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Sunday, 17 October 2010

Track of the Week 2010: #42

LoneLady – 'Fear No More'

I'm sure that you've all had times where you've read a review delightedly only to find out upon listening to the band or album that they're very little like what was read. The worst part of this is always that the idea has been planted in your mind and you feel robbed of a sound that never actually existed.

When I read the reviews of The XX's album I was expecting from the singles an infusion of post-punk and contemporary pop influences that the group didn't supply. It's not that I've a problem with The XX, it's just to my ears they're much more akin to Portishead than the sonic innovators of the late '70s and early '80s.

With my listening habits these days being very fragmented it's been difficult to pick a lone track that I think you should check out above all others. Making that something so hot off the shelf that you won't have heard it elsewhere is nothing short of impossible. That's why (and bringing the two strands together here) I've gone for a track from an album that was released earlier in the year but that I've only just got around to picking up. Hopefully you won't have heard it. It's by LoneLady. She's from Manchester. And it's everything that I hoped The XX would be.

LoneLady's debut album Nerve Up, from my first few listens, comes across as a very fresh sounding recording that rather than taking the exact sonic hallmarks of post-punk interprets the ethos of 'ripping it up and starting again'. Whilst the angular riffs for the most part are the starting point or central motif around which the song hangs there's always much more going on. The vocal frequently slips into a distinctly pop style, whilst drum machines echo electronic music from a time that's difficult to pinpoint. There's occasionally flourishes of synthesiser that recall the more nostalgic moments of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and flickers of '90s alt. rock. But these are all threads woven into the wider landscape that's inhabited.

Nothing weighs this down to a particular style and it's all but impossible to pigeon-hole the album.

This weeks' Track of the Week is the closing song from Nerve Up. It's as stripped back as LoneLady gets and sees here guitar accompanied only by the barest of strings. It verges on the gothic and is absolutely stunning. Perfect for the long winter months ahead and as different from last weeks TotW as it's possible to be.

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