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Single/Download Review

Fists / Tigers That Talked / Theoretical Girl / Rose Elinor McDougall / Screaming Mimi / Telepathe / Effi Briest
Singles round-up

Article written by Ged M - Jun 17, 2009

‘Cockatoo’ by Fists (Hello Thor 7”) is lo-fi Modern Lovers-embracing indiepop from Nottingham that doesn’t take a full three minutes to gently assert its charms, full of slightly discordant summer evening fairground rhythms. B-side ‘Skit’ goes really (I mean K Records-style) lo-lo-lo-fi, full of hypno-hooks. Lovely. Myspace

Tigers That Talked play orchestral pop with a folky twist. The title track of the ‘Black Heart, Blue Eyes’ EP uses clever tempo changes to keep you hooked to its indie-folk wanderings; Fanfarlo come to mind as it plays. ‘Smokescreen’ is heartbreaking, hushed and delicate Americana while the gypsy-folk ‘Duet’ is a blur of crazy violins chased by a manic drummer. It brazenly disregards borders, zigzagging in search of the perfect song, while getting more and more unhinged. If these men don’t have earrings, full moustaches and a rakish glint in their eyes, I for one will be disappointed. Myspace

The new single from Theoretical Girl, 'Rivals' (Memphis Industries), starts with a bright synth-shimmer like the Human League but then takes on a more serious, thoughtful hue. You can dance to, or curl up with, this one - either way. it's pretty compelling. The acoustic version of 'The Boy I Left Behind' is a sweet-voiced love song that could be by Sandie Shaw for all its violin-laced loveliness. Myspace

Remember the McVitie's Jamaican ginger cake that your granny used to serve? Rose Elinor Dougall's voice has the same rich, dark, sharp quality on new single 'Start/Stop/Synchro' (Scarlett Recordings). This 60s-style baroque pop shows its class by eschewing the immediate hooks and, instead, has a more insidious effect, producing a cherishable gem of indie melancholy. 'Static Saturday' is Rose indulging her inner noisenik, the clinks, clunks and bleeps reflecting her love of Broadcast and the Cocteau Twins. Given the way the Pipettes have become the equivalent of a 90s Motown touring act, it's reassuring to see the original talent in such fine voice. Myspace

I had reservations about a whole album of Screaming Mimi but their singles are another matter. Darkness stalks this single like the murder-mystery that surrounds the subject of ‘Dorothy Millette’ (who was allegedly the secret wife of Jean Harlow’s soon-to-be-dead husband in the 1930s). It has such noir stylings that Raymond Chandler could have claimed a co-credit. ‘Dirtypillowslip’ leaves the lights off for a very bleak love song that has shades of the Long Blondes and some very unsettling theremin. It’s not typical of Yorkshire folk to give anything away, so take advantage of this rare opportunity to download the songs for free from our chums the Sheffield Phonographic Corporation. Free download page

On a split 7” single on Skinny Wolves Records, two Brooklyn bands cover each others’ songs in very different ways. Telepathe offer a synth-pop remix of ‘Mirror Rim’ that was originally a more ritualistic primal chant and cover it in buzzy electronic noise and bubbly vocals; Effi Briest return the favour by versioning ‘Chromes On It’ in a post-punk-dub style. Both work well, respecting but redefining the originals, although this highlights Effi Briest’s infectious sense of invention even more. label site

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