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Exspect EX883 - In Ear Earphone - White
Exspect EX883 - In Ear Earphone - White

1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Additions to Product Features:, 24 April 2009
- certain to break within at most a month of use;
- rather uncomfortable;
- not worth buying, really.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2010 2:10 AM GMT


OK Computer
OK Computer
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.19

2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No surprises for the knowledgeable listener, 9 Jan 2009
This review is from: OK Computer (Audio CD)
Look, I'm going to come out and say it: I'm not a very big Radiohead fan. They're a very nice band, who had (yes, correct tense) some very nice ideas and made some very nice music. They're very eclectic and I know they gladly provided a stepping-stone to many '90s kids to find the many obscure styles of music which otherwise wouldn't be quite as well known as it is today. I'm well-aware that pretty much every man and his dog has at least heard a few tracks from here already, so I simply hope to be able to offer my own perspective to those who have heard it.

Many are quick to tout this as one of the top-tier music releases of the '90s -- the best, even, in some cases -- and as a modern day masterpiece, but I don't see it that way. No, wait, don't reach for the "No" button so hastily! I have more to say, hear me out!

Granted, the album does contain a number of absolute masterpiece. Opener "Airbag" is a rewrite of "Planet Telex" from the previous album (also overrated, but that's for an other time) with the atmosphere cranked up ten-fold. Colin's sparse bass line is almost drowned out by the near-schizophrenic guitar and drum assault going on around it. Follower "Paranoid Android" is, inarguably, the greatest moment in Radiohead's entire discography, an ambitious four-part composition that flows absolutely perfectly. Many -- including the band themselves, I believe -- point to influences being the Beatles' "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and Queen's "Bohemian Crapsody" as influences, but I whenever I listen to it I can't help but think of the Kinks' "Shangri-La." Think about it for a second. The melody of "Subterranean Homesick Alien" is almost dream-like and perfectly compliments Yorke's lyrical tale of an alien's view of humanity. "Let Down" is almost suicidal in its despair, and peaks with the electronic guitar buzz kicking in at about 3 minutes. "Climbing Up the Walls" is currently my favourite on here (not the best song), and is almost schizophrenic in its anguish. "No Surprises" is that one song everyone's heard, but it's hardly a personal favourite. "Lucky" is almost transcendent in its bleak optimism, almost like Nick Drake without the subtelty. Closer "The Tourist" -- presumably the same person Yorke is calling to pull him out of the aircrash -- is very overlooked as Radiohead songs go.

Unfortunately, the album fails to keep up these highs for its middle section, which I I'll never care for. The ironically titled "Let Down" is nothing but a pleasant, underwhelming pop song; "Karma Police" is a decent piano rocker, but has too little interest to warrant inclusion among the excellence I mentioned in the above paragraph; "Fitter Happier" is a terrible, pointless, nullifying voice experiment -- think of the likes of "The Other Window" and "Indirect Enquiries" from Wire's 154 but even worse -- whose only real pro is the vaguely sinister music backing (also mediocre); "Electioneering" is a terrible attempt at making OK Computer "rock," and just dies on its backside.

So yeah, four stars is what I'm giving it. This certainly isn't the best of the decade, and Radiohead would do far better for the next one, Kid A. The band seems to be content making middling, boring alternative rock now, so hopefully the music world will be able to drop its unwarranted obsession with this lot. I figured you'd have pressed No already.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 7, 2009 2:13 PM BST


Singles Going Steady
Singles Going Steady
Price: £5.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harmony in my head, 9 Jan 2009
This review is from: Singles Going Steady (Audio CD)
You can take Kink Kronikles, Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy, The London Years and all your other classic compilations and throw them in the rubbish for all they matter. Singles Going Steady collects 8 of the Buzzcocks' A-sides along with their corresponding B-sides and perfectly encaptures the brilliant melodicism and hook writing of messrs Shelley and Diggle -- predominantly the former although we must not overlook Steve's moments of greatness -- the '70's greatest pop writers and worthy precursors to Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, who wouldn't quite get their stuff together until '79.

Classics abound here, but for me the highlights are "Orgasm Addict," "What Do I Get?," "I Don't Mind," "Promises," "Everybody's Happy Nowaday's," "Harmony In My Head," "Lipsti"....no, I can't do it. It's all too perfect. And whilst the bonus tracks aren't quite as uniformally superb as the originals, I wouldn't dump them for the world.

Big thanks to EMI for reissuing (remastering? I've not heard them yet) the band's first three classic albums, but none of them will ever compare to this. Very few albums do.


Funhouse [Deluxe Edition]
Funhouse [Deluxe Edition]
Price: £11.82

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Untouchable, 8 Jan 2009
Just under four decades since this one was released, and still punk has failed to produce anything as vicious, feral and aggressive as this here beauty despite valiant and noble attempts by such heroes as Henry Rollins and Nick 'The Stripper' Cave et al. All seven originals are absolute punk classics, from opener "Down On the Street" with its crunching riff to the spastic, convuluting, revolting ender "L.A. Blues."

The extra tracks are, incidentally, excellent. One gets a real, tangible insight into how the album got its unique energy -- live take after live take after live take, until the songs entered the band's very soul and the band's Detroit street soul enters the songs.

Few bands manage to make artistic progressions like these boys did at all, let alone in as short a time as the second album. Fun little garage rock classic, followed by this loose, vicious, verging-on-jazzy proto-punk definer, followed by an snarling slice of classic American rock with schorching hot guitar lines for zombies. To call this a sophomore slump, however, is totally correct: Iggy & co are so slumped by the second album they're neanderthal, and that's just what rock and roll was always about: music a chimp would be able to recreate. For an album that arrived so early in punk's history so long ago it sure does sound fresh to these ears.


Beggars Banquet
Beggars Banquet
Price: £14.94

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Land on me tonight, 24 Dec 2008
This review is from: Beggars Banquet (Audio CD)
As my favourite Stones album, it's definitely tempting to write reels and reels of gushing praise over Beggars Banquet, but I'll try and keep it brief for the benefit of the reader.

The most important album the Stones will ever release, it stands as the first of their four flat-out, unquentionable masterpieces. Most will to the three that followed -- Let It Bleed, Sticky Finger and Exile On Main St. -- as being superior, but I don't agree. It opens with "Sympathy For the Devil," containing the greatest integration of samba into rock as well as Mick's best set of lyrics. That's the album's best song, and the rest of the album rarely fails to deliver such excellence.

The production is lo-fi, which enhances the album's country-blues sound, but it's not as lo-fi as I feel many have made it out to be. I mean, it's hardly White Heat/White Light, is it?

And of course, this is the last album the band would make with Brian Jones, shortly before his demise. The only way I could think improving this gem would be for it to end with "Jumping Jack Flash," whether simply tacking it onto the end or replacing one of the slightly less interesting last two tracks. Arguably the best of its year, and one of the very best of the decade, which is certainly saying something.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 13, 2013 9:43 PM GMT


The Pitchfork 500: Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present
The Pitchfork 500: Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present
by Scott Plagenhoef
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.50

6 of 75 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yet more tripe from those who do it best, 8 Nov 2008
As if those terrible Best of Decade lists weren't innacurate enough, RichDork now decide that it's time for the world to know what they say are the best songs from the past 30 years or so. In book form.

I don't think I'd have had as big a problem with this had they just published it on their site. I don't own it -- it's easily viewable on the net -- but I'm well aware that there are hipsters out there gullible enough to buy what is essentially nothing more than one great big mass self-indulgent by a group of obsessive rock and pop fans with severe ego problems.

The one thing that earns this its one star is its eclectism. Talk Talk, The Pop Group, Dizzee Rascal and Autechre each make appearances on here, among many others. However, the list is formulaic to the point that I could have guessed at least 10% of their picks before reading, had I the thought or effort to do so. What's worse is that the list is primarily made up of artists who made it onto the 70s/80/90s decade lists previously. This means that not only are the lists obnoxious on Pitchfork's part, but any use that they may have served ignorant music fans looking to delve a bit further into rock music is eliminated.

Not recommended by any means, but the sites worth checking out if you're tired of the current British mainstream, choc-full indie-pop, post-punk rehash guitar bands; dull, disco-never-died rn'b and whoever it is that won X Factor -- or whatever it's called as of your reading this -- most recently. Compared to that, this is a damn masterwork.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2009 1:57 PM GMT


Junkyard
Junkyard
Price: £8.60

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't call me dim, 14 Sep 2008
This review is from: Junkyard (Audio CD)
Simply from looking at the cover art of Junkyard, you can make a fairly accurate prediction of what this album is about. Ed Roth's depiction of (presumably) the slobbering star of track seven (by count of this CD's track-listing) with his famous character Rat Fink spraying a cat with buckshot. The screeching tyres on the trash can car in particular give foresight as to how aggressive, dark and unrelenting this music is.

The thing that gives this an edge over the Birthday Party's previous release, Prayers on Fire, is the way the production is optimised for being played as loud as possible; this makes it easier to appreciate all the neat things the musicians are doing whilst enhancing the mood of the songs. 4AD were right in book-ending this with the "Blast Off"/"Release the Bats" single, as "Blast Off" in particular stands as a better opener than "She's Hit," starting the album off at a higher pace, but the inclusion of a second version of "Dead Joe" seems irrelevant and pointless to me. Pretty good for an outtake, mind.

My personal favourite on here would have to "Big Jesus Trash Can," which stands as one of the ultimate avant-rockers ever written; Captain Beefheart updated for post-punk and goth. A close second is the title track - Nick screams his lungs out over a pulsating bass line until the song climax reminiscent of the Velvets. "Hamlet (Pow Pow Pow)" may not be the best song on the album, but the Jaws-inspired bass line and Nick's wail of "WHERE FOR ART THOU, BABY FACE?!" make it absolutely worth it just to hear Nick go full out psychotic.

There are however, a couple of relatively weaker tracks, the first of which, "Kewpie Doll," seems to do very little for three and a half minutes. It's not bad, but it weakens the album. The other weak one is the second version of "Dead Joe," but even that has its charms.

I see Junkyard as a landmark of both avant-rock, gothic rock and post-punk, and would recommend it to anyone wanting to expand their horizons. It's an intense album though, so don't be surprised if you have to give it a few listens before the shock wears off and you start to enjoy it.


Weasels Ripped My Flesh
Weasels Ripped My Flesh
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £14.99

2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "RZZZZZ!" indeed, 4 Aug 2008
This review is from: Weasels Ripped My Flesh (Audio CD)
I need to stop reviewing at such ungodly hours of the night/morning. I mean, take this one, for example. Before now it was stale, over long, boring. Its only merit was that it was informative, but after a revision I'd even say it was too informative; it kind of ruined any surprise to be gained by new listeners. So let's have an other go.

A crazy-sounding gem in the discography of a crazy-minded man, Weasels Ripped My Flesh is Zappa's maniacal tribute to his beloved free-jazz, Eric Dolphy -- who receives a mention in one track's title -- in particular. Where Hot Rats's take on the jazz-fusion of the likes of Miles Davis contained sounds quite unified even in during the improvisation, here everything -- excluding a few exceptions -- is disjointed to the point where it feels like the album is going to disintegrate in your CD player; Beefheart fans will recognise "The Blimp" from the legendarily fractured Trout Mask Replica popping up partway through "Didja Get Any Onya?".

Not to say that it's all as abrasive as I described it: "Directly From My Heart to You" is an update of Little Richard's own, with vocals and lead electric violin (!) by Don 'Sugarcane' Harris; "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" is a hilarious bluesy hard-rocker with a nice gravelly vocal from Frank himself; and the Broadway-tinged "Oh No," with Ray Collins providing an excellent vocal, has one of the greatest melodies penned by man.

And it ends with the title track, a spastic noise fest to make The Stooges' "L.A. Blues" sound like an early Beatles ditty. Ultimately, this album will take the unitiated a lot of work, and I highly recommend you listening to Hot Rats first if you don't have a taste for free-jazz; but it's still a hugely rewarding listen for those with the time and effort to work with it.


Object 47
Object 47
Price: £10.37

0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Their experiment into the Uneventful, 17 July 2008
This review is from: Object 47 (Audio CD)
I absolutely hated this when I first heard it. Really, the other recent output from wasn't anything to get overly excited about, but Object 47 just bored the crap out of me on first listen, but after a few listens I warmed to it somewhat.

Opener, "One of Us," stands as one of the better tracks on the album, but that is saying very little about the track itself. Catchy, and with a somewhat danceable beat, but lacking any real momentum or drive.

None of the rest of the album is drastically different. One especially regular aspect is the mild distortion on the guitars. I'm not a fuzz hater at all (hey, I love Isn't Anything), but this effect gets slightly irritating after a few tracks.

Again, the material isn't BAD at all; just rather boring when you inevitably compare them to those of Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154. If you want to get into Wire, buy one of the albums I just mentioned. If you've just bought the album and are wondering what the hell the hype surrounding Wire is (was) about, get one of the albums I just mentioned.

Pink Flag: Remastered
Chairs Missing: Remastered
154: Remastered
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 7, 2008 5:39 PM BST


Singles
Singles
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £12.99

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a New Order singles comp, but it COULD be alot better..., 6 July 2008
This review is from: Singles (Audio CD)
Let me just start by saying that New Order's seminal 1980s works has the potential to form one of the greatest compilations of all time, enough to rival even Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy and The Kink Kronikles. Unfortunately, every (official) New Order compilation has a number of flaws that detract from the otherwise-great material. Singles is no different.

The first three songs, "Ceremony," "Procession" and "Everything's Gone Green" capture the group still playing a very Joy Division-esque style, just much, much poppier than anything that could have appeared on Unknown Pleasures or Closer. Then comes "Temptation," their earliest 'classic' and the first example of New Order actually making dance music.

Track 5 is where things start to get really interesting. "Blue Monday" of course. We've all heard it. Don't try and deny that you like it, either. Same goes for "True Faith," "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "Regret" - tracks that you really cannot dislike. There's also a ton of acrimoniously-overlooked greats included here, too. "Perfect Kiss" may have been a minor chart hit at some point, but it still isn't etched into human memory like I wish it was. It's an upbeat mover with the lyrical focus being rather vague but definitely involving love - classic Bernard basically; "Touched By the Hand of God" is a strong contender for THE most overlooked NO track - hardly a masterpiece, but a very strong track nonetheless; "Fine Time," the opener from '89s Technique, easily the best track on the whole record.

Everyone knows "World In Motion" sucks, but the band really did need the money at this point, and if you sort out the chorus, the verse sounds quite good. You should notice the Republic tracks because they lack the energy and spark seen in NO's '80s recordings. The group were falling apart at this point in their career, and we all know what happened next.

Well, they split up and embarked on their own solo projects, only to reform under a decade later. And then split up again. Hardcore NO fans are often too quick to slam Get Ready and Waitin' For The Sirens Call, but they really aren't bad records at all, and tower over watery '00s efforts from former *greats* like Accelerate by R.E.M. and How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb by U2.

By main gripe is to do with the inclusion of some of these edits, when the original song was much, much better. Take "Sub Culture," for instance. The original was a pretty, slightly morose track which would have sit here perfectly. This edit, however, loads the song full of lame female backing-vocals; throws in a random, seemingly-uncontrolled bursts of irritating samples; and just generally isn't something you want from New Order.

Overall, Singles is definitely worth having if you're new to New Order and want a taster of their excellent work. However, if you already own a compilation such as Substance or Best Of, this can wait whilst you try their studio albums. I give this 4.25 stars.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 17, 2011 10:55 PM GMT


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