24th March 2016
New Order – ‘Singularity’
Still going strong after 35 years in the music biz, the Mancunian band’s new single is from last September’s tenth studio album Music Complete. The song is accompanied by a video featuring images of violence and destruction – police riot squads, peeved civilians flinging Molotov cocktails and aggressive punk types flipping the bird to camera. Oddly, this isn’t footage of an average Friday night in Blackpool but clips taken from 2015 documentary B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin 1979-89, an account of record producer Mark Reeder’s life in Berlin during that period.
The video captures the true horrors of the Berlin Wall era – police brutality, state sponsored repression, conflict on the streets and err…grown men soaping up their buttocks while showering on rooftops and individuals wearing shell-suit tops and tiny, genital restricting shorts launching Frisbees into the “death strip”. Thank God we’ve moved on. As for the music, it’s a decent slice of electronica that vindicates the band’s era spanning shelf life.
Blue House – ‘Simple Song’
Not to be confused with their triumvirate namesakes of a folk act from the San Francisco Bay area, a rock covers band taking weddings by storm in the North East of England or a well know housing association in Frome, Blue House are actually a emerging duo from London who specialise in what has been dubbed “Dreamily whooshing, nostalgically jangling, indie-pop”. Rather than cynically using this feature just as an opportunity for sardonicism and the inevitable light ribbing of a nation and its people torn asunder by international politics (see above), it’s probably a good idea to extol the virtues of a genuinely favoured track every once in a while.
Thus, ‘Simple Song’ has made it on to my ipod this week and its attractive, Belle & Sebastian tinged indie has enjoyed several plays. Featuring a catchy, picked guitar hook, staccato keyboards and some quirky lyrics – “If I was a hammerhead sharking around in the sea, well I would make like a shark and then you would shark for me” – this is a rather enjoyable second single.
Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbot – ‘(Man Is) The Biggest Bitch of All’
Several decades of music video censorship has taught us that even the task of slipping in lyrics about as controversial as a Sunday morning game of Scrabble against Daniel O’Donnell is a difficult one. We all remember the verse from ‘The Fairytale of New York’ being eviscerated with the pointless editing of the fairly innocuous line “an old slut on junk”. Tut. How else is one supposed to describe promiscuous, middle-aged harlots with pernicious smack habits?
In changing the lyric of a 1996 Beautiful South song to “Don’t marry her, have me” to the rather more artistic “Don’t marry her, fuck me”, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbot clearly have previous in the realm of forced censorship. While that edit was understandable, the transposing of “witch” and “bitch” for radio-play purposes in their new single feels a tad silly. Rather than a caustic comment on either masculine unpleasantness or subservience, the song’s title now reads as a surrealist bit of gumpf about men being colossally statured practitioners of necromancy.