Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen in Prime Shop now Shop now
Profile for thomasbirch2 > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by thomasbirch2
Top Reviewer Ranking: 8,331,830
Helpful Votes: 542

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
"thomasbirch2"

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
pixel
Seven Years Golden
Seven Years Golden
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £32.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest album of all time... possibly, 10 Feb. 2003
This review is from: Seven Years Golden (Audio CD)
The Thrown Ups were formed by Leighton Beezer in the early eighties. His real name is John, for those who're interested (and those who aren't). There were a number of people in The Thrown Ups, but the two that most people are interested in (and well they might be) are Mark "Arm" McLaughlin and Steve Turner, of The Monkeywrench, Mr. Epp and Green River. They were also in some group called Mudhoney. The 'Wrench and The Honies are still going strong, but, alas, Mr. Epp and The Thrown Ups are no more.
Anyways, The Thrown Ups' rationale was to not have "songs" as such: writing sessions were to be avoided like the plague. Indeed, the band steered clear of all those things which most bands prize (musical ability, a sound, publicity based around integrity) with the same vigour that Arm and Turner avoid low-ceilinged rooms. In keeping with this, I have decided to review this album before listening to it. And, judging by the titles on display, it's going to be a very fine record indeed. From the anti-paedophilia rant that "Sloppy Puppy Love" might be, to the possible comment upon loving a mentally-handicapped person, "My Love is Simple", The Thrown-Ups release track after track of tracks.
Oh, one thing I do know: "Bucking Retards" later became a big ol' grungetastic hit for Tha Huneez when they pinched their own riff for "You Got It". Mark was The Thrown Ups' drummer, incidentally, and Steve their guitarist. Ed Fotheringham (better known as an album cover artist for Les Miels) sang, and Leighton Beezer bassed.
Come on, there's a song on here called "Scabby Like my Love"! Whaddya waiting for?


Raven, The (Ltd. Edition)
Raven, The (Ltd. Edition)

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretension, thy name be Lou, 3 Feb. 2003
In many ways, “The Raven”, Reed’s 2003 album, is the ex-Velvet's most ambitious work to date. Taking as his starting point the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Reed fills two CDs – that’s over two hours, although for less intrepid Reedophiles, there’s a single-disc edition, too – with his interpretations of pieces from the gothic writer’s oeuvre. Some tracks feature Lou and his core band performing Poe-inspired straight-ahead Reed rockers. Elsewhere, as on “Vanishing Act”, Reed sings to a stark, beautiful piano accompaniment, and on “Fire Music”, he even returns to the blaring soundscapes of 1975’s “Metal Machine Music” album. A number of the tracks on the record do not feature Reed at all. The majority of these are spoken-word pieces, featuring actors such as Willem Dafoe and Amanda Plummer performing Poe’s works to varying degrees of success. While it’s nice to hear the word “buffoonery” upon an album, one cannot help but apply this label to the antics of Lou himself, when he decides to take gospel singers The Blind Boys of Alabama on at their own game on “I Wanna Know (The Pit and the Pendulum)”. Other notable guests include one-time Reed producer David Bowie, who does a surprisingly accurate and completely pointless Lou Reed impression on “Hop Frog”, jazz great Ornette Coleman, whose playing on “Guilty – Song” is either “mind-tearing heart-rending” (Reed’s assessment) or overblown and shrill (mine). Even Reed’s old lady, Laurie Anderson, puts in an appearance on “Call on Me”, singing along with her beau. Two old Reed numbers are revisited here: “Perfect Day” is given yet another rehashing (this is, surprisingly, one of the numbers Lou is completely absent from), but “The Bed” from “Berlin” is given a tender and powerful reworking. When the record works, it is impressive, but the flaws of this overblown undertaking outweigh the triumphs. Reed isn’t Poe, and this is no bad thing. While “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” could never have issued forth from Reed’s imagination, nor could Poe have written “Heroin”. And perhaps that’s the problem: in trying to be what he is not, Reed only reminds us of what he once was and – as the tantalising return to seventies vocal form on the painfully short “Science of the Mind” shows – could still be. Whether failed experiment or egotistical rambling, this is an album which promises more than it delivers.


Audioslave
Audioslave
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.25

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock's newest "supergroup" triumph!, 20 Nov. 2002
This review is from: Audioslave (Audio CD)
“Audioslave”, the long-awaited collaboration between ex-Soundgarden vocalist and occasional guitarist Chris Cornell and “the other three” from Rage Against the Machine, is finally here. And it’s very, very good. The lead-off track, “Cochise”, was a wily choice as a single, as it suckers the public with just what they’re expecting: Rage-style hard-rock backing topped with Soundgarden-style screaming from Cornell. However, the rest of the LP reveals that there’s more to Audioslave than the sum of their old bands’ parts. “The Last Remaining Light” is a widescreen number which probably deserves the dubious accolade of “epic”, if one only had the stomach to use it, and “I Am the Highway” is as grand as the title suggests.
Produced by Rick Rubin, who also produced the final Rage Against the Machine album, “Renagades”, along with such fare as the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1991 mega-seller “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”, the album is an eclectic brew which manages to retain a cohesive identity. Rubin brings out the best in his charges, and it seems they bring out the best in one another, pushing themselves and their bandmates to new heights of endeavour. Cornell has never screamed better (or more often), but there’s a light and shade, a maturity to be found in his vocal performances that was sorely lacking from 1999’s pin-up album “Euphoria Morning”. Guitarist Tom Morello also shines, his trademark rhythmic dissonance and almost Dadaist approach to guitar soloing joined here by playing of remarkable emotional depth. Who would have thought that the man who gave us “Bombtrack” could also play the blues? “Audioslave” demonstrates that indeed he can. It would seem churlish, having praised Cornell and Morello so highly, to neglect the bedrock upon which this remarkable album is built. Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk have always been a rhythm section of seismic impact, but here they are given room to stretch and groove in a way more smooth than earthy. Commerford’s basslines have an elasticity about them and Wilk’s drumming an adventurousness that RATM’s message-not-the-medium approach simply didn’t have room for.
To sum up, “Audioslave” is more than fans could have hoped for. While the faithful of RATM may miss Zack de la Rocha’s reactionary rapping, and Soundgarden devotees may miss the skewed-meter acrobatics of that act (they went with Matt Cameron; go buy Pearl Jam’s “Riot Act”), Audioslave is neither of these bands, and the stronger for it. The elementary power of Rage’s music is to be found on this record, as is Cornell’s primal roar. But there is more, much more within the grooves or encoded upon the compact disc as zeroes and ones. This album represents a progression for all the musicians involved, a leap into the unknown without a neglecting of the roots. This album is viable, it lives. Let’s hope there’s more to come.


The Bronze Age: Overkill/Bomber/Ace of Spades/Iron Fist - 1979-1982
The Bronze Age: Overkill/Bomber/Ace of Spades/Iron Fist - 1979-1982
Offered by Discoteca Rotacao
Price: £70.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thousand tiny implants in your brain!, 19 Oct. 2002
"The Bronze Age" compiles the four albums Motorhead recorded for Bronze Records, and spans the years 1979-82. At this point in their career, Motorhead consisted of lynchpin Lemmy (bass, vocals), Philthy Animal Taylor (drums) and Fast Eddie Clarke (guitar), a line-up which is, to Lemmy's chagrin, often referred to as the "classic" Motorhead incarnation. While one can dispute which of the numerous line-ups Motorhead have had is the finest, it's hard to fault the music Lemmy, Animal and Fast Eddie produced, as collected on this four-disc collection.
Disc one features the album "Overkill", which is as good a collection of Motorhead numbers as you're likely to find anywhere. The title track, "Stay Clean" and "Damage Case" are all classics, and there's nothing on the album short of excellent.
The second disc is the "Bomber" album, which is, if anything, even better than "Overkill". While the speedfreak attack apparent on the previous album is very much in evidence on tracks such as "Dead Men Tell No Tales" and "Stone Dead Forever", Motorhead reveal a bluesy swagger on "Lawman" and Fast Eddie's vocal performance "Step Down", which adds variety whilst sacrificing none of the band's power.
Disc three is Motorhead's most well-known work, if only for its title track, the "Ace Of Spades" album. Another stellar collection, along with the eponymous hit single, this LP features such Motorhead masterpieces as "Love Me Like A Reptile", "(We Are) The Road Crew", "The Chase Is Better Than The Catch" and the ferocious "The Hammer". As albums go, this one nears perfection.
The final disc of this set is the "Iron Fist" album, and is unavailable on CD outside of this collection. Suffering from a bad reputation (possibly because of the nigh-on-impossible task of following "Ace Of Spades"), this record sounds excellent twenty years on from its first release. While the fire of the previous album is present on some numbers, such as "(Don't Need) Religion" and the title song (Motorhead always seem to name their LPs after really strong numbers), the grittier blues approach of "Bomber" returns, and Lemmy is in particularly verbose form on "I'm The Doctor" and "America".
The packaging of this set is also flawless, coming in an attractive box designed to look like a wooden crate, which houses the four albums, each in a replica sleeve of the original vinyl issue, right down to "Iron Fist"'s inner sleeve. Along with this comes a fold-out booklet with a breathless-if-incoherent appreciation from rock journalist Malcolm Dome, and, as if that wasn't enough, a Motorhead warpig-logo sticker! Indeed, the only criticism levelable at this set is the decision to drop the bonus tracks available on the current CD issues of the first three discs to preserve the integrity of the original vinyl albums. Still, with an entire album of this set unavailable elsewhere, this seems like needless carping. This set deserves a home in the record collection of all discerning rockers.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2011 9:04 PM GMT


Forty Licks
Forty Licks

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This'll satisfy your every need!, 6 Oct. 2002
This review is from: Forty Licks (Audio CD)
Well, this double-disc set claims to be "definitive" (how many times have you heard that before?), and, actually, it is. While we can all point to a lesser-known classic that we'd like to hear on here that's absent (i.e. "Sister Morphine", their cover of "Harlem Shuffle" et al), it's really hard to find fault with what is here.
Disc one deals with material recorded between the band's inception and the end of the sixties, and the second CD brings the story right up to date with four brand new tracks. Of these, "Don't Stop" has big, Keef-patented chord stabs and shows that, despite detractors, Mick still has the voice that launched a thousand (well, at least forty) hits. Another newbie, "Losing my Touch", features a welcome and frazzled lead vocal from Keef.
As to the other songs, well, just look at the tracklisting. The remastering is sterling throughout: from the first shimmering strums of "Street Fighting Man", the clarity really hits you. And with the price not exactly prohibitive, what are you waiting for? Buy, buy, buy... and find out why the Stones are known as "The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World"!


Band of Gypsys
Band of Gypsys
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.99

61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't know what I know..., 2 April 2002
This review is from: Band of Gypsys (Audio CD)
"Band of Gypsys" is a fine album, and the blueprint for funk-rock, funk-metal and a hundred other funks which, ironically enough, languish in the CD players of a multitude of twenty-first century white kids. Buddy Miles' soulful songs of love and life are a refreshing contrast to Hendrix's new-found didacticism (witness "Message to Love"), and the whole thing is spolighted in an uncluttered performance, Cox and Miles a solid rhythm section a million miles from the flashy Experience.
The high-point on this album, recorded live on New Year's Eve, 1969, is "Machine Gun", Jimi's musings upon the Vietnam War, made shockingly real by the guitarist's otherworldly playing and Buddy Miles' onamatopoeic percussion. Other classics are the groovesome opener "Who Knows" and Miles' effervescent "Changes".
As well as being arguably the most successful live album of all-new material ever issued, "Band of Gypsys" shows Hendrix as less of a band-leader and more of a band-member. Furthermore, it grooves, it rocks, and it's excellent. Anyone who cares a jot about rock, funk or twentieth century popular music in general ought to purchase this.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 10, 2014 12:57 PM BST


Electric Ladyland
Electric Ladyland
Offered by westworld-
Price: £9.98

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you ever been?, 2 April 2002
This review is from: Electric Ladyland (Audio CD)
While credited to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, this is as much Jimi with the "friends and passengers" he credits on the inner sleeve as anything.
The other thing this album is, undeniably and ecstatically, is a masterpiece. From the Stratocaster-as-flushing-toilet opener "...and the Gods Made Love", to the closing firepower of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", arguably the most incendiary rock performance ever committed to tape, this album uses its seventy minutes frighteningly well.
It would be untrue to say that this album was a tightly-structured programme of impeccably-planned music, but that really wasn't the point, as Hendrix had proved himself a master of that artform with producer Chas Chandler on the first two Experience records. Chandler having left, Hendrix was free to fill his record with deeply soulful recastings of blues-standards (the fifteen-minute "Voodoo Chile"), psychedelic symphonies ("1983 (a Merman I Should Turn to Be)"), and laid-back jazz musings (the two-sided blow that is "Rainy Day Dream Away" and "Still Raining, Still Dreaming").
Taken as a whole, this album covers as much ground as any record you care to name. As well as demonstrating once again that Hendrix was a master songwriter and performer, it features his finest cover version, in the form of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower". Not to mince words, this is as good as rock music gets. Your collection has a gaping hole in it if you do not own "Electric Ladyland".


Axis: Bold As Love
Axis: Bold As Love
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.75

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hang on, if you wanna go!, 2 April 2002
This review is from: Axis: Bold As Love (Audio CD)
Unfairly consigned to the history books as the follow-up to "Are You Experienced?" and little else, "Axis: Bold as Love" is actually an eclectic and electrifying album. It shows Jimi and his Experience consolidating upon the sonic battery of their first outing, and delving back to Jimi's days on the chitlin' circuit in the USA, playing tough soul to tough crowds.
Jimi's endearingly silly sci-fi preoccupations are to the fore on the ridiculous "EXP" and jazzy "Up From the Skies", and the aforementioned soul excursions are best represented on the funky "Little Miss Lover". Bassist Noel Redding gets his own number on the dated-but-enjoyable "She's So Fine", but there's no stealing Jimi's thunder on material which ranges from the beautiful "Little Wing" and "Castles Made of Sand" to the hard, hard rock of "Spanish Castle Magic".
Placed within the Hendrix canon, this album is as unique and vital as all the rest, paving the way for the Experience's finest hour, "Electric Ladyland". This, then, remains our only snapshot of the Experience together as a cohesive whole, enthused by their first taste of real success, and working as a tight and efficient studio-based unit. More importantly, though, this is a superb record, and one every rock fan should have in their collection.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2015 1:34 PM GMT


Are You Experienced
Are You Experienced
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £7.99

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not necessarily stoned, but... beautiful., 2 April 2002
This review is from: Are You Experienced (Audio CD)
Jimi Hendrix's first album release in his own right, ably supported by Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass, "Are You Experienced?" is an album which ushered in a whole new era of guitar-hero excesses and, more importantly, heralded the arrival of the greatest electric guitar player the world has known.
However, albums cannot rely on influence only as a reason for their existance, and it is always worth remembering that, aside from the plaudits heaped upon it year after year by every half-baked rock journalist, "Are You Experienced?" is a great album to listen to, packed with well-written and superlatively-played material.
The best-known tracks need no introduction, from the erotic broadsiding of "Foxy Lady" to the breakneck soul-funk of "Fire", from the catacalysmic title song to the aural avalanche of "Manic Depression". Alongside such timeless nuggets, though, are more reflective, beautiful songs such as "Remember" and "May This Be Love", which show up Hendrix's insecurities as a singer for the poppycock they were.
Any enthusiast of rock music, old or new, ought to own Hendrix's entire Experience Hendrix catalogue (although the countless compilations, reissues of session material and the like can be avoided), and, having done so, should check out the fine rare material available online via said company. If you're a neophyte, there's no better place to start than this album. If you're not yet experienced, what are you waiting for?


Reckoning
Reckoning
Offered by Bridge Media UK
Price: £5.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sophomore effort reveals another side of R.E.M., 1 April 2002
This review is from: Reckoning (Audio CD)
When R.E.M. released "Reckoning" in 1984, "Murmur", the Athens quartet's first album, was making a few waves on the college radio circuit, and garnering praise from a couple of rock critics. This was small comfort to the group, though, who were still roughing it in an endless round of gigs at dirty, spit 'n' sawdust dives.
"Reckoning" marks a distinct move away from the multilayered guitars of the band's first record, boasting a sound more reminiscent of the group's live sound of the time. Often, the tracks are recorded live in the studio, although this less cluttered approach to recording still left sufficient depth in which Michael Stipe's voice could be buried.
As would be expected on a more basic rock album, the real stars of the show here are bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry, whose elastic locomotion powers the majority of the pieces here. Furthermore, their backing vocals provide a warm foil for Stipe's difficult-to-decipher musings.
While there isn't a weak track upon this album, the high-watermarks include the harrowing "Southern Central Rain (I'm Sorry)", the wistful "Harborcoat", and Mike Mills' country-flavoured "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville".
Taken with the first R.E.M. record, this can be seen as completing the blueprint for the sound R.E.M. would pursue for the next couple of years, before they left I.R.S. Records for Warner Bros. and everything - sound, venues and bank balances - got so much bigger.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4