Single review: Calvin Harris feat. Frank Ocean & Migos – ‘Slide’

Harris’ first step to making you feel fucking incredible? A pleasant bass-led loop and realisation of your financial inadequacy.

Originally published in The Edge

“All my songs in 2017 have been sonically designed to make you feel fucking incredible,” tweeted Calvin Harris shortly before dropping the least Calvin Harris thing since the transition from chicken-lobbing synth-parading goofball to Vegas-dwelling chiselled Adonis, now decorated in the facial hair department with a veritable forest, commenced after 2009’s Ready For The Weekend. As such, it is only fair that we disregard Harris’ decade of pop heritage when assessing ‘Slide,’ which invites elusive carpenter and emotional maven Frank Ocean to lead the crooning whilst Quavo and Offset of ‘Bad And Boujee’ ad-libbers Migos squeak through augmentation and their oh-so-evident riches for a verse each, and instead consider how fucking incredible it can make one feel. Continue reading “Single review: Calvin Harris feat. Frank Ocean & Migos – ‘Slide’”

Single review: Danny L Harle feat. Carly Rae Jepsen – ‘Super Natural’

An exquisite marriage between ultra-modern melodic oomph and delicate yet alluring pop vocals, ‘Super Natural’ is exactly what it says on the startlingly-polished tin.

Originally published in The Edge

For the uninitiated, PC Music is weird. Perhaps ideally described as a production collective set on a synthetic and garish model for a future in which dance and pop and fun and samples of distorted latex are all synonymous, its most forward-thinking and public-facing presentations to date have come courtesy of affiliate Samuel Long, aka SOPHIEProduct, his own compendium of singles and bleeps, and the Vroom Vroom EP he produced for Charli XCX to launch her label of the same name.

Eloquent in interviews without the need for child-like voice pitching, a smiling and familiar face on camera with an avid social media presence, and producing the signature nectar free from any of the potentially bitter points generally there to be unearthed, the movement has found a frontman perfect for their partnership with the venerable Columbia Records in Danny L Harle. ‘Super Natural,’ his third single of the relationship, is the best yet, catapulting the uber-contemporary brand back towards late-millennium raves. Driven by claps and firmly bleating synths rising throughout, this is as much a hyperactive club record as a stimulating, radio-nudging tune. Continue reading “Single review: Danny L Harle feat. Carly Rae Jepsen – ‘Super Natural’”

Single review: Galantis – ‘No Money’

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Just give Galantis your 99p and sing your overdraft out.

Originally published in The Edge

Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw are no strangers to breakout pop success, adding to their personal hit counts (respective examples include ‘Toxic’ and ‘I Love It’) in 2015 with two UK top 10 singles in ‘Runaway (U & I)’ and ‘Peanut Butter Jelly’ that summoned their Galantis brand of melodic house-pop into the mainstream conscience. Almost exclusively, it uses a formula whereby an endless stream of anonymous vocalists chant pent-up, hollow emotions over euphoric synth explosivity in lieu of conventional choruses. When elaborated over the course of a 49 minute Pharmacy appointment, this concoction becomes rather sickly, and their tracks are easily divided between happy and sad camps.

‘No Money,’ their latest palatable microdose, premiered at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival during one of their terrifyingly acrobatic DJ sets and attempts to smudge those frontiers together. On the lyrical front, it’s perhaps too literal, as “I wanna run away / Anywhere out this place” and “Spread it like peanut butter jelly / Do it like I owe you some money” become a hyperactive lovechild of “I ain’t giving you a dollar / This time I ain’t gonna run away.” The vocals, coming from a belligerent and penniless youthful chanter sure to resonate with students around the land, are an irritatingly repetitive focal point, distorted gently towards 15-second flurries of percussion that escalate to the even more obvious period of flail-spurring and alleviation of pressure to allow the verse to be repeated. Continue reading “Single review: Galantis – ‘No Money’”

Single review: Philip George & Dragonette – ‘Feel This Way’

Two bars of repeated piano? The impeccable Dragonette? Inferences of Earth, Wind & Fire? It’s almost as if Philip George knows the formula to a summer smash.

Originally published in The Edge

With the BRIT Awards taking place on Wednesday and Philip George’s bedroom-produced debut ‘Wish You Were Mine’ up for the British Single award, his third shot up at the top of the charts has prematurely beckoned the season of commercially-oriented house releases. Alongside veteran Canadian electropop ensemble Dragonette, the light nineties vibe of ‘Feel This Way’ easily crafts his most enjoyable release yet. Continue reading “Single review: Philip George & Dragonette – ‘Feel This Way’”

Single review: ODESZA feat. Zyra – ‘It’s Only’

Like the eye of a storm, vengeful lyricism and serene instrumentation combine for ODESZA’s incredible (and surely inevitable) second LP swansong.

Originally published in The Edge

Few in the electronic world can match ODESZA when it comes to atmospheric, emotional production. In 2014 the Seattle duo of Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight put out their second record In Return, a luscious and bewildering journey touching on hip-hop, pop, and orchestral beauty that continues to unveil further nuances even after dozens of listens, defying the prevalent disposability of much of the genre. Continue reading “Single review: ODESZA feat. Zyra – ‘It’s Only’”

Single review: Rat Boy – ‘Move’

Rat Boy’s latest fits its titular bill, but vocal lethargy extinguishes any fulfilment.

Originally published in The Edge

Rat Boy‘s apparent apathy to all that is going on around him grows increasingly. Perhaps it is purely the facade of a young songwriter poised to explode with a lackadaisical Jamie T impression and a dodgy MP3 of some Beastie Boys record. New single ‘Move,’ however, suggests some real difficulties in transferring potential “NRG” into a consistent recorded package for a more discerning crowd. Continue reading “Single review: Rat Boy – ‘Move’”

Single review: LCD Soundsystem – ‘Christmas Will Break Your Heart’

A Christmas miracle from Murphy’s band of bittersweet gloom.

Originally published in The Edge

A flash snowstorm of an LCD Soundsystem return appeared in our Christmas stockings, almost five years after the parting of ways. As James Murphy and the band rip through the festive charade with their typical incisive honesty and schadenfreude-inducing depression poetry eight years in the making, the adage of absence making the heart grow fonder proves itself. Trimmed from 75 lines to “keep the suicide rate in check,” ‘Christmas Will Break Your Heart’ serves as a fitting extension to their previous trembling finale. Continue reading “Single review: LCD Soundsystem – ‘Christmas Will Break Your Heart’”

Single review: Louisa Johnson – ‘Forever Young’

The X Factor conveyor belt comes back around with a Bob Dylan cover that requires patience and misplaced dedication.

Originally published in The Edge

Though the rest of the non-Adele world has moved on, The X Factor seems determined to churn out merchants of meandering vanilla pop. Bob Dylan’s 1974 track ‘Forever Young’ is the latest song with connotations of youthful exuberance and defiance of adversity to receive an agonising balladisation for the festive charts, as 17-year-old Louisa Johnson warbles on the subject of fulfilling dreams and growing up and all that nonsense, with the word “may” appearing every 10 seconds and the title repeated so often it loses meaning. Continue reading “Single review: Louisa Johnson – ‘Forever Young’”

Single review: Coldplay – ‘Adventure Of A Lifetime’

The dawn after the night of Ghost Stories, Adventure Of A Lifetime is an enticing sniff of Coldplay’s happiest album yet.

Originally published in The Edge

Where did Coldplay go after Ghost Stories? Back to the studio to make their happiest album yet, apparently. After teasers in the tube, our first taste of A Head Full Of Dreams comes in the shape of ‘Adventure Of A Lifetime’, where Chris Martin oozes swagger with surprising aplomb. Continue reading “Single review: Coldplay – ‘Adventure Of A Lifetime’”

Single review: Miike Snow – ‘Heart Is Full’

A ’60s sample sets up a refreshing teaser of the bizarre trio’s third LP.

Originally published in The Edge

Miike Snow may bear the least autocorrect-friendly band name this side of the Åland Islands, but the trio certainly knows how to make a catchy song. Between Christian Karlsson, Pontus Winnberg, and Andrew Wyatt you’ll find the duo behind Britney Spears‘ ‘Toxic,’ a singer/songwriter who composed a ballet with Mark Ronson, and one half of Galantis. ‘Heart Is Full’ is their first release together in three years, and signifies a marked change in direction from their indie pop heritage. Continue reading “Single review: Miike Snow – ‘Heart Is Full’”