Clash Reviews The Singles (Of February 24)

Drenge, Deathcats, Moby, RÜFÜS and Thalia Zedek...
Drenge

We do this every Monday you know. Sometimes with guest reviewers, sometimes by ourselves. It’s our ball, and we’re going home.

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Drenge – ‘F*ckabout’

We’ve plenty of time for Derbyshire duo Drenge (pictured) around these parts – the pair’s eponymous debut LP was one of 2013’s more thrilling punk rackets. ‘F*ckabout’ is definitely one of the band’s more reflective moments, though, a track that Clash already compared to something The Smashing Pumpkins might have penned – those words, here. To these ears though, isn’t there something closer to The Longpigs happening here? Little bombast, and the suggestion of being somewhat broken. Either way, there’s a solid ‘90s vibe running throughout ‘F*ckabout’ – track 15 of disc two of the third Shine set sorta scenes, if you’re old enough for that to make any sense. 

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Deathcats – ‘Dreamz’

Good band name, that. Take two popular things, smash them together, bingo. ‘Dreamz’ is taken from a split single on Fuzzkill Records where this Glasgow outfit goes head to head with the rather less raucous The Fruit Tones. It’s this track that stands out, personally, what with it channelling some of those same grunge influences as Drenge typically exhibit, alongside some Mary Chain-ish noise, and packing a few whoops of joy in there, too. The production’s too flat for this track to connect with the wider audience that Deathcats’ evident pop nuances might one day court, but it’s a step forward for a band only issuing its second-ever release.

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Thalia Zedek – ‘Fell So Hard’

While we’re in the ‘90s, a moment’s thought, please, for Come. Signed to Matador, the Boston indie act released four fine LPs between 1991 and 1998, the last of which, ‘Gently Down The Stream’, was a real mainstay on this writer’s first-year-at-uni stereo (this being pre-iTunes, I had to actually get up and swap discs, so albums tended to go around a few times in a row – a luxury few receive today). The group featured Chris Brokaw, also of the most-excellently morose Codeine, and vocalist Thalia Zedek, who since Come’s disbanding has released a bunch of albums and EPs. Currently issued through the Thrill Jockey label, her music’s lost none of its intensity, building with little a noise far mightier than many a might-be peer. That doesn’t just come to musicians overnight – this is the sound of experience. ‘Fell So Hard’ is a song that doesn’t pivot on a loud-quiet-loud fulcrum – it simply turns the dial to dramatic at the outset and maintains the level throughout, casting colours comparable The Dirty Three and, of course, Come. A most satisfying exhibition of studied songcraft, then, and one allowing the fireworks inherent in its maker’s material to explode brilliantly.

No embed code is available for ‘Fell So Hard’, but it’s a free download over here

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Moby – ‘Almost Home’

Rather more popular than Come in the ‘90s was this Little Idiot, whose profile skyrocketed with the release of ‘Play’ in 1999. (If you don’t own this album, you weren’t alive in the ‘90s.) ‘Almost Home’ is one of Moby’s steadier contemporary cuts, steadfastly unmoved by today’s dance music trends and content to simply exist in its own, quietly pretty way, coming over like The Flaming Lips with all of the silliness set to mute. It’s got Damian Jurado on vocals – and any platform for said singer to reach a bigger audience is okay by us.

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RÜFÜS – ‘Desert Night’

Not, sadly, the dance project of the ghost of Bill & Ted actor George Carlin, which would have joined the dots between this subtly throbbing, gently prodding track – Moderat with a keener eye on the mainstream, maybe – and the ‘90s, nor a comeback from the ‘70s funk outfit keen on a Chaka Khan collaboration. RÜFÜS in this case is an Australian trio comprising James Hunt, Jon George and Tyrone Lindqvist, who’ve already seen their debut album ‘Atlas’ (no, not this one, just to add to the confusion) go to number one back home. Might they replicate that success in the UK? ‘Desert Night’ is probably too slight of design to truly impact with the British dance middle ground, with the crowds still packing suburban clubs on a Friday night. But it sounds just fine coming after the above-covered throwbacks, startlingly contemporary by comparison.

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