The last Sketches single got a ten out of ten from me so it would take something rather special this time to top it. In fact it would take something so special that we actually overhauled the way we rate records entirely: a sort of 'amp cranked to 11' thing. Sketches have been hard at work on the road and in the studio recently and there is a genuine sense that they really should be shoved onto a national stage very soon, and when it happens I want to be the one that told you so. These boys really do have the midas touch.
New single 'Bleed Victoria' is just as gut wrenching as previous single 'Slow Start' with the same euphoric stadium rock that pulls U2 by the scruff of their uncool necks and throws them aggressively into a mixing pot with Bloc Party and The Killers. The term 'emotionally charged' barely does it justice, the tension and release of 'Bleed Victoria' work hard to create complex and frankly rather messy washes of every feeling from 'my dog's just died' right through to 'I just need to get out of my house and run as far and as fast as I can.' That's no easy feat in song writing, and all too often even if the songwriter can convey it in their song, the producers and engineers are just as likely to miss the point of the song and crush all the feeling in that all-important, nonsensical push to get everything sounding Radio 1.
I give it a nine because Sketches set the bar so high with 'Slow Start' that 'Bleed Victoria' falls a tiny bit short; my biggest gripe being that the chorus just isn't quite the same level of anthemic catchiness. Still, this single is head and shoulders above everything else around at the moment and I'll eat my hat if these boys don't start getting the coverage they really deserve very soon.