Profile for Avg Joe > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Avg Joe
Top Reviewer Ranking: 53,121
Helpful Votes: 247

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Avg Joe (Norwich UK)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Diamond Mine [Jubilee Edition]
Diamond Mine [Jubilee Edition]
Price: 9.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic collaboration! Worth it for the stellar original release, a few excellent extra tracks & enhanced packaging, 2 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having the original CD already, I was hesitant to buy it again, knowing full well that 'special editions' (released shortly after the original) are just another way for the industry to squeeze more dough from us. But the original release is so inspired, that I gave it a try. Happily, it's worth the extra layout again for the extra songs. Not all are excellent, but some are (esp. 'honest words'; 'aurora boring alias', 'missionary' and 'starboard home'). One wonders why they were left off the first release, but delighted to find them on this one. Great production (the Hopkins touch), and the songs are just superb. The packaging is enhanced from than the digipak, with extra pages in the insert/booklet for the extra lyrics, and it's all in a jewel case with a cardboard sleeve -- which will be, overall, more durable in the long run. Get it, you won't be disappointed.


Impersonator
Impersonator
Price: 9.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric, pensive - one of the best LPs of 2013, 2 Jan 2014
This review is from: Impersonator (Audio CD)
This is a fine album, with atmospheric tracks, all with prominent vocals floating over slow, minimal synths. Sad, comtemplative lyrics, full of yearning. Reminds of a strange mix of Matthew Dear, Blue Nile, Dead Can Dance (esp the naked baritone over chillswept narrative-soundscapes). Best tracks are bunched in the middle, and played in sequence, goes from strength to strength: Childhood'S end, I do sing for you, Mister, Turns turns turns, Silver rings, Bugs don'T buzz. For 'indie pop', it never rocks out or hits a house pace, and it isn't immediately prepossessing, but ultimately rewards repeated listens and fixes your mood and attention long after the songs end. 4.5 stars (pts off for just pedestrian packaging).


With Love
With Love
Price: 10.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 2-CDs, full of great tracks, 31 Dec 2013
This review is from: With Love (Audio CD)
This is a fantastic set, full of hooky, ambient chillout alternating seamlessly with other styles. Some breakbeat, some dubstep, jungle. Occasional tracks with vocals here. Reminds one generally of Burial, Roni Size/Reprazent, DJ Shadow, Massive, maybe Crystal Castles. Most tracks, 33 in total over two discs, are just about two minutes, and despite the total, they hang together well. Standout tracks, IMO: I saw golden light; Vanishment; Pray for me; Memories; White smoke; Digital smoke. If you liked Zomby's previous, 'Dedication', you'll feel right at home here. Packaging standard but pretty, minimal information: gatefold cover, with sleeves for each CD. Great, beautiful stuff -- get it.


Cupid's Head
Cupid's Head
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 16.28

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fine long-player by The Field, but nothing new, 24 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Cupid's Head (Audio CD)
If you're reading this, you're probably wondering if this is for you, or whether your opinion of it chimes with those of others. IMO, Cupid's Head is another great offering by The Field, with some standout tracks (black sea; they won't see me; 20 secs). The sound and structures will be instantly familiar for those who know their work. You'll get instantly drawn in by the beaty loops, but the innovative dubs and slow, developing paces provide the main payoff, if patient. Perfect for commuting or work, both of which resonate the tunes: routine as rollercoaster, predictable ups and downs broken up by very little things.

It doesn't, however, necessarily break any new ground, for either the group or for the club-ambient genre. This isn't bad at all -- just maybe slightly disappointing, as the material won't sound much different from previous LPs. It draws from all three, but is most similar to 'Looping State of Mind' -- not surprisingly, moving further away the earlier ones 'From Here We Go Sublime' and my favourite, 'Yesterday and Today'. There are fewer fast songs (like the superb tracks 'Little heart beats so fast' in Sublime; 'Arpeggiated' in Looping; 'Yesterday' and 'The more that I do' from Yesterday), and the tone is somewhat more drony and dark, less clubby. Still, great stuff and highly recommended.


The Walking Dead - Season 3 [DVD]
The Walking Dead - Season 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Andrew Lincoln
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: 13.98

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Return to Form, after Sophomore Slump, 8 July 2013
SPOILER ALERT.

After a comparatively disappointing second season, there were some lingering doubts for Season 3. Would it return to the quick pace and storytelling of S1, or would it continue to settle for S2's regrettable soap-opera-on-a-farm formula? Would the plot actually go somewhere, or would it continue to wax preposterously about humanity and zombi-cide in a post-apocalyptic US South? Would it continue to stage silly, improbable arguments between hothead, unthinking characters?

Not having read the graphic novels, it's hard to say how they articulate with the original works. But watched in quick succession, the first 7-8 episodes of season 3 were, in a word, excellent. There's a renewed sense of urgency, manifested not least by many losses (key characters, limbs, etc.). There are surprises, thrilling run-ins, and real plot movement. People die, and it's at once gripping and revealing again. There are new protagonists and new/returning baddies. The main group makes real decisions, for which there are major consequences. Carl turns over a new leaf, and so does Lori. Relationships, as usual, get strained. The directing and camerawork are also much more assured and engaging in S3; there's a stronger hand in both, and in general more confidence in the script: no reliance on ridiculous Sophia searches or hothead spats for `drama'.

Andrea becomes the real ambivalent character, and her emerging love-hate relationship with the Guv-nor becomes one of the season's main litmus tests. Most of this is drawn out in the second half, and these parts are often overdone and melodramatic. This drags on, sometimes interminably, when most watchers will want some confrontation and denouement between the town and prison. Most previous reviewers are right in saying that the latter episodes are weaker than the rest of S3. Another seeming weakness is that zombies don't really pose a real threat anymore, and even the meekest of the core group seems 'battle-tested', and can take one out without much effort. People get in trouble only when they're surprised or when overwhelmed in close quarters. Outside, zombies are basically slow, avoidable and predictable; some are slaves and playthings. But this only drives home the point that humans are the main evil and corruption in S3, no longer the walkers.

Overall, four and a half stars, rounded off to five, cos of the first half and for resolving so satisfyingly the long drawn-out difficulties (usually annoying characters!) of the group. It's great to have the show return to form, after failing so epically in S2. Well-worth the price of re-admission!


Universal 3D Active Glasses Works With Toshiba, Samsung, Sony Sharp, Mitsubishi, Panasonic TV
Universal 3D Active Glasses Works With Toshiba, Samsung, Sony Sharp, Mitsubishi, Panasonic TV

4.0 out of 5 stars Great value for money, 3D glasses, Panasonic Viera Plasma compatible, 29 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Works fine with Panasonic Viera TX-P50ST30B (2011). It always seemed like a ripoff to shell out 60+ quid for each Panasonic pair. Saw these recently, and at less than 20 quid (plus slew of decent reviews), finally decided to have a go; glad to say it works fine with TV's 3D functionality -- so well, in fact, that I bought another pair. I wear regular glasses and the medium fits alright over them. OK build quality, but not excellent -- somewhat plasticky, but more or less commensurate with this price point. Made in China, and comes with a slightly cryptic instructions booklet, but in the end not hard to figure out.

Pretty nice are the additional bits in the box: two extra adapters for the nose/bridge to tailor fit; a soft cloth bag (a sensible extra to avoid scratches, etc.); a small cloth for cleaning; and a USB cable (for charging via devices like TV, PS3). All in all, great value for money, and the 4-star reviews are bang-on. Highly recommended.


Ekstasis
Ekstasis
Price: 9.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent LP, at once quirky and irresistible nocturnes, 18 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ekstasis (Audio CD)
Initially a little skeptical of this, but happily surprised with its tightly consistent melodies and production quality, which build fairy-tale like soundscapes and imagery. All of the songs seem like twinkly nocturnes or swirly, hypnotic affairs, incorporating a host of strings, organs/keyboards, and electrics, some horns. They're hardly pop ditties or beaty danceables, but nevertheless force repeated plays. Lyrics are lovely and clear, and remind one of Grimes, Hex, and Cocteau Twins but with a more dainty, accessible vibe; while the music is paced and themed like Blue Nile, 17 Pygmies, Talk Talk. Great for slow nights in, background/reading music (in the most respectful way), walks, chillout. Best tracks: goddess eyes 2, fur felix, in the same room, our sorrows.


Confess
Confess
Price: 11.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Potpourri of pop songs rooted in 80s retro, 10 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Confess (Audio CD)
Another fine offering delivered by Twin Shadow. Reminds this reviewer of AR Kane, Psychedelic Furs and The The in terms of glossy layered production, mechanised beats and synths, and lush vocals dishing out libido-led lyrics; throw in some Peter Gabriel theatricality. There's a knowing, yet unabashed cheesiness to the arrangements here. Highlights: 'golden light' and 'beg for the night.' It's not for everyone, but builds on the first LP 'Forget' and commits more to the 80s vibe and formulae experimented on there. If you liked that, this one will feel at once familiar and bolder. Probably best to check the Amazon US site, and play the samples before you buy.


The Walking Dead - Season 2 [DVD]
The Walking Dead - Season 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Andrew Lincoln
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: 11.25

25 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but falters from 1st season (weaker storylines; many silly acts that defy even zombie universe logic), 24 July 2012
SPOILER ALERT.

Finally sat down to watch the complete series, and it's fair to say that it's not as good as the first, esp. if seen in quick succession. It might work better on a weekly basis, but for this reviewer, the series was OK but, regrettably, also fairly disappointing by the end, particularly after the wonderful script of season 1, where the group, physically as well as socio-philosophically, went somewhere, often with great twists (Atlanta, the camp refuge, CDC). Here they find an isolated farm and once esconced, everyone basically stagnates. So does the narrative.

Basically, there's no longer a sense of real urgency, and what movement there is that lands them into walkers seems largely contrived(forays for 'Sophia,' 'supplies,' etc.). For 'drama,' the writers were content to have each character become a caricature and pick a fight now and then with one another about the topic of whose personal tragedy is more tragic and about what is 'right' and 'human'. These themes wouldn't be so trite if the characters were a little more three-dimensional, and if they were allowed some room for actual thinking and change. They're not, and each is essentially slave to her/his emotional personal type: scheming friend; regretful mother; unyielding patriarch; abused wife; suicidal nothing-to-live-fors; reluctant but selfless leader; elder moral compass; terminally curious kid.

Another flaw that continually keeps the plot from transcending its genre (which it managed to do so successfully in season 1) is the serial stupidity of the characters. Almost all of them manage at least one ridiculous moment or plotline in staged hothead confrontations that encourage our wrath, a 'huh?', and arms thrown up in the air. Lori, Carl and Andrea are repeat offenders. And while this artificial drama is OK once in a while (indeed, is basic zombie film recipe), each episode is built on questionable decision(s) and it's hardly novel, edge-of-your-seat storytelling for an entire series. Standard episode cycle: characters argue, other characters argue, tempers flare, character storms off, run-in with zombies, wax dramatic, characters argue (repeat). Substitute 'characters argue' occasionally with 'someone goes hero' and that's basically Season 2.

With few revelations (save, notably, the last episode) and no story movement, each episode becomes increasingly formulaic. It's hard to distinguish one episode from another and most of what really happens in season 2 (e.g., farm visit with a surprise) could have been achieved in a fraction of the time. The endless faceoffs in the Shane/Lori/Rick triangle and angst about Sophia are perhaps the most tiresome. Unlike the 1st season's story arc, which was expansive and unpredictable, season 2 very rarely feels like it is more than a soap opera (with the occasional run-in with the undead).

The worst of the many misses: the whole Sophia search (who cares after Nth episode?, how about some flashbacks or backstory to help us empathise?); the wholly unsympathetic Carl keeps getting into trouble, meaning the group gets into trouble (actually, anyone who storms off alone to think, become solo hero, or walk off some strong words gets into this); the dilemma about killing captive (after so much bloodshed in the show by this stage, should this still be a real problem?); Lori pontificating (e.g., on raising new life in zombie-earth).

Virtues: Rick and Daryl, not least because both are given some depth, and have some surprises in them. Maggie and Glen provide some surprisingly good scenes, as well as some much needed levity. The story between Rick and Shane finally gets some much-needed resolution.

Recommendation: by all means watch, as it's still superior TV, but don't have high expectations. You'll feel better if you buy used or wait (written while at 32 quid), or borrow from friends.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 2, 2013 10:43 PM BST


Halfaxa
Halfaxa
Price: 8.38

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, otherworldly stuff - synthy beats, ethereal vocals, 24 May 2012
This review is from: Halfaxa (Audio CD)
Excellent LP from Grimes, in many ways her best. It's more experimental, more expansive and melodic than Visions and Geidi Primes. Lots of synths, and some of the standout tracks spotlight unusual instruments, surreal Enya-like vocals, and not quite recognisable lyrics. Some pop ditties here, but not as dominates Visions. Reminds one of Area, The Knife, Broadcast, Hex, Lykke Li, Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush.

Great for chillout, low key nights with others, and as artmuseum spaceout.
Best tracks: dream fortress, sagrad, world princess, my sister. Definitely recommended, and repays repeated listens.


Page: 1 | 2