Brits in Hot Weather #9: Love Sick, Raven, Talkboy, Martha Hill, and Free Money
In this edition, we have edgy, dark synthpop from Love Sick, analogue, electronic beats from Raven, quickfire indie from Talkboy, the stunning voice of Martha Hill, and a new wave singalong from Free Money.
As the long nights draw in, I realise that the title of this feature becomes more and more ironic. However, despite the fact it's getting a wee bit bloody nippy, the five songs we have for you today are here to warm the cockles. After a busy day doing stuff and things, there's nothing better than assuming a position, getting nice and comfy under a warm blanket and wrapping your ears around five new songs from five British artists.
In this edition, we have edgy, dark synthpop from Love Sick, analogue, electronic beats from Raven, quickfire indie from Talkboy, the stunning voice of Martha Hill and a new wave singalong from Free Money.
Photo: Ronan Parks
Love Sick - "Fever"
The edgy, enigmatic dark pop of "Fever" is the first track on Scottish duo Love Sick's brilliant debut EP, No Sleep.
Opening in bright, almost perky fashion with tight-knit, trembling synths, thudding synth bass and singer Julie's bright, pop vocals, the song seems destined for a soaring '80s pop-influenced chorus. However, just as that moment arises the song blinks before revealing its true colours, as it shudders and twists with a snaking synth line and a pulsating beat darkening the mood like black paint uncontrollably bleeding into primary colours.
Suddenly, everything about the song changes, with any sense of innocence stripped away. Julie's vocals don't even try to camouflage a darker thirst as her desires seem to consume her. As she lets out passionate moans before admitting, to herself and the subject of the song, "I have a little fever for you."
"Fever" is that rare song that takes you somewhere unexpected, as it surrenders to its cravings.
Their No Sleep EP is out now.
Raven - "Banshee"
Hailing from the seaside town of Margate, electronic artist Raven makes wonderfully rich, electronic music that swings from dense drone to club-ready beats all while retaining an organic, analogue feel.
The chiming notes that open "Banshee" sound like the intermittent bleep of a distant lunar beacon before it locks onto a signal as a rapidly thrumming beat and claps of percussion take over. The star of the show has to be the arpeggiated synth sounds of the Korg Polysix which swing from ringing, and otherworldly to subterranean and downright menacing all whilst somehow retaining an innate, danceable groove.
As the thick, heavy beats swell inside it, the track seems to gradually digest itself before disappearing completely and drifting into the ether. "Banshee" is a stunning electronic track from an artist with a very bright future.
Raven's Harp EP is out on 17th January.
Photo: Jeff Barnett
Talkboy - "Over & Under"
Musically, "Over & Under" is a song in a hurry. Built on the persistent surge of jerky, fidgety guitar riffs and galvanic drums, Talkboy's second single is an exuberant, hyperactive rush from beginning to end. However, it's the interplay between vocalists Katy Heap and Calumn Juniper that raise the song to the next level. Their voices compliment each other perfectly as Heap's voice cushions the jabs of Juniper's more pointed, quick-fire delivery.
Each brilliantly observed line hits the mark as it builds to the kind of classic indie chorus that cements relationships on sweaty dancefloors. The sophisticated harmonies from Heap and Juniper mirror each other beautifully, giving the song real warmth and heart.
The whole thing is a short, sharp infectious burst of indie dancefloor fun.
Photo courtesy of Outpost Media
Martha Hill - "Wallflower"
Born in Scotland but now relocated to Newcastle, Martha Hill's follow-up to the previous song "Spiders", is another inescapable indie pop song.
Opening with low key guitar notes that confidently turn to palm mute power chords with a tip of the hat to PJ Harvey. The music and Hill's vocals are a compelling match as they evolve from a restrained, low murmur to a raw and electrifying howl and then back again. Hill's voice is a force to be reckoned with. Rich with emotional intensity, cynicism and sass she prowls around the bluesy riff waiting for the prime opportunity to strike for maximum effect.
However, as you sink deeper into the lyrics, it becomes clear that the song is Hill's irreverent take on social anxiety. More specifically, it's her comment on how we tend to assume different characters depending on the social situation, in an attempt to fit in.
"Wallflower" is an absolute joy. A catchy, indie-pop song of real depth that leaves a lasting impression.
Photo courtesy of Hope You're Well Media
Free Money - "I Got You"
East London foursome, Free Money are a hard band to pin down. From their subtle subversion of greedy '80s consumerism to their clothes to their banking alter-egos, they are one of those rare bands that come with a ready made mystique. Musically, the band embrace everything from post-punk to '80s pop, all with a clear desire to avoid being pigeonholed.
"I Got You" tones down any overt consumerism satire, instead happy to simply celebrate the importance of friends and family. Surfing on a wave of '80s new wave guitars, and deceptively simple, soulful harmonies, it disarms with its infectious enthusiasm. Wearing its heart on its rolled up sleeve, the song builds to an anthemic chorus, even finding time for a breezy sax solo.
"I Got You" is an infectious, positive sunshiney anthem made for late night, heartfelt singalongs with those you hold dearest.
The Free Money EP is out now.
So, there you have it. I hope you've found something to keep you toasty and warm. As always, please support these artists. They need you. Music needs them.
Remember that all the songs featured here and in all the previous editions of Brits in Hot Weather can be found on our Spotify playlist. Until the next time, keep fighting the good fight.