By Mary Chang on Tuesday, 5th November 2013 at 12:00 pm
Funny how this single from The Courteeners comes along just shortly after Keane announced they had decided to go on hiatus. ‘Are You in Love with a Notion?’, the opening track of the Manchester band’s third album ‘Anna’ released in February, will be released as a single in its own right in December on Polydor. Surely, the Courteeners’ fan faithful have already committed this song to memory, having bought the album and seen the band on tour or at festivals this year. But even if you don’t have Liam Fray’s poster on your bedroom wall, it’s a tune worth your attention, and I’ll tell you why.
I mentioned Keane in the previous paragraph because the anthemic piano banging that takes place in ‘Are You in Love with a Notion?’ has been compared by others to Doves but I find it more like Tim Rice-Oxley in its key scratching, in terms of more recent memory. The subject matter isn’t new: a man is clearly bemoaning that a woman’s choice – or maybe desire is the better word? – to settle for a man who might not be the right one for her. It’s not spelled out, but the suggestion the protagonist is a far better choice is hiding in here. Another theme is that of running away and escaping to a better life; perhaps that’s where NME was going when they were comparing this song to Doves and therefore our namesake ‘There Goes the Fear’? One could argue the “notion” in the song could be marriage, or love itself; for the purpose of this discussion, it doesn’t matter. The girl wants to “quit Debenhams” and leave her shop girl existence to “elope and get married in the sun”, and she’s already gleefully informed her girlfriends “that all your [her] dreams were made”. Do I know girls like this? Yes. More importantly, do you know girls like this?
Along with its feel good chorus perfect for a singalong, this would have been enough for a radio hit. However, Fray has some interesting word choices, elevating this song from usual Radio 1 fodder. “You linger on a feeling / that you can’t quite put your finger on / reminiscent of a summer in the Isle of Wight” – our protagonist insists the feeling is fleeting and isn’t sufficient to tie down the girl, even if she thinks “it’s too late / to back out at this stage”. Later on, Fray quips, “but then your home screen flashed some more / he was never one for serenade”: ‘the one’ in question uses texting to romance his lady love. Not exactly Shakespeare, is it? But it drives home the point of the song: don’t settle.
The next single from the Courteeners, ‘Are You in Love with a Notion?’, will be released on the 9th of December on Polydor. They will be on tour in the UK in December.
By Mary Chang on Tuesday, 5th November 2013 at 10:00 am
Fancy something free from The 1975? You do You’re in luck, then. We’ve got the Knocks‘ remix of ‘Girls’ for you this Tuesday morning. Listen to and grab it for your very own from the Soundcloud widget below.
We continue our SXSW 2014 preview with Martin’s thoughts on a man who reinvented himself, to us music lovers’ delight…
To Be Frank is the pseudonym of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Frank Pescod, who, after a period writing contract music for TV and film, and brands as prestigious as Louis Vuitton, found the desire for the limelight was too strong; To Be Frank was created as a platform to spread his music to a wider audience. Things kicked off with single ‘If You Love Her’, a tender piece of whimsical electronica that showcased Pescod’s delicate, soulful voice and neat way with a minimalist arrangement, but didn’t really go much further. Sophomore release ‘Nothing’ introduced glitchy beats and a more insistent groove, playing on urban r‘n’b stylings but still remaining resolutely downtempo.
Third single ‘Half the Man’ (video at the end of this post), out today, is the sound of Frank really hitting his stride. A more pacey number than previously, with jumpy synth stabs and handclaps keeping things moving, Frank’s dreamy vocal remains the primary attraction, along with a further helping of romantic, almost saccharine, lyrical sentiment. All in all, a tasteful slice of electronic soul. But all this synth-centricity belies a sneaking suspicion that, at heart, Frank is essentially a traditional songwriter, and some of his lesser-known pieces pay testament to his love of simpler instrumentation. ‘Big Frank’, in particular, is a delicate confection of distant acoustic piano and sombre violin, adorned with the just the lightest touches of ambient electronica; in many ways a more interesting listen than his more mainstream efforts.
It’s clear that this is a project in its early stages; the benefit of which is that every release tells us something new about the artist concerned. And with such an intriguing combination of chartbait and esoterica at his fingertips, To Be Frank really is one to keep an eye on.
By Mary Chang on Monday, 4th November 2013 at 11:00 am
Stephen Black, better known by his adorable stage name Sweet Baboo, took time out of his current UK tour to answer our Quickfire Questions. Read on to find out which of our questions led him to choose All Saint -or- Hefner…
Sweet Baboo’s ‘Motorhome Songs’ EP is out in one week, on the 11th of November, on Moshi Moshi Records.
What song is your earliest musical memory?
David Bellamy – ‘Brontosaurus Will You Wait For Me’.
What was your favourite song as a child?
Either the above or ‘The Alamo Song’ by Marty Robbins.
What song makes you laugh?
‘Eno Collaboration’ by Half Man Half Biscuit or System of a Down – ‘Toxicity’.
What song makes you cry?
Euros Childs – ‘Parents Place’.
What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
‘Pure Shores’ by All Saints or ‘Love Will Destroy Us in the End’ by Hefner. Both sweet and sexy in equal measures.
What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Today it would be ‘Pink Moon’ by Nick Drake.
Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’d work in transport.
If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Shit, I would have said ‘Thin Lizzy Live’ and Dangerous but that’s a double album too I think, does a single CD count? If so, maybe no one in heaven would have thought to have brought that album up there yet.
Many thanks to Stephen for answering these questions for us and Jonathan for sorting this all out for us.
By Mary Chang on Monday, 4th November 2013 at 9:00 am
The Courteeners will be touring the UK in December. Tickets are on sale now.
Monday 2nd December 2013 – Preston 53 Degrees
Tuesday 3rd December 2013 – London Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Thursday 5th December 2013 – Middlesbrough Empire
Friday 6th December 2013 – Lincoln Engine Shed
Saturday 7th December 2013 – Birmingham Academy
Monday 9th December 2013 – Hull University
Tuesday 10th December 2013 – Aberdeen Music Hall
Wednesday 11th December 2013 – Glasgow Barrowlands
Friday 13th December 2013 – Manchester Phones 4U Arena