talks about the latest releases in the music world

Chart Chat Edition 810 – W/C 02.08.15

Chart Chat Edition 810 – Week Commencing  2nd August 2015


For those reading this for the first time, Chart Chat has been in existence for over 15 years. We completed eight hundred editions reviewing the weeks charts and new releases before deciding it was time for a change of format.  Now we will be looking at new music ahead of its release, and it won’t always feature tracks released as singles. I have learned in recent years that the best music does not always make the charts, and to renew my love of music I have had to look to broader horizons.

So what have we been discussing in the Chart Chat offices this week?

‘Cast In Steel’ – A-Ha (Album)

It seemed that we had seen the last of A-ha when they split up back in 2010 but now some five years later they are back with their tenth studio album ‘Cast In Steel’.  Lead single ‘Under The MakeUp’ has been doing the rounds since early July and it’s an orchestral based dramatic ballad in keeping with their early material. British fans hoping to catch another glimpse of the band in action may have to wait until Spring 2016 when the band undertake a four date tour of the UK taking in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and London. The album is scheduled for release on the 4th September and it follows on from their 2009 outing ‘The Foot Of The Mountain’ which became their first top five studio album since ‘Stay On These Roads’ in 1988. Interest remains high in the band for both their back catalogue and their new material, and let’s hope that they are back for good this time around.

Cornershop – ‘Pinpoint / The Titi Shaker’ (Single)

It’s always a good week when Cornershop release a new single, and so our offices were delighted to see the recent return of the band. ‘Pinpoint’ sees them pair up with stunning Welsh singer Accu on an uptempo disco track well suited to the British summertime.  They previously worked with Accu’s group Trwbador on the festive single ‘Every Year So Different’ which formed part of their Singhles Club programme. The video which accompanies it is simple but well worth a look! The flip side is the funk laden ‘The Titi Shaker’ which comes complete with decoded vocals and a beat which is guaranteed to get you up from your seat. What makes the band so interesting for me is their truly diverse range of influences which stretch from rock n roll right through to Punjabi singer Bubbly Kaur and even the occasional bit of country music!  Few bands get me excited to hear their new material but Cornershop do just that – fingers crossed that there will be more to come later this year.

Joss Stone – ‘Water For Your Soul’ (Album)

It’s been over ten years now since Joss kicked off her career in style with the top five album ‘The Soul Sessions’ and the chart topping long player ‘Mind Body & Soul’ which spent 51 weeks on the top 100. Five years on and record company disputes meant that she didn’t always have the promotion she deserved and ‘Colour Me Free’ peaked at just no.75 in 2009.  Then in 2012 she returned to her roots with ‘The Soul Sessions Vol 2’ and that saw her back in the top ten.  So it will be interesting to see just how well this new album performs, and early indications such as the tracks ‘Stuck On You’ and ‘The Answers’ suggest that it will deliver exactly what her fans have been looking for.  It’s easy to forget just how stunning her voice is and it works well with the new reggae influence delivered by producer Damien Marley. It would be easy for her to churn out radio friendly fodder but it is too her credit that she continues to experiment with her sound.

Leo Sayer – ‘Restless Years (Album)

This new album has been out in Australia since the turn of the year, but only now gets a full UK release.  It features thirteen original songs which straddle a variety of different styles ranging from pop to rock to country. Tracks on offer here include ‘Competing With A DJ’ and ‘Revolution Of The Heart’ but it is perhaps the title track which stands out. It’s simple and acoustic but beautifully sung and the lyrics also have an emotional edge to them. Excluding greatest hits compilations it has been over thirty years since one of his studio albums reached the top forty, and that was ‘Have You Ever Been In Love’ in 1983 which contained the stunning single ‘Orchard Road’. He will be performing a full tour of the UK during September and the number of different venues listed shows just how his popularity has managed to hold up. It would be fantastic if this were to return him to the UK top forty during September.

Mark Morriss – ‘The Taste Of Mark Morriss’ (Album)

While his 1990’s band the Bluetones are due to embark on a 20th anniversary tour, this week finds lead singer Mark Morriss releasing his Curiously the first track to be taken from the album is his cover of Sisters Of Mercy ‘Lucretia (My Reflection)’. I have to be honest and say that for me this doesn’t quite work, turning the dark and brooding original into a midtempo almost upbeat number.  His take on Laura Brannigan’s ‘Self Control’ is much better, giving the song a new lease of life while I was also impressed with his update on Pet Shop Boys ‘Love Comes Quickly’. The acoustic based pop song ‘You Are My Friend’ works well and his version of Scott Walker’s ‘Duchess’ loses none of its drama some forty five years on. However my vote still goes to OMD with their original version of ‘Souvenir’ – this one doesn’t quite do it for me.  On balance this is an interesting album with innovative cover versions.  Some you will like, other you may not, but at it least it should generate some energetic debate!

Motorhead – ‘Bad Magic’ (Album)

It would be a big surprise if I was to review ‘Bad Magic’ with the annoucement that Metal stalwarts Motorhead have decided to experiement with their trademark sound. Thankfully there is no need for concern as some forty years on from their formation Lemmy and the gang continue to deliver their fast paced uncompromising metal sound. ‘Thunder And Lightning’ is every bit as urgent as ‘Ace Of Spades’ was back in the 1970s. The band are currently running a competition among fans to design a video for the track with the winner being awarded two tickets to Motorheads Motorboat Cruise later this year. There is even the rarity of a cover version as they take on the Rolling Stones classic ‘Sympathy For The Devil while the other tracks are pretty much business as usual. They are heading off to the States over the next couple of months but will return to play concerts in Europe later this year although at the time of writing there are no confirmed gigs in the UK.

Natalie Imbruglia – ‘Male’ (Album)

Natalie returned recently after an absence of over five years with her acclaimed cover of Daft Punk’s ‘Instant Crush’, and now what follows is a whole album of versions of other artists songs. Entitled ‘Male’ it focuses on tracks originally recorded by male vocalists and comes some ten years after her ‘Counting Down The Days’ album reached the top spot. Songs featuring on this album cover a wide range of styles with her take on Damien Rice’s ‘Cannonball’ owing more to the Little Mix version, but her update on Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘I Will Follow You Into The Dark’ works well. Other tracks that the listener will instantly recognise include ‘Only Love Will Break Your Heart’, ‘Let My Love Open The Door’ and ‘Friday I’m In Love’. She has been chosen as the support act on Simply Red’s UK tour later this year and there are suggestions that this project may be followed by an album of new material.

The Prodigy – ‘The Night Is My Friend’ (EP)

This brand new EP follows on nicely from their most recent album ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ which gave the band a sixth chart topper. First up is the Re Eq mix of ‘Get Your Fight On’, but early data suggests that the 100mph three minute ‘AWOL (Strike One)’ is generating the most downloads.  ‘Rhythm Bomb’ features Flux Pavillion and is my favourite track here – it certainly conjurs up memories of the 1990’s. It is a shorter version than the one which appears on the album while I have to say that I prefer the original version of ‘Rebel Radio’ which follows next. The EP is brought to an end by the Caspa Remix of ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ which is an interesting twist on the original track. The band are making several appearances in Europe and around the world in the coming months before the tour with Public Enemy in the UK during November. And talking of Chuck D and the gang…

Public Enemy – ‘Man Plans, God Laughs’ (Album)

It’s been three years since the release of ‘The Evil Empire Of Everything’ but Public Enemy are now back with their new album ‘Man Plans, God Laughs’. The tracks here are typically very short, with only two of the eleven songs clocking in at over three minutes. The longest, ‘Honky Tonk Rules’ samples the Rolling Stones track ‘Honky Tonk Women’, but for me the best song here is ‘Earthizen’ which has been a regular on my mp3 playlist. It’s hard to believe that it has been twenty eight years since ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ gave them their first top forty hit but they have lost none of their edge with the lyrics here being delivered by Chuck D is his own uncompromising style. There are unlikely to be any hit singles on here but if you have enjoyed any of their earlier material then I recommend purchasing this album. Proof that you don’t have to deliver a 70 minute epic full of fillers to please your fans.

Next Week…

Artists releasing new singles in the coming weeks look set to include Charlie Puth featuring Meghan Trainor, Rachel Platten, Sarah Harding, Maroon 5 and Ella Eyre while Iron Maiden, The Libertines, Public Image Ltd, Bon Jovi and Duran Duran are amongst those on the album release schedule. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for us on Twitter (@ChartChatUK) and we will have edition 811 up very soon.

Ian Anderson


5 August, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment