It took six special songs to thaw the ice from our hearts this week. But if the sight of protruding neck wires and weightless puppets upsets you, it’s probably best you look away while you listen to Of Mice & Men and Evil Scarecrow’s latest offerings…
**OF MICE & MEN – BROKEN GENERATION **A comparatively subtle, melodic offering by one of the fastest-rising bands of whatever this decade’s called, the Steinbeck-indebted Californians’ latest tune proved instantly – and inevitably – divisive on social media. Fans of the band’s pit-baiting nu-metalcore want to know what happened to the screams and breakdowns; others contend they’re better off without them.
**PURPLE – DMT **You might think you’ve got this pegged as a shit-kicking garage punk-pop singalong with kooky vocals from singing drummer Hanna Brewer. But beneath the hip-swinging, fun-time shapes there’s an arty, angular noise rock edge waiting to burst wild chops and banshee shrieks into your earhole. The endearingly low-budget video develops the desert psych tendencies of this self-proclaimed ‘three-piece thunderflash of rock excitement’ from Beaumont, Texas.
**EVIL SCARECROW – SPACE DEMENTIA **Irrepressible Nottingham roister-doisters Evil Scarecrow are a dead-cert blast live. This week, the quirky quintet also aced the music video, with Space Dementia’s promo clip a magnificent homage to 1960s kids’ TV master of puppets Gerry Anderson. The tune itself is a galloping slab of chart-ready blackened-thrash with driving sci-fi synths and a blissful, understated guitar solo belying their self-deprecating ‘parody black metal’ tag.
**AS IT IS – DIAL TONES **“Emotionally-driven pop punk with a hint of nostalgia” is how drummer Patrick Foley describes his band. Listeners of a certain age might conclude that this Brighton–based quintet’s nostalgia is for a time when Blink-182 used to think nothing of streaking in their videos. The squabbling trio and New Found Glory are among the band’s heroes, although those guys sound like Crass next to these vulnerable, puppy-soft melodies. Current YouTube views as of time of writing: 312,472.
**STEVEN WILSON – PERFECT LIFE **With a spoken word turn by Welsh mezzo-soprano turned Doctor Who actress Katherine Jenkins, Porcupine Tree’s hardworking prog honcho Steven Wilson strips his ingenuity down to an economical minimum, with maximum impact. Taken from forthcoming concept album Hand. Cannot. Erase, Perfect Life is a radiant wash of elegiac electronica and bittersweet urban ennui that’s sure to tug at the hardest heartstrings.
YOUNG GUNS – SPEAKING IN TONGUES Anthemic, heart-on-sleeve pop-rock with shades of Duran Duran’s 80s romantic heroism (they both have a guitarist called John Taylor, too), this is the emotive advance cut from the High Wycombe alt-rockers’ forthcoming third album, Ones And Zeroes, accompanied by a terse pronouncement from singer Gustav Wood: “It feels great to be back with the strongest material we’ve ever written”.