Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hannah's Single of the Week (03/04/06) PART ONE

According to my mate Jonny at Dogs Can't Look Up, last week was the last week of great music before weeks of rubbish. Apparently. I beg to disagree. This week is an absolute stunner. Well, another X Factor act are apparently releasing a single, but other than that there are so many singles I want to review that I'm having to split my Single of the Week post in two for what is probably the first time ever. So, yeah, here we go...

More-Than Special Mentions:
Belle & SebastianThe Blues Are Still Blue (official site and video)
I've already mentioned the brilliance of the accompanying video, but the simple fact is this song is just as good, if not better. Better than preceding single, 'Funny Little Frog', it's one of the highlights from the band's latest album 'The Life Pursuit' (an absolute stunner of an album, by the way). Everything from its funky bassline to the singalong chorus is PERFECT. Whether you admire the wit of the lyrics, the retro flavour of the music, the glossy production, the perfectly timed musical interlude or the charming backing vocals - there's something for everyone here. Oh, and did I mention the video? I did? Well, I'll say it again, it rounds off a perfect package.

The CrimeaWhite Russian Galaxy (official site and video)
Following their no. 31 single 'Lottery Winners On Acid' London-based band The Crimea release another single from their album 'Tragedy Rocks'. The interesting thing here being that 'White Russian Galaxy' has been here before. In June 2003, in fact. Thank goodness it's been released again. It'd be easy to proclaim the Crimea as 'yet another indie-sounding indie band' (Coldplay, Athlete, etc) but they're not. They don't fit into the Franz Ferdinand/Maximo Park/Bloc Party group, either. There's definitely something different here, something refreshing, and the best thing about it is I can't quite put my finger on it. It makes me want to buy the album, despite only having heard one song from it, and that's something special. There's a quirky transition from distorted guitars to cleaner, more twinkly sounds that somehow becomes interesting and doesn't manage to sound cliched. Oh, just a warning though - the sing-song nature of the chorus ('who knows what goes on in her pretty little head') is catchy to the point of it swirling round your head for several days.

Single of the Week:
Franz FerdinandThe Fallen/L.Wells (the-fallen.com - contains all three videos)
My, my, the Franz have been busy boys. New songs, new videos and non-stop touring. Allow me to introduce the best 'single' so far from the boys' second album. Essentially, it's two great songs for the price of one. A proper double a-side, and you don't get those too often. You can't fault the band on effort, really. 'The Fallen' is the opening track from current album 'You Could Have It So Much Better' and even the NME proclaiming it the best thing the band's ever done hasn't put me off. For some reason it's required a radio edit, cutting it down from a sensible 3.42 to a meagre 2.47, but thankfully it doesn't take anything away from the song, making it even snappier, hectic, crazy and enjoyable than ever. Quintessential Franz, one might say. 'L. Wells', on the other hand, shows the band exploring a new sound. It is, if I'm honest, the closest Franz are ever going to come to sounding like a rock 'n' roll marching band. It's multi-layered structure and feel-good vibe gives an illusion of parades, carnivals and suchlike. It's not a sound I'd like to see them turning to permanently, but 'L. Wells' is definitely a fantastic one-off.
NB: Also worth a look are all three videos. 'L. Wells' and 'Jeremy Fraser' don't actually feature the band (a bonus if, like Lewis, you find them aesthetically repulsive) but the latter seems to feature (we're probably wrong, but...) a bizarre homage to cult-movie 'The Wicker Man' set in a school playground.

MP3 time:
While both of the true A sides of the single are great, I'm afraid I just don't agree with the statement from Franz frontman Alex Kapranos that says it should be a 'quintuple a side'. For me, the b-sides just aren't up to scratch. It's a shame really, because I've always thought the Franz boys have produced b-sides of the highest standard. So, because 'Jeremy Fraser' and 'Brown Onions' are something of disappointment, I've decided to post one of the band's better b-sides for your listening pleasure.
Franz Ferdinand - Missing You [mp3 link]