Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
As the sun shines while we enter the final term of the year, Gemma and Kiah review the latest releases from The Technicolours, Kero Kero Bonito, Wolf Alice and CHVRCHES.
Dress Up For You – The Technicolors (Kiah):
After almost two years away from music and not a word heard from any of The Technicolors’ social media platforms, the band have returned this week to release the dreamy single Dress Up For You. Hailing from Phoenix in Arizona, The Technicolors have explored elements of indie rock and dream pop on their latest single.
A departure from The Technicolours’ last single I’m Not the One released in May 2019 which incorporated a heavier rock influence, Dress Up For You sees the band dial it down for a slower and more calming atmosphere. Working again with LA based producer Jon Joseph, Brennan Smiley’s distinct vocals sing about wanting to impress a potential love interest that’s out of his reach over slow melodic guitars. Dress Up For You was released alongside a visualiser that shows a hallucinatory image of a tiger, with a full music video suggested from a video on their Twitter.
The Technicolors’ last album ‘Metaphysical’ was released way back in 2017, so this dramatic comeback has excited fans for the potential of a new full-length album for the band. Dress Up For You, with its slow melodies and soothing sound, shows a welcome development from The Technicolors, suggesting an exciting new era for the band.
21/04/20 – Kero Kero Bonito (Gemma):
Kero Kero Bonito’s three-track ‘Civilisation II’ EP was released on 21st April, exactly a year after the date referenced in the second track of the EP, 21/04/20.
It is the most direct reference to lockdown that I have heard in music
The London-based trio would have been in lockdown on the 21st April 2020, and this is reflected through both the music video and the lyrics, which are littered with references to waking up past midday, eating leftover pasta for every meal, Zoom calls with friends, and going on daily walks past closed shops. It is the most direct reference to lockdown that I have heard in music since Charli XCX’s ‘how I’m feeling now’ which was released during the peak of lockdown in May 2020. Instead, Kero Kero Bonito opted to release the song an entire year after the period which it was written about, capturing lockdown in a completely different way.
21/04/20 feels somewhat nostalgic, reflecting on the unique and strange situation we were in this time last year. The laid-back tone of the track reflects the way that life felt back then, as if we were just floating from day to day without purpose. The structure of the song adds to this; it is a free-flowing string of verses without a chorus. However, despite a sense of loss of direction, the lyrics are also full of hope for the future – a future which seemed impossible in April 2020, but one that is on the horizon in April 2021.
Smile – Wolf Alice (Gemma):
Smile is the second single from Wolf Alice’s upcoming third album ‘Blue Weekend’, which will be released on June 11th. When the song premiered on Radio 1, lead singer Ellie Rowsell explained to Annie Mac that it is “about people that make assumptions about you.”
The track opens with pounding drums and clashing guitar riffs – perhaps the heaviest that Wolf Alice have ever released. The verses are sung in hushed, whispered vocals (comparison could be struck with Billie Eilish here) before exploding into an anthemic chorus.
“This is one of the songs we wrote thinking that we would play it live,” Rowsell added, a statement which can be inferred from the music video of the track, which shows the band performing the song in a pub. The track is high in energy, contrasting entirely to the album’s lead single, the mellow and haunting piano ballad The Last Man on Earth.
He Said She Said – CHVRCHES (Gemma):
After a unique and interesting rollout on social media, Glasgow electro-pop band CHVRCHES have revealed their latest single, He Said She Said. They teased the track using cryptic and intriguing posts on Instagram.
She reflects on the impact that these unrealistic expectations of women have had
Lead vocalist of the band Lauren Mayberry said that the song was a result of spending lockdown reflecting on “experiences I had previously glossed over or deeply buried.” The lyrics of the track reflect on the horrendous things that men have said to her in the past, as she reflects on the impact that these unrealistic expectations of women have had on her mental health and sense of self.
“After the past year, I think we can all relate to feeling like we’re losing our minds,” she adds, and the chorus of the track reflects this feeling both lyrically and sonically – it is a powerful synth-heavy instrumental breakdown, with the repeated lyric “I feel like I’m losing my mind.”
Instrumentally, the band continue to strengthen their 80s inspired electronic sound, whilst Mayberry brings a compelling energy to the track with her captivating vocals. On He Said She Said, CHVRCHES bring all of their musical strengths to the forefront, whilst simultaneously communicating an important (and all too relatable) message.
Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
To listen to all of these tracks, check out the New Releases Roundup playlist on Spotify.
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