Paul Carr: This is an intoxicating ode to an unrequited love, which harks back to the days of the smoky club chanteuse. Molly Burch is plainly torn by her unanswered feelings as she breathlessly wears her pain quite openly on lines like “I wish you would try”. The futility of her crush is laid bare, easily coaxing sympathy from the listener. The guitars ring out crisply giving it a gentle, ‘60s feel and, at first, it can come across as a little ordinary and inoffensive. Nevertheless, despite its lounge feel, the gently rolling drums elevate it to sound a bit more unorthodox. The perky and carefree nature of the music belies the despondent theme of the song. [7/10]
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Adriane Pontecorvo: Sinkane brings the electric funk from start to finish on “Telephone”, an ultra-hip blast of dance music and brassy soul. There’s something about it that sounds familiar in the best way; Sinkane’s voice is smooth and classic, and the sparkly synth blips come together with more traditional instruments in a way that sounds perfectly organic and stunningly balanced. This is what we need to kick off 2017: a song that never loses momentum, a chorus to sing along to, and a video made of neon lights and sheer elation. This is infectious in the best way, and even this early, a contender for best single of 2017. [10/10]
One might say that there has always been a certain gravity about Amelia Curran’s music, and—pun-centric jokes aside—her latest, “Gravity”, would back these claims. Complete with bombastic horns and an earworm of a riff, the Newfoundland singer-songwriter, mental health advocate, and activist wistfully embraces female empowerment with this jubilant leap into the world.
Andrew Paschal: The opening track and fourth single from Rennen is also its worst offering. The song is a contrived and affected attempt to meld some idea of bluesiness into his brand of so-called “PBR&B”. Its melody is uncomfortably familiar, sounding not so much like one song in particular as a whole slew of songs, each similarly caricatured and unsubtle. “My baby don’t make a sound / As long as her hard liquor’s never watered down,” he drawls in an on-the-nose attempt to recreate the feel of a seedy tavern. In addition to going for a postindustrial bar song, “Hard Liquor” also has a curious “heave-ho” kind of vibe to it, like a co-opted imitation of the songs people associate with tough, physical labor. Perhaps this is what you would get if you crossed Blade Runner with Holes. [4/10]
Jordan Penney: Each element of “The Lost Sky” seems carefully executed to create a sense of tension. The arrangement consists of guitar and bass, and its relative simplicity and repetition create a gently propulsive rhythm. The vocal melody is an unbroken march through three lengthy verses, and until the chorus Hoop barely allows herself a moment to add a melodic flourish off the end of a word. It has a restless quality. The lyrics suggest the carrying of a haunting burden—“I walk the dark star, the lost sky / Searching for your signal, receive mine”—and neither asks for nor expects redemption. Even the video depicts a disturbing scenario played out again and again, no resolution in sight. A masterpiece of concise and thoughtful songwriting, “The Lost Sky” is also a straightforwardly memorable and appealing song. [9/10]