Summer Camp on review duties...

Well, you can't exactly blame us.

The single reviews column is a tiring business, involving the near relentless pursuit of new music. So every once in a while we like to have a break, to hand the reins over to someone else, someone with a fresh perspective.

This time round, we placed Summer Camp in the hot seat. Or - to be more precise - Elizabeth Sankey.

Here are her thoughts...

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Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Baby
This is a gorgeous cover of a Donnie and Joe Emerson song. I fell in love with Pink's style completely on 'Before Today'. He's got a massive back catalogue (that's what she said), but that album was the first time it seemed everything had come together. He writes about such painful subjects, but the music is always so warm and beautiful. The vocals on this track are perfect, classic soul warble, laced with grit. I am so excited for the new album.

Bombay Bicycle Club - Beg
We freaking love BBC. They make us sick to our stomachs: they're so talented! They're so young! This is a bonus track off their third album, which came out in August last year. It's a good'un, rippling and muscular. Jack Steadman's voice is brilliance, at once fragile and bursting with emotion. Nice.

Bombay Bicycle Club - Beg

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Florence & The Machine - Spectrum
This gives me shivers. It's just a big fat pop song, edging onto disco, but retaining the weight Florence's wail gives to everything. It's exciting to see her pushing into different directions while keeping a hold of what it is that makes her good. That's something every band struggles with. Apparently. Not that keen on the video by David LaChapelle and John Byrne though, only because it looks like there is light shining out of her butt. Yeah, I'm just not ready for that.

Kasabian - Switchblade Smiles
I'm really confused, I thought this came out last year. Well. I feel less bad about being mean about these guys. I think their first mistake was wearing fingerless gloves in the video. I don't want to judge on something like that, but SERIOUSLY? Is it the Tour De Bloody
France? As for the music, well, every aspect of it seems very confused, it's almost like they wrote loads of little sections and then just stapled them together and crossed their fingers. There's the "interesting" use of azan-style hollering, and the opening synth is so dry it puts my teeth on edge. I think this is an example of a band trying to progress but losing sight of what they do well. That said, I'm sure I'm not their target audience.

The Milk - Everytime We Fight
I know absolutely nothing about these guys. Zilch. Paul Lester says they're "white boys struggling to convey the passion and soul of 60's Rn'B". I can hear that. This is very vanilla, very safe, but I imagine it's also incredibly appealing to a huge chunk of the population. It's easy to forget the massive an impact Northern Soul had on the UK music scene, and that it's a big part of our pop heritage. These guys are clearly tapping into that with their factory-closing-working-men's-club-pint-of-bitter-video. It's good, I could play this to my mum and she'd love it, it'd remind her of dancing to Sam Cooke at the Go Go in Newcastle.

The Milk - Everytime We Fight

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Nicki Minaj - Pound The Alarm
Nicki's in Ibiza! She's having a really awesome time! She's a mad bitch but she doesn't wear a muzzle! The music is making her high! I stopped going to clubs about 4 years ago, but I like how many American pop songs are about getting on the dance floor, or flirting with boys,
or shouting "oh-wow-oh-oh". It seems like everyone is having a really wicked time on a saturday night. Hang on, is she saying, "'Pon the DLR?" Oh no, "pound the alarm". I would like this song more if it was about dancing on the way to the Olympic stadium. That is all.

Lana Del Rey - National Anthem
La La La Lana. We recently spent about three hours in the company of Lana on the way to a Norwegian festival. I mean, I didn't talk to her, but I did sit about three rows in front from where I could hear all about the planning of album two. Rest easy guys; it's going well. This song is awesome, I'm a Lana fan, a Fana if you will. She's got it all sorted, all the pieces of pop stardom clicked together perfectly. And on this track she raps in a way that isn't Debbie-Harry-cringe. I love how she's an old school vulnerable 60's starlet, but she plays around with hip hop, sampling, and being achingly cool.

Lana Del Rey - National Anthem

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The Temper Trap - Trembling Hands
How do these guys do it? They just write tracks perfect for adverts over and over and over again. And you might think I'm dissing them, but in these difficult times (sob, poor us, waaa, no one understands how hard it is) that's a bloomin' gift. Getting a song on a phone advert can give you the freedom to keep your autonomy for the next album. However, Jeremy always says Temper Trap are great at choruses and less good at verses, and I kind of agree. It's very listenable though, just a bit...boring.

The Vaccines - No Hope
They came back quick! I really like The Vaccines. Justin's lyrics wow me time and time again. So witty, and clever. His vocals sound great on this, very characterful and laced with tremolo quivers. Stylistically this seems more direct and simple than the songs on their debut - not so heavy on the Dick Dale guitars - but they've kept the call and response. Bodes well for their difficult second album. Ooh and a new haircut!

Photo Credit: Bella Howard

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