With Muse, Bastille, Gaz Coombes...
The Good Natured

Usually, we’d have a guest reviewer covering this lovely spread of new singles. But we’ve been cruelly stood up, and by a stalwart of the British indie scene, too.

It’s okay, we forgive him, as he’s evidently a splendidly nice chap. Why does it always rain on him? We can’t quite recall.

However, it means that you, readers – not to mention the artists below – are now in the hands of Clash’s own opinions.

Uh oh, right?

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The Good Natured – ‘Skeleton’

These synthy sorts (pictured, above) might call Hampshire home, but they’re hardly southern softies based on this sharp-hooked blast of silkily produced stomp-along pop. It’s like someone grabbed Ellie Goulding by the blouse and shook her wildly – not too wildly, of course – and stressed: “Ellie, you can be better than this… this… toss.

Only, that’ll never happen now, as The Good Natured have beaten her to the punch bowl. One laced with tasty booziness. One that’ll make you sick after so many visits, but for now it’s hitting the spot.

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Bastille – 'Laura Palmer'

There’s a great bit in this song – a song that sounds like a thousand songs before it – where a dog butts in and sort of howls, like a dog that’s not been fed in three days. At that moment, the ears actually find something that exists outside of absolute predictability. More dogs in pop, please.

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Gaz Coombes – ‘Break The Silence’

That Coombes is a genius of the Britpop era is in no doubt. The first two Supergrass albums, and even much of the third: solid-gold classics of the period, which stand up to repeat plays today, even when the listener isn’t indulging in slightly less-than-sober nostalgia.

‘Break The Silence’ is all throbs and pulses where Supergrass traded in catchy riffs – but its maker’s innate pop sensibilities still shine through. It crunches and rushes, weaves and bobs and bleeps a little, too. It’s a little bit brilliant, actually. Almost as if glam-rock was re-written by those Daft Punk robots. Someone give this man an MBE for services to pop, like, now.

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Miles Kane – 'Don't Forget Who You Are'

From a songwriter whose individual qualities are evident whatever style he’s playing around with, to one whose attempts to operate in a purely solo capacity are regularly shadowed by associations: be that his Last Shadow Puppets co-captain Alex Turner or Paul Weller, who worked with Kane on his new LP, ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’.

This title-track might serve as self-referential, in the sense that Kane does possess nous enough to carve a niche that is his own, so long as he isn’t too distracted by collaborations. That’ll have to happen in time, though, as this song doesn’t cut any rug in a particularly singular fashion – despite a rollicking, rousing chorus so super-sized that it can bring down passing planes. That vocal effect at 2.22 is just horrible, mind. No need, Kane. No need.

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Mark Owen – 'Stars'

Aww, little Mark. Always the runt of the Take That litter. Had a thing for citrus fruit for a while there – likewise Feeder, of course – but he’s come through it to today be making accomplished-enough adult-pop-rock like this. And, y’know, it’s about five-times preferable to Bastille’s soulless reprint of Coldplay. ‘Stars’ is a sweet number that, if you didn’t know it was by Mark Owen, would probably have you Shazam-ing Radio 2 to see what young buck was producing such subtly impressive fare.

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Muse – ‘Panic Station’

In Mark Owen’s video, he’s a wandering astronaut, a little lost. Here, members of Muse zap themselves across a city, acting like proper pricks from a future no man worth their mind would want to exist in. Owen’s time-traveller: preferable company. If ‘Panic Station’ was a videogame it’d probably be great: Jet Set Radio meets Gitaroo Man meets Rampage. Based on the visuals here, anyway. Shame the song’s complete balls…

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Don’t worry: someone other than one of the Clash team will be ‘on this’ next time. Which is for the best, as we don’t want to piss off every PR out there.

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