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First Impressions: Klo., Tourist, Ryan Hemsworth + More

Written By the interns on 11/12/2014

FI_12Nov

First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. Today we pick apart tracks by Klo., Tourist, Little Simz, Joseph Marinetti, Royal + Ryan Hemsworth. 

Klo.- Under Lie

Sam: I have really liked everything that Klo. have put out but I’ve been waiting for something to smack me in the face. This is most definitely that, thank goodness. Chloe Kaul (vocalist) just sounds smokey and seductive with an extra confidence we haven’t heard before. It’s just like a big warm hug this, with its steamy drums and lush synths. 4

Hannah: Chloe Kaul. I mean seriously. Can I just listen to her forever? I disagree with Sam though. While Kaul really stands out for me here it’s almost to the detriment of the rest of the song. This is a seriously big fish in a seriously small pond. Jump out and play with the big kids Chloe, you’ve got big things waiting for you. 3.5

Bianca: Klo. have always churned out deliciously minimalist melodies but this is the first time I’ve heard something with a bit of ‘oomph’ coming out of the cousin duo. Chloe’s husky voice shines over the delicate percussion, which marries beautifully into the dreamy synths. The only thing lacking here is more of a crescendoing climax. 3.5

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/klomusic/underlie[/soundcloud]

Tourist- Illuminate (Feat. Years & Years)

Sam: I think Tourist could be onto a chart winner with this one, in the UK at least. It follows that style-of-the-moment with a flickering dance beat and a soulful vocalist to drive it along. Years & Years’ vocals are almost on par with Sam Smith for me and really help this song revel as a shimmering, after-dark number. It’s not the most revolutionary thing I’ve ever heard but it’s pretty hard to pick a reason why I don’t like it. 3.5

Hannah: There’s a hangover from that time when top 40-ites tried to do electro Dub swirling in layered beats of Tourist’s latest offering. Which, while not necessarily a bad thing, does mean that, like most of the chart-inclined it’s just a little bit… vanilla. The “soulful” vocals are more blah than ballad, the glitches aren’t quite glitchy enough, and the running pulse is headed straight for a flatline. I actually really don’t like this at all. 1

Bianca: I don’t hate it but I don’t love it. This one lies straight down the middle for me. 3

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/touristmusic/illuminate[/soundcloud]

Little Simz- Time Capsule

Sam: I usually really hate these retrospective rap songs. They’re very Eminem circa 2000 and always sound a little whiny, but I’m very much on board with Time Capsule. It’s probably because Little Simz and Jakwob go so hard from the second verse that it’s more a tale or rising up rather than being beaten down. Simz sounds like what Angel Haze should’ve on her whole debut. Fierce, impassioned and confident. 4

Hannah: Well here’s a lesson in indecision. I’m sure if each line of this track were fleshed out into its own song, the three would have a complex and interesting album on their hands, as it is though, there’s just too much going on in the brief 3 minutes and 34 seconds to really grab a hold of any of it. 2

Bianca: This is a bit of a confusing one. Little Simz’s spit of the tongue commands your entire attention, with little else making way in between her grittiness. By the time 1:19 rolled around, though, I was enveloped in track’s rawness and trap undertones, which reminded me slightly of Robyn’s Monument. If only it continued down this path. I’m not really taking to the soulful breakdown courtesy of Caitlyn Scarlett; it completely throws me off my groove. More of 1:19-1:53, please, and a bit less of everything else. 2.5

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/littlesimz/little-simz-jakwob-time-capsule-ft-caitlyn-scarlett[/soundcloud]

Joseph Marinetti- Ms Telesales

Sam: What’s going on now with this whole PC Music take on electronica is almost incomprehensible. Everything about this is completely bizarre, from the slow-motion video to the carnevale synths and rave beat. It’s lucky I’m completely on board with this style, it’s exciting, bright and boundary-pushing. I don’t think it’s appeal ends there though, the vocal sample just melts in your ears. 4

Hannah: It’s becoming apparent that by the time I have children, these will be the samples featured on their Fisher Price light up xylophone…. It’s a good thing that’s at least 5 years of mental preparation away. 2

Bianca: I like to think of Hey QT as the Rosetta Stone of PC Music; it allowed me to finally understand the hype of the curiously kitsch phenomena and I can actually enjoy the melodies made of bleeps and bloops and inhuman vocals reminiscent of Siri through a chipmunk voice changer. Don’t take that as me completely understanding the purpose of the movement though. Whether it be revolutionary or a complete inside joke that has the PC Music creators taking us for a ride, I’m happy just sitting here and enjoying it for whatever it is. Ms Telesales, with its cutesy vocals and plonky computer synths, is no different. It’s a boppy, vibrant number with its obscure video clip acting as the cherry on top for me. 3.75

Royal- Round Two (Feat. Desktop)

Sam: I love this marriage that’s happened between hip-hop and electronic music a la Four Tet and Rome Fortune. This is cool. Desktop’s verses are quite composed and standard, which is beautifully juxtaposed by the perky beat that Royal lays down. Erring very close to Drake, but it’s fine. We’ll let them off just this one time. 3

Hannah: I wish this sounded more like Drake. 2.5

Bianca: This sounds like it should belong on a soundtrack to a GTA and Mario Kart hybrid game. Which is a very good thing in my books, by the way. While I wait for Rockstar Games and Nintendo to get started on my dream, I’m just going to go back to Soundcloud and partake in Round Two of this track. 3.5  

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/royalmakesmusic/round-two-feat-desktop[/soundcloud]

Ryan Hemsworth- Walk Me Home

Sam: BRB, I’m just going to go and get my third tissue box. Hemsworth’s use of actually live instrumentation here works perfectly. When the orchestral section kicks in, it’s literally as if somebody grabs your heart. It’s so minimal and seemingly unwavering but those sharp waves of emotion just make the ride so much more interesting. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Hannah: Ryan Hemsworth is the Patron Saint of all I do so it’s not surprising that this slow burn, lofty offering is one of perfection as far as I’m concerned. Please, show me a better example of synthy punctated vulnerability colliding with brute strength bass or a more perfect marriage of Japanese tinkerings and orchestral samples. That slight crescendo rising just below Hemsworth’s repetition of never leave me alone, pure chills. 4 Hannah’s Pick

Bianca: Ryan Hemsworth has this knack for making delicate melodies that sound like they have come straight out of a music box. The glittering synths wash beautifully throughout the string samples, with the plucking strings mirror the tugging of my heart strings, which gives Walk Me Home an almost epic movie-like quality. I could turn the key to this music box all night long. 4 Bianca’s Pick