THE BEGINNING

7-inches by Summer Camp, Deerhunter, Not Squares, Dels and No Age.

summercampsingle

Summer Camp
Young
[Moshi Moshi]

Since Summer Camp melted a heart or two (hundred) with debut single ‘Ghost Train’ (a song so nostalgic and sweetly take-home-to-your-mother it’s also made this 6-track EP) they’ve been continually described as “hazy”, “dreamy”, “lo-fi”, “naively charming” and so on. And not unfairly, either – Elizabeth Sankey’s vocals could easily acquit her of smoking-gun homicide and Jeremy Warmsley’s chiming instrumentations are just as doe-eyed.

‘Young’ starts with a different side to this duo though, and one we could do with seeing a bit more of. ‘Round The Moon’ pitches seasick organs next to lead vocals from Warmsley that warble and bubble as if under water, not unlike Brooklyn’s Blank Dogs. There’s still a heavy undercurrent of twee present (especially once Sankey pipes up with an expertly cooed refrain of “we danced all night and we held each other tight”), but there’s also a sense of mystery there. Danger even.

It’s soon back to teenage woes, though – ‘Was It Worth It’ talks of being upset at a boy’s parents house; ‘Why Don’t You Stay’ asks us to “think back to the summer”, just in time for those “hazy” adjectives to pop up again – and while it’s no bad thing, per se, it feels a little like Summer Camp are hearing those comparisons and driving towards them, while clearly, as the more sinister ‘Veronica Sawyer’ also attests, they’re best when they flirt with darker sounds and themes.

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Not Squares
Release The Bees
[Pogo/The Richter Collective]

Dance crumblies Faithless have beaten the reaper all these years not with one banger, but with one immaculately placed drop in one song. For them, “I can’t get no sleep” chills many a spine to this day, and has Maxi Jazz and Sister Bliss still playing Glastonbury in their late 40s/early 50s. Belfast trio Not Squares clearly know the power of a spoken refrain in amongst relentless trance synths and electronic thumps. Their “get ready for the launch” is a simple “release the bees”, purred by a Nick Cave sound-a-like. And boy does it work! This’ll keep Not Squares going for some time.

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No Age
Glitter
[Sub Pop]

The ‘long version’ of ‘Glitter’ that appears on its 12” release is only so due to a pretty needless creaking hum of feedback that scrapes on for the longest two-minutes of your life. Still, it’s worth the extra pennies for ‘In Rebound’ – a rattling fuzzy/clean B-side far superior to that of ‘Inflorescence’, which appears on the 7” version, buzzing about nicely enough but sounding very much like a No Age off-cut. Back to ‘Glitter’ itself: it’s definitely this duo’s best single yet, low on the tin can production and featuring themes that aren’t just audible but pretty life-affirming.

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Dels
Shapeshift
[Big Dadda]

There are almost too many neat tricks to get a handle on here – tricks that propel Dels far further ahead of his grime peers and pals; from the misleading, Bay City Rollers-esque intro that’s soon met by Kieran Dicken’s unquestionably British vocal (all deep and reminiscent of early Kano) to playful name checks of Bret The Hitman Heart. What makes ‘Shapeshift’ really special though are the beats and electronics from Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard. Thick, syrupy and imitating Crystal Castles’ Atari-meltdown sound (if that band listened to funk instead of metal), this rapper and electro wiz could be grime game-changers.

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Deerhunter
Revival
[4ad]

We’re so used to finding Deerhunter staring at their shoes and coyly getting on with their trademark ambient rock sound that ‘Revival’ – the first glimpse into fourth album ‘Halcyon Digest’ – at first seems like a totally different, uncharacteristically confident and jolly band. It’s a jaunty departure from their previous work, clearly inspired by the sixties and sounding like Spinal Taps’ pre-metal ‘Listen To The Flower People’. Having tittered at that for a second, ‘Revival’’s serenity is welcome as Bradford Cox and co. finally seem as content as their talents should allow them to be.

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Originally published in issue 20 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. August 2010

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