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Rated or hated, Nov. 20: Take That, Snoop Dogg & our single of the week
Building them up and knocking them down, every Monday
Sound Generator's Single Of The Week

Juliette And The Licks combine sweet, powerful Raconteurs-esque rock 'n roll with a sublime pop sensibility on "Sticky Honey", most recent single to be lifted from The Licks' second LP "Four On The Floor". With a hook not a million miles away from The Raconteurs' "Steady As She Goes", and some casually screeched vocals, a sense of high-octane, adrenalised abandon cascades over the chorus and bursts over the choppy riffs. This is a sugary-sweet delight from the US five-piece.

The pick of the rest of this week's releases...

Emma Bunton, "Downtown". Okay - let's take a deep breath. Despite my innermost, almost overpowering instinct to denounce this single as a prime example of cynical, originality-free and above all lazy profile-raising by the ex-Spice Girl - i.e. take a classic pop song that everybody knows, and cover it without bothering to change a single note or put any kind of new interpretation on it - we must remember that it is the official BBC Children In Need single. To this end, it's a worthwhile purchase. Maybe buy it for your Mom as an early Christmas present. Just don't, whatever you do, actually bother listening to it.

From a washed-up nineties girl bands to a reformed nineties boy band. Take That, as every low-brow pop culture-vulture will know, threatened to follow their commercially successful reunion tour with some new studio material. So here it is, and blow me down if it isn't actually pretty darn good. The fact is, that if "Patience" - Take That's first new single for a decade - had been recorded by somebody like Ed Harcourt or Stephen Fretwell, indie fans across the country would be eulogising over it. And here's another fact - it's a superb song.

It's difficult to know what to make of new Parlophone signings Tiny Dancers. "20 to 9", the lead song from debut EP "Lions And Tigers And Lions", has such a strong similarity - in both the tune and Chris Etherington's big-yearning vocal style - to the ponderous rock pomposity of U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name", that the sprightly reggae-pop melodies of second track "Hemsworth Hallway" come as a complete surprise. The only constant is that they're both pretty poor songs.

Snoop Dogg hasn't come out with much material you could call poor during his long career. New single "Vato" features fellow rap veteran B Real from Cypress Hill, and the result is pretty much as you'd expect - Snoop's lazy drawl offset by B Real's paranoid-sounding high-pitched twitchings, bouncing over a heavy, thudding sample suffused with menace. Good stuff.

Indie outfit Fields drop "If You Fail We All Fail" this week. A blurry fusion of My Bloody Valentine and Echo & The Bunnymen, its complex layers of shimmering guitars and delicate vocal melodies are interesting if not astounding.

written by on 11/20/2006 12:00:00 AM

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