Clean Bandit Review The Singles

Tracks from Kanye West, C2C, Infinity Ink…
Clean Bandit

Clean Bandit are going places. The electro foursome smashed Glastonbury after breaking the top 20 with the track ‘Mozart’s House’ and touring with Disclosure. They then revealed their new EP, ‘Dust Clears’, which lands in those stores on July 29th. With over 400k views for the lead track on that YouTube, it’s clear that people are taking notice of the outfit.

The band – Grace Chatto and Neil Amin-Smith (both strings), Jack Patterson (bass, sax, decks) and Luke Patterson (drums) – embarks on its first UK headline tour in October. Dates are after this week’s singles round up – all words by Grace from the band, as she kindly took on the mission of finding something fresh to say on Kanye West.

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Clean Bandit – ‘Dust Clears’

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Kanye West – ‘Black Skinhead’

As well as the panting drumbeat, which is either a direct reference or a sample from it, there is a general closeness to Marilyn Manson’s ‘The Beautiful People’ here. While Manson’s anger seems to be about discrimination in general, Kanye West is concerned with racial issues in particular. The Ku Klux Klan imagery in the video is scary, and it leaves me wondering whether he is pointing out that ‘black skinheads’ exist now or whether it is a threat, that he empathises with a desire for revenge and feels possessed with anger… Or something else entirely. Anyway, I found the song unappealing when I first heard it on the radio. With the video it became more interesting, but the ‘interactive’ quality did not really work for me.

(Interactive on Kanye West’s website)

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Infinity Ink – ‘Infinity’

I am hearing this for the first time, and it seems like these are Die Antwoord’s English cousins! It’s like my friend from school who thought he could rap, but no one else thought he could. But actually he can! Maybe it’s him!

I’m really feeling the bassline, which has similar notes to The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ but with a completely different vibe. It’s sexy and the whole thing is so simple and dancey. When the female vocal comes in it’s nice that she’s in a major key against the minor bass and male vocal.

I find him sexy in the video, and I love the coral snake.

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C2C – ‘Down The Road’

It opens like a classic blues song, but moves into Daft Punk (are there short samples of the vocal from ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ in there?) and Justice and Kissy Sell Out. When lots of the instrumental drops out and the lyrics become completely clear, it is the best moment in the video and the climax of the song: we hear “Down the road I go,” and we see the underside of the skateboard, and the graphic of the deck is virtual reality, with keyboards and asteroids whizzing along.

The video and song work perfectly together. The scratched harmonica fits so well with the quick flipping between backwards and forwards skateboarding. Luke (our drummer, who is also a pro skateboarder) tells me the hero of the video is Richie Jackson. The jazz pirate of the skateboarding world, his laidback style is in brilliant harmony with the blues at the heart of this track.

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Ming City Rockers – ‘Chic And The Motherf*ckers’

It's so great to hear people still making decent punk rock music. Nice guitar solo! Love the subtle femininity of the woman (the bass player?). Why so nostalgic, though?

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Mausi – ‘Move’

This is so fun and youthful and the singer has such a strong and beautiful voice. Catchy electronic hooks keep the track bursting with energy. Love these guys! And they have remixed our song ‘Dust Clears’, which is exciting (and will be online soon)!

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Stooshe – ‘My Man Music’

All three have great voices and I kind of like the song, but it feels like they are not completely suited to one another – the voices and the song. The song has a Jamaican feel and the band has Cockney accents that sometimes feel a bit unnatural. The lyrics are uninspiring but there is a nice summery feel, something reminiscent of Lily Allen.

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Amplify Dot featuring Busta Rhymes – ‘I’m Good’

There is fast and constant rap and the instrumental is hard. Amplify Dot looks cool – I’d not seen her before – but Busta Rhymes is not in the video. Sad face.

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Thomas Dybdahl – ‘But We Did’

The guitar playing and writing is beautiful. It’s quite moody and we love the snow in the video. His voice is very gentle and distinctive: a lot of emotion and character comes through.

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Clean Bandit – ‘Dust Clears’

(Video, page top)

‘Dust Clears’ is about new beginnings. We wrote it with Jimmy Napes, who co-wrote one of our favourite songs of last year, Disclosure’s ‘Latch’. In the video, the hero is at work in a steel factory, dreaming of a fantasy world in which he becomes Raeburn’s Skating Minister and frolics with musicians on a frozen lake. We shot the video in Sweden. In the factory scenes at the start, we are manufacturing the ice-skateboard that Luke rides towards the end.

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‘Dust Clears’ is released on July 28th and features remixes from Thom of Alt-J (Clash’s track of the day – check it out here), Jack Savidge and Russ Chimes. Also included on the EP is the track ‘Rihanna’.

Find Clean bandit online here. The four tour in October as follows…

October
20th – Nottingham, Bodega
21st – Leeds, Cockpit
22nd – Glasgow, King Tuts
24th – Manchester, Gorilla
25th – Birmingham, Academy 2
26th – London, Electric Brixton
27th – Brighton, Digital
29th – Belfast, Limelight 2
30th – Dublin, Academy 2

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