While “Two Hearts” is a modern day sticky pop song, endlessly bouncing and criminally tuneful, it is also sweetly anchored to some pretty superior indie pop of yore, specifically the criminally underrated 90’s Britpop band Echobelly. Heather Riley’s vocal is both yearning and assertive, way out in front of everything else, wrapped in glorious swirling pop guitar and strikingly reminiscent of Sonya Aurora Madan’s from the aforementioned Echobelly. You’ll wanna squeeze this one close to your heart.
“Beseech” is a pretty regal and ancient word and as such is hard to get away with featuring in a pop song, but it fits kind of perfectly within “Paradise Is A Person”: this song is the embodiment of beseeching. It’s a gorgeous piece of heart on the sleeve shoegaze and is the perfect soundtrack for looking longingly across rooms in quiet desperation. It’s hiding from you shyly while hoping it’s made it’s desire perfectly clear and obvious. What a beauty.
Okay so Madonna released a new album this week and it’s getting good reviews and she is a legend but dammit to hell I so miss POP Madonna cause she f-ing ruled. Thankfully something has come along to take you to that place that “Holiday”, “Angel”, and “Into the Groove” did, just in the nick of time, which is to say here comes Kingsbury with the best thing she’s ever done .”In My Brain ” marries New Order’s classic “Thieves Like Us” and pop Madonna, and is as absolute and widescreen as Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own”. It’s a lush, fat, beautiful pop song about the head and the heart battling it out over moving forward and booms from the bottom to the top. And so next time you need a cathartic dance alone moment, well, you know what to do.
Initially “Write Home” feels as languid as floating on a still lake in the summer, all wistful, dreamy, and slowly jangling, the mood accentuated by a muted horn floating hazily in the background. It’s like something off the first Everything But The Girl album, “Each and Every One” in particular, but fuzzier at the edges…at least for a minute. It ultimately shape shifts into a more urgent, shoegazey shuffle and says goodbye in a gloriously tuneful coda that manages to be both sad and life affirming. Beauty.
“Ricochet” is so utterly evocative of a time and place, namely a moody, hot summer night in NYC in the early eighties, that if I didn’t know for a fact it was made in 2019, I would swear it was born in 1983. It’s beauteous and melodic lo-fi soul brings to mind not only Arthur Russell, early Prince and those amazing N.E.R.D. ballads off their own debut album but also the lush and glowing vibe of 80’s UK funksters Freeez …which is all to say it’s really kind of gorgeous. Make sure and check out the equally fine “It’s Alright, Goodbye” below, another track off his new album “Blissed Out”. Nick refers to himself as a “hook master”. He ain’t wrong.
And if you feel like further immersing yourself in the aforementioned plush night time feeling, here’s Freeez doing their moody, slick and delicate synth best from 1983:
A little alternative 90’s, a little pop-prog, there is something very stadium anthem about “Your Honey” but in the best possible way, as in it’s got a fat tuneful chorus, a chunky guitar foundation and is topped by Rose Yagmur’s f-you absolutely kick ass vocal. And really what more do you need.
Britt aka Brittany Johnson has an unusually delicate and fragile voice, one that sounds like it could go off the rails at any second. In “Trial Period” it floats over an even louder bit of melodic guitar jangle and is best exemplified in the handsomely off kilter bridge near the end. And the first verse mentions giving someone the finger, always a welcome sentiment. The whole thing is reminiscent of wondrous, early 80’s, UK, low-fi post punk trio Marine Girls and is off her exceptional new ep “Kill the Man”. Speaking of which, please have a listen to “Handle It” another super fine track from it below.
Shahrae’s made something sad, sweet and dreamy, marrying quirkiness with a pretty stunning 80’s/90’s R & B groove. “Forget To Forget Me” meanders in the vein of the very best Janet Jackson ballads (“Let’s Wait Awhile”, “Come Back To Me”, “Lonely”), has an exquisitely memorable tune, and is blessed with a vocal full of longing loveliness.
“Birthplace” is such a ridiculously brazen throwback to the old 70’s singer-songwriter AM radio vibe and is so utterly earnest in it’s pursuit of that feeling that if you weren’t told it was a new song you’d have every reason to believe it was born back then. It sounds like a cross between Nilsson (“The Moonbeam Song” specifically), and magnificent cult troubadour Jimmie Spheeris, is about wandering and realizing, is completely tuneful and sweet and as such is completely out of step with today’s pop in the best possible way. It just plain shines.
Going to cut to the chase here: “GWTC” features one of the finer vocal performances you’re gonna hear this year. Elodie Tomlinson’s voice is tough and handsome, world weary in all the right places and the song itself rocks in a completely transcendent fashion from beginning to end. It’s a straight up solo drive on the highway, hair blowing in the wind, life epiphany theme song, a small slab of plush meat and potatoes rock, and it f-ing rules.