Singles: Frank Ocean, Metallica, A.B. Original & More
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FRANK OCEAN : Nikes
The thing with this is, Frank just makes it all seem so effortless. There’s a groggy stream of consciousness, pitched-up, creating a disjointed calm, a sense of honesty. Clearing into a raw, slightly autotune-inflected vocal, Nikes possesses layers, cascading and serene. It’s a work of beauty, so familiar yet alien, a masterstroke beginning to a masterstroke album. Patience is a virtue.
METALLICA : Hardwired
At the end of 2014, Metallica took to The Late Late Show to perform Hit The Lights, the opening track from their 1983 debut Kill ‘Em All. It’s still a fucking sick album. But the performance felt like it was missing that pure thrash energy. Hetfield’s voice falters, old mate Lars struggles to keep up. It seemed like wanting Metallica to return to their thrash roots would be ill-advised. But here we are with Hardwired. Against the odds, we have a solid example of thrash from Metallica in 2016. Hardwired…To Self-Destruct could well be a surprise not-terrible Metallica album. Fingers crossed.
DIE ANTWOORD : We Have Candy
For all their many shortcomings, I kind of dig some of Die Antwoord’s rave rap bangers. We Have Candy is dumb. Not even dumb fun. It’s vaudevillian idiocy, a diss track at Starbucks I think. Sometimes novelty isn’t novel.
PIXIES : Talent
Pixies’ trademark loud-quiet dynamic has evolved into something resembling a shit-slightly less shit dynamic. There’s a strive for detached cool, but nothing ever sounds dangerous here. It just sounds bad, putting Frank in the fore. Not as blaringly shithouse as other recent Pixies tracks but.
CLIENT LIAISON : Wild Life
It’s a slight case of diminishing returns at this stage for Client Liaison’s singles. By no means a devastating affliction, but it’s resulted in Wild Life being perhaps the weakest Client Liaison song yet. The hook is weak, everything else feels like familiar territory. Only saving grace is the Seven Wonders-style melodic climb peppered in the background. Hopefully it’s a matter of getting it out of the system in the lead-up to the album.
DD DUMBO : Walrus
There are shades of Dirty Projectors’ guitar flourish, and their vocal stunts, also, in Walrus. It largely works, coming together for a series of moments quite easy on the ears. It carries with a gentle, welcoming momentum. There’s nothing mind-blowing here, but a nice follow up from previous single, the strong Satan. Some tricks work – the surprise love-invoking folk breakdown – and some don’t, the overwrought vocal-play loop at the end. Still, the debut album is set to be a corker.
THE PEEP TEMPEL : Rayguns
On their previous album, The Peep Tempel provided some tidy glimpses into dark Australiana, sparing in fleshed-out narrative. On record, it wasn’t too revelatory. But as shown in one of the biggest Meredith moments in recent years, Carol was built for large-scale communal shout-alongs. Rayguns, the first single from The Peep Tempel’s upcoming record, retains that potent characteristic, sifting in a lyric sheet that strikes a balance between storyteller and fist-pump syllables (particularly on the “The regime is coming / And they’re all on ice” chorus). There’s punk tremolo in the vocal, searing guitar lines throughout. There’s good growth here.
SINGLE OF THE WEEK
A.B. ORIGINAL FEAT. DAN SULTAN : January 26
Briggs and Trials stepped things up in terms of lyrical power with A.B. Original, which isn’t to say they were lyrical lightweights beforehand. Briggs relishes with knockout punchlines on January 26, Dan Sultan threads the track with a powerhouse hook, Trials’ bars are razor sharp. Another factor with the tracks released by A.B. Original so far is the exploration of hip hop’s history of production. January 26 slinks with G-funk elements, on-point on all levels. There’s a sense of fearlessness, through both lyrics and production, Briggs and Trials really pushing themselves, and in turn, Australian hip hop, into exciting new, and old, musical territory. Upcoming album Reclaim Australia might just do what it says on the tin, and then some. Get hyped.