This is the first singles round-up of 2022 and I certainly hope we are more prolific with singles review this year than we were in 2021. Some of these tunes came out at the tail end of last year. There are eight songs with a group of artists from Hampstead, New Jersey (2), the Netherlands, Tennessee, Hale (Cheshire) and Norwich. One of which has appeared on these pages before (The Awkward) others are new to us but I am sure this will not be their last appearance. How the hell has Rhoda Dakar not been featured on With Just a Hint Of Mayhem before? That is a huge failure on my part. Rhoda if you’re up for an interview, feel free to get in touch!
“The Man Who Sold The World” – Rhoda Dakar
Rhoda first came to prominence fronting the Bodysnatchers who were a part of the whole 2-Tone explosion in the early 80s. She also gave some great vocals to the Specials and Special AKA. She released her first solo album back in 2007 and she seems very active on social media these days. Which is how I first learned of her cover of the Bowie classic “The Man Who Sold The World”. Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of the Dame and have been critical of covers of Bowie in the past. However, Rhoda takes this song and makes it her own. On paper turning this song into a reggae tune shouldn’t work. But this isn’t on paper and it is bloody marvellous. Rhoda maintains the dark, weirdness of the lyric while singing over a sunny, somewhat jaunty reggae track. Her voice is impeccable and raises the song a few notches from other versions. This ace cover is impossible not to like!
“Hard Way to Go” – Megan Knight
New Jersey native Megan is a talented singer-songwriter whose songs ooze passion, soul and a life lived. There are some stunning alt.country elements to this song. She also has a hint of Taylor Swift’s delivery and pop sensibility on display with “Hard Way To Go”
“Come Over” – The Awkward
This band is from the Netherlands and they sure know how to make a great tune and this talent is to the fore with the infectious “Come Over”. This is pop-oriented rock at its best and I think fans of Apollo Junction will love it, I do!
“Forever Home” – Rick Drevet
This is a fine slab of Southern USA bluesy rock in praise and support of forces veterans. There is a definite Lynyrd Skynyrd influence but in a good way. Rick’s guitar work is reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan and this tune has made me want to check out more of his stuff.
“Moment In Time” – Jai Agnish
Good things are worth the wait and this is Jai Agnish’s first single in thirteen years. It is an almost perfect, gorgeously crafted slice of chilled electro pop. Late night, reflecting on the day with a cold beer or wine, put this on to complete your relaxing chilled mood.
“Kind Of Greenery” – Israel Portnoy
This single from late last year is one that really brings me to a happy place. A beautifully constructed fun tune which can be found on Israel’s ‘Facing Flames’ album. At times it reminded me of two George’s; Harrison and Ezra, although without the Ezra bass boom voice. I need to go and listen to Mr Portnoy’s album now
“Eraser” – Head Ballet
Head Ballet are a duo from Manchester made up of Kiera Court and Danny Casio. This is a great electro pop tune and makes me look forward to more stuff from the pair. Earlier single “Real Life” is an ace electro ballad and worth checking out too.
“Money Talks” – PleasureInc
This classy track hints at an eclectic range of influence including, indie, electro, hip hop, post punk, classic pop and sixties rock sounds. The Jrnalism Remix of the tune takes it in a completely different, warped but wonderful direction.
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