Tracks of the week reviewed: Tom Aspaul, Doves, Boyzlife

This week we’ve got painful breakup bop, dreamlike retro-futuristic pop and dolled-up boyband plop

Tom Aspaul


There’s a bit in this featherlight-yet-defiant “no honestly I’m fine, it’s fine” Italo disco pre-breakup bop that really hurts. It comes at the end of the second verse, after all the bits about emotional sleepwalking and papering over cracks, when Aspaul’s (pictured) sugary vocal calcifies slightly as he sings: “You cannot say we didn’t try.” Crying on the dancefloor? Sobbing in the loos, more like.

Victoria Monét ft Khalid & SG Lewis


Imagine falling back on to a bed of plump, silk-covered pillows, each one double layered on a fluffy cloud surrounded by a waterfall of oozing honey. Suddenly two labrador puppies appear and nuzzle your neck while a thickset man spoons Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream into your mouth. Er, well, anyway, this dreamlike, retro-futuristic disco shimmer from today’s go-to pop songwriter is as relaxing as all that.



Dust off your Clarks tan desert boots because Doves are back! Yes, after a bit of a break, Jimi with the beard, Jez with the guitar – was it? – and his brother Andy at the back, have popped a new song online. It’s classic Doves, actually: more experimental than they get credit for; epic yet strangely comforting and infused with the very specific mopey sadness of a large basset hound.


American Cars

Annie’s 1999 debut single, The Greatest Hit, peaked at No 100 in the UK. Which is perfect, really. As is this synth-saturated, eerily tactile track from the Norwegian’s delayed third album. It’s billed as the soundtrack to a film that doesn’t exist but actually sounds like those bits in Drive where Ryan Gosling looks bored in a silk bomber jacket.


Swear It Again

It says here that Boyzlife, AKA ex-Boyzone bruiser Keith Duffy and retired Westlife stool-botherer Brian McFadden, are a pop supergroup. It also says here that this croaky, one-take-while-the-Uber’s-outside cover of Westlife’s debut single features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which basically amounts to dressing a shitty stick in a Prada suit. Not just bad, 2020 bad.


Michael Cragg

The GuardianTramp

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