WITH the prize being a chance to record at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, there was understandably a lot of classic, Beatles-y sounding psychedelic guitar pop among the hundreds of entries. Maidstone’s Best Intentions do it with a really likeable laid-back, scuzzy twist on their track The Way, which peaks with a terrific fuzzy, harmonic guitar solo.
A FOUR-piece indie-rock band from Perth, Australia, who relocated to London in search of their big break, The Bloom supply some instant ear-candy with Burn Bright. Singer Luke Kordyl’s vocals sit subtly low in the mix, among a dense weave of variously vaporous and intricately needling guitar lines, on a track that never has to work too hard to sound lush.
THIS is feelgood Afrobeat with a message from Lagos, Nigeria, courtesy of singer and keyboardist Tolaní. Inspired by socio-economic challenges in his country, No Yawa mixes traditional African call-and-response vocals and chants straight out of Fela Kuti’s book. He adds in a trumpet-fanfare melody and neat contemporary production tricks to create a song that’s fresh and loads of fun.
HAILING from Stockholm, Sweden, self-styled ‘trip-pop’ group Brödet’s track Ultra Friend is a slick, melodic and immediately inviting slice of dreamy-danceable songwriting in the Scandi tradition. Brooding synths and clipped guitars form a bed for Stella Cartriers’ sultry vocals as she loops back to the lyric ‘You’ll be dead by dawn’. Think Lykke Li collaborating with Massive Attack.
This gently rousing piano instrumental from London-based Belgian Florence Sabeva is maybe the most unlikely contender among the final five — and also the most distinctive. Sabeva studied piano at Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Bruxelles, and she puts her deft fingers to work to stirring effect in Papillon, a short, twinkling piece for fans of contemporary classical and ambient artists such as Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds.
How to vote
To hear all five and cast your vote via Facebook, visit abbeyroad.com/competition/metro-botb by 8pm on August 2. Happy listening!