Everyone And Us (Domino)
Bearing a timely resemblance to the Waitresses’ Christmas Wrapping – the only song on the seasonal in-store playlist that doesn’t make you want to throw up all over the marzipan snow scene – Everyone And Us proves that even in this season of sickly over-indulgence, less is more. Turns out you don’t need a backing chorus of tinsel-decked orphans to generate that warm, fuzzy feeling; just a hearty bassline, a smattering of house piano and an endearingly off-key vocal about seizing the day. “Let’s lose ourselves in the moment,” chants Indra Dunis, “time is the only opponent.” In other words: if you do all your shopping online, there’s more time for swigging Baileys and photocopying your arse.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
Jump Hi Feat Childish Gambino (Outsiders/Polydor)
Lion Babe are a little too perfect: a New York duo comprising the daughter of Wilhelmina from Ugly Betty and a guitarist who looks like Adam from Girls with a boyband makeover. Still, the Nina Simone-sampling Jump Hi is a great insouciant pop-soul number, the kind of thing that Erykah Badu might be doing if she weren’t so busy goosing news reporters.
Left Hand Free (Infectious)
Alt-J recently expressed “concerns” (ie, they secretly hoped) that this faintly bluesy chugalong, with its references to guns and prodigal sons, would emerge as the theme song for an NRA convention. Evidently, though, the sound of a man from Hampshire singing “gee whizz” in a gargly voice hasn’t convinced the gun lobby to ditch their Kid Rock records in favour of fiddly folktronica about licking crisp packets. Next time, Alt-J need to go the whole hog: banjos, confederate flag Nudie suits, guest verse from Glenn Beck. And instead of singing “Let’s tessellate” they could sing “Let’s terminate – with extreme prejudice”. Just a suggestion.
You’ve got to admire Ben Howard for sneaking this quasi-ambient, John Martyn-esque number on to the Radio 1 playlist; it’s the most unassuming thing they’ve played since Diana’s death gave an unexpected PRS boost to producers of Café Del Mar chillout. Yet it still can’t resist building to one of those faux-rousing choruses so beloved of Generation Mumford, and Ben still sings as if he’s doing a really apologetic Tarzan impression.
Nicki Minaj Feat Skylar
Grey Bed Of Lies (Young Money/Universal)
For all her whipsmart put-downs, compulsive bum-waggling and accidental Nazi videos, Nicki Minaj is capable of making some really boring singles, and this is the boringest: a cliche-ridden break-up mope helmed by the emo Dido, Skylar Grey. To be fair, most of the cliches here are Skylar’s; Nicki’s brief verses skewer a feckless ex-lover in typically pithy fashion. As my gran always said, though: if it ain’t twerkin’, it ain’t workin’