John D'Arcy/Mojo Fury

Power pop and a visit to Barcelona

John D’Arcy – 'Barcelona'
(Available July 30)

For quite a while now, the charming Mr D’Arcy has been going through a stylistic re-invention, swapping his Elvis Costello-like perky singer-songwriter chic for a more accessible power pop format, with surprising results.

Whereas before, D'Arcy could occasionally come across as saccharine, the power trio format gives him a much needed directness, as well as a rawer edge, allowing him to deliver the cutting put-down of his previous single, ‘Get Over Yourself'.

However, something has gone awry on ‘Barcelona’. The power pop dynamics are still in place, big melodies carried out with gusto, and the visual image has been honed to a T, with the single clad in a beautifully designed sleeve with a wonderful picture of D’Arcy on the cover (for the ladies, like).

But lyrically, this single falls back into the twee naivety of his earliest work, obvious platitudes delivered in a coy, pleasant tone. 'Barcelona' is ostensibly about the Primavera Sound music festival in... you guessed it, and it’s difficult to ascertain whether it’s an attempt to jump on the bandwagon and secure some secondhand cool, or to try and secure a place on next year’s line up.

It’s a shame, as his band have come along in leaps and bounds, giving D'Arcy's material a real confidence, but the song itself is too slight to support the gutsy melodies and riffs it’s been gifted. There are glimmers of hope, however. No doubt one day soon, he’s going to deliver a real killer.

Mojo Fury – 'We Should Just Run Away'
(Avalable July 25)

Mojo Fury’s new album, Visting Hours of a Travelling Circus, is slowly but surely beginning to make the impact its creators dearly want it to, with some big gigs on the horizon, and radio play-listers catching on. ‘We Should Just Run Away’ is the song that the Lisburn four-piece hope will seal the deal.

However, whilst it’s undoubtedly one of the highlights of the album – a stunning slice of keyboard driven rock – it takes a while to reveal its charms, and perhaps too dense for the casual listener to absorb in one sitting.

On its own merits though, the song is great, featuring a swooping vocal from Mike Mormecha crashing into walls of guitar and synth. Hopefully it allows the band to build on their legion of black clad followers, eager to enter the dark and twisted world of Mojo Fury. Not Lisburn, obviously. 'This town will never change.'