off the EastEnders set, and quite frankly so do their jokes and MCing. And if that wasn't enough Skinner has to insist on a cameo as well! His Vile Maxwell off Big Brother pretending to be an autistic child flow is the only thing which could have made this record worse.
[2]


Craig David – All The Way
[3.89]


Jessica Popper: A few weeks ago I called Daniel Bedingfield "the new Craig David", but now I have realised my mistake. Craig David is in fact the new Daniel Bedingfield, as since his return to the pop music he has been acting very strangely, in a way that can only be described as Bedingfield-esque. This new single is a return to his original garage sound, but poppier and vaguely modernised (but not enough to sound at all new). This is a shame because, unlike every single other person in the whole entire world, I preferred his second album.
[5]

Alex Macpherson: If you're going to make a song about PARTIES and DANCING and MOVING YOUR BODY and CLUBS and DJS it should be fairly obvious that what people will want is a FUCKING MASSIVE BANGER not this LAME-ASS MIDTEMPO SHIT which will never see the inside of ANY self-respecting party!
[2]

Edward Oculicz: First Craig David single I've actually quite liked, largely due to that comfortingly familiar beat = a step in the direction of disco, which after all that tedious America-bating is gigantic step in the right direction. Not sufficient to get me to shake my ass, but shoulders will be wiggling all the way to.. ooh.. shall we say, Number 6?
[7]

Peter Parrish: Leigh Francis, Bo Selecta and especially A Bear’s Fucking Tail are slowly destroying British televisual comedy with the unstoppable power of a medical-science-baffling, flesh-consuming wasting disease. Wonderful, delicately crafted jokes are no longer in fashion whilst Channel 4 continue to support the work of this woefully inadequate human being. Hooray, it’s another collection of the same piss-weak gags! EVERY. SODDING. WEEK. I’m afraid I hold you partly responsible for all of this, Craig old chum. Sorry.
[3]

Cecily Nowell-Smith: The original anaemic soulster is BACK! And he's brought that neutered funk-guitar noodle with him! He's got those tinny disco string stabs (but not too much, oh no, just a sprinkle) back from whichever twobit hen-night hack he pawned them to! The offensive bleat of his voice, which you thought would wibble no more over the UK charts, has somehow smarmed its way through the cracks and RETURNED! With an even lamer piece of sickly r'n'b! So smooth it's like gagging on vaseline!
[1]


Stereo MC’s - Paradise
[4.00]


Edward Oculicz: A lot of 1990s dance music is still great fun, though much of it sounds dated thin compared to the super-dense sounds of today. You could give the Stereo MCs credit for making new material 12 years after they were actually popular and haven't yielded to the trend of filling every aural space available with sound. Unless you give credit on achievement, in which case this song is about as dull as they come and deserves none whatsoever.
[2]

Alex Macpherson: I propose that pop music introduce some kind of sports-inspired rule whereby, once those who participate in the game are old, past it and have nothing further to show us, they do the decent thing and RETIRE. Although if we take this analogy further we'd end up with the Stereo MCs doing commentary on all the latest hits i.e. you would have to read them instead of us, and that wouldn't do at all. Hmm.
[2]

Dom Passantino: The Stereo MC's will be playing the uber-prestigious Northampton Balloon Festival this year, alongside such other luminaries as "Frankie Goes To Hollywood without the one that's dying" and "Special guest: Fran Cosgrave". This slab of awkward early 90s dance-pop really will make the perfect companion piece to "Europe's biggest inflatables show", insofar as it’s shit.
[3]

Cecily Nowell-Smith: Actually kind of good, if you tune out the tuneless rhyming-dictionary doggerel vocals. Sparse stuttering beat, high-register plinks that belong on a grime track or something, muted brass popping up in the corner for a bar or two: these lovely little elements that really deserve to make a great track. Tuning out the vocals, though, is near-impossible. Paradise, sacrifice, pay the price, cruel device, Vanilla Ice.
[7]

Joe Macare: If music were food, then Stereo MCs would be a dodgy polystyrene box full of noodles that you bought from a trailer in Camden Market. In other words, not totally devoid of nutrition - fills a hole, you know - but quite off-putting if you're not in the right mood, and a bit of a potentially unlucky dip. If you consume it with any regularity and you don't have the hardy constitution of the habitually drug-addled, then you're in danger of swallowing something that makes you sick. But here's a pleasant surprise: 'Paradise' contains some really nice production touches, spoiled only by the presence of that bloke from the Stereo MCs doing his crusty, pedestrian rapping over the top. If somebody wants to bless me with an instrumental for this I would be very grateful. Please hurry, as rapping blokey just used the phrase "riding high on life".
[6]


Axwell – Feel The Vibe (Till The Morning Comes)
[4.56]


Peter Parrish: Ok, bear with me, I’m trying to understand how this works. The purpose here is clearly to aid and abet dancing type situations. Fine. Great. You can tell this, because it spends a minute and a half building up to a point at which it gets slightly louder and more bass-ey, accompanied by that sort of ‘whoosh’ sound. This is plainly a cue to bounce around, or whatever. Except it’s so cackhandedly fashioned, so lazily manipulative and quite so blatantly engineered for idiots that it sucks all semblance of joy into it’s vortex-like core. Can we stop using this tiresome trick now?
[2]

Cecily Nowell-Smith: So it doesn't do anything, you understand. There's this three-note motif straight off ATB's '9pm (Till I Come)', and a bit of bouncing funkyish bass, the kind of bass you'd put in if you were making up your ideal generic eurohouse track in your head, and a man sort of moans over the top in a soulful manner about nothing in particular. Sometimes it sounds a bit submerged, and sometimes it sounds very crisp. There's a bit where it all pounds back in, just where you'd expect it to, and you think, "ooh, if I were in a club I'd probably put my hands up in the air at this point", and you can just tell that at that moment it would sound like the greatest thing ever. It's a pity that you're not in a club at the moment, really.
[8]

Jessica Popper: This is a pretty good dance tune in the style of many which have been popular recently. I was especially pleased when I saw it on The Box because when I saw the title in the prre-release list I thought it was a mis-spelled new single by Maxwell and no-one wants that!
[7]

Alex Macpherson: Oooof. I really am feeling the vibe for the first couple of minutes or so of this - mainly due to the wordless keening which reminds me vaguely of 'Voodoo Ray' and which thus distracts from the sub-Judge Jules trance backing - but subsequently Axwell's refusal to take the vibe anywhere interesting, or indeed anywhere at all, makes the prospect of continuing to feel it till the morning comes quite horrifying.
[5]

Edward Oculicz: Proving that the limits to enjoyment of indistinguishable, highly repetitive, well-meaning house are easily stretched and broken. Bassline makes me think of Phats & Small's "Turnaround", vocal gurning makes me think of killing everyone.
[3]


Nine Black Alps - Unsatisfied
[5.00]


Paul Scott: Chorus! Guitar! Idlewild when they rocked!
[6]

Alex Macpherson: This is quite nicely produced for a rock song! It has an effective little tune, too: chord progressions in all the right places, small-scale epic. And the middle eight is quite nicely menacing. Now please hand it over to Avril immediately so we don't have the problem of the vocals any more: she can sneer and pout a million times better than this boy can, judging by his rather nondescript efforts here.
[6]

Dom Passantino: Remember that band you heckled at the last Battle of the Bands show you went to? You know, the ones you ironically shouted out "nice guitar playing dude" at the "Learn Hot Guitar Licks In 7 Days" guitarist, and with the frontman sounding bizarrely like a haircut indie take on Dexter Holland? They've got themselves a record deal. I'm not sure who the joke's on.
[1]

Peter Parrish: Big chorus. No, wait ... BIG CHORUS. In fact, most of the song seems to be chorus. I’m quite sure this is just some form of dubious mind-trick though. Still, it does work. This is possibly due to the repeated up-down-up-down intonation shenanigans and overdriven guitars acting as a gentle form of hypnosis. I also have this niggling sense that it should actually be called “Dissatisfied”, for some reason. And a compulsion to give Nine Black Alps all my money.
[7]

Joe Macare: It's unusual for the chorus to be the weakest part of a song like this, but 'Unsatisfied' starts off very promisingly with clear-as-a-bell, piercing guitars which together with the vocals almost make me think of Whipping Boy (remember them?). Then the segue from verse into chorus is less good, but okay in a way that's a little reminiscent of Ash. And then the refrain of 'Unsatisfied' itself is bog-standard indie rock. There seem to be an excess of singles with titles that can best be described as "leaving their goal open" lately, and this is definitely one of them.
[5]


Long-View - Further
[5.25]


Jessica Popper: I only recently found out these guys are from England and are not the American Christian rock group I had been confusing them with (which incidentally turned out to be Switchfoot). Therefore, they have no excuse for this terribly dull single.
[4]

Dom Passantino: Remember Longview? They were the ones that weren't Longwave from a few years back. Anyway, they've been out of the game for a hot minute, but they've come back, dropped all pretense of being an indie band, and instead have followed the Dawsonscore pattern down to a T. They've even managed to get themselves onto the soundtrack of One Tree Hill (which I believe is an updated version of Hang Time). Surprisingly not rubbish.
[7]

Alex Macpherson: This song, I note, is from the One Tree Hill soundtrack. That was the programme which even the presence of the hotter-than-hott Chad Michael Murray could not make me watch more than one episode of. As I recall, there were two reasons: 1) the spectacular tedium of centreing a series around high school basketball, and 2) the dreadful overblown pompous rock music which punctuated the scenes. Like this.
[0]

Paul Scott: Old fashioned epic rock which politely swoons and swoops like a less histrionic House of Love. It builds and bursts in an understated fashion, refraining from ostentation or showiness; the predictable burst of middle eight guitar heroics buried in a gooey, fuzzed up production that gives the impression of watching a spectacular firework display in a light drizzle. The sort of warm, thankless music that Coldplay would make if they could resist mawkishness and Doves would do if they weren't sandbagged by the vocals of a singing electrician.
[7]

Cecily Nowell-Smith: Ah, Longview. Or have they changed their name to Long-view now? If it's because of that town in Texas it's a rubbish reason. Man mumbles rather tunefully, guitars make gently epic noises, man repeats title of song in thoughtful tones, guitars do that gently epic thing again. Then man sings about God a bit, which is a bit exciting while you wonder whether he means God in the, you know, God sense, and what is it with these young people and God, honestly; or whether he's just using phrases about God because they have a sort of cultural meaning as ritual motifs and he's the kind of pleasant and pretentious young man who is just waiting to be asked about this in an interview with the arts pages of a broadsheet.
[5]


The Magic Numbers – Love Me Like You
[5.56]


Peter Parrish: Hey! We’re jaunty! We’ve got harmonies! We’re related in some way! Aren’t we just the most adorable band you’ve ever heard? Oh it’s true, everyone seems to love you. But who else is famous for using ‘magic’ numbers, eh? That’s right--corrupt accountants. They probably love you more than the rest. Twee music for corrupt accountants. Oh dear.
[4]

Joe Macare: Mostly, I distrust beards, and men with long hair. Therefore I was not expecting great things from the Magic Numbers. But one of my other near-universal rules is that I can never resist a band who know how to utilise handclaps (or what sound like handclaps), little stop-start pauses, and wordless backing vocals. In its own way, this is as much a necessary summer jam as the ubiquitous sticky r&b slow-burner or irresistible pop smash. It's wonderfully sun-dappled and almost makes me wish I owned, if not a surfboard, then at least a car that I could drive to the beach in. Yes, driving to the beach, my long hair blowing in the wind - woah! Stop there. This stuff is dangerous.
[8]

David Jones: Makes me think of all those rumours surrounding Prozac, about how the brain can only secrete a finite amount of serotonin so that once you’ve run out you’re left miserable forever. I really liked the last few Magic Numbers singles – they bounced along and made me happy. This one doesn’t quite have the classic melodies of the earlier ones, but feels a lot worse because there’s only so much relentlessly chirpy indie pop one human being can take.
[5]

Paul Scott: Sung with the kind of inane smiliness that made Wet Wet Wet’s Marti Pellow so eminently dislikeable, The Magic Numbers construct another airless facsimile of pop. Every element feels laboured; the handclaps, the backing vocals, the nagging melody - each seems diligently transcribed from some dusty textbook. Bloated and airless, suffocating under the weight of its own perceptions, it operates within such narrow boundaries of taste that there’s no hint of excitement, no possibility of human fallibility. Saccharine rather than sweet, it won’t rot your teeth but it'll probably give you diarrhoea.
[3]

Jessica Popper: This song makes me want to do a dance disturbingly similar to that for "The Wheels On The Bus".
[8]


Lady Sovereign – 9 to 5
[5.56]


Joe Macare: Confidence is a preference for the habitual white midget who is known as Lady Sovereign. I've heard at last one person compare this track to Madness, which is pretty much blasphemy in my book - Suggs and friends could make any subject matter teeth-grindingly irritating, whereas Sov's brand of humour lets her get away with complaining about how her relatively newfound life as a full-time ascendant pop star is really just as tiring and inconvenient as working in a call-centre or whatever. Of course, that in itself is the big joke that all the little jokes and funny voices are built around - somehow she makes this work as a singalong for anyone who gets stressed out by their job at the same time as many of the, you, us will be pissing ourselves at the cheek of the girl. Fingers crossed that this naggingly catchy number is enough to help bring Sovereign to the attention of all the people (so many people) who deserve to hear her, and whom she deserve to be heard by.
[10]

Paul Scott: A remix by The Ordinary Boys of this is currently doing the rounds and rather surprisingly it's better than the original. If the presence of that bunch of trad rock scrotes improves your music then a second visit to the careers officer must surely be a priority. Here Lady Sov comes on like Mike Skinner’s kid sister doing toe curling Eminem impressions over what sounds like a Bontempi organ’s ‘ska’ setting. Her flow seems to aim for the sort of uniquely British humour that Sway is bringing to UK hip hop but every cultural reference, and there are alot, seems desperately laboured. FHM! The Tweenies! What astute commentary on modern Britain! Genre blending can only be encouraged, but when the raw material is so unappealing it all feels redundant.
[3]

Peter Parrish: Working is quite shit, isn’t it? I think we can all get behind that sentiment. More things to like include the gratuitous use of the word ‘gosh’ (hurrah!) and some slightly “Ghost Town”-esque naaa-nah-nah-nah-ing. Good heavens people, the video has a dream sequence featuring a giant white rabbit--reason enough for critical acclaim, clearly. And yet if I listen to this more than about twice, it will surely become profoundly irritating. So I shall not.
[6]

Dom Passantino: I'm sorry, is this a song or an extended Smack the Pony routine? Coming across like a halfway house between Princess Superstar with a gum infection and that "You asked for haddock I've give you haddock" girl at your local chippy, it's hard to know what's the most irritating thing about LS. Is it the fact that in her rush to become the, cough, "female Eminem" she's bypassed "My Name Is" to go straight for "Ass Like That"? Is it the fact her target audience is Guardianista-wankers who get a hard-on when they see the word "chav" in a newspaper headline (poor people be talking funny!). Or is it the fact that, on the remix, she gets murdered by The Ordinary Boys on her own shit? The Ordinary Boys! The dumpster awaits.
[0]

Alex Macpherson: Not, it must be said, Lady Sovereign's brightest moment: the ska appropriation feels a little too obvious, the deliberate move towards making her more of a one-dimensional cartoon figure is slightly disappointing, and '9 To 5' doesn't have the energy of 'Random' to mitigate. This is only relative to how fantastic she is on top form though: by anyone else's standards it's a great pop song. Sov's wit is unblunted - "oh! Channel U, the ones that made me huge / Like Katie Price's boobs / Whoops, I'm being rude" - and she sounds completely comfortable in her slickest surroundings yet.
[8]


Supergrass – St Petersburg
[5.78]


Jessica Popper: Didn't Supergrass used to be a fun band? This is very moody. I'm not keen on the beard either, although I quite like his new hat.
[3]

Edward Oculicz: Formerly glorious lads wank their inner Jools Holland and prepare themselves for a life of their singles going in at Number 27. Still got a way with a tune, but they're ageing at least five times quicker than is natural with each album that goes by, and this "maturity" (i.e. an orchestra bit, some country-ish guitars) are a strange fit at best.
[7]

David Jones: This is really, really great but leaves me with a lingering suspicion that after all these years Supergrass have got so competent they can just knock out this sort of cinematic ballad as and when. It’s certainly not in the same league as Movin’ or Late In The Day, but that’s still quite some string arrangement.
[7]

Alex Macpherson: One of the few bands for whom the move to a more 'mature' sound has improved their music considerably. It's still lame, ersatz acoustic non-music which trudges around in ever-decreasing circles, of course, it's just that Supergrass used to be so preternaturally irritating during the heyday of that wholly dreadful phenomenon known as Britpop that even this Turin Brakes-lite bobbins is preferable.
[2]

Cecily Nowell-Smith: Not so much bad as boring; worse than that, disappointing. Sad, too, that Supergrass could be the perennial bridesmaids of the Britpop years and end up, ten-odd years down the line, sounding like nothing so much as Ocean Colour Scene. They've called their new album "Road to Rouen", though. That's worth a few marks.
[6]


Stars – Ageless Beauty
[6.00]


Cecily Nowell-Smith: O for pretty girly shoegaze-pop, swirling happily away to itself, like there's some other multicoloured world just at the corner of your vision where people are still wearing Global Hypercolour tshirts and convinced dolphins are The Future and describe a circle as they dance with their hands waving around everywhere and every girl looks like Amelia Fletcher and-- you know, I'm getting too into this.
[7]

Alex Macpherson: There's something about the way everything blends together, the way everything's flattened out at exactly the same pitch and volume, which makes me feel queasy. It's as if all the vocals and instruments had been puréed and there's enough of the resultant mush to fill the room, and the band are drowning you in it, literally holding your head beneath the surface until you can't breathe and your brain implodes. Deeply unpleasant.
[1]

Dom Passantino: Like if The Sundays had been made entirely out of air. The last time I saw something this inconsequential it was playing in defence for Rushden and Diamonds (zing!)
[3]

Paul Scott: ‘Ageless Beauty’ piles up elements that should be sickly sweet; cooing harmonies, guitars keening into FX pedal rapture,s but like candy floss on the tongue it slips away when you try and get more than a taste. It's not insubstantial, though, but elusive: a beautiful rush for the horizon that never stands still long enough to quite come into focus. All the elements are so densely packed together, each layer of sound bleeding into one another like an impressionistic early sketch of some near perfect pop song. Then it's gone, slipping away into the ether, and you’re left with nothing but snatches of mysterious phrases; “oceans won’t freeze”, “graces will lose the battle” and the vapour trails of some ecstatic melancholy.
[9]

Peter Parrish: Well hello, this is very much ‘my kind of thing’. Which, yes, means I’m going to over-indulge massively and serve my own agenda with a love it may not objectively deserve. Screw objectivity--it’s for scientists and self-deluding media outlets. “Ageless Beauty” is what may have resulted if Lush had resisted the lures of contemporary cool and followed up Split with an album that went ‘lalala, not listening!’ when the record company suggested they listen to some Britpop records. Except not quite as good as that would have been. But nearly. Which is still rather good indeed.
[8]


Goldfrapp – Ooh La La
[6.75]


Dom Passantino: Brian Molko's seven year campaign to turn himself into Marc Bolan with tits has been smashed into pieces by our Alison here, who reinvents "Jeepster" as one of those songs strippers only ever dance to in films. Nice horse in the video as well.
[7]

Peter Parrish: A little added eroticism with your dish, sir? Perhaps just a splash of sensuality. Maybe a dab of extra sauce. All too often chart-pop sexuality is like a microwave dinner; artificial, plastic and done in two minutes. Not to mention cheaper than that joke. This is a much fuller taste experience--playfully fun with a hint of sleaze, and a backing track ripped straight from the overtly devout “Spirit in the Sky”. Kinky.
[9]

Paul Scott: It’s malnourished rather than sleek, the gut punch electronics feel restrained, not in an icy, sexily minimal way but simply a bit weedy, Allison Goldfrapp's vocal talents being denied the decadent playground they richly deserve. Surely it must be some unfortunate accident that the glam rock aping undercarriage sails closer to the grim retro Black Rebel Motorcycle Clubs than the youthful androgyny of Marc Bolan. Like meeting an incredibly sexy but completely vapid person who pretends to be interested, this promises everything but gives very little.
[4]

Alex Macpherson: This song is all signifier and no signified: Alison Goldfrapp mumbles "ooh la la la la" with an utter lack of enthusiasm for the task at hand, which she seems to be confusing for aloof blank mystique, and considers that it will suffice to make her song sexy. And where her voice once had the power to lubricate all sorts of body parts, those rote sex kitten affectations are now the aural equivalent of lying back and thinking of England.
[3]

Joe Macare: I've been trying to work out a way to write about this song that is not 'inappropriate', that is to say, a way that does not involve the phrase "gives me the horn". I give up. This song is sex, pure and simple. The bare facts: it is glam rock stomp slathered in early-Naughties sleaze. I always love it when an artist releases a single that is like one or more of their previous singles taken to an inevitable conclusion, and 'Ooh La La' is basically 'Train' to the power of 100, 'Train' with bells and bell-bottoms on - Ultimate 'Train', if you will. If this song was a person - and oh, but it does remind me of a few - then it would not be a very nice person. It would not be a boy or girl whom you could trust especially, not someone who you could safely introduce to your friends, let alone your parents. It would be someone whose principle interests were cocaine, being part of a scene and fucking other people's partners. And you would be fascinated with them even as you told yourself how very, very wrong that fascination was.
[10]


Mattafix – Big City Life
[6.88]


Joe Macare: This a low-key way of being impressed by a new band: Mattafix don't bowl you over, they don't dazzle or flash, but by the time 'Big City Life' finishes I'm thinking: "Who are these people, and how can I find out more?" It's an interesting mix of mournful electro, soul, dancehall and hip hop - not quite trip hop (and not just because of the terrible things that term now evokes, thanks to Morcheeba etc), but perhaps an indication of what Massive Attack might sound like if they hadn't hemorrhaged members with every album and thus stopped combining genres like these so effectively. I've been wrong before, so it's quite possible I will live to regret saying this, but Mattafix may well be an act to watch out for.
[9]

Paul Scott: A throw back to daisy age, this is the kind of lazy, sweet, soulful, yet still slightly streetwise music that once prompted critics to fall over themselves to congratulate rappers for “making music that doesn't deal in bitches and ho's”. If one was to set up a lazy modern day opposition then this is surely the polar opposite of the charmless lunges at relevance proffered this very week by the Mitchell Brothers and Lady Sovereign, is British "urban" music that is happy to let the listener luxuriate in the pleasures of its grooves rather than rub our faces in banal referentialism and the kind of in your face “attitude” better suited to Big Brother contestants. It's not the subjects that makes this so appealing but the vibe, a hazy sense of optimism lingers lightly like marijuana smoke on a summer’s day.
[8]

Cecily Nowell-Smith: I don't have enough synonyms for "whingey drivel" to express how utterly hateful this is. A lame, snivelling, mediocre-reggae version of those awful middle-class self-hating articles about how no-one in cities knows their neighbours and they're all so busy all the time and where's the sense of community. Features the lyrics "don't you want to know me, be a friend of mine, I'll share some wisdom with you". KILL KILL KILL.
[2]

Dom Passantino: When he's not busy knocking out strength potions for that small village of indomitable Gauls holding out against the Roman invasion, Mattafix is also two guys who've dropped a single of the year contender into our laps. Yes, it may be a distillation of ten years worth of "black" music listened to by stoned teenagers (trip-hop, undie rap, dancehall, dub), it may be like a Mercury prize ticklist, it may sound like a dinner party at Roni Size's house where Steve Lamacq goes over the history of British hip-hop during the cheese and port, it may be cornier than James E Cornette, but my head nods so much during this you'd think I had Parkinson's. Partly through beauty, partly through rhythm, partly through "Yes, this song has made me think about what life is like today". Beautiful.
[10]

Edward Oculicz: This would sound just amazing on some kind of retro-90s alt-rock-that-sounds-like-pop stations, say, in between "Fly" by Sugar Ray and some early Smash Mouth single you've half forgotten.
[9]


By: UK Stylus Staff
Published on: 2005-08-08
Comments (4)
 

 
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