Pete Cashmore's new single releases review

The Metros, Last Of The Lookers | The Duke Spirit, My Sunken Treasure | The Music, Strength In Numbers | Laura Marling, Cross Your Fingers | The Troubadours, I'm Not Superstitious

Pick of the week: The Metros, Last Of The Lookers (1965 Records)
Styling themselves on the cover as Style Council-style fop mods in a way that serves only to exacerbate the fact that each and every Metro looks about eight, these Peckham urchins are all that and a bag of Scampi Fries. Last Of The Lookers is just magnificent, three scratchy chords and Stax brass underpinning a vocal performance so ridiculously faux-thug and full of itself ("We're the south-east lovers/The last of the lookers!" indeed!) that they ought to have gone the whole hog and called it Can You Smell Me ('Cos I'm The Shit)? Rough rapscallion rock record of the year, hands down.

The Duke Spirit, My Sunken Treasure (Universal)
For those of us who know and love the Duke Spirit for their assault of rough riffs and thunderous drums, slipping on My Sunken Treasure is like waiting for a punch in the face and then having your cheeks gently caressed by a velvet glove. It's no exaggeration to report that its nearest sonic sisters would be the Supremes - all swollen with sound and sashaying elegantly, you can, if you try, sing Diana Ross's Chain Reaction comfortably over the top of it. Although that slightly ruins it. As pleasant a surprise as waking up to find a dozen Krispy Kremes on the bedside table and the person who delivered them fellating you.

The Music, Strength In Numbers (Yes Please)
Perhaps it's just the tardy sun shining on this avuncular critic's hunched back, but this truly does seem to be an entirely spiffing week for singles, and this one is every bit as much a pleasant surprise as the Duke Spirit's effort, being as it is a clipped, rectum-tight slice of impassioned, coruscating, near-hysterical white funk with an instant-anthem chorus and a low end the size of a whales-only WeightWatchers meeting. It heartens me to report that their album, out next week and boasting the same title, is much more of the marvellous same.

Laura Marling, Cross Your Fingers (Virgin)
Normally single #4 in the Guide hit parade is when things start to droop faster than a porn film blooper, but Cross Your Fingers is more of the stately, infinitesimally sad loveliness that we have come to expect from Marling, stuffing images of crumbling childhood homes and self-sacrifice for love into 137 seconds of gentle, affecting oddness. Now, will somebody please give me a load of shite to rip into?

The Troubadours, I'm Not Superstitious (Loog Records)
THANK YOU! Actually, that's being unkind: I'm Not Superstitious is resolutely jaunty Merseybeat that couldn't sound any more like the Hollies if it tried, and to be fair, it does try, stuffing its face with multilayered harmonies and more jangle than Mr T's neck. It's entirely pleasant and entirely appropriate for the onset of summer, it's just that, this week, it measures up like a quaking 5'4" weakling next to four WWF wrestlers. Even so, on account of its fundamental niceness, we'll put a little gold star on the handle of their wooden spoon.

Contributor

Pete Cashmore

The GuardianTramp

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