From Indiana to Real Lies: some decent, some dross…
Indiana from Clash issue 98

Usually we have a guest reviewer right here, but our man for the task this week bailed at the last minute. Apparently all of the songs we gave him to check out were so shit he couldn’t bring himself to waste even a few minutes on them. We’ll spare his blushes by naming no names (send us booze and/or cake, though, and I’m sure we’ll spill… maybe).

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Indiana – ‘Only The Lonely’

Clash has had some nice things to say about Nottingham’s Indiana in the past – look, here’s an interview – but ‘Only The Lonely’ sounds like something Ellie Goulding would reject for being too sappy. As sweet as its sentiments might be, there’s no weight to carry the feelings this singer can usually articulate so affectingly. Our man who passed might have been right about this one (sorry, Lauren).

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Laura Welsh – ‘Ghosts’

A one to watch in 2013, north London’s Laura Welsh hasn’t quite broken the big time in the same way as some previous collaborators – she sang on ‘Here For You’, a hit for Gorgon City in 2014, and on the demo of ‘We Found Love’ for Calvin Harris. But then, past tracks like ‘Cold Front’ always sounded too subtle to break the stranglehold of “that’ll do” fare dominating mainstream pop, and ‘Ghosts’, again, treads lightly on beats made of glass. Her voice is powerful, yet purposefully more restrained than countless peers, a soft touch on the ears where other artists would sour the song by blindly belting out their potential.

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Gwen Stefani – ‘Baby Don’t Lie’

What was I just saying about “that’ll do” pop? Don’t lie? Okay, Gwen: this is entirely tiresome. Remember when shit was bananas? Rather that than this lazy approximation of what pop in 2015 needs to sound like.

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Jessie Ware – ‘You And I (Forever)’

I’m probably never going to listen to this song again. Which isn’t because it’s bad. It’s a bit lovely, actually, and co-written by Miguel. But “a bit lovely, actually” isn’t setting a fire inside of me, demanding I play this song over and over. Sounds like it should be the last song on an album (rather than the second, which it is on ‘Tough Love’), the track that plays over the credits of some romantic movie that’s not a complete waste of 90 minutes, as people re-emerge into the foyer. “What was that last song, there, right at the end?” “I can’t recall dear, but it was a bit lovely.” “Yeah, a bit lovely, actually… Drink?”

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Dominic Waxing Lyrical – ‘Thursday (Searching)’

I don’t know who buys music like this, but I’m pretty certain I don’t ever want to be on a National Express service next to them. Three minutes of this, and I feel I need a wash.

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Real Lies – ‘World Peace’

Disclosure: I used to work with one-third of this band, and said third and I have been on a few adventures together over the years (fewer in recent times, mind). That being the case, I can’t really say that I really like this, because obviously that’s nepotism gone mad and oh shit it’s just like #GamerGate. It is good though, isn’t it? Especially if you, like me, got New Order’s ‘(the best of)’ for Christmas 1994.

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Not all shit, then.

Indiana photo by Stephanie Sian Smith, fashion by Avigail Collins

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