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Reviews Written by
Martin Fielding (Findon, West Sussex United Kingdom)
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Man Alive
Man Alive
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, 8 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Man Alive (Audio CD)
I got into this band via their excellent new (2nd) album Arc and I couldn't wait to get their first album - my minor disappointment with what I initially perceived to be an inferior work to Arc (albeit understandably inferior because of the latter's excellence and the fact that it pre-dates Arc by more than two years) has now been replaced after repeated listens by admiration for what is perhaps an even better, and certainly more consistent, collection than Arc - true it is not as immediate and there are no pinnacles quite as high as the sublime Duet (3mins 41sec of genius) on the new record although Come Alive Diana comes close, but these are simply 12 great great pop songs - to get an idea of the progression between the two albums you should maybe think of The Bends vs OK Computer but bear in mind those were Radiohead's 2nd and 3rd albums not their 1st and 2nd! These guys have been making brilliant music from the get go! This is truly an outstanding band and I just hope we don't have to wait another two years before their third!


Gramophone
Gramophone
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a great lost album, 28 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Gramophone (MP3 Download)
Copy of CD review: I bought this CD in Paris and it was covered in (unsurprisingly when you think about it) French stickers with what I recall were, even to my poor linguist's eyes, rave 5 star reviews from the French music press. I recall thinking at the time that is was going to be European and dangerous - and it turned out to be from Birmingham (via New Zealand courtesy of vocalist Penny McConnell)! No matter - what you have here is a great mood music album - and, yes, also dangerous - comparison can be made with Blue Nile and Portishead maybe but really Gramophone made their very own music and very fine it is too with truly exceptional vocals. There was no follow up album and whilst band member David Picking has done some stuff since, I'm sad that even in this day and age I can't seem to find out what happened to Penny McConnell. Anyway at the time of writing it will set you back over £25 quid for the CD which I personally think is well worth it but the album is available for considerably less via download.


Gramophone
Gramophone
Offered by johnny8640
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a great lost album, 28 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gramophone (Audio CD)
Wow - no reviews in almost 10 years for this, one of my favourite albums of the 2000s? I have to put that right. I bought this CD in Paris and it was covered in (unsurprisingly when you think about it) French stickers with what I recall were, even to my poor linguist's eyes, rave 5 star reviews from the French music press. I recall thinking at the time that is was going to be European and dangerous - and it turned out to be from Birmingham (via New Zealand courtesy of vocalist Penny McConnell)! No matter - what you have here is a great mood music album - and, yes, also dangerous - comparison can be made with Blue Nile and Portishead maybe but really Gramophone made their very own music and very fine it is too with truly exceptional vocals. There was no follow up album and whilst band member David Picking has done some stuff since, I'm sad that even in this day and age I can't seem to find out what happened to Penny McConnell. Anyway at the time of writing it will set you back over £25 quid for the CD which I personally think is well worth it but the album is available for considerably less via download so if Amazon doesn't make it happen automatically, I'll post this review on the MP3 version as well.


Piramida
Piramida
Price: £11.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than furniture music, 26 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Piramida (Audio CD)
The other reviews on here might lead you to suppose that this is more ambient than it actually is - the outstandingly good vocals won't permit you to leave this in the background for too long. As regards the music, I loved the use of brass which echoed David Sylvian's early solo albums and as a whole the album reminded me of Gramophone and Portishead and more recently of Wild Beasts. Take it from me that if you like any of the above you will like this album.


Smother
Smother
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully produced, 23 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Smother (Audio CD)
I have come to the Wild Beasts late but the best compliment that I can give to this band is that they can justifiably lay claim to being the inheritors of The Blue Nile - sparse but elegant arrangements, really beautiful singing and interesting lyrics (printed in full on the inlay). No higher praise is necessary. Buy this now!


Out of Touch in the Wild
Out of Touch in the Wild
Price: £9.69

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting musical mix, 20 Jan. 2013
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What a mixture! The album starts out almost funky (including even some slap bass) and then brings in lots of beautifully arranged strings and piano and even some Steve Reich type guitar licks - eat your heart out Pat Methany! Vocally very varied as well. Some similarity to Field Music maybe and perhaps to Low but they really do create their own unique sound - quite an achievement in this day and age. This is fighting with Everything Everything's brilliant Arc for space on my CD player as I write and I can assure you that is high praise indeed! Loses a star only because, being an old fashioned CD fan, the print design is very poor with all the text in white out of very busy background, so accordingly barely legible including the lyrics and even the track listing on the back cover - so you might as well buy it on MP3. But please do buy it if you like clever melodic indie.


The Haunted Book
The Haunted Book
by Jeremy Dyson
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth getting for one story alone, 16 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: The Haunted Book (Hardcover)
The slightly too clever construction of this book as a mixture of supposed fact and fiction doesn't quite work. If it had been simply 10 collected ghost stories, without the pretence of fact, it would have been much less annoying and would perhaps have warranted five stars as some of the stories are genuinely well constructed and chilling. The standout is Apparitions of Darkness: Case Two (the construction of the book prevents me from extracting a more concise title!) which is actually a very long (65 pages) "short" story reminiscent of the classic "Casting The Runes" in style. Any fan of classic Victorian/Edwardian supernatural fiction should buy the book just for this story alone.


Arc (Deluxe)
Arc (Deluxe)
Price: £19.44

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, 16 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Arc (Deluxe) (Audio CD)
With this album, Dutch Uncles and Villagers all coming out this week I had the make the choice as to first listen and this was the choice. I have listened to the album three times now and all I can say is Wow! It's very difficult to describe - maybe there are shades of early Elbow and Field Music in there and from an earlier era Anthony Moore/More of Slapp Happy - but they definitely make their own music and this is as varied and catchy an album as any I have heard in the last year.


X5
X5

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting document of the evolution of the band, 14 Jan. 2013
This review is from: X5 (Audio CD)
There are few bands that show the degree of change over their first five albums as demonstrated here. Listening to some of this stuff for the first time in 20 years, the overriding impression that this set gives is of a band really at the cutting edge of new wave on the brilliant Life In a Day and Real to Real Cacophony (rivalling bands like Joy Division and Magazine for innovation at that time) but then losing their way somewhat on Empires and Dance and the double album Sons/Sister before turning into a pop band (albeit a great pop band) from New Gold Dream onwards. Having dismissed albums 3 and 4 above, I should say that the bonus tracks for these two albums include the excellent extended editions of I Travel and The American and a terrific instrumental version of This Earth That You Walk Upon. The set only loses a star for me because of the lack of a booklet or similar to explain the context of the albums and in particular the bonus items, which seems particularly odd when you look at the care taken with the boxing and the mini-album covers which have been beautifully (and legibly) reprinted to mirror the original artwork but with the bonus tracks listed as well.


Original Album Series
Original Album Series
Price: £9.99

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixture of excellent and ordinary, 9 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
At the two extremes of the music business there are artists like The Blue Nile who generate 5 brilliantly crafted albums (inc Paul Buchanan's solo album) in 30 years and then there are those like Neil Young who produce an album pretty much every year or so but whose output is perhaps inevitably of inconsistent quality. EC definitely resides at the latter extreme. This set comprises EC's first five solo albums for Warner Bros (excluding his collaborations with Richard Harvey (x2) and The Brodsky Quartet) - taking into account those 3 collaborations, he was still churning out an album a year during the period covered by these discs (1989 to 1996) and I have to say that the quality here is definitely variable as a result. The set does however include the extraordinarily eclectic Spike (my favourite 1980's album of his alongside the earlier Imperial Bedroom) which ranges from funk (Chewing Gum) thru jazz (Stalin Malone) to folk (the unsurpassed Any King's Shilling with Derek Bell and Davy Spillane amongst others) via ascerbic political commentary (the stupendous Tramp the Dirt Down) to cutting civil rights polemic (Let Him Dangle) and even two tracks written with Paul McCartney (Veronica and Pads, Paws and Claws). The rest of this set pales by comparison to this terrific album and achieved correspondingly diminishing commercial success over time but all have their good tracks. So for little over a tenner buy this for Spike and regard the rest as a bonus.
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