First Impressions: Louis Tomlinson, Purity Ring, Vera Blue And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 07/26/2017

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 Louis Tomlinson, The Harpoons, Tyler, The Creator, Roy Woods, Purity Ring and Vera Blue face the jury.

Louis Tomlinson - Back To You (Feat. Bebe Rexha)

Zanda: This is honestly the first time i’ve heard Louis’s voice by itself, and he’s definitely laying down some silky smooth lines on this track. For me though, he’s completely overshadowed by Bebe Rexha whose own lines have an incredible raw power to them, especially when layered over one another. Love the production on this one though, it’s kind of a cool side-alley of pop, really making good use of texture and melodic space. 4

Alistair: Slow, boring and predictable. 2.5

Annie: Up until very recently, I thought Louis and Liam Payne were the same person- so it’s nice to hear Louis strike out on his own with a track that is much less awkward than ‘Strip That Down’. While this song is okay, I think picking Bebe Rexha was a poor choice. She has such a powerful voice, and it completely dominates Louis’. 3

Sam: If you told me Liam and Louis would make a better single than Harry this year I would’ve said, you’re probably right about Liam but absolutely not about Louis. I also would’ve been wrong. This is a proper bop despite the fact Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals are not the ideal people to have on a song with you. It gives us an actual chance to hear Louis’ surprisingly good voice and it’s catchier than the Coles ‘Down, down’ ad. 4

Average Score: 3.38

Tyler, The Creator - I Ain’t Got Time

Zanda: The beat is bold and the rhymes are undoubtedly impressively fast and hard. I can objectively talk about this track, and I understand it’s appeal to some, but while I’m in no way having a dig, it’s just not my vibe. 3

Alistair: Dirty, raw and off tap! 4.5

Annie: I’m surprising really into this. Tyler has always been hit or miss for me, but this has lasting power and I’ll almost definitely be adding this to my playlist. 3

Sam: I’ve said it many times in the past few months but Tyler has hit his stride and Ain’t Got Time feels like he’s leaping. It’s the most immediate, urgent song he’s ever made, rapping with fury over a beat that sounds like a hypnotic carnival. It’s got this really woozy atmosphere but it’s weighted and centred by his strong delivery creating this really intriguing juxtaposition. I love this. 4.5 Sam's Pick

Average Score: 3.75

The Harpoons - Do You Want My Love

Zanda: A cruisy, slinky pop track with an energy that kicks off and is almost surprising in how infectious it is. The texture of the track overall builds and builds to that really awesome climax where the vocals sink back into the mix before exploding forth once more. Captivating from the beginning, and throughout. Just a really fun tune. 4

Alistair: Fresh, smooth and groovy. 4

Annie: This track just gets consistently better with each listen. It’s easy listening, but in a way that gets you increasingly more excited as the track progresses. It’s a perfect track to listen to in any situation, even if it’s just background music. 4 Annie’s Pick

Sam: With each Harpoons release they open up just that little bit more, giving more of themselves every time. This is the most outward and extroverted they’ve been on a track and it pays off handsomely. The house beat paired with those gospel-inspired harmonies is such a winner formula and something I feel like Duke Dumont could take notes from right now. Such a glorious win for them. 4

Average Score: 4

Roy Woods - What Are You On?

Zanda: I wouldn’t be surprised if I was going against popular opinion here, but I don’t get the appeal of this song at all really. There’s nothing in this track that I listen to and makes me think this couldn’t literally be any other singer. The production is boring, and there isn’t anything here that would convince me to listen to this again. 2

Alistair: 1

Annie: I don’t mind it, but we’ve already heard this track done before by a multitude of artists, and usually done better. There’s really not much to say, it’s just okay. 2

Sam: Such strong PARTYNEXTDOOR vibes on this one which is fine because I’ve always thought their slippery flows were closely aligned. This didn’t give me much on the first listen but I’ve returned multiple times and it opens up a little more every time. The verses are brilliant and fast moving and while the chorus could’ve done with a little more finesse, it’s nice to hear the focus placed on the verses. 3.5

Average Score: 2.13

Purity Ring - Asido

Zanda: Fuck me up, Megan James’ vocals are just as intense and impactful as on the first track I ever heard from these guys. Her inimitable vocal melodies allow Purity Ring to build a very specific type of ethereal, wiggy production around them, and there’s absolutely no chance you’d ever mistake this for anyone else. Another A++ from these guys, a band that’s gotta be in my top few acts I still need to see live one day. 5

Alistair: GET FUCKED! AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING! I'm with Zanda, Purity Ring are at the top of my MUST SEE list! Always just keep missing out on them. 5 Alistair's Pick

Annie: Yeah, I’m not feeling this. Objectively yeah, this is a well-produced tune and the vocals are pretty much on point. It’s just too slow moving for me, I can’t really engage with it. Maybe I’m missing something?  2

Sam: I’ve never connected with Purity Ring. I feel like their production is so icy and detached that I just can’t find the emotion in it that other people do. Their whole act is smoke and mirrors and once again this one just leaves me feeling a little empty. It’s a beautifully produced piece of music but it’s like there’s a more melodic chorus that’s been left off so that they remain a bit weirder. They’ve been writing for Katy Perry, surely they’ve got something a little sharper in the bank. 2.5

Average Score: 3.7

Vera Blue - First Week

Alistair: Powerful, brooding and potent. 4.8

Annie: Much like ‘Asido’, this really isn’t my vibe. While I won’t be re-listening, the vocals are genuinely impressive and I almost wish this was something I could get into. 3

Sam: The first line of this song is one of the best openings I’ve heard to an album all year. Vera Blue is so honest with her delivery and the lyrics are so set in a particular time and place that it’s impossible not to feel where she’s at in some way. It doesn’t ever get better than that first line but it doesn’t dip far either. The way the folky verses climb into this twinkling electronic drop is genius and the treatment on her vocals is so pure. 4

Average Score: 3.9

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