Maps Reviews The Singles

Tracks from Phoenix, Petite Noir and Pink...
Maps by Phil Sharp

We’re partial to a little Maps at Clash HQ. The musical moniker of one James Chapman, it’s a name synonymous with high-quality, pop-orientated electro with a healthy dose of sincerity and soul.

With his excellent new album, ‘Vicissitude’, released via Mute on July 8th (read our review here), the time seemed right to get the Mercury Prize-nominated Chapman into our singles reviewer hot seat.

So we did. Here’s the man’s thoughts on the best, and worst, that July 8th’s singles release schedule has to offer.

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Kat Dahlia – ‘Gangsta’

I like this. She seems to have something a bit different to a lot of this kind of stuff. It has a melancholy feel to it. I like her delivery as well, sounds like there is some underlying aggression there. I’m pretty sure she’s going to be massive, good luck to her.

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Little Green Cars – ‘My Love Took Me Down To The River (To Silence Me)’

Wow, she has a powerful voice! This is pretty good. It’s not really my thing but it’s certainly an original sound. Her voice definitely makes them stand out from the crowd. The backing vocals remind me a bit of Fleet Foxes, and have a nice folky vibe. That chorus is quite ‘70s-sounding. That’s a good thing, by the way!

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Phoenix – ‘Trying To Be Cool’

I never fully got into Phoenix, but every time I hear them I always like it. The music for Sophia Coppola’s ‘Somewhere’ made that movie. Ah man, this chorus is great! I love the chord progressions. It sounds very retro, but I like it. I can imagine it would suit being remixed as well. There’s a great hook in that chorus. Very nice.

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Ke$ha feat. will.i.am – ‘Crazy Kids’

I really wanted to say something positive about all these songs but, come on, she sounds like a robot! I guess it would sound good in a club. But I’d probably leave. What the hell was that rap about? It’s like he just gave up and started rapping gibberish. Jesus. I really don’t like whistling in songs either. Apart from on ‘Wind Of Change’ by Scorpions, obviously. Now that was a good song!

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Pink feat. Lily Allen – ‘True Love’

I think this has a strong melody. The chorus is really catchy, with nice harmonies. I thought Lily Allen had retired? It’s nice to hear her again. I can hear this being a big song for the summer. It has a happy vibe about it.

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Sebastian Ingrosso and Tommy Trash – ‘Reload’

This isn’t really doing it for me. I can’t help thinking it would be better without that vocal, but I guess it wouldn’t sell as much. What’s that video all about? It looks mega-budget. I don’t really understand what he’s singing about, either. It’s okay I suppose, just not my thing.

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Petite Noir – ‘Noirse’

This is great! One of those tracks that really sounds original. I like all the different musical influences that seem to be in there. It’s quite haunting. Probably not something I would normally seek out, but I really like this track and am interested to hear more.

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Lucy Spraggan – ‘Lighthouse’

This is pretty nice. It’s the kind of song you can imagine being played at the end of a night in a pub. It’s got that kind of stompy, folky Mumford & Sons thing going on. It’s pretty upbeat and chirpy. I like the fact that she still sings with her accent as well. It’s a fun song. I mean, I won’t buy it myself, but it’s better than Ke$ha.

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Maps photo by Phil Sharp

Maps is online here. Chapman engaged in a Personality Clash recently, with Tom Herbert of The Invisible, and that piece can be read here.

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