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LX Holden

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kylie returns!, 18 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Aphrodite (Audio CD)
Needing no introduction is probably one of the biggest album releases of 2010, yes, the inspirational Aussie popstar is back with the highly anticipated `Aphrodite'. The album was always going to be eagerly awaited, by her fans and also the intruiged fans after hearing the very different lead single `All the Lovers'. Capturing an essence of romance and summer in the punchy intro, it doesn't take long to ease into the chorus, supported by a heavenly sounding synth, almost like an organ. The song captures meaning with the lyrics "they don't compare, with you", a different slant on vocals previously used by Minogue is undoutably a refreshing sound.

It doesn't take long for the more rapid songs to come into the play as the second single release of the album (still due) `Get Outta My Way' shows off its catchiness in an instant. The song possesses the ability to make you take in the song, sounding more like a production from a commercial dance artist, whilst still using her distinctive voice to deflect away the possibility of mistaking this track for someone else in yet another fresh sounding track.

It becomes clear that this is going to be a very different, but yet still complete album from Kylie with `Closer' sounding quite Daft Punk-y, `Everything is Beautiful' wrapped in a constant loop of distorted Piano keys and a strange episode of percussion and the album title song `Aphrodite' with a somewhat retro touch, even featuring a drum roll sound beat.

It really becomes interesting with `Illusion' featuring a very electro-style sound, whilst not going too extreme and keeping its pop roots. This is a very strong track and one of the better of the album and while it may not be a potential chart smasher, the song has real quality that will be appreciated by people who may not originally have planned on liking this song.

Calvin Harris, the dance-pop star is evidently behind `Too Much', displaying the sounds that could be heard in `I Created Disco', in an album that contains 18 producers, which probably explains the difference in the songs and the utter versitality in the sounds. Again, `Cupid Boy' is helped along with a well-known producer in the form of `Swedish House Mafia' member Sebastian Ingrosso, displaying the house electronica elements.

`Looking for an Angel', it is not far to look, or listen, as Minogue's vocals are somewhat angelic in a simple but yet capturing single. The whole album, is extremely different and could result in dissapointing some fans, which could probably be excused by the fact of the excessive number of producers used to help make the album and it's rangeful sounds. In a nutshell, the album is very complete and will probably contain something for everyone, however on a consistancy level it is poor in that respect.

Won't Go Quietly
Won't Go Quietly
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3.0 out of 5 stars A whirlwind of top-class producers, 18 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Won't Go Quietly (Audio CD)
The Fulham born rapper, initials e.g. who in his own words has transformed into producing dysfunctional electro-pop, 5 months after releasing his chart-stomping single "Wont Go Quietly" has produced his first album with Data Records, collaborating with notable artists such as Calvin Harris, Chase & Status and Sub Focus to a versatile effect.

`Watch the Sun Come Up' was the first to make a brief appearance back in September 2009 from the album, before his second single, not needed to be mentioned raised the rapper's reputation massively and after a 3rd single release of the album in the shape of `Kickstarts' we've finally got to see the range of sounds behind the man named Example.

No one could accuse the man of a bland, dull and samey album mixing a combination of dubstep, pop and house into a massive blend before topping it off with his own lyrics. And while there are a few mainstream orientated tracks in there, with the help of Benga, there are some lively tracks to be heard. `Dirty Face' is a stern culprit for one of those semi-popular electro tunes that creep into the commercial clubs of the nation and it's plain to see why. With it's catchy chorus and quote worthy one-liners `You won't get a drink, cos I'm tight as f*ck", you can almost see the lyrics in the bio section of someones facebook page.

With the latest trends it seems obvious to say that Calvin Harris has placed his own vibrant, off-beat, high-end synth touch to the album in `Time Machine', with his sound instantly familiar to songs such as `Acceptable in the 80's' and `Girls', it's clear to see what Example is trying to achieve and whilst it's understandable, if he was a school student, this album is the equivalent to him dragging in the geek of the class and getting him to do his work for him and reaping the rewards.

Despite that analysation, there are some nifty little songs to be found, albeit with see-through major influence that are no doubt making this album a nice collection of collaborations.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dubstep star finally produces a complete album, 18 Aug. 2010
This review is from: O.M.G. (Audio CD)
Sitting at the top of the pyramid in a rapidly rising music scene, it was the perfect time for the master of dubstep to release his debut single, just as the `whomping' genre neared its peak of success. Many have accused Chris Mercer of trading heart-made music for the path of mainstream music, but while his popularity has increased (and rightly so) the quality has not suffered the consequences, as displayed by this accomplished debut.

As the sounds of dub have spread amongst the student bars and transferred between ipods in common rooms, an obsession with dirty bass, beyond the sound of recognition has gone through the roof. This is something Rusko has managed to keep below the threshold in his own music, combining many elements of electronic music from the past decade and warping it with his ever familiar sounds.

The very worthy opening track `Woo Boost', which has demolished many dancefloors before now, is now a familiar soundtrack of Rusko's, keeping his grimey dubstep sounds fresh in the ears of his fans before moving onto a very early 2000's UK Garage sounding `Hold On'. Completed with his record label's very own Amber Coffman, to accompany the 2-step beat.

`OMG' as a whole is a versatile release from Mercer, displaying numerous influences and aspects of simalar genres to complete a vital for purchase album for any of the dubstep fanatics out there and also for anyone who might want to step onto the bandwagon.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A neat third effort, 18 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Immersion (Audio CD)
With the critics baying, Pendulum released their third studio album, ready to be shredded to pieces or recieved warmthfully. After a smashing debut album `Hold Your Colour', it was the second album `In Silico' which pretty much transformed the Australian electronica outfit from D&B smashers to rock, chart-toppers. With numerous headline slots behind them and several high chart entry's, the masses were expecting another commercialised album to further enchance their reputation.

However, fear not - in `Immersion' we have a fun, experimental album. Whilst `Salt in the Wounds' sounds like a sped-up version of `Slam' from the debut album, the rest can be spoke highly of. `Watercolour' providing that festival, sing-a-long hands in the air track that will energise crowds in the muddy fields around the summer.

In what will potentially be an album that will sound better off on a live stage, rather than plugged through your i-pod, the range of sounds in `Set me on Fire' is a joy to listen to; ranging from the prodigy-style screaming vocal sample, to the tribal drums in a dubstep influenced vortex of sounds.

The focal point and most intruiging is the double-part dusk/dawn affair on track numbers 8 and 9 collectively known as `The Island'. From energetic pumping tracks we set upon a more subdued standard electro number, compact with thick basslines, then stirring into an absolute dance-affair simalar to the sound of `MSTRKRFT' or `Justice', the contrast so stark and surprising that it really is a wonderful listen on the first time. Not to say that it isn't a joy to listen to multiple times, but the element of surprise is an excellent idea.

If that wasn't enough, then we morph into a Swedish metal band with the help of `In Flames' in `Self vs Self' really showing the innotiveness of this third album. The whole affair feels full of effort and a desire to please the critics, but also remain commercial enough to remain sucessful and well done it was, with full credit to Pendulum.

The Defamation of Strickland Banks
The Defamation of Strickland Banks
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary concept album, 18 Aug. 2010
To say Ben Drew has gone through an incredible transformation is now almost a cliche, but in simple English there are no other words to explain it. From his debut `Who Needs Actions, When You Got Words' back in 2006, we've gone from the angry, young londoner to a modern, spotless reenactment of one of the biggest musical movements in history.

Concept albums are hard to come by in the world of pop, Mike Skinner only being the notable artist in hip-hop to achieve that, with good effect in `A Grand Don't Come For Free' and whilst the tales of Strickland Banks aren't quite as lyrically moving and mind-blowing, the journey is still a joy to listen to. Following a love-struck fictional man, who ends up in prison has never been so fun and toe-tappingly good.

In his most sucessful release of the album thus far `She Said' captures the pleading of Strickland in a court case, the sound track to that so warmful with the blowing of sax and ever-so-light strings. Prior to that, his next single release `Stay Too Long', upbeat as far as the album is concerned, is a step on from the opening singles `Love Goes Down' and `Writing's on the Wall', almost Lionel Ritchie-esque. To mention these songs in the same breath as such an artist, really is a tribute to Plan B.

It doesn't stop there, further displaying is magical ability to sing as well as spitfire harsh lyrics. `The Recluse' without a doubt, is the absolute pinnacle of his work, instantly launching us into the song title and mesmorising violins. The third single release of the album `Prayin' is another example of his soulful works, eclipsing other attempts to capture the sound of the 60's, from artists `Duffy' and `VV Brown'. If you hadn't felt the northern soul influences yet, then `Free' will timewarp you into the Wigan Casino without a doubt, in an almost impossible-not-to-dance record, tinted with a subtle vinyl crackle for effect.

This album, if anything really begs the question - is there a genre of music this boy can't touch and master? Thus far, the answer is no. A truly incredible piece of modern artwork.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new take on 'dubstep', 18 Aug. 2010
This review is from: CROOKS & LOVERS (Audio CD)
In a genre, taking little pockets of people by surprise and wrapping them up in the ever growing snowball of fans, lays `Mount Kimbie' cleverly tripping off into commercial obscurity amidst their ambient, flowing sounds. In recent interviews, the duo have expressed no shame in producing music belonging to a movement that's so rapidly expanding, it would be easy to label them as another bandwagon jumper, but that would be arrogant.

It only takes a brief listen to realise that this style of dub, no matter at what stage produced, could actually be revolutionary to the whole genre, a world away from where it started. With eery, click-y, atmospheric sounds, we also feel the punch of the kick and snare and a touch of sub to complete the recipe of genius that is `Crooks & Lovers'.

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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars DJ Fresh - Kryptonite, 18 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Kryptonite (Audio CD)
Active since the mid 90's, Fresh has been in the game some time, exploring the timezones of underground and evolution in D&B. Now with 2010 reaching midway point, the man himself has made a mark on the rise of drum & bass, with his second studio album. His debut release off the album `Gold Dust' has crept into the commercial whirlwind, to the tune of number 24. Much to his credit, while that very single is packed with Camo & Crooked/Sub Focus sounds, topped off with rapid-fire female vocals belonging to Ce'cile, reminiscent of Shy FX. The remainder of the album is full of up-beat, quick-fire, stabbing, pulsating tracks.

From the harshness of `Acid Rain', we explore all the realms of his sounds, in a very catchy and listenable album, the question is - will it have longevity in a few years time? Probably not.
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