Bright spark

Following on from the demise of Arab Strap, multi-instrumentalist Malcolm Middleton returns with the musical equivalent of a vodka Red Bull chaser. It's a fizzy no nonsense single that fails to out-stay its welcome, clocking in just short of the three minute mark. 'A Brighter Beat' marries driving guitars and thumping piano chords to a jangle-pop sensibility that recalls early Badly Drawn Boy, albeit with a distinctive celtic twang. It's questionable whether we need yet another vaguely tuneful slice of moderately pleasing indie rock though. Middleton's vocals while passable aren't exactly anything to write home about and at times sound rather one dimensional against such a muscular musical backing. If anything this first cut from his forthcoming third solo LP is a two-fingered salute to the indie ghetto and consequently it's hard to see any old school Arab Strap fans welcoming it with open arms. Similarly it's hard to see this single ensnaring the commercial 'indie' demographic that it seems rather squarely aimed at which is a pity as Middleton deserves a wider audience.