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Steve (London)

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Distant Satellites
Distant Satellites
Price: £9.80

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Best to treat as a mini album, 13 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Distant Satellites (Audio CD)
Having followed Anathema's development for a while it was always going to be interesting to see how they followed up the last two stunning albums which generated much deserved critical acclaim. Would they take the sound further or stick to what they have found to have worked, creating a Part 3 to We're Here Because We're Here and Weather Systems thus feeding a desire for more songs of such architectural beauty?

The answer is a bit of both. An enigmatic album title, evocative artwork and a track listing which contains the title track and also one labelled after the band's name sounds promising, surely after a long career such a track must be truly exceptional to merit such a tag.

Sadly, that initial promise doesn't follow through. As many have highlighted there is a marked difference here between the first and second halves which sit somewhat uneasily together. Tracks 1 to 6 echo WHBWH/WS and the early conclusion is that this is indeed a welcome Part 3, but somehow without the majesty. The Lost Song trilogy is pleasant, almost an easy listening version of the Untouchable tracks from Weather Systems. But it fails to genuinely excite, the highs are a little shallower and are less frequent. And the self-named closer to this section is just that- it's steady, a little one-paced, hinting at underlying power and aggression but doesn't quite explode into life. A good fit perhaps for earlier album A Natural Disaster, but certainly not the pinnacle of their catalogue. These 6 are good solid songs and will merit repeated listens even though you may reach for its predecessors, or A Natural Disaster or Judgement first.

It is then that the album gets into real trouble. A notable change of style is welcome and exciting, but the principal problem is that the vocals and lyrics are uninteresting, limp and at odds with the underlying music. The flawed and misjudged "You're Not Alone" would have been classic B-side material 20 years ago- here it jars and is spoiled by a not very successful vocoder treatment such as on Closer from A Natural Disaster, there it worked- here it doesn't. Frankly, the album would have had better balance without it. Firelight is simply a meandering 2 minutes of filling intro to the title track. Distant Satellites itself is probably the biggest disappointment, an upbeat almost disco-style rythmn suggests something special, but it doesn't arrive for it is matched again with a soulful, insipid vocal overlay. It goes nowhere, ambles around and ends just after one's attention has wandered. Shame- the underlying music is good enough, but it doesn't quite work as a whole. We then close with something crying out for Lee Douglas to bring it life, she doesn't appear and it is another undemanding few minutes of your time.

So my advice is to treat this as a mini album of 6 songs. It won't mesmerise you like some of their previous work but it is pleasant enough. As for the final 4 sadly, and this is a word I never thought I would use with Anathema, they just get a bit.........boring.

Gathering Light
Gathering Light
Price: £18.54

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous, 20 July 2010
This review is from: Gathering Light (Audio CD)
Having been fan of this band for a while this release was eagerly awaited. It takes the familiar old sound and updates it significantly, the guitars soar and swoop and the new band create a marvellously rich tapestry. The one reason I didn't give 5 stars is the vocals. While Lisa Furie undeniably has a good voice, unlike other reviewers I don't think it fully blends at times with the music terribly well, it is bit thin in parts and needs a slightly deeper intonation. But that is really nit picking, there is enough here to take anyone on a lovely musical journey, less obviously celtic in origin, its a good summer's listen reminiscent of Mostly Autum with guts and teeth or early All About Eve. Lie back and immerse yourself in this, its a little-known semi-progressive gem.

Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £6.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Objectively speaking, 20 July 2010
This review is from: Abacab (Audio CD)
I came a little late to Genesis so I heard the new material before I started to collect and listen to the old. There has been much debate about how Phil Collins sold the band out or made them more "populist". I don't buy that, its the sign of any good band that they continually evolve and discover new sounds. After all if they all just did the same album over and over it would be a bit dull. So I understand why they modernised the sound and left behind all that whimsy and frivolity. So did it work?

Well, that back catalogue is the biggest problem with this album. If you judge this against other releases of its time its no more than average. Some tracks are quite catchy but really it doesn't stand out. Then you look at the previous material, it had character and was distinctive. Not all was accessible but that magikal stuff worked, it was rich and quirky and the musicianship was first rate. It was always interesting.

This is not a good record. The title track stands out and merits the two stars. The rest, like its successor, is ordinary and only deserves attention because of the band's history. It is tempting to search for nuggets but most people only looked at this because it was a Genesis record. Sadly that modernisation took Genesis into blandland. Save the money and dip into the pre 1978 material- it has more depth and is far more rewarding.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 17, 2011 10:14 AM BST

From The Fire
From The Fire
Price: £6.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If only............, 18 Oct. 2002
This review is from: From The Fire (Audio CD)
Mixed feelings on this. I really wanted to like it, after 10 years of listening to Elizium and the more recent rehashes of old songs I was eagerly awaiting the new material.
But, its just not quite there. There are glimpses of a once great band, but they are over too quickly and the track just seems half baked. Towards the end it almost gets going but simply ends. There is the same space-style speech which appeared in Elizium and Carl's voice is the same as ever but the imagination and spark of before seem to have gone.
However, the reason I give it 3 stars is because of the version with the live Love under Will and Laura. These are both just fantastic, they put the new track totally in the shade and just when you feel disappointed that Carl and Tony haven't created anything special, these two tracks come in to remind you just how good they were. I hope they come up with some better stuff for the new album, and keep plugging away. This would be a disappointing farewell.

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