Monday, 27 January 2014

International pop round-up: Katy B, Helene Fischer and Marble Sounds

UK: Katy B - Crying For No Reason

Katy B's career has seen a number of high and lows since she launched with the huge statement of a debut single, Katy On A Mission. Since then she released the huge hits Lights On and Broken Record but her more recent material has failed to catch on in the same way. What Love Is Made Of was a little dull and deserved its general indifferent response, but the fantastic 90s throwback 5AM deserved far more than a fleeting appearance in the top 20. However, she's returned with her best single to date with the third single from her forthcoming album Little Red. Crying For No Reason is a synth ballad that Robyn would be proud of, drenched in emotion and with a stunning soundscape from start to finish. The closing Pet Shop Boys-esque synths lift it to another level altogether. Here's hoping that this is the single that finally sends Katy's career stratospheric. 

Germany: Helene Fischer - Atemlos Durch Die Nacht

German pop singer Helene Fischer has been around for a few years and had huge success in her home country. Singing in her native tongue, understandably that hasn't translated internationally. Her latest domestic hit is the electro-Schlager hit Atemlos Durch Die Nacht. Germany, like Sweden, has a long history of bubblegum-pop and Schlager music, but it had seemed like its glory days were behind it in the mainstream. Helene however has put the genre back on the map, and brought it bang up to date, taking the euphoric Eurovision-esque structure and chorus and fusing it with a contemporary thumping electro bassline. It works incredibly well and who's to say that an English language translation wouldn't work? Her latest album, Farbenspiel is just as cheesy and brilliant, full of frothy pop such as Captain Meiner Seele and Alice Im Wunderland!

Belgium: Marble Sounds - Leave A Light On

Belgian post-rock band Marble Sounds have steadily grown a fanbase over the past few years. The group are centred around singer Pieter Van Dessel, who offers a melancholy and affecting vocal on all of their material thus far. Latest single Leave A Light On, the third release from their current album Dear Me, Look Up, is their finest to date, a short but incredibly sweet ballad with the qualities of a lullaby and an equally charming video. The contrast of the male vocal in the first verse and the female vocal of the second verse works wonderfully well before they come together for a gorgeous finale. It reminds me of some of the more lo-fi music that has come out of the Swedish indie scene in the last decade or so, such as Hello Saferide and Those Dancing Days.

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