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The best (and worst) new singles this week: Hot Work, Tame Impala, and more

Led by Sydney indie-rock futurists Hot Work.

Single of the Week:

Hot Work 

Honey (Hot Wok Records)

Sydney foursome Hot Work forgo the trappings of contemporary indie-rock to merge the bravado of early-60s surf music with the emotive sway of doo-wop balladry. ‘Honey’ blasts out of the blocks with the lead vocal alternating between a croon and a bark. The band then withdraws into a more reflective tempo as the song’s narrator picks at his sores. There’s a comic quality throughout, emphasised by childlike and thoroughly catchy backing vocals. 

Tamma 

Beat You Down (Independent)

Tamma holds nothing back on this bald-faced pop banger. The NZ songwriter’s crowd-pleasing intent might come off as cheap were it not for her undeniable effusiveness. The song determines to rouse bodies to the dancefloor, but not at the cost of its melodic integrity. Atop a loaded bed of synths, drum programming and various other percussive elements, the Melbourne-based singer’s confidence is unflinching.

Ezra Collective feat. Jorja Smith

Reason in Disguise (Enter the Jungle)

Ezra Collective covet some mainstream exposure on ‘Reason in Disguise’ by enlisting breakaway R&B star Jorja Smith. The London quintet’s groove-based modern jazz arrangement is complemented by Smith’s raw, unfiltered vocal turn. Smith’s candid delivery brings emotional urgency to the track, however you sense the Collective are holding back, prompting disappointment when the song fades out prior to the four-minute mark. 

Theophilus London feat. Tame Impala

Only You (My Bebey Records)

It’s attack of the ‘80s as Theophilus London teams up with Kevin Parker to revisit Steve Monite’s ‘Only You’. Aside from the updated fidelity, the duo doesn’t stray too far from the Nigerian artist’s original, presumably banking on their audience’s unfamiliarity with the 1984 release. And besides, there’s no need to mess with melodies this strong. London proves adept at handling the delicious top line, and with the aid of Parker’s peerless retro-authenticity, he’ll have you sufficiently hooked by the song’s conclusion.