First Impressions: Vince Staples, HAIM, Drake And More

Written By the interns on 06/27/2017

First Impressions are our weekly roundtable reviews sifting through all the fresh new music. Our writers take a listen, slap a score on it and then justify said score. This week HAIM, Jack River, Drake, Vince Staples, Parcels and Clean Bandit face the jury.

HAIM - Little Of Your Love

Sam: Just another really good song with slick melodies, funky guitar rhythms and slinky vocals. You could critique HAIM for following the same sort of formula every time but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and every song exudes so much love and personality that it’s so hard not to get excited by it. You can almost see Este’s bass face piercing through the speakers when that final breakdown hits. 4

Zanda: A fun and funky track, and objectively another tight track from HAIM. But this segment isn’t about objectivity, and it might just be a case of it not being my style but I find myself pretty disengaged by the end, there’s just nothing majorly interesting that peaks my attention. 3

Dominique: Oh wow! This track is an exceptionally fun time. ‘Little of Your Love’ in my opinion, is a ripely crisp, zesty pop song. I’m finding this has the essential nostalgic, poppy essence of HAIM that seems transcendental through their catalogue, but includes a warmer, fuller sound that is incredibly exciting to listen to. This song is a little funkier and more vibrant than their previous single ‘Want You Back’. Nice one HAIM! 4

Average Score: 3.6

Jack River - Fool’s Gold

Sam: This is getting so much praise everywhere and it’s so deserved. If you’ve ever seen Jack River perform live, you’ll know that she’s a superstar and finally we’ve got a studio track that’s as shimmering and sparkly as her performances. I love that the chorus just explodes and she’s not afraid of making it as big as it needs to be. The minute this girls sets foot overseas she’s going to be massive so you better appreciate her while she’s still here in Oz. 4

Zanda: This is easily my favourite Jack River song so far, and i think it’s the subtle incorporation of electronic sounds in that powerful chorus that really gets me. It provides a nice contrast with the acoustic verse, and some of those layered vocals are seriously great as well. 4

Dominique: I believe this song is well produced. The sound is well developed, crisp and full, which is a great experience when wearing headphones. I find that the vocals are relatively reminiscent of Santigold in the chorus but the vocals in the verses are familiar of 90s grunge - smooth and poppy. This song does get a bit repetitive, so the construction of the song could have been more efficient and interesting. However, there is a unique sound resonating from this track that is certainly peaking my interest. 3

Average Score: 3.6

Drake - Signs

Sam: Another week, another Drake song. It’s getting so hard to judge whether these songs are good or not because he releases them so rapidly that you can afford to toss his songs when you’re done with them and embrace a new one. I liked this the first time I heard it but I’m already ready for a new Drake drop to fill the hole this one’s gonna leave and that’s sorta like an addiction. Eventually I’m gonna have to wean myself off it and it feels like that time is coming soon. 3

Zanda: I’ve actually got to the point where I get excited about Drake’s new releases these days, but this was pretty underwhelming. There’s nothing “wrong” with it necessarily, but after so many incredible tracks this feels like it could have developed into something more. 3

Dominique: I’m SO bored of Drake’s sound at the moment honestly. I feel like every song he’s released as a single recently has had the exact same elements, just rearranged…  I believe he can do SO much more. I need Drake to get something sorted coz this if fkn DRY. Sad n disappointed 2

Average Score: 2.6

Vince Staples - Yeah Right (Feat. Kendrick Lamar, SOPHIE, Flume, KUČKA)

Sam: In complete contrast to Drake, Vince Staples’ output is far less regular and far less forgettable. This one made headlines in Australia because our golden boy Flume produced it and while he does a good job, he’s hardly the headline in this song. Staples grabs that meaty beat and wrestles with it, eventually coming out on top. It’s then sweetened by KUCKA’s beautifully soulful verse before Kendrick steps in the ring with a SOPHIE beat and wins too. It’s an explicit show of talent by all five involved and it’s utterly captivating. 4.5 Sam's Pick

Zanda: This whole album is bloody awesome so obviously including a stack of amazing artists on this track is going to take things to a whole new level. I bloody love the contrasting inclusion of KUCKA’s vocals on it, she’s an absolute star. There’s nothing to fault about this one at all. 5 Zanda's Pick

Dominique: Mmmmmmmmm yes I craaave a thicc n’ DIRTY sound. This song fulfils that need in every capacity. Vince really hits it out of the park with his lyrics in every song he’s released recently. I believe he always manages to quintessentially capture the vibe of the song both in concept and flow and I think that is a special talent he effortlessly practices. Also, wow Kendrick is fucking killing it in every aspect of his existence rn tbh. I’m starting to really live for his features. SIQ. 4

Average Score: 4.5

Parcels - Overnight (Prod. Daft Punk)

Sam: It’s kind of like Daft Punk found a leftover beat from Random Access Memories while they were cleaning the house and decided to do something with it. It’s a fine track. It’s catchy-as-hell and hardly offensive in anyway but it sounds like it should’ve been released four years ago. Parcels have turned up late to the disco party and Pharrell has one foot planted in a disco ball. It’s over guys, everyone go home. 2.5

Zanda: I’ve honestly never heard of these guys before but a strong, funk-driven bassline from the robots will always get be at least a little bit interest. This is actually such a sick throwback to the stuff that Daft Punk were doing a fair while back, and I’m really enjoying the way their vocalist’s style locks into the track. Perfect for a boogie, and would definitely listen again. 3.5

Dominique: I understand that Daft Punk produced this, but it genuinely seems like a knock-off of the Random Access Memories vibe and Parcels really, really tried to make it their own but couldn’t. Personally, I find the production - more specifically the simplistic, upbeat sound, to be dated - basically meaning it is boring as fuck. It’s just too happy and clean for my liking. The exceptional Daft songs have featured a strong emotive element or are INSANELY catchy and those factors make the tracks hugely successful. This is just lacking and I feel like I’ve heard every element of this song before. 2

Average Score: 2.6

Clean Bandit - Disconnect (Feat. Marina And The Diamonds)

Sam: Clean Bandit have committed some heinous crimes in their time. Mostly because they’re somehow allowed to let a cellist infiltrate pop music and do everything from dancehall (Rockabye) to ABBA-disco (Tears). Finally, they’ve got it right with this twinkling, soarer of a pop song featuring the perfect vocals of Marina (who seems to have ditched The Diamonds, by the way). It just rises and falls so effortlessly and a lot of that is to do with the way Marina directs the subtle yet powerful vocal. 4

Zanda: Egh this is alright. It threatens to start getting interesting but just feels pretty constant and repetitive for the most part. 3

Dominique: I melt for Marina Diamandis’ vocals. I find them so enrapturing, so textural and soulful. This song, however, could have sounded fuller and more stimulating as it does feel empty and lacking. I ironically find myself Disconnect-ing from the song all the way through as there’s nothing to keep my focus. Perhaps I’m used to the driving electronic raunchy sound that Marina and The Diamond’s music normally carries but I honestly feel like this could be better. 2

Average Score: 3

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