Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝙄’𝙡𝙡 𝙃𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙖𝙢𝙚 - 𝙅𝙪𝙣𝙞𝙤𝙧 𝘽𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙨
Given the choice, Charles is unimaginative…
Choice is a wonderful thing. It is something with which we are all so familiar these days, to the extent that we might feel spoilt rotten. We have choice in everything. So many options. Say you’re in a shop and you need to buy shampoo (or hair soap, if you’re far too macho to use such a frilly word). When you eventually find the section for degreasing those soiled roots - that in itself is quite a task - you are confronted by banks and banks of ugly white plastic bottles (or black, for said macho types). Why is shampoo always hideously designed, and oh-so outdated…? Good question. You look among the labels and start to read. Who said reading was a thing of the past…? “For dry, dull hair”. “For fine, flat hair”. You’ve got to admire the alliteration here, but who wants dry, dull, fine or flat hair?? This confused me for years. I mean YEARS. Should I opt for the one that boasts 50% more volume? Or should I maybe opt for the one that boasts 50% more volume, with added keratin and argan oil. I am slightly concerned that this much volume might be just a tad too loud and may cause damage to my sensitive ears. Ah, here we are. “For sensitive skin” - definitely not one for the machista. What would the girl at the checkout think…? If you’re thinking about that, you ain’t no macho man. So this one for my sensitive skin boasts what it DOESN’T have. No parabens. No phosphates. No paraffins. Again, the marvellous use of alliteration, but… Headache pills? Toxic gas? Flammable liquid? There is evidently so much I don’t know. So am I to assume that all the other shampoos contain these fearful ingredients?? Well if this simplistic hair soap is free from almost everything, it must at least be mighty cheap. But no. It’s the most expensive one! Quel surprise. 10 minutes have passed, and I am still staring at ugly bottles… I think I’ll get it online, where everyone isn’t staring at me.
Now in a far more comfortable, civilised surrounding, I find myself in a restaurant. Can’t get THIS online. Now, what are we in the mood for? Roast guinea fowl, perhaps? Maybe a ham and mushroom risotto? Ooh, they have duck confit (you can maybe tell by now that I am not a vegan)… Nah, this is maybe all too posh. The menu goes on forever! Oh lord, it’s like a book - more reading. Cod and chips sounds good. Breaded or battered? Fries or triple-cooked chips? Now look, I have come here to relax and have a nice time, not to overwork my brain with deep conundrums. Sod this, I’m going down the pub.
Ahhh. Much better. I feel at home. Polite barman. Friendly atmosphere. Let’s just sit down and have a drink. Oh surely not again. At the bar, I am challenged by 9 shiny brass ale pumps, 18 lager and cider syphons, a rank of bottle fridges, and a wine list that suggests they have just acquired France. The spirits line the rear of the bar in tiers, like soldiers ready for certain suicide. Am I really just going to give up and go home…? No. I must take a hold of myself and make a decision. All the others seem to manage with no problem at all. I ask the chap beside me what he’s having. It’s a sort of cloudy yellow thing, and he tells me it’s Pernod. I turn to the barman, who is polishing a glass while keeping one ear open. My mind is made up. Leaning across the bar, I proudly exclaim into said lughole: “I’ll have the same”.
Eventually, after much milky stuff, I get home and quickly realise I have a review to write. Even in music, we are not free from choice. In fact, here we have the most choice out of anything. At our fingertips are 90 million songs. Luckily I am able to ignore most of those, since I am not reviewing anything outside the gates of the New Artist Spotlight. It is definitely safer in here. But I am by no means far from choice. One of the hardest parts of writing these reviews, week-in and week-out, is having to decide who and what to pick. Every week there is just one "winner". This can be rather horrible. Say I had two to choose from. Rather simple: one for this week, one for next week. But no, because next week there will be another barrage of musical wonder from which to choose. And the beat goes on. This week was a particularly difficult week, due to the embiggening standard of the NAS artists' output. I have lists of possible maybes, but I can only ever pick one song. I finally went with a NAS newcomer, all the way from Melbourne, Australasinaslia (or however it’s spelt). Please welcome Junior Bones!
These fun chaps have only been with the New Artist Spotlight for a matter of 6 weeks, and have already managed to appear on our very own Top 20 chart and show. They have thrown themselves in headfirst, with enthusiasm and gusto. Less than 8 weeks ago Junior Bones released Late Night Luxury - a four track EP - and managed to give me yet more choice. Kind, fellas. Kind. I had decided on the artist from their sheer talent on this EP. But choosing a specific song was yet again not easy. After very nearly opting for ‘Kilimanjaro’, I eventually went with ‘I’ll Have the Same’, a popular track on the NAS, and a personal favourite. Having written a load of nonsense about shampoo and chips, it was now time for the music. Welcome to the present moment.
Having been listening to Tears for Fears quite a bit over the last few weeks, Junior Bones very much fit the bill. Ryan Temby (on lead vocals and guitar) really fills the room with emotive sound and passion. Paul Inglis (guitar and keys) backs him up like all best friends should. Every band needs a solid rhythm section behind and under them. It is the vital foundation of almost any pop song. Thankfully, this band managed to get hold of Gavin Kerr (drums) and Tom Bullock (bass), to create the cheekbones that hold up their beauty. For there is indeed beauty in their sound. It is a familiar sound, but much like my own music there isn’t an obvious influence. I hear hints of Blur, Elbow, early Radiohead and other great English bands. But there is nothing that smells of theft or cheeky “homage” (legal theft). Much with these English bands, there is something so REAL and genuine about Junior Bones. Nothing is fake or has the feeling of being forced to be there. They are making the sound they want to make. They are making a sound they love. It is because of this, that we in turn feel similar, when keeping both ears open (glass polishing optional, though not required). I was particularly impressed by their maturity in sound, while being able to retain their youthful ray. This is not a song that makes one focus in on specific elements of the creation. It is not about a certain guitar riff or drum fill, but more about the song as a whole. The band’s members come together to make one unified sound. A sound that would be incomplete if any one of them was unable to attend. Junior Bones’ music has a wholesome, classic, rich warmth and tone, giving it lasting power and proving that they are not afraid to go against the trend of ‘right now’. I have huge admiration for them for doing this. More artists should take after them in this respect, and be themselves. Copying others may give you a quick thrill in the form of a semi-viral TikTok video, but who will remember you tomorrow? A lot can happen in one day… I really do wish Ryan Temby and his boys all the best in terms of their future success, and I look forward to more releases in the coming months and years.
Aside from the music, if there’s anything I've learnt from all this, it’s that choice is a horrible thing, and that Pernod is disgusting.
Listen to 𝙄’𝙡𝙡 𝙃𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙖𝙢𝙚 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
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Listen to the 𝙇𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙉𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙇𝙪𝙭𝙪𝙧𝙮 EP on Spotify HERE!
Listen to the 𝙇𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙉𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙇𝙪𝙭𝙪𝙧𝙮 EP on Apple Music HERE!
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