45s of the week: Pale Waves, Slowthai, Haim and more!

The tracks you need to hear this week as reviewed by Abigail Firth.


Caroline Polachek – ‘Breathless’

Now that’s what I call a cover! Caroline Polchek’s stunning rework of The Corrs classic ‘Breathless’, something she’s been performing live for a while, is finally out as a studio version. Produced by Danny L Harle, the pair take an already iconic 2000s pop rock track and transform it into a heartfelt electronic confessional. 

Sparse strings and vocal quips punctuate Caroline’s warbles, before dropping into a swirling synth PC Music chorus, all while hanging onto the original piano line. Most stunning moment of the song goes to that “leave me breathless” whisper and gasp in the middle 8. Oof.

Lyrically, the track maintains that giddy crush songs for adults vibe of Caroline’s 2019 album ‘Pang’, so it’s easy to see why she’d choose to perform it alongside those live. With this cover, coupled with Fiona Apple’s recent promotion to legend status and Pale Waves and MUNA’s tribute-to-Avril material of late, the musicality of those angsty women of the late 90s and early 2000s is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Now can someone get Kacey Musgraves to cover ‘Why Can’t I’ by Liz Phair?!


Pale Waves – ‘She’s My Religion’

Pale Waves’ second offering from upcoming album ‘Who Am I?’ is an unorthodox love song, shouting out all of the parts of your other half that are a bit shit, but you love them all the same. 

Ditching the shiny 80s synths of their debut for something much grungier, ‘She’s My Religion’ wouldn’t be out of place on Avril Lavigne’s ‘Under My Skin’ album, if Avril was from Manchester, that is.

Raw and honest, the track’s depiction of a same-sex relationship between two women picks apart the worst bits of Heather’s romance and doesn’t hide behind hypersexualisation or the honeymoon phase. It’s that time in the relationship when you’ve been with someone long enough to have seen all of their dark sides and realise you love all those bits, too.

slowthai – ‘Thoughts’

A birthday treat from slowthai, ‘Thoughts’ is an intense listen. Dark and brooding, the Northampton native rattles off lines about identity, society and redemption in true slowthai fashion.

It won’t feature on his upcoming second album ‘TYRON’, but it does have a similar ferocity to the tracks on last years ‘Nothing Great About Britain’. 

Clocking in under three minutes, it’ll probably tell you more about the year Tyron has had than any thinkpiece. 

READ MORE: The best songs of 2020

CMAT and Junior Brother – ‘Uncomfortable Christmas’ 

A sombre Christmas tune from the Dubliner to close out a truly wild year. Nothing says the spirit of Christmas more than having to spend it with someone you don’t like, and CMAT and Junior Brother do a stunning job of capturing that sentiment. 

Gentle and acoustic with significantly less doo wopping than CMAT’s other releases, the track certainly sounds much prettier than its lyrical content, as tensions rise across the dinner table, never quite exploding though. No cranberry sauce slung here, just quiet rage. 

HAIM – ‘Christmas Wrapping’

After years of releasing ‘Haimukkah’ and ‘Christmas Haim’ merch, the girls have finally pulled their finger out and done a festive song. Yes it’s a parody of ‘Christmas Rapping’, yes it plays out like an SNL skit, yes it’s still brilliant.

It’s not often that the Haim sisters’ personality comes out in their music – in fact this may be one of the only times – but the charm and wit that made them just as famous as their retro guitar licks and sublime harmonies is on full display here. 

Follow our brand new playlist for more new tracks.