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Music Review: Architecture In Helsinki, Kyron And The Strangels, Scoring Goals, and The Starlets

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Eclectic is the word today with four single CDs currently causing some activity on the world’s airwaves.

This is a diverse selection from those that have crossed my desk of late and range from a political future view/dream of London c.2012, an electro-pop dance vibe from Australia that is breaking through in the UK, a cult band from Scotland doing well in far-off Japan, and a band renowned for their enthusiastic following in Northern Ireland.

Architecture In Helsinki – That Beep (Polyvinyl, February 17, 2009)
Despite the band’s name Architecture In Helsinki come from Australia. This single which has previously only been available across digital platforms is now released on physical CD and 12” formats on the band’s label Polyvinyl. It follows on from their 2007 album Places Like This.

It includes four additional remixes of "That Beep" a song that has taken Australia by storm entering the top 40 and earning the band significant airplay. The single has also broken out of its native country and has featured on BBC Radio 1 in the UK, and has become the band’s highest charting iTunes download to date in the US.

The additional versions include two, the Swedish and French remixes, by ghettopop production duo Radioclitone of which features Marina Ribatski formerly of Bonde do Role. The release also serves up two more Haima’s Mix and another by Kapser Vandergraff.

Needless to say this is infectious feel good, dance-electro-pop, a release that sees the band make the move towards mainstream radio success. The band is currently in the midst of the summer festival season in Australia. Their arrival in Melbourne caused quite a stir when, due to the size of the crowd who descended on the bands stage, security had to stop further access.

The CD is released with a video described as colourful and mind altering POP! The band can be found on their MySpace page or their own official website.

Kyron And The Strangels – Hanging On The Ground (Vision Independent, Jan, 2009)
Hanging On The Ground is a single released as a prelude to the band’s up and coming and as yet unnamed debut album. Kyron And The Strangels originate from Northern Ireland and consist of the vocals of Kyron Bourke, keyboard player Cormac O’Kane, guitarist Ryan O’Neill, drumnmer Feargal O’Kane, and bass player Bernard Flanagan.

They started performing live in 2007 and have built a large and definitely enthusiastic following, so much so that their gigs are more akin to events rather than a mere concert. A taste of the band can be found on their MySpace page. Kyron is also a highly regarded artist.

The Strangels take their name from a line in a Tom Waits song “The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me Today” during which Tom’s daughter combined the words strange and angels.

Their style defies pigeon holing but has been compared to an Irish Flaming Lips. The best idea is to go to their MySpace page and have a listen to this single. Whilst you are there listen to “Walking My Dog,” which is a fans favourite and usually both opens and closes their live sets at each of their concerts.

Scoring Goals – Ben Reel, Jud Charlton & John Otway (Message Parlour Records, February, 2009)
Rainbow George, Hampstead's favourite eccentric, has a new production in the making. Scoring Goals is taken from a documentary film of the same name about the visions he experienced as a part time mystic and apprentice prophet.

Rainbow George’s film is targeted for premier in London on 10.10.10, the opening scenes were shot on 08.08.08, and the closing images will depict a London of 12.12.12. Intrigued?

George believes that the people of London will begin to shine a light to the rest of the world by embarking on an eight year project to transform London into a self governing, tax free, leisure-oriented, wonder city. Well it couldn’t do any worst than what we have now I guess. Vote for George's Rainbow Democracy, that's what I say.

For the film he intends to build a twelve strong band to be known as The Revolutionary Souls Army Band. Three people have already been recruited. However, you can still audition on the website!

The song, with a version by each of them, sets the scene for the film with a political plea for change, Rainbow style. First we have a version from Ireland’s Ben Reel. He is a one time member of Trim The Velvet. Since going solo he has built an impressive reputation on the live circuits of Europe.

Jud Charlton is an actor and performer who has recently been appearing in The Life And Times Of Ian Dury. Here his voice-over is pure Dury at his best.

Lastly comes John Otway’s typically eccentric version. Hardly needing an introduction he is perhaps known as much for being unsuccessful as he is for his most memorable success “Really Free”.

Since then he has built a career around his unique live performances and great humour. I'll never forget seeing him hanging from the girders of some venue in London's Victoria singing 'Beware of the flowers, because I'm sure they're gonna get you'. Yeah.

It’s a project that I am sure we will be hearing a lot about in the future. For more please log on to the website.

The Starlets – Radio Friendly (Stereotone Records)

‘Based in Glasgow but belonging nowhere’ is how The Startlets describe themselves. This their debut single is fronted by the track “Radio Friendly” which is an edgy, spiky, and guitar led mantra overlaid with subtle vocals. It is rather reminiscent of early Jesus and Mary Chain. The second track “Maggie Love Hopey” is a melancholic trip through strings and piano.

The single was recorded by Teenage Fanclub producer Duncan Cameron. It is the first release from indie Scot label Stereotone but has already achieved substantial sales in Japan where the band have a large following. Watch out for an album shortly.


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