With January well under way now, there’s no turning back from 2013. Just last week, this year’s BRIT nominations were announced so the music calendar is starting off on a high. Back to this week and we have a fresh crop of music releases for your perusal. In the mix this week is the return of American rapper 50 Cent who has teamed up again with his mentor Eminem, as well as bringing in the vocal talents of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. Completing the line-up are three UK bands: electro pop duo Monarchy whose latest single features burlesque star Dita Von Teese, Reading-based indie rockers Teleman, and finally London-based band Plastique.
‘Disintegration (featuring Dita Von Teese)’ by Monarchy (Rating: **)
Reviewed by Scott McMullan
It’s hard to get really invested in a single like ‘Disintegration’, the latest offering from the dynamic Electro duo of Monarchy. On the one hand it has an effective hook which manages to draw you in, it has an elegant melody, and it even has a gimmick with the inclusion of sultry vixen Dita von Teese. However, on the other hand it never seems to get any better than being merely mediocre, and left us thinking that this moody-yet-erotic little track had less impact than particularly good lift music.
It’s not that we’re not a fan of this kind of music, and Monarchy has always delivered very well consistently, however when you examine ‘Disintegration’ more closely it’s a little less than thrilling. The melody starts off strong and had a rich enveloping flavour that seemed to promise of something unique and special on the way. Unfortunately, the opening seemed to drag on for far too long, which left us in a state of anticipation with no pay off.
The inclusion of Dita Von Teese in the music was a good gamble, and the burlesque star was even able to add a terrific mix of glamour and sexual energy to the proceedings. The problem though is that she just doesn’t have quite enough ‘va va voom’ in her to save this rather stark track from being decidedly forgettable. We were also disappointed when we realised just how heavily distorted von Teese’s voice was which made her sound almost like a digital radio on the blink. Ultimately it is a just a waste of something which could have been good, and left us wondering why they bothered to use Dita von Teese at all if we couldn’t not recognise her even remotely in the delivery.
‘Disintegration’ isn’t a bad track, it just doesn’t have enough to make it stand out against a wealth of much better and more enthralling songs on the market right now. It does however have a decent elemental energy to it that manages to enthrall you, even if it looses you quickly by never really going anywhere. In some ways it almost felt like a track you hear on the come down after a good night out. It’s relaxing while at the same time dripping with a strong disco beat which makes you want to mellow out and reflect on an evening’s misadventures. However there are far better songs that you can listen to for that, and as such this offering from Monarchy has left us feeling a little bit cheated.
While there are a couple of good points that make ‘Disintegration’ feel interesting, they are outweighed by the bad points which make you wonder where the last few minutes went, and kicking yourself for wasting them. Better luck next time Monarchy!
‘Cristina’ by Teleman (Rating: ****)
Reviewed by Jeremy Williams
After spending almost a decade trying to break into the ‘big time’, Reading’s indie rockers Pete & The Pirates decided to hang up their hats earlier in 2012. While Pete Hefferan now fronts The 3.1419 and proved his vocal dexterity on Dan Le Sac’s supreme début solo album, Space Between The Words, former lead vocalist Thomas Sanders has remained in cahoots with Jonny Sanders and Pete Cattermoul to form the understated trio Teleman. As 2013 kicks itself into gear, they unveil their suitably louche début single ‘Cristina’.
‘Cristina’ is far from an attempt at mainstream domination. With an air of the Joe Meek about it, Teleman prove themselves to be an intriguing musical tour de force. Though their fusion of guitar, drums and synth is fairly stereotypical of the teenies (the decade, not the age group), Teleman are truly distinctive.
An odd ode to a sexual experience, ‘Cristina’ is fully charged with lyrical wonder and musical intrigue. A real slow burner, each listen adds depth to its immediate beauty. ‘Cristina’ may not surge to the top of the charts, but it will certainly leave an impressive mark on everyone who has the pleasure to discover it.
All in all, ‘Cristina’ is a tempting slice of nuanced pop that deserves your immediate attention.
‘A Paper Cut From A Paper Kiss’ by Plastique (Rating: **)
Reviewed by Jake Basford
With a Courtney Love feel, Plastique give us their first single of 2013 – ‘A Paper Cut From A Paper Kiss’ – and it’s strangely appealing, in an almost retro, 90s rock way.
Opening with just vocals and bass, it feels very stripped back, until it builds as the song moves into the chorus, with added drums and synth. The guitar solo at the bridge is very well done, hinting at Muse as an influence. Lyrically, this is a very confusing song, with the only theme really shining through being that of an age-related discontent. Whether it’s a statement of a political nature, or an honest appraisal of feelings towards aging, is unclear.
This song is that melancholic feeling you get about half-way through any long-term project – the end is in sight, but you can’t get excited about it because it is a long way off, and you are in too deep to walk away so you have to just keep ploughing on, hoping that something will come along that will make the situation better or nicer.
Maybe that’s what is meant by, ‘I’m 29 and full of s***’, with regard to the above. We’re unsure.
It’s a good song, but definitely not an upbeat song. If you aren’t in a happy place and are looking for something to throw you off, this may do the trick. Then again there are those who see beauty in pieces of music like this, so we aren’t here to judge their taste.
For right now, however, we have enough depression this week with starting work again after the holidays and what we need right now is something cheerful with a bassline to make us boogie, and a beat that gets us moving. So, sorry Plastique – wrong time to be releasing this, we feel.
‘My Life’ by 50 Cent ft. Eminem & Adam Levine (Rating: ** )
Reviewed by Ben Kelly
It’s been ten years since 50 Cent topped the BBC Sound of 2003 poll, and as he prepares to release his fifth album, you’d be forgiven for having completely missed three or four of them. Despite all of his albums certifying Gold, he’s struggled to remain relevant in the mainstream, and in the UK in general. After coming to prominence off the back of his relationship with Eminem (and his infamous ‘shot nine times’ story), he’s back with the real Slim Shady himself, who features alongside Adam Levine on this track.
It’s always a weak effort when a lead single features other artists – especially on a track like this, where the Maroon 5 frontman will stand out with his distinctive vocals. Musically, this track doesn’t take us into any new territory either. It’s little more than a repeated drum loop, which could easily have been lifted from Jay Z’s album-before-last. The star performance is Eminem’s rap – the centrepiece of the song, delivered like a recitative with complex rhythms and rhymes – which is a reminder of the lyrical genius of a man who is preparing to take to the stage again himself this year. Unfortunately for 50 Cent, it sounds like he’s the one ‘featuring’ on this track, as opposed to his guest performers. A decade after being named the ‘Sound of 2003′, he’s unlikely to make much of an impact with tracks like this in 2013.