First Impressions

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. This week we pick apart tracks by GoldLink, Bloc Party, The 1975, Leisure, Violent Soho and Kiiara.


Michelle: I’m not sure what the point of the foreign language interludes are, but they don’t do this track any favours. By the time we get to the body of this tune, it’s a lighter-than-usual rap track that plays well with pitch, yet, regrettably, it maintains a kind of rhythmic monotony instead of building up to any climax. 2

Sam: GoldLink is the perfect rapper for 2015. He’s tipping his hat to rap of old (the Missy sample), looking to club music for inspiration and then throwing down killer verses on top of that. Everything comes together for him on this tune and while I think the Missy sample is a little too frequent and long the guts of this song is near perfect. It bounces in the right places and bursts with energy whenever he decided to step out. Laneway were so on point booking this guys to come to Oz. 4

Bloc Party
The Love Within

Michelle: This track takes a while to build up, but once it gets there, it’s good. Simple melody, more electronic than what they’ve done in the past but it’s a d-floor friendly track that manages to perfectly coincide with the start of the Australian summer. The original rock-heavy Bloc Party is gone, which fans will be disappointed with, but they’ve done well. 3

Sam: The issue is not that this is bad - It’s not at all. It’s an ear worm track with a strong melody and plenty of legs to excite festival audiences. The problem is it’s just not memorable. It sounds like your run of the mill alt-rock song from circa 2010 when everybody discovered that you could go electronic as a band and guitar music was prematurely declared dead. It’s definitely got more of a pop edge than their previous stuff but given that half the band is gone maybe that’s what they needed to shot Bloc Party back into the public eye. It might work. I can’t imagine many people hating. I also can’t imagine many loving it. 2.5

The 1975
Love Me

Michelle: I don’t know what’s up with the crybaby wah-wah in the opening bars but I don’t think the 1975’s tweeny bopper fan population will mind. It has more of a pop vibe than the punk rock image they’ve cultivated over the past few years, but the rhythm is creative – almost experimental. Can’t wait to see what direction their new LP will take, although I hope they stop fooling around with the wah pedals. 3.5

Sam: I must admit I actually had no idea The 1975 were so popular until I started watching this track shoot up the iTunes charts when it was released. I don’t entirely understand the teen appeal either but maybe it’s because they look like bad guys while still making really accessible pop-rock. All props to them, they’ve completely embraced their position as a pop band and have made a slammer of a pop track. This is really groove and full of delectable sounds that catch your attention straight away. They could’ve so easily shunned their massive fan base and made a wanky, challenging second album but they haven’t. When this premiered they said there isn’t enough good pop music around and they’re right. This is good pop music. 4

All Over You

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Michelle: This delicate track is so well-balanced, a match made in heaven of softly spoken lyrics and gentle jazz-inspired instrumentals. It’s incredibly well put-together and manages to be minimalistic, tart and full-bodied all at once, kind of like crème fraiche. In one word, SMOOOOOOTH. 4.5 Michelle’s Pick

Sam: It’s alllllll about that bassline. This is the very definition of a slow-burner. It just smoulders away for nearly four minutes with a sexy tempo and a soulful vocal. The guitar solo at the end gets me excited but apart from that it probably could’ve done with a little more dynamic. That said, I’m writing this off my first listen and these type of tracks have a tendency to grow with repeat listens. Leisure are definitely a name worth keeping an eye on and given how confident their first few songs have been, they’re in for a big 2016. 3.5

Violent Soho
Like Soda

Michelle: The opening bars weirdly remind me of the Wombats’ early albums, but before that goes anywhere, it builds up to a killer verse and chorus. After all, Violent Soho know what they’re doing with the rock aesthetic. Not terribly original and slightly heavier than their other tracks, but it does the trick. The scratchy vocals are average, though, but the clever lyrics make up for that. 3

Sam: Violent Soho are making punk music that is international on appeal. Too often Australian bands are confined to this country because the sound only relates to a homegrown audience but these guys don't do that - whether that's on purpose or not. Like Soda is raucous and tough but it has this really accessible melody running through it. This is going to please fans of old and also win some new ones too I reckon. 3.5


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Michelle: The hip-hop force is strong in this one – Kiiara’s on fire and while this isn’t necessarily better than any of her previously hyped releases, Intention doesn’t disappoint. The lighter-than-air electropop songstress has the melody, the vocals (the chorus of “never my intention” is catchy in the best way) and the lyrics – we’ll have to see what she whips up next for her debut EP. 4

Sam: I feel like all week I've spoken about how much I love Kiiara. I was a massive fan of Feels but now that this one is so good she's got four from four and has certified herself as someone deserved of the hype. This track has this hip-hop-tinged beat that hits hard beneath woozy vocals and other-worldly synth-work. It feels really familiar but it's not at all. There's so much uninspiring synth-pop doing the rounds right now and it's so refreshing to hear something like this. 4.5 Sam's Pick

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