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]
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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]
Sometimes you just need to hear a feel good song to get on by and this week, we need it more than ever. Enter blues/American artist Seth Walker who has a new video for “High Time”, a tune that rollicks joyfully in its New Orleans vibe. Walker laces together NOLA rhythms, some funky piano, and slinky guitar to create this earworm of a song. “High Time” leads off Walker’s recent album Gotta Get Back, and it gets your feet and backfield in motion.