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R.Cooper

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Let the Phoenix Fly
Let the Phoenix Fly
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars a fine fix of pop, adult-contemporary, piano-vocals, jazz & lounge from Lady P., 30 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Let the Phoenix Fly (MP3 Download)
This is Phoenix's 3rd solo album as she moves from Greenhaus (after 2 albums with them) back to this more middle of the road acoustic direction (going back to her roots) via a collection of unreleased recordings and demos. 'Once In A Lifetime' a modest pretty start "I'll let you go honey" "because you can't handle me" - good for repeated listening with an attractive Asiatic vocal & stop start electric piano. 'She’s Over You' is a disco orientated up-tempo ballad, sort of Kylie meets J.Lo, as Phoenix sings about this guy's relationship via "you" "he loved her when you weren't there". 'Milky Way' (sparse slow pretty ballad), 'Are You Happy' (vibrant lounge "don't say goodbye"), 'Still You're There' (one of the best so far & a fine vocal), 'Angel On My Knee' (pretty ballad about a baby/child), 'Be Mine' (another fine track about a baby/child). 'Illusive Dream' a piano fuelled ballad "don't stop chasing illusive dream" & when the orchestral like ethereal synth enters it gets heavenly. Being the album title then 'Let The Phoenix Fly' is going to be something special which it is - sort of a funky lounge vibe. 'Once In A Lifetime (Take One)' a demo version of the opening track. 'A Fool’s Paradise' was brilliant with Greenhaus & it's also brilliant here in this stripped down version - really beautiful "and if you would help me make it" "I'm an open book just take a look & you'll see"....the CD is worth it just for this (star track). 'Down To You' (a live jazz piece) with final number 'I’m Always Chasing Rainbows' being a pretty & thoughtful affair "Some fellas make a winning sometime...I never even make a gain". In summary this is a fine fix of pop, adult-contemporary, piano-vocals, jazz & lounge from Lady P.


A Fools Paradise
A Fools Paradise
Price: £14.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant beautiful alternative ambient electronica - 2nd best album of 2010, 12 Jan. 2014
This review is from: A Fools Paradise (Audio CD)
Following on from 2006's brilliant 'You're Not Alone' album then what are this London alternative outfit going to deliver now. Opener 'Second Chance' where (the track title is sort of apt because this is Phoenix's 2nd effort with Greenhaus) Phoenix's sensual voice continues to slay & ensures a strong start. 'Out Of Your Mind' where Lady P is now taken through a decoder "you'd be out of your mind" really grabs & is superb heavy ambient electronica. Anthony Neale does 'In The Heart Of The City' which is a more up-tempo indie affair. Then reactivated from their previous album the sublime excellent 'Don't Shoot The Messenger' which is in a shorter version here. The sounds of thunder & wind effects introduce 'Optical' an instrumental which is now where the album starts to really fly. 'Strong' "didn't mean to rub you up the wrong way" as this ethereal melodic piece enthrals. The magnificent 7th track 'A Fool's Paradise' is just so brilliant with Phoenix's gentle fragile beautiful Asiatic vocal tones "Maybe one day I'll take to the skies" "somehow I'd see paradise" & is just so freaking beautiful. If that wasn't enough we transcend through an astonishing instrumental 'This Town' into another slab of brilliance 'Three Strikes' with exquisite synth sounds & a sad melancholy vocal "It's time to say goodbye it's time to get on with my life" and one is really taken up into paradise. Anthony delivers 'The Sound Of Peace' with then three remixes 'Arcades (size 9 club mix)' which is more of an electronica techno indie piece, 'You're Not Alone (size 9 trip mix)', 'Bird Of Passage (twenty ten mix)' & ends with the powerful ambient ethnic 'Ides Of March'. Other key Greenhaus members are Steve Bellamy (music), Warren Farr (drums), and Clark Denham (bass). It must be very depressing for this act & their fans to see such a brilliant work sitting at 600,968 (as I write this) in Music in Amazon but rest assured this in my humble opinion was the 2nd best album of 2010 (just behind strangely another Asiatic lady & Blonde Redhead's phenomenal 'Penny Sparkle').


Fresh Ear
Fresh Ear

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant energetic cutting edge superbly performed totally underrated indie hard rock pop, 16 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Fresh Ear (Audio CD)
[For those that like very short reviews then this is totally brilliant & you should have a copy.] Even if this release is a vastly extended version then this review is mainly concentrating on the original 'Fresh Ear' LP & so then here goes. Commences with 'Mr President' where the lead acoustic guitar & "Beaky" Dymond's moog synthesizer play in unison (an attractive sound), a strong lead vocal from Beaky backed by some great harmonies, fine gutsy guitar work & solid drumming. At the time DBM&T felt strongly about the Vietnam War and this track expressed those sentiments. [Surprisingly perhaps but this is my least fave of the tracks from the original LP.] Next up 'Too Much' features a fantastic slow build up of acoustic guitars, tremendous harmonies & great bass work interacting with the drumming on this sparse but effective production, then it's back to the original slow acoustic guitar duet which speeds up as a couple of planks of wood are smashed together in unison with handclaps & drums (Michael Wilson's tremendous drumming & why was he never rated up there with Keith Moon?!?) "How did you get to where you are now that you've become a star". 'She's A Raver' is very powerful with Dymond's vocal....contains heavy lead guitar from Amey & Dymond...check this out on headphones and listen to the second guitar. In the middle there is about a minutes heavy drumming (including congas). The lyrics here are actually quite intellectual & poignant with a twist at the end. 'Mystery Rider' with an atmospheric opening which includes timpani, then moog wind effects, Amey does the vocal, good piercing lead guitar, acoustic guitars & splendid harmonies....drumming superb "mystery rider going places sees this world through half closed eyes". 'World' is slow reflective with simple piano chords & Davies whose rich vocal is double tracked into effective echo, drumming again perfect with timpani utilised & great the way that their harmonies drift into the Dr Who moog sound at the finish with some very thought provoking lyrics "super plastic moon man a robot in disguise he goes where God wills him". 'Rain' is heavy rock with three lead guitars (listen again on head phones), acoustic and rhythm guitars, throbbing bass, and Wilson's effective footwork on the bass drum. The hard rock comes to an abrupt halt as acappella vocal work takes over. 'Soukie' is very Beatlesque and similar to 'Mr President'. Davies is the vocalist even if it is mainly the three in harmony with some great words. 'Leader Of A Rock'n'Roll Band' drives along at break neck speed as Davies & Dymond do the vocals....the interaction between Wilson's drumming and the three guitarists is as always near perfection. 'Buttercup Joe' well if nothing else on the album grabs your attention then this certainly will...it is "Dozy" Davies reciting a piece of country yokel poetry. Have no problems to say that this is one of the greatest albums ever, totally underrated & can stand up to major albums of the time like CSN&Y's 'Deja Vu' & CCR's 'Cosmos Factory'. That was the original album but afterwards comes 14 almost equally brilliant tracks. These are not love songs but instrumentally & vocally it is supreme (perhaps the odd love song might have helped). It doesn't fit into The Marmalade/Bee Gees camp (though 'Sarah' and a couple of others do) as its too hard rock but neither does it fit into Led Zeppelin as not heavy rock enough (perhaps 'Bad News') & so it was left straddled between the two extremes which at the time sadly no one really wanted. In retrospect it comes closest to the more recent indie Britpop that bands like Oasis & Blur developed in the early 90s. Brilliant energetic cutting edge superbly performed totally underrated indie hard rock pop.


The Best Of
The Best Of
Price: £6.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars total brilliance & a treasure of creative psychedelic pop & acid rock, 10 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Best Of (Audio CD)
Perhaps the most underrated band/act from the 60s & really great to see all the positive reviews here which has inspired me to write this. Highlights are (well almost every track could be a highlight): 'Green Tambourine' one of the major psychedelic hits of the 60s, a wonderful atmospheric sound containing piano, sitar, echo-laden strings, a punctuating 3 chord guitar riff, a triangle, tabla percussion and Ivan Browne's wavery childlike vocals "drop your silver in my tambourine help a poor man fill a pretty dream". 'Rice Is Nice' is excellent containing a wonderful concoction of swirling harps, strings, a good bouncing beat & dreamy lyrics "rice is nice...that's what they say ". 'Jelly Jungle (Of Orange Marmalade)' written by Leka & Pinz with its magical cascade of violins, sitars, trumpets, and amazing lyrics "take a trip on a pogo stick hops up and down, do a trick I'll play a beat on your pumpkin drum and we'll have fun, in the sun" should have been a worldwide #1. 'Lonely Atmosphere' (was their fifth and final single ) is a slow gentle ballad opening with two high pitched pianos, then sweeping violins, with drums and harps making odd sporadic appearances "looking out my window watching people passing by everyone has someone, tell me why can't I". 'Shoeshine Boy' simply brilliant. 'Ask Me If I Care' folk rock protest brilliance. 'The Shoemaker Of Leatherware Square' lyrical beauty from Shelley Pinz. 'Through With You' blistering Byrds' like start then continues over its 9 minutes to become one of the greatest guitar tracks of all time. Hammond organ solos and distorted fuzz, clever delicate feedback and wah wah guitars utilized to truly amazing effect....incredible guitar work from Bill Bartlett. 'No Help From Me' sung and written by Bartlett also contained some marvelous pulsating guitar. 'Love Beads & Meditation' is simply freaking brilliant "I'm heading East to find some piece of mind the jagged edge of insecurity the tangled mass of membranes that used to be me I'm gonna leave life's temptations behind love beads & meditation". Even though Browne had a highly original lead vocal, Paul Leka's writing & producing abilities, and also Bartlett's guitar work showed that they were also linchpins of this group. Also much credit must go to the co-songwriter Shelley Pinz because feel she added a delicate woman's touch found in these songs. The group left Buddah in '69, their brief stab of glory over, they split for ever & the world sadly had lost a great group & team, but they have left us this treasure of creative psychedelic pop & acid rock.


Cat Chang Show
Cat Chang Show

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent catchy dance r&b soul heartbreak pop via a pretty voice, 9 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Cat Chang Show (Audio CD)
Don't know too much about Cat Chang and it was a friend that introduced me to her music which is really good & yet she's totally unknown. Are we crazy? Opener 'If' is sort of mainstream J.Lo OK but lady Cat stamps her own bling-bling onto things & with some assistance from a male rapper turns out really fine. Next 'Ready 4 Me' is more excellence with some interesting sharp feline touches & again a rap guy assists "I don't even know where you are tripping". 'Can't Say No' takes things again to heights with some strong vocals & lyrics "I think I'm crazy when I keep seeing you & I can't say No oh oh baby!" & is quite brillsville. 'Someone Like U' & 'Supersonic' continues the mood & are both fine sounds. 'Asian Persuasion' moves into other realms with some sexy Asiatic overtones "Oh I'm the taste of the Asia" "Can you give it to me all night long"...as Cat then delivers some Korean which is all too much! 'Heaven's Waiting' again a slight change with heavy orchestral overtones & is a driving soulful r&b outing "take me to the place I've never been". 'Eye To Eye' bright & breezy "when I first met you", 'What's Real' hypnotic with prominent acoustic guitar, 'Ooh-Wah' a sexy breezy affair, 'Being W/ U' gentle Mariah Carey r&b soul "when was it you first laid eyes on me" with mood & sounds being varied each time. Now it's a change again via the sparse acoustic guitar & piano driven 'What If We're Meant 2B' (Cat is an accomplished pianist) and is fine though rough (like a demo) but that's part of its appeal "I need to know what you're thinking baby". 'Always B A Part Of Me' is another sparse demo like backing of just piano chords "No it's not easy losing my best friend". 'Everything Reminds Me Of U' perhaps leaving the best to last - which is a beautiful heartbreak song "I keep on asking God to help me forget this pain" with some beautiful falsetto vocals. All are original songs (written by Alverrick Vision Powell & Cat) with the end result being excellent catchy dance r&b soul heartbreak pop via a pretty voice.


Days Are Gone (Standard)
Days Are Gone (Standard)
Price: £5.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal - it's time for Haim, 4 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Review is from both the 11 track 2x12" LP (wonderful 220 gm vinyl & sleeves) & the standard CD versions. It's been a long wait for this (after more than a year & 3 singles). A female Bee Gees somehow springs to mind but there are many other styles as they straddle the current crop of other indie female led acts like The Jezabels, Daughter, Ms Mr, Warpaint, Au Revoir Simone, Anna Calvi etc. Track by track then here goes. 'Falling' heard many times before & 3rd single (10" pink vinyl :o) enormous, catchy & positive vibes. 'Forever' 1st single & their anthem of stop start magic with fine guitar & vocals by Danielle. 'The Wire' after a non inspiring first listen really gets to grow - Alana's vocal stands out. 'If I Could Change Your Mind' with earnest 80s style keyboards & rhythm this is desperate & shows genuine emotion. 'Honey & I' nice funky guitar plus Danielle's turning twisting soulful delivery is one of the album's best. 'Don't Save Me' (white 10" vinyl 2nd single) is really catchy "so baby, don't save me - if your love isn't strong" and creates a strong place here. 'Days Are Gone' title track & a fine steady arresting piece with great vocals (Alana's main lead though they all take turns) & Danielle doing the beautiful high vocal bits - probably the strongest new track here & captures the mood of the album as they reflect back on lost love, lost youth & mistakes made - incredible vocals by our trio. 'My Song 5' sort of Destiny's Child meets J.Lo is quite strange & is a grinding funk type outing with some heavy bass (least favourite here though). 'Go Slow' almost their anthem & one of the flips from their 1st single contains wonderful vocal gymnastics over the slow stop start funk & ricocheting beats "I'll be hurting from your heat heat heat heat....". 'Let Me Go' with Danielle then Este & brilliant live but it also works wonderfully here "let me go.....you know I'm not one for leaving". Final blast is 'Running If You Call My Name' with as always their impressive vocals buzzing around plus a fine production - sparse enough such that the beat & soul blends. Other than one slightly weak offering, plus better would have been 100% usage of real drums, then this is an excellent outing. Talent personified for a brilliant blend of indie, nu-folk, 80s pop, 90s r&b, 60s/70s harmonies, guitar pyrotechnics & possibly the album of 2013. Phenomenal.
Comment Comments (16) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2014 12:39 PM GMT


Anna Calvi
Anna Calvi
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars passionate raw sensual songs of love falling somewhere between god & the devil, 29 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Anna Calvi (Audio CD)
Initial impression with this release was one of a slight disappointment. The backing seemed a bit too sparse & uninteresting & there was something slightly unappealing about Anna's voice....a little bit too upper class perhaps? So it lay dormant for many months and then after a recently concentrated re-listening have to say that it is an amazing & powerful album. Anna really has a strong voice plus coupled with some brilliant guitar sounds then now believe this to be something special. Things start though without a grand fanfare 'Rider To The Sea', 'No More Words' (it is growing), and it is via 'Desire' which starts to demonstrate some flair & so far is standout track. Next 'Suzanne & I' for me is not the strongest (though many seem to like this one even enough to be the 3rd vinyl 7" A side release off the album)...but then emerges 'First We Kiss' which is really brilliant. An emotional tour de force with some nice orchestral sounds over the indie style solid backing as Anna lets out her emotion & sings magnificently "a face against the window our lips touch no more". 'The Devil' more deliberate & slow continues this high "fall for me". Amazingly with few words in this number that it can put such strong feelings across. The interesting circular guitar strums coupled to the husky vocal creates an arresting beautiful melancholy before hitting a climax....astonishing piece. 'Blackout' (have this on 7") continues the high, another passionate & beautiful delivery - initially my preferred until the previous two snuck through. 'I'll Be Your Man' with some spaghetti-western guitar & 'Morning Light' with the harmonium as the key element both continue this atmospheric vibe. Finally 'Love Won't Be Leaving' with an interesting guitar percussion break ends the LP on a high. Passionate raw sensual songs of love falling somewhere between God & the Devil.


If You Leave
If You Leave
Price: £9.58

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime agony & beauty - the album of 2013, 1 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: If You Leave (Audio CD)
The great 4AD records have stumbled upon yet another winning act building on traditions from Dead Can Dance through to Blonde Redhead (the latter being the most underrated act in the planet). Is there a genius in the company chair there? The album seems like one long hypnotic 45 minute number about love & love lost & so little point to describe each track but I'd like to try :o). Opens with 'Winter' which sets the weather for both beauty & desolation. Then 'Smother' and hey they were brave enough to release this as a 7" single. Sounding like XX (or is it XX sounding like Daughter) as Elena Tonra pours her heart out "I want him but we are not right" deep brilliant lyrics & quite spellbinding "all my children can become me" "what a mess I leave to follow" and builds into a climax ;o) 'Youth' could be the best here "'cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs" "the lovers that went wrong" with emotion in overload "and you caused it" plus great the way the drums burst into life with powerful beat flourishes. 'Still' is another dramatic ethereal piece...this is not dance music but music that needs to be listened to. 'Lifeforms' spurred on by the guitar arpeggios & haunting vocals is another emotional tour de force "or find the children lost at sea" "you'll always find another womb to grow". Sublime. 'Tomorrow' more desolation via some heavier guitar "don't bring tomorrow because I already know I'll lose you". 'Human' is the most upbeat, energetic & danceable and adds a nice change. 'Touch' with each listen new shades appear - amazing & grabs you & pulls you in "can feel something". 'Amsterdam' is totally mesmerizing. Finally track 'Shallows' is where the title comes from "if you leave, when I go, you'll find me in the shallows" as it slowly builds into a climax with the drums ricocheting, reverb guitars & vocals all seemingly at different rhythms, but it all falls together perfectly & is more emotional overload. Elena's voice really seems as if she's living the agony (understated, honest, humble & pure). The slight fault is that it is not a particularly fun & uplifting ride but nevertheless somehow meshes into a beautiful soundscape which you can place onto repeat as each listen reveals more magic. Yes this album is sublime & the album of 2013.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 8, 2015 2:59 PM BST


Language
Language
Price: £9.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fine album of anthemic atmospheric melancholic indie dance electronica though lacking a little adventure, 25 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Language (Audio CD)
Opener 'Key To My Heart' presents a fine gentle atmospheric introduction. Next the anthemic melancholic dance 'We Should Be Swimming' incorporating syncopated beats with great lyrics is the most remarkable here. Tracks then roll out with none quite touching that brilliance. Whereas you'd expect them to be more adventurous next is the pop (with a repetitive chorus) of 'Bitter Moon' where Coldplay springs to mind. 4th 'Small Pieces' though is another excellent slice "what kind of man are you - holding onto that feeling"...exquisite droning synth guitar backing. 'Silver Tongue' is OK; 'You Deserve Better' is good; 'Let's Move Back To Front' is catchy; 8th 'Moment's Drift' falls between Coldplay & Beach House is a gentle piece; 'Words That I Wield' a fine track; 'Never Leave' an interesting vocal chant over heavy moving electronica but weird finish; 'People That You Must Remember' an interesting title & a majestic ending. Fine album.


Grab That Gun
Grab That Gun

5.0 out of 5 stars stunning heartfelt melodic intense beauty, 17 July 2013
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This review is from: Grab That Gun (Audio CD)
The Organ have left us with just the one album (and also very short at that in 30mins) but what a stunning piece it is. How such a great honest emotional work passed the masses by without many accolades is difficult to understand. Melodic & introspective sounds based on the moody melodramatic interplay between Debora Cohen (guitar); Ashley Webber (bass); Shelby Stocks (drums); Jenny Smyth (organ) & the intimate and doleful lyrics/voice of Katie Sketch. Opener 'Brother' is a strong start, they've done something simple, yet breathtakingly beautiful, as it builds up. Brilliant track & blew me away when first hearing "but it's going to hurt more when they take you away from me" "we have got to take cover, brother". Next 'Steven Smith' is another excellent slab via great guitar lines over interesting organ & bass "as i was saying i know that i've been one of the few who walks away from you Steven Smith, we all lose. One look at you, And they're suddenly covered in shrapnel too...it's true, most die in your bedroom". I don't know who Steven Smith is but we can assume that he is quite a successful lover. Yes this is a collection of love songs:o) 'Love Love Love' continues the magic as Katie heartfeltingly sings the message. This brilliant vibe continues via 'Basement Band' & this actually could well be the best here. 'Song Sinking Hearts' (these girls just don't let up as the high continues), 'A Sudden Death', 'There Is Nothing I Could Do' another stand-out (and deceptively) simple with a killer guitar riff simply brilliant & kicks hard "my neck hurts, 'cause I've been cutting moons". Most of the tracks are short but that doesn't matter as you can place onto repeat. Katie's vocals are excellent & intense, the lyrics bite hard, and the backing itself is a throb of perfectly merging guitars and keyboards, which sweep the words along to the albums end. 'No One Has Ever Looked So Dead' "and in the back seat of your car, you showed me every single star, and how the zenith and the sounds, changed in every single town". The album ends with a sing-along anthem 'Memorize The City' with great interaction between the instruments, followed by a few seconds of funeral church (organ!) music.


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