Clash Reviews The Singles (Of March 24)

We're pretty sure ancient Egypt didn't look like this at school...
Katy Perry

Stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap…

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Katy Perry – ‘Dark Horse’

There’s some sort of fancy insert-yourself-into-the-video project associated with ‘Dark Horse’. Credit where it’s due for encouraging user interactivity in the mainly one-way relationship between artist and audience. But personally, stepping into this Matthew Cullen-directed promo would comprise some sort of heavy-on-the-ales nightmare for me, the lurid “crazy long time ago” Egyptian imagery certainly striking but distinctly sickening too. The song’s serviceable, substituting the earworm qualities of ‘Roar’ for bass and keys more in keeping with contemporary crossover rap successes. And sure enough, here’s a guest MC. Thankfully for Perry, her budget only stretched to Juicy J – bringing Kanye in would only have put the pussy in a sarcophagus, and nobody needs that stress.

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Klaxons – ‘There Is No Other Time’

I always felt a little sorry for Klaxons. Caught up in a combustive scene they had no say in the press-dictated formation of, burdened with great expectation after a Mercury Prize win, and changing their spots with a warmly received but commercial dud of a second LP, their early breaks just seemed to crack their future’s potential. Beneath all the new-rave hyper-colour, though, the London trio always possessed a cunning knack for producing great pop – and ‘There Is No Other Time’ is more in the vein of a 1990s electro-pop hit of a humid summer than it is a neon-smashing anthem for stupid-clothed fashion casualties polluting the haunts of Hoxton. It doesn’t actually do a great deal, and leaves a scant impression after the event – but for its three-and-a-half minutes, ‘There Is No Other Time’ pushes the feeling on just fine.

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Kiran Leonard – ‘Geraldo’s Farm’

Leonard’s songwriting, meanwhile, is of a rather more singular slant: all queasy organs and a voice that doesn’t quite fit the sharp guitars and dizzy build supporting it – which means it actually suits the surrounding clatter just perfectly, obviously. There’s the very slightest suggestion that ‘Geraldo’s Farm’ is just a clever steal of Ocean Colour Scene’s ‘Hundred Mile High City’, but the Oldham singer takes the gallop of such Britpop fare and scratches it up, turns the fidelity down, and chucks a banjo at the result. File beside East India Youth as a British newcomer taking pop on and shaping it to suit his own purposes. You’d call him quirky, if you had no fear of sounding like a dick.

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Sivu – ‘Can’t Stop Now’

More singer-songwriter stuff here from a fellow with a Finnish name – don’t tell anyone, but his real name is James Page – and a nice little line in mini-epics recalling Bright Eyes banishing all thoughts of his dark places while disassembling his tumble dryer for instrument components. A world away from Jake Bugg, then. Which can only be a brilliant thing. ‘Can’t Stop Now’ makes me want to throw the roof back on my convertible and head to the coast, to just run away from responsibility for the day. Except, I don’t own a car, I already live beside the sea, and I’m writing this right now. Balls.

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Young Kato – ‘Help Yourself’

Still a bunch of fresh-faced lads unencumbered by music industry pressures though they are, there was a moment back in late 2012 when British sextet Young Kato looked as if they might take great strides towards mainstream attentions. It didn’t quite happen back then, their ‘Break Out’ single ironically restricted to the margins. But the sound of ‘Help Yourself’, like The Maccabees bearing a grittier grasp of guitar riffing, combined with a You Me At Six support jaunt could well flip their fortunes right around. They’ve already beaten me to the beach, so that’s something of a stolen march already. Mind for the sand in your cheesy baps, guys.

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