Single Reviews: 4 March 2023: Guy Blue, Cian Nugent, Melanie MacLaren, Mimesis, Wise Up

Photo by Scott Evans

Guy Blue - No Other Life (Without You)


If you're due a cry, "No Other Life (Without You)" by Milwaukeean indietronica musician Jack Ladd, AKA Guy Blue, might be able to open the floodgates. A simply gorgeous melody is given heightened meaning with lyrics that take a macabre look at the obsession occasioned by true love. This memorable, timeless, and deeply touching song can take a pastiche as worn-out as a love song and give it new angles by sneaking lyrics as dark as "I'll be out scouting bridges" into a piece titled as it is. Guy Blue's debut EP, Arms Wide, comes out later this year. 

Cian Nugent - High Up Airplane 

folk rock

A welcome return from Dublin's most psychedelic folk rocker, Cian Nugent has shared "High Up Airplane", the first single from his upcoming album She Brings Me Back To The Land Of The Living. It's hard to know what Nugent is saying, thinking, or feeling on this track. The imagistic lyrics are vague, and the composition is buoyant by determination, making the impact all-encompassing instead of having a singular draw. When Nugent is done applying philosophical peculiarity with words, he jams out with his band and finds an antidote to "a low kind of pain" with drifting riffage. 


Melanie MacLaren - Henry Hudson


The gentle folk yearnings of New Yorker Melanie MacLaren have a traditional quality, perhaps from the fact that she now bases herself in Nashville. Her timeless acoustic guitar playing and descriptive lyrics ("Used to see the river from my parent's apartment, now it's blocked by the sanitation department") are deceptively innocent. The polished, ultra-accessibility of MacLaren's commercial sound and writing comes across as a tad try-hard. However, those first impressions are quickly forgotten when inventive lyrics are given force as the piece crescendos with intensity, McLaren controlling her voice as it rises and dips back into friendly acoustic confessionals. 

Mimesis - Impasse

modern classical/electronic

French producer Mimesis drastically juxtaposes classical music with hyper-modern electronic production techniques on his debut single, "Impasse". Whether or not such a dichotomous contrast works is decided by the listener, who will either delight in hearing an artist creating something so perplexing yet conservatively good or wince at the video game OST vibes of this audacious effort. 

Wise Up - Nostalgia 

indie rock

Dublin upstarts Wise Up only began releasing their mash of sweetly sung vocals, unruly guitar lines, and stubborn bass in mid-2022, yet they are already three singles into their fledgling career. An upward trajectory can be heard in their recent single "Nostalgia", a fittingly-titled track that harks back to the slacker rhythms and singable passages of indie rock's heyday, albeit rough around the edges. The chorus stands befuddled beside such focused verses, yet there's enough youthful energy to the group's playing and inquisitiveness in their writing to make this an overall frabjous effort.