Rays From The Radar – 05/03/2021
It really feels like this week has ran away from me. In fact, the entire year so far has. The start of a new month - one that marks a year of the start of a devastating tragedy - has really knocked me for six, I can't lie.
Time is something I'm struggling to keep control over. It's a daft thing to even try and maintain control of. Heck, does it even exist?!
Time is something I always thought I never had very much of. Before the pandemic, every day was filled with work and every evening with socialising, culture and being busy. I was always very busy, busy, busy. But at the same time, this busyness translated into flaky pastries stuffed into mouths before morning meetings, lunch time power-walks talking shite with colleagues, applying lippy in pub loos to widen big gooey smiles and laughing till drink came back through my nose, before falling into bed and groaning as my phone told me my alarm was set for five hours' time.
However, even now a year in to a "new normal" (note: this is no longer new, nor does it feel normal), when on paper so much has stopped, I feel like I no longer have any time at all. And I have no pastries, no deodorant sharing and no gossip to show for it. Yet, I still have the eye-bags. Why?
Anyway, here's this week's Rays From The Radar. They're a tasty mix of nostalgia and optimism and topped with some social conscience. It's exactly what I needed to stay grounded and motivated.
Saint Raymond – ‘Soft Landing’
Wearing blue fade wash jeans paired with black mesh t-shirts, scrunchies holding up half of our tumbling hair; my friends and I would sip vodka lemonades from plastic cups before running through Hockley to catch the last 23:10 train back home. Sinking into East Midlands Rail train seats as your heart rate steadies, you start to feel the glitter on your face start to crust as it meets the cheap black eyeliner running down your cheeks from laughter tears.
Those few years of my mid-teens were some of the greatest. Saint Raymond was there to document it all. ‘Soft Landing’ carries that all that nostalgia for freedom, but with a reflective, more mature perspective. It is a song about togetherness, and perfectly documents growth. Mellow and warm, this is a song that is like looking back at hue toned photographs with the same love and devotion to the memories.
Tom Grennan – ‘Make My Mind Up’
Tom Grennan’s whiskey stained vocal never ceases to amaze, and in this track it is laid bare. With song writing intelligence that suggests the life of a hundred years and an emotional vulnerability that demands an open ear and heart, the piano-led ballad is one of utter beauty.
Immortalising a breakup wherein Grennan pleads that somebody else make the decision to end a relationship, ‘Make My Mind Up’ swells with soulful intensity.
Ben Howard – ‘Far Out’
At first listen, it’s easy to melt into ‘Far Out’. It is a song you can pop on to mark the end of the working week. Glass of cool white wine in one hand, moving around the kitchen preparing a carb-laden indulgence with another. Stirring pasta rhythmically as you sway your hips and move with the delightful flourishes in rhythm with Howard’s quirky vocal patterns.
Scratch the surface and find the lyrics to be more politically charged than your tomato sauce first imagined. A critique of the human impulse that draws us to violence and animosity without reason, ‘Far Out’ is an understated statement that perfectly encapsulates Howard’s magical ways of storytelling.
Dodie – ‘Hate Myself (Voice Memo)’
Simply sublime. Dodie’s sweet voice is one that is impossible to resist. This stripped back version is a treat for fans and new listeners alike. With an air of naivety and innocence, ‘Hate Myself’ is a softly sung stream of consciousness gently revealing Dodie’s most inner-thought feelings.
With every second that passes, it builds steadily in confidence that of course, it would grow to be an absolute bop.
Off Bloom – ‘Hit & Run’
Stripped from their highly anticipated debut album, in bloom, ‘Hit & Run’ is an absolute vibe from the off. Deliciously plucked Spanish style strings and scattered beats present a sun-drenched drape for this dance inducing track.
The vocal oozes with sultry confidence, rolling with dangerous attitude.