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S. Reid "happy_daze" (Liverpool)
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Heaven
Heaven
Offered by Books from Norfolk
Price: 2.80

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute quality, 5 Dec 2011
This review is from: Heaven (Audio CD)
She may have come from The X Factor turkey shoot, but dont let that put you off - this girl is the real deal. Lovely soul/jazz voice and stripped down arrangements that let the songs breathe and Rebecca's voice soar. And what a voice!

Not only that but Rebecca co-wrote the album proving she is no Cowell puppet. This album is that first few steps a major new talent has taken on the road to stardom.

Fantastic. Buy it.


Smother
Smother
Price: 7.14

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it time, 22 May 2011
This review is from: Smother (Audio CD)
Though a massive Wild Beasts fan I have to admit being somewhat disapointed in this album upon the first couple of listens. It didnt seem to have the echoey rhythmic groove and interlocking melodies of the stellar Two Dancers. Yet critics in newspapers and magazines up and down the land were raving about it. Was I missing something? Is it a critcs album - easier to admire than to love?

After half a dozen listens it became clear to me why the reviews were so good. It was simply a case that journalists had advance copies and had been listening to the album for longer. For Smother takes you by stealth...slowly reeling you in over a number of listens. Each time I listen I hear a new melodic touch, a phrasing, subtle changes in tempo or vocal inflection. Every note has been lovingly crafted.

This is an intimate album, both in terms of subject matter and it's relationship with the listener. This is not something you have on in the car on the way to the supermarket. The music envelopes you, warming you in waves of texture and dreamy melodic beauty. Rhythms are often hinted rather than overt. Benny Little's guitar, appearing almost absent during the first couple of listens, is weaving a chiming backdrop over which the electronics and piano glide. The drumming is sparse and Steve Jansen-esque.

Then there is the vocals.

Hayden Thorpe has now entirely ditched the histrionics of Limbo,Panto and his voice moves from an intimate whisper to yearning and ecstatic by degrees. Tom seems to have dropped the deep baritone in favour of a warmer mid range vocal styling. There is far more interchange between the two singers than on either of the previous two albums.

Wild Beasts are, in my opinion, in a class of their own at the moment. This new album builds on the progress they made with Two Dancers and takes them in a more stripped down and sparse, yet intimate and erotic direction. Comparisons to the majestic Spirit Of Eden by Talk Talk (one of the greatest albums ever recorded) are not too far from the mark (though I would also chuck in nods to Japan, David Sylvian, Talking Heads and The Blue Nile).

Ultimately though Wild Beasts are unique. And that is why we love them.

Buy it. Play it. Fall in love with it.

Get smothered.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 10, 2011 11:48 PM BST


80s Groove
80s Groove
Price: 8.04

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groovin', 9 Aug 2010
This review is from: 80s Groove (Audio CD)
Great choice of tracks and nicely sequenced. I like the way they havent gone for the obvious and thrown in a few hidden gems. I can see this being played over and over again this summer. Enjoy!


Gatecrasher Anthems: Paul Van Dyk
Gatecrasher Anthems: Paul Van Dyk
Price: 12.79

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect holiday listening, 8 Aug 2010
I approached this collection with some trepidation. There are literally hundreds of these "Anthems" collections on the market and though I am a big fan of Paul Van Dyk I assumed his name had had simply been attached to this mix to help sell it. Wrong. Very, very wrong.

Firstly, though this does contain a fair few tunes you will have heard before, they are all great mixes and sequenced in the set beautifully. I should have known PVD wouldnt associate his name with anything sub standard. The pace rises and falls throughout, just what you want from a decent trance set, and there is a good mixture of vocal house and charging instrumental trance. I bought this to take on holiday and I can honestly say virtually nothing else got played, the three (excellent) discs saw me through two sun kissed weeks on the beach. Highly recommended.


Remixed
Remixed

5.0 out of 5 stars Stands alone as a great, upbeat collection, 31 July 2010
This review is from: Remixed (Audio CD)
Even if you don't like jazz/funk/soul or even Incognito for that matter this is still a fantastic collection of upbeat, euphoric, hands-in-the-air dance tunes. Guest remixers plunder a number of tracks from Incognito's early to mid 90's period and give them a more house orientated treatment and the results are often breathtaking. Think Hed Kandi's Beach House or Disco Heaven albums (when they were still good).

Standouts for me are the Morales mix of "Always There" (a timeless classic), the dub mix of "Jacobs Ladder" (you could drop it into a dj set today and it wouldnt sound dated or out of place) and the Pete Rock mix of "Roots" (one of my favourite tracks from the 100 Degrees And Rising album). The rest of the tracks arent too shabby either!

Highly, highly recommended.


100 And Rising
100 And Rising
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 3.88

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten classic, 31 July 2010
This review is from: 100 And Rising (Audio CD)
I cannot believe there is not more praise on Amazon for this fine album, easily my favourite of Incognito's 90's period. From the Bond Theme style opening of Where Did We Go Wrong, through the funky Good Love and the uplifting jazz/soul/funk of my personal highlight One Hundred And Rising the album explodes out of the speakers and the quality control doesnt wobble throughout. Bluey was on fire at this point in Incognito's history.

Perfect for chilling out, getting a party going, driving or doing the washing up to this is truly an album for all seasons. Everyone I play it to agrees and most end up getting their own copy. You should do the same!


If On A Winter's Night (Gatefold Cover)
If On A Winter's Night (Gatefold Cover)
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: 7.00

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilly!, 5 Nov 2009
It's interesting to see the negative reviews on here from long term Sting fans. I admire Sting but wouldnt call myself a fan, I only own his Greatest Hits album. Maybe I approached this album with a more open mind and with no baggage which is what makes my opinion differ somewhat - but I absolutely love it.

As a fan of traditional folk songs and the ancient oral traditions of scary stories in winter huddled around the fire, there was always going to be plenty for me to enjoy on this release. Sting and his band of (excellent) musicians have set about creating a rich tapestry of hymns to the dark winter months, drawing heavily on Medieval Christianity, folk stories, ghost stories, folk music and Christmas themes (but not in a cheesy way). Its all played and sung beautifully and Sting should be applauded for stretching his musical palate.

If you love winter or Christmas (or both) you will like this. It's a glass of Mulled Wine by the fire album. Highly recommended.


Two Dancers
Two Dancers
Price: 6.90

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High expectations satisfied, 5 Aug 2009
This review is from: Two Dancers (Audio CD)
The Wild Beasts debut Limbo,Panto was my album of last year by a country mile. It was just so refreshingly vibrant and different. As a result I had sky high hopes for this album and could so easily been disapointed. I wasnt.

This second album is just incredible. It takes everything that was good about the first album (the swooping falsetto, the mournful baritone, woven guitar textures, intricate arrangements) and overlays them onto a set of songs that are, well, out of this world both lyrically and musically.

More relaxed and considered than the more frenetic pace of parts of Limbo, Panto this album just grows with every listen. Hayden has, if anything, increased his vocal range and Tom sings lead on four tracks. The guitar is part Marr, part The Edge and always melodic and moody as required.

I can tell you now no other album will come anywhere near this in 2009. Peerless as far as I'm concerned.


Live In Gdansk (2CD & DVD)
Live In Gdansk (2CD & DVD)
Price: 13.48

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jaw dropping, poignant, superb, 23 Sep 2008
Amazing album, dont navigate away from this page without clicking "buy". The On An Island album finally gets the live album it deserves, plus you get a whole raft of fantastic Floyd tracks. But thats not all, the entire concert features a full orchestra (the Baltic Philharmonic) which really add texture to the songs. Amazing.

In addition its Gilmours regular touring band now honed to sonic perfection (including the late, great Rick Wright) and Gilmour himself is in fantastic voice. Finally there is the guitar playing - serene, masterful, melodic, keening.

There are many stand out moments - On An Island and The Blue are incredible as are Echoes and Wish You Were Here. Fat Old Sun gets a dust off as well. But the real highlight is Comfortably Numb which is demolished in some style, Gilmour at his incandescent best.

Its a well thought out package, great photos and a live dvd thrown in for good measure. What more could you ask for?

As near to sonic perfection as you are going to get. So get it.


Mange Tout
Mange Tout

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic pop gem unearthed, 2 Sep 2008
This review is from: Mange Tout (Audio CD)
This album has been a long time coming on cd. A top 10 hit upon release its long been unavailiable and this massively expanded edition finally puts things right.

Blancmange were that particularily 80's phenomenon of the "synth duo". However unlike the likes of Soft Cell, Erasure and the Pet Shop Boys they were musical collaborators from day one. Their debut album, Happy Families, didnt simply rely on vocals and keyboards but contained a whole slew of guest musicians and vocalists. This follow up is more of the same - musical collaborators run well into double figures and there is a real drive to create an expansive sound and widescreen palate.

This was too much for some (including some fans of the debut) and may explain why the band never kicked on from here and their third album went almost unnoticed before the band faded away. Tracks like Murder, All Things Are Nice and See The Train are hard to classify. The first two are noisy semi instrumentals and the latter an acapella folkish number. These album tracks are wildly at odds with the poppy singles (Dont Tell Me, The Day Before You Came) and some people found this just too much to handle.

But, playing this album again so many years on, its amazing how well its aged. In fact I was shocked how good it all is and alot of that is down to the sympathetic remastering. Suddenly the second half of the album makes alot more sense as the sound isnt so sludgey as the analogue version. The layers and textures sound great and it gives the album a more cohesive feel.

Its an incredibly strong set of songs (including 4 top 40 singles) and Id forgotten how good the sequencing was - playing all 10 album tracks in one sitting has a nice symmetry about it and I'm glad the extra tracks are all confined to a second disc (apart from one which seems to work in the context of the original running order).

The extras disc varies slightly in quality (the b sides of Dont Tell Me really are awful) but when its good - its very, very good. Vishnu (live favourite from the Mange Tout tour) has the epic full seven minute version that I reckon you could drop into a DJ set now and nobody would guess it was from the mid 80's. Add this to the extended (and more funky) versions of Blind Vision and Thats Love That It Is and you have a trio of real floor fillers. In addition there is the excellent All Things Are Nice (Version) which is social realism meets backwards synth pop and the full, epic and utterly gorgeous 12" mix of The Day Before You Came.

All this for a mid price album remastered with extensive sleeve notes. It really is a real bargain.

Highly recommended.


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