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Phantom Radio
Phantom Radio
Price: £11.79

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Lanegan appears genuinely incapable of making a bad album. Despite this being recorded primarily on a ..., 20 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Phantom Radio (Audio CD)
Mark Lanegan appears genuinely incapable of making a bad album. Despite this being recorded primarily on a smartphone (!) the production doesn't lack humanity or feel; the clarity is in contrast to Blues Funeral's grungy, slightly sludgy feel (which I like) but it's no less appealing. Lanegan's voice, too, is less gravelly than we're used to but that's no problem either. The standard Lanegan trope of pre-damnation dread is well in evidence (Judgement Time, No Bells on Sunday, and more) and, though the gentler songs have received a lot of acclaim, I still prefer the uptempo and harder and darker pieces. Dry Iced, introducing the bonus EP, is a good example. The very best tracks are neatly stacked at the start and end of each disc- the fabulous grind of Death trip to Tulsa, the aforementioned Dry Iced, the wonderfully semi-psychedelic Smokestack Magic. The tracks on the main disc are typically shorter than we got used to on Blues Funeral, and that's no bad thing either. Alain Johannes is less in evidence than often recently and though the album is credited to the Mark Lanegan Band, ML himself is clearly very much in charge. Coming hot on the heels of Has God Seen My Shadow, Lanegan fans are getting a lot to feast on and there's no fall-off in quality. Marvellous stuff, and the bonus edition gives you the EP for next to nothing so fire up the credit card without any worries. At this rate, another album around February and if it follows on from this, more great stuff to look out for.


ONE TRACK MIND
ONE TRACK MIND
Price: £10.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent psych/trance outing!, 22 Mar. 2014
This review is from: ONE TRACK MIND (Audio CD)
This is an excellent, melodic advance on Hazed Dream. Gone entirely are the percussion-led wigouts of DINS. The songs have a trippy, head-nodding feel that’s belied by the sharp and clear playing and production. The fine guitar work and vocals have a resilience and strength not necessarily apparent on a first listen. Make sure you’re somewhere with no distractions when you’re listening to this- the music repays your concentration. Standouts are the first and last tracks- both such plain good songs- and the eleventh “hidden” track. This album led me to go back and get all their back catalogue and I haven’t regretted that expense at all! If this does it for you, then it’s definitely also worth browsing the Sacred Bones website- be selective, but there is some very worthwhile stuff lurking there.


Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)
Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)
Offered by Sent2u
Price: £9.25

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Numan's New Gravtias, 26 Nov. 2013
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This review is really for people who lost touch with Numan years ago, as I did. And who may now be curious about the bundle of 5-star reviews here and checking them out. Despite the occasionally stirring track, there was always a whiff of the supremely naff about Gazza. The slower, and more romantic, pieces were often grim indeed and verged on the laughable. So, many of us stopped listening. There was a lot of better stuff to listen to. And I tracked back to some of his last decade of recordings and, truly, the results were patchy. I am not convinced now that I missed too much.

This album isn't patchy. Asked by a friend which tracks to download I said, "start with 1,3,5,7 and 8". There is sustained fine songwriting here, only one clunker ("Lost"), and even a superb and moving slow finale ("My Last Day").

In addition to the uniformly good songs, the voice has improved with the years, the slightly nasal whining of past decades almost eradicated. The synths have become superb, especially the bass synths which shift uneasily around some wonderful kaleidoscopic themes and sound-images. Listen to the scratchings and murmurings in the pauses on "Everything Comes Down to This" (a standout). I've listened to this repeatedly and there's always something new insinuating itself in the darker shadows there. And it sounds like there is fertile territory for remixes here too.

The guitar work is also excellent, disciplined and taut, maintaining the tension of songs it's most prominently used in.

As a measure of how good the music is, listen to "A Shadow Falls on Me", the kind of song that in past decades could have been a tedious self-pitying whine. Not now. It comes across as having real gravitas, a reflection of the unease and angst that permeates this excellent recording.

This is really an excellent album. I nearly didn't bother; I (thought I) knew this guy was naff; but the weight of opinion persuaded me to give it a chance and I am very glad I did. I hope this review is one more siren voice. Just listen. You will be rewarded.


Push The Sky Away
Push The Sky Away
Price: £9.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Half a Great Album, 13 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Push The Sky Away (Audio CD)
There are two very good tracks here (the first and last), one excellent one (Jubilee Street) and one of the highest quality imaginable, the epic "Higgs Boson Blues". That's almost a study of the dominant cultural pathology of this century in itself, with its key repeated refrains of "can't remember anything at all" and disdain for the future ("who cares what the future brings?"). It's the ADHD mantra of living in the present, with all the vacuousness of the Twittersphere. This track alone is worth the price of admission. It's exhausting to listen to in the very best sense; you leave it feeling drained.

So what's missing? Mick Harvey for one thing, which has led to a diffused and diminished musical palette in which the major loss is Cave's own piano playing. How many of his very finest tracks (Into My Arms, Nobody's Baby Now, People Just Ain't No Good, Darker by the Day) have relied on that keyboard finesse? This album is, like its cover, too monochrome and invariant in its dominant musical tones.

Cave is a fair candidate for the finest living lyricist around, but the album feels as if he handed the music entirely over to Warren Ellis to write and arrange and the results are patchy. Better than Lazarus!, but not seriously to be compared to (say) Boatman or Lyre/Abattoir. It is Nick Cave so outclasses almost everything else, but five stars? Not in this case. But should we buy this, and will we buy the next Cave/Seeds album? Of course!


Back To Land
Back To Land
Price: £10.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharper, Clearer, Better Yet, 13 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Back To Land (Audio CD)
In retrospect West was a transition album. Back to Land feels a more confident recording with more purposiveness. The production is sharp and clear, and for those who liked the slightly sludgy production of earlier Wooden Shjips recordings (which matched the music) fear not. It matches the sharper, more assertive playing, especially the guitar work on show. And while Back to Land doesn't change the mixture too much, there is a more song-focused approach which also works here. The splendid These Shadows has an especially melancholy, bluesy atmospheric with some lovely, clear and clear guitar work, and vocals more upfront than before. Everything is sharper: there is no formless noodling, and while there are no extended instrumental wigouts (which I miss) the overall sense is that of a confident band really delivering here with a verve and tightness which is exciting and delightful. This is very good indeed and if the upcurve gets followed later on down the line, this band is going to gain an awful lot of followers from here on in.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 2, 2013 10:15 PM GMT


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