Tony Naylor's reviews the latest music releases

Boy 8-Bit | Little Boots | Tommy Sparks | The Vivians | Miike Snow | Retro/Grade

Pick of the week: Boy 8-Bit - Baltic Pine (This Is Music)

Ironically, given that 8-Bit surname, chiptune bleeps are about the only thing missing from Baltic Pine. There are echoes of Crookers' remix of Kid Cudi's Day 'N' Night; ecclesiastical organs à la Justice, an accordion break reminiscent of Samim's Heater. In fact, on paper, it reads like a right old mess. But Londoner David Morris is a producer of Zen-like self-control. Where others would go for the jugular, the Boy 8-Bit creates an iridescent mirage of a tune. The (tasteful) pay-off is repeatedly delayed as he diverts into rippling, teasing minimal house, or simply pauses, cockily, for a hushed moment of stunned slow-mo wonder. A subtle, beautiful club banger.

Little Boots - Remedy (679)

If this is the Remedy, let me die of the disease. Please. "I wanted to write a really dark dance-pop song," explains Ms Hesketh, and, in fairness, this - a song which would have romped home as Malta's entry to the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest - is certainly bleak.

Tommy Sparks - Miracle (Island)

"Bright-eyed bushy-tailed Scandinavian pop without the irritant factor," reckon Word magazine, wrongly. I'm with Richard Dawkins. Miracles - and certainly this Miracle - don't happen.

The Vivians - Just Two Girls (Too Pure)

Apparently, the Vivians are being compared (by people who have clearly never heard them) to the New York Dolls. In reality, they're precisely the sort of modern, professional indie band - fascinating haircuts, utterly forgettable tunes - who you might see supporting the Killers. Had someone abducted you at gunpoint and forced you to go to the gig, obviously.

Miike Snow - Animal (Columbia)

Overhyped and over here, Miike Snow are a Swedish-American collaboration of former pop songwriters-for-hire (Spears, Madonna, tripe like that). That they know their way around a tune is not in doubt. Nor is their readiness to sand down the rough edges of their hybrid electronic rock. At times, it's all a bit Oasis-with-synths. This, however, is an odd little runt of a tune; a disarmingly playful, pleasingly melancholy cross-pollination of Peter Gabriel and Hot Chip. Stumble across it on Radio 1, and, briefly, it'll give you a little hope for humanity.

Retro/Grade - Moda (Retro/Grade)

It's not them - Retro/Grade is producers Serge Santiago and Tom Neville - but if you asked Soulwax to write you an Italo disco tune, this is exactly what it would sound like. It would be astonishingly loud, hard and hooky, crunchy of drum, and it'd come with a side order of shameless crowd manipulation. In this case, that means slowing the whole thing down ... in the ... middle ... to ... nothing, before roaring back in analogue homage to Lil Louis's French Kiss. Like being trapped in a warehouse made entirely of graphic equalisers, and, but for Boy 8-Bit, POTW. Fantastic stuff.


Tony Naylor

The GuardianTramp

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