Archive | May, 2021

Lou Hayter – Private Sunshine (track by track album review)

31 May

We’ve always believed in the power of pop music – to heal, soothe, unite, energise and so much more. However, we never knew it had the ability to impact weather patterns in our favour. That’s until Lou Hayter finally released her long awaited ‘Private Sunshine’ album on Friday last week. The first words sung on album opener ‘Cherry On Top’ are “Friday in the sun….” – and lo and behold that shiny yellow thing in the sky appeared…..and on a Friday. As well as giving us the pop album of the year, Lou has also provided us with the much delayed start of summer! We are equally grateful for both gifts.

Now, that record. It’s no secret we have been fans of each project Lou has been involved with, be it those indie disco darlings the New Young Pony Club, dancepoppers the New Sins or the sophistipop of Tomorrow’s World. A solo album has been long overdue.

With a truly outstanding run of singles in the run up to album release, a top ten finish on 2021’s album of the year list was pretty much locked in but now hearing all of the material, including previously unheard tracks, it’s properly cemented.

‘Cherry On Top’ has been around for a while and we couldn’t be more pleased to see it make the album and even better to kick it off. It truly is the sound of summer. It’s the track you play through headphones on the walk from hotel room/villa to go poolside and it segues beautifully into ‘Telephone’ which is the one once your backside has made contact with sun lounger and the cocktail is in hand. It’s the equivalent of musical vitamin D. 80s reference are dotted across the record and there’s a bit of early decade cult heroines the Belle Stars and Natasha (both of whom covered ‘Iko Iko’ but it’s ‘Sign Of The Times’ and ‘The Boom Boom Room’ which are their respective best tracks) on ‘Telephone’.

‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ is another of the outstanding singles complete with electrosquelch and a big pop heart to rival Annie or early 80s Bananarama pre-SAW.

Next comes THAT Steely Dan cover. ‘Time Out Of Mind’ is the most enormous pop moment. As we said when we wrote about the single release, it sounds like 5 different Pointer Sisters songs plus has a funked out guitar solo to boot. ‘Cold Feet’ is Madonna’s ‘Cherish’ with Wilson Phillips-like vocals and a bit of The Jets’ ‘Crush On You’. That’s a whole lot of pop goodness.

The title track stunned as a single and remains flawless and breathtaking in its simplicity. What threatens to burst into a blast of ‘Slave To The Rhythm’-esque luxury power pop, strips itself back to be the most hynotising, mesmeric piece of reflective electronica. It takes a further turn with a final psychedelic wig out to close. Still craving a ten minute extended version of this piece of perfection.

‘What’s A Girl To Do’ begins like a New Jack Swing meets Jam & Lewis production before Nu Shooz and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam stylings kick in for an 80s pop funk nugget in the making. ‘Still Dreaming’ is Lou’s Jo/Susanne from the Human League moment – she even sings the word “fascination” just as they would. It’s ‘Dare’ quality with a blast of Shannon’s early 80s electro for good measure.

‘This City’ is the album’s club banger with the heaviest beats- maybe taking nods from a slightly later period (The Beloved/The Shamen perhaps?).

This tight and perfectly formed pop album closes with the unexpectedly lyrically bonkers ‘Pinball’ which is oh so British with references to pale ale, Soho and fleas in the bedroom – up there with the quality of Saint Etienne and Dubstar/Client. Musically the track has more in common with 1970s Fleetwood Mac.

This is assured, divine, pure pop at its very, very best and we really hope this is just the beginning of a Lou Hayter solo catalogue which just grows and grows. Despite all the aforementioned references and comparisons, ‘Private Sunshine’ is entirely a Lou Hayter album – she is the sound.

The album is out digitally now and pre-order the vinyl (arrives in September) for the stunning artwork.

Boyd Kelly & Just Shy – Mirrorball

31 May

Imagine Tom Aspaul covering Madison Avenue’s ‘Who The Hell Are You’ (yes they have songs besides ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’!) and it might just sound like Boyd Kelly & Just Shy’s boppable collab ‘Mirrorball’. The discoball is spinning crazy fast on this one and it’s going straight on to our Dares Does Disco Spotify playlist.

Vanity Fairy – Superstar

31 May

Those always super cool Moshi Moshi peeps just released Vanity Fairy’s 5 track ‘Love From Above’ EP. ‘Superstar’ sounds like a lost track from an early 80s compilation of spacey synthpop – think Aneka’s ‘Japanese Boy’, Toto Coelo’s ‘I Eat Cannibals’ with some fever pitched Sylvester disco vibes and even a hint of Sarah Brightman and Hot Gossip’s ‘I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper’! Enough reference points for you?

Boys Noize featuring Jake Shears – All I Want (Purple Disco Machine Remix)

29 May

This one already hit hard in original form but Purple Disco Machine adds Italo and electro squelch and smooths out the edges blissfully in the process. Here’s the single version but there’s an epic 8 minute long extended mix too.

DUO – Lolita, No! (Sempre Midnight Mix)

29 May

Husband and wife duo DUO (!) Luke and Ellie (Luke being The Kooks’ frontman) have shared a remix package for their ‘Lolita, No!’ track and we’ve picked the Sempre Midnight Mix for your listening pleasure. A bit disco, a bit house – all of it very swish and stylish.

Anoraak featuring Sarah Maison – Karma

29 May

We are hyped to hear that following their previous collaboration, French-Moroccan singer/songwriter Sarah Maison and French disco king Anoraak have created a five track EP together. The title track is the sound of the summer and it’s decadent, delicious, retro-chic and classy as all heck. Sarah looks like disco royalty in the video – what a regal and stunningly stylish queen.

Limón Limón – Still In The Dark

29 May

It feels like ‘Still In The Dark’ is the moment where all of Limón Limón’s reference points collide. There’s the sophistipop end of synthwave a la Ollie Wride but also something of the original Bruce Hornsby & The Range/Steve Winwood classic sound and even a spot of Jam & Lewis on a slo-jam. Put all that together and it means, of course, that we love it and feel it’s their best track yet.

Margaret Berger – Gal

29 May

The BBC recently did a survey where you could list your 20 favourite Eurovision songs of all time. Our number one was ‘I Feed You My Love’ by Margaret Berger. What an absolute electro stomper that remains. Every now and again Margaret emerges with a new tune, and most recently sung in Norwegian. ‘Gal’ (translated as ‘Crazy’ we believe!) is her boppiest pop tune probably since her aforementioned Eurovision classic.

Dua Lipa – Don’t Start Now (NICOLAAS Remix)

29 May

NICOLAAS has created some dreamy remixes including his versions of 80s classics like Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ and Hall & Oates’ ‘I Can’t Go For That’. He’s not lacking in ambition as he’s taken on one of the most remixed artists of the past year in Ms Lipa. NICOLAAS has cracked it again thanks to his poolside nu-disco approach which somehow manages to inject a new life into ‘Don’t Start Now’.

Genes – Cherry Lips

28 May

Every so often this talented Aussie bobs up and delivers a Carly Rae level banger. ‘Cherry Lips’ is no exception. The chorus goes hard and there’s something about Genes to suggest she’d absolutely let rip in a live setting. The production is crunchy as heck and Genes has such a no nonsense pop voice.