“Failed In London, Try Hongkong,” the old saying goes, and Blur do seem to have rediscovered their sense of purpose over East. Albarn is still in Gorillaz mode here, but he must be enjoying the simplicity and familiarity of being in a rock band with mates.
Annie’s at it again, helped along by a slathering of Helen Love quirk, a melody that could’ve been penned by Ace of Base and the cheapest drum machine in the shop. She ain’t Bjork but she ain’t bad.
An early deadringer for Bettie Serveert’s Ray Ray Rain, this one becomes 40% twee pop (see Holiday), 20% new wave revival (see Pulsars) and 60% religiously earnest undertones, all wrapped up in the wavy pastry of a home recording.
Anthemic pop-rocker from the Shibuya crew, more synthy than their semi-nu-metal rep suggests. They’re known for always wearing wolf masks, which says they’re older than they want you to know and that suggests they can craft a song.
Weren’t FOB a rock band at some stage? This sounds like a Hollywood soundtrack commissioned from boy band retirees on crack. An aimless mess of studio fiddling and contrived experimentation.
This blend of world music vibes, modern instrumentation and a big choral presence reminds of Toto – sorry, don’t hit me. A charismatic composition and deft arrangement of elements that, in less-skilled hands, could easily have jarred or come off as twee.
An 80s-style appreciation of musical space and shape is on display here, providing a welcome break from the generic, overblown mainstream. A slightly more sophisticated confection than it first appears, made with love and good to the last drop.