iTunes Single Of The Week: Apple Bobbing- Joe Goddard

"Few people could encapsulate both rustic and electronic"

If there is ever a song to not judge by song title and album title, let alone its cover, it would be this week’s iTunes Free Download. Apple Bobbing is from the album Harvest Festival, the debut solo album from Joe Goddard, of Hot Chip fame (Of which the album art is a still life of a bowl of fruit). One thing you will instantly be able to work out from the artist is the genre. Yes, despite the rustic appearance, this song is electro, and really nothing more. It’s even an instrumental, so nothing you hear on this track came from anything that didn’t need to be plugged in.

There’s not much to say about this song because, to be honest it’s pretty much just cheery electro by numbers. Ok, there’s a light sprinkle of melancholy, but not enough to bring you down. My main gripe is that a lot of electronically produced tracks follow the same formula, and Apple Bobbing is no different. You start with a few basic layers, and slowly build up the thickness of the sound. Then about half way through, drop out some of those original layers for effect, leaving the newer stuff. Then bring everything back in after a few bars, before gradually removing layers, ending up back where you started by the end of the song. Sound like any song you recognise? Well, it describes this song too.

Is it worth downloading? Well, for me, no. I doubt I’ll go back to this, and I’m honestly considering deleting it to make space for stuff I’ll enjoy more. If you like electro-pop or are a fan of Hot Chip, it may be worth more to you, but I find it does nothing to catch my attention in any real way.

4/10

Available here: Week of 22/11/09

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iTunes Single Of The Week: Some Misunderstanding by Soulsavers (feat. Mark Lanegan)

"At least in this shot, their name just seems ironic"

Well, this week’s iTunes Free Single of the Week certainly gives you your money’s worth (figuratively speaking) with a running time coming in at just over eight minutes. This country tinged, Neil Young-esque track is oddly labelled as being “electronic” in iTunes’ genre sorting, but the song itself is on the complete opposite end of the musical spectrum. It’s only labelled as electronic because, rather than being a recording by a band, it is the work of a pair of producers, namely Rich Machin and Ian Glover, under the title Soulsavers.

With the featured addition of guest vocalist Mark Lanegan, formally of Screaming Trees, Soulsavers have produced a song that promises a lot, through sound alone, but doesn’t quite deliver. There is a slight build up at the beginning of the song, but rather than going anywhere, the song just sits on the level it got to in the first minute and sits there. The guitar solo, which could be expected to be the climax of many songs, comes four and a half minutes into the song, and the preceding time was filled with wailing electric guitar under the vocals anyway. As such, the solo just feels like more of the same in this song.

Is it worth downloading? I’d say yes. Mark Lanegan’s smooth vocals lend very well to this chilled out, southern rock lament. Everything else seems designed to tug on the heartstrings, and while the arrangement doesn’t help this by letting the song get a little stale towards the end, it does still have a bit of an emotional hit. At almost eight minutes, it could easily be a bit of a slog to get through. This isn’t really true, as despite its length, ‘Some Misunderstanding’ isn’t a song that will bore you. You may however forget what song you are listening to about half way through, but for this reviewer at least, that doesn’t stop it from being a welcome addition to the shuffle rotation.

6.5/10

Download it for free here for the week of 17/11/09: iTunes