The vocals on a record can draw a listener in, or repel them. It’s also utterly unpredictable how the sound of a person’s singing voice will affect you, and two seemingly very similar voices can have me on the dance floor or reaching for the off button. Take Clock Opera for example: I like the intro to ‘Once And For All’. Its pulsing electronic opening catches me instantly, then the vocals crash in and it’s a bit Guy Garvey, it’s a bit Doves, a bit dull but pleasant, and suddenly I’m hating it.

What follows doesn’t win me back. It’s still a bit Doves, a bit Elbow but a bit electronic (did I mention this?). Turns out the lyrics of ‘Man Made’ were “formed by deconstructing and reassembling a 20p women’s magazine story about a beauty pageant in a Siberian prison.” Interesting, perhaps, or is it a dull gimmick with no chance of ever connecting with you emotionally? It’s probably that.

By Olly Parker

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