Sunday, 9 October 2022

Flash Single Review: Esther Crow - Homemade Halloween

"Homemade Halloween" is the new single from the illustrious Esther Crow and it has certainly been worth the wait. The song essentially provides a narrative for sustainability, and does so in a fun yet unapologetic way.  Following fast on the heels of her most recent release "Stuff", this song truly has it all with its potent message, live instrumentation, and killer opening riffYou should also check out the video for this song, where the artist's sustainability message is recited by a singing tree.

The lyrics of the song are equally impressive, providing the kids with numerous examples of how to create their very own Halloween experience. Now it's 'time to use those magical minds', and 'take something old and make it new'. Whether this involves turning a blanket into 'monster fur' or creating a 'subway car' out of a box, we are all encouraged to get creative through using that 'artist brain'. 

Although the music appears to be wild and chaotic at times, the artist always appears to be in complete control, even allowing the song to really let rip at the end in an almost psychedelic foray into the unknown. Her ability to scan complex vocal patterns into very tight spaces also enables her to reveal her message without diluting the impact of the music.

Esther Crow is a unique artist, who manages to create musical soundscapes that intoxicate and delight in turn. Her music takes the listener on something of a rollercoaster ride, where classic rock riffs are exploited to perfection, and transformed into an originality of intent and purpose. She is an eco warrior with a clear vision, providing a narrative of sustainability and hope for future generations. She also manages to do this with both humour, and an acute awareness of pop sensibility. I just hope the song gets the recognition it truly deserves. 

Esther Crow - another slice of retro rock perfection.

Friday, 7 October 2022

Album Review: Todd'n'Tina - Dynamite!

Dynamite is the debut album of Todd'n'Tina, a family-friendly duo from Minnesota, USA. The album features ten super sounds brimming with pop sensibility and raw attitude. The music is punchy and highly melodic, and delivered with a noticeable intensity of purpose. Now I don't know if it's the old punk in me or what, but their music really ticks all the boxes for me, with its slightly retro sound delivered with power, energy and finesse.

"French Toast Day" really throws down the gauntlet with its thumping backbeat and minimalist keyboard. The vocals are released full throttle, exclaiming how every day should be a 'french toast day', and why not? Shades of the Rezillos on display, where rhythm, melody and attitude combine in a delightful piece of power pop.

"Dermatologist Assistant" bounces along in fine style, with its hypnotic piano, and infectious rhythm. The lyrics keep the listener intrigued throughout, as the artist declares 'I'm a dermatologist astronaut yes that's a thing'. The song also features some intriguing galactic sound effects to further enhance the dramatic effect. A hint of There Might Be Giants on display here, with a reciprocal vocal that is highly effective.

"Unicorns and Narwhals" informs the listener as to why these two creatures (both imaginary and real) simply 'can't be friends'. There are various reasons for this, including how 'they both have horns so nobody's going to win', and 'one likes to fly and one likes to swim'. A truly imaginative lyric, which succeeds in telling the type of story you could probably recite in a children's book. 

"Silly String" features a backing track that reminded me a bit of Cornershop's "Brimful of Asha", but this time sped up, and delivered with a touch more exuberance.  Here the message is one of classroom angst, where the lyrics recall childhood memories that are perhaps still a little raw. Nonetheless, the artist manages to transform these tortured childhood memories into a cathartic outburst of energy, where nothing really matters because 'I've got silly string'.

Apparently "Giraffes Like Peanut Butter", well who am I to disagree, although I could hazard a guess that there aren't too many songs around with a similar song title. The harmonies here are superb, and the intensity of the music typifies their sound which is uncompromising and relentless. The reciprocal vocal resurfaces again here, as does the piano, providing the glue which holds the music together.

"Panda Bear Dance" is an absolute delight, with its melodic piano, and its lively groove. So simple, yet highly effective, and easy to dance to, as long as it's not 'in your underwear'. The song has an infectious vibe which is incredibly catchy, and very easy on the ear. A real treat for the little one's who are sure to absolutely love it.

"If Darth Vader Had an iPhone" sounds like Star Wars has collaborated with Batman, and hired Frank Black to help out on vocals. Another delightful piece of power pop, which is sure to be very popular live. The song is pure twelve bar blues, and grinds away with noticeable intensity. The vocal scan is superb, and really opens up towards the end, with the chant 'go Darth Vader' providing real sing along opportunities for the kids.

"Peanut Butter Pickle Truck" bristles and shines in glorious fashion, with an exuberant piano and vociferous vocal competing for space.  The harmonies reminded me a little of the B52s, providing a melodic diversion to the relentless rhythm on display. The song then somewhat surprisingly, and seemingly out of nowhere comes to an abrupt halt. Shame, I would like to have heard more. 

"Flossing is my Hobby" is my absolute favourite track on the album, with a sound that pays homage to the new wave era of the late seventies. The music is truly exhilarating and sets a breathtaking pace, revealing its full identity in just one minute. This is a no-nonsense piece of foot stomping energy, delivered with heaps of attitude, and topped off with an absolutely mesmerising guitar solo to seal the deal. 

"Two Old Friends", finally brings the album to a close, whilst also providing a noticeable change of pace.  Here a sublime vocal delivers a delightful melody that glistens and shines throughout.  The song explores themes of friendship, conflict, resolution and ultimately hope, where as long as we are loyal to our friends we can 'find something good in each and every day'.

I really like this duo, their lyrics are original, and their sound is raw and authentic, which is somewhat refreshing in the digital age. One of the major strengths of the album is that both artists can really sing, and each deliver their message, in their own unique style. They certainly know how to engage the listener, and have managed to put together a selection of songs which are both entertaining and thought-provoking. Ultimately, this is a feel good album, it's great fun, and brilliantly executed, so if you want to brighten up your day, then give this album a spin, it truly is out of this world.

Todd'n'Tina - simply dynamite.