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Reviews Written by
Alister King "Big Al" (London & Paris)

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Utopia Parkway
Utopia Parkway
Offered by westworld-
Price: £12.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Genuine genius, 15 July 2010
This review is from: Utopia Parkway (Audio CD)
Geeky US alt-rock meets power-pop. Yes! Killer hooks & harmonies combine with Intelligent, wry, postmodern humour informed by life in the New York suburbs. Songwriters Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger are a modern day Lennon & McCartnery and thats how they deliver flawless gems of guitar-driven pop perfection album after album. Everythings good on this record but I'll single out a coupla favs: Valley Of Malls & Go Hippie. Valley Of Malls drops straight in on a killer riff before finding a jiggy agitated rhythm that fits well given the fact that this is about going for a wee: "And we're leaving all the road for dead, We're getting tired of the twists and turns. You gotta go when human nature calls. We're driving, we're driving Through the valley of malls." Go Hippie seems to take the piss out of a Hippy they know, but ultimately demonstrates the FOW's USP; finding the epic, the tragic and the hilarious in the most mundane of human situations. .


Monster Magnet's Greatest Hits
Monster Magnet's Greatest Hits
Price: £6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groovy spacey doomy stoner metal, 15 July 2010
Monster Magnet's style is heavily influenced by 1970s space rock band Hawkwind and the doomier side of Sabbath i.e. Master of Reality. Lob in some Marvel Comics and LSD and youre beginning to get into the head of Dave Wyndorf. This compilation covers their best work while on A&M Records in the mid/late 90's & early 00's. Breakthrough-ish single "Negasonic Teenage Warhead" is of course on here, as are "Space Lord", "Powertrip", "Temple of Your Dreams", and Head's Explode, all awesome. Other album track gems include the thought provoking "See You In Hell" which reads like a confession to child murder and dumping the body in a New jersey land fill. Elsewhere, we are invited to ride on a tractor through a drug farm on Tractor (written about his time in rehab) and hand out in a Crop Circle. Groovy spacey doomy stoner metal that delivers on the strong song writing too.


Celebrity Skin
Celebrity Skin
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good., 15 July 2010
This review is from: Celebrity Skin (Audio CD)
Co-written & produced by Billy Corgan this was Hole's bid for the mainstream and it worked. Chock full of melodic hooks and confessional, scathing lyrics that deconstruct the shallow underbelly of Hollywood its an up tempo guitar-driven rock/pop belter. The title track opens the proceedings with an awesome metal style riff that grabs you by the neck and drags you in immediately. Its exposes the ludicrous lengths some will go to achieve fame & fortune. Hit single and stand out track "Malibu" follows shortly with a gorgeous high note bass line over which a lush chord sequence cascades. It plays like an Elephants graveyard for retiring celebrities "Oh baby, fly away, yeah, to Malibu. Oceans of angels, Oceans of stars. DOwn by the sea is where you Drown your scars." Later on Heaven Tonight also stand out with its radio friendly AOR feel but the whole records good. Surprisingly good.


Different Stages
Different Stages

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars live souvenir of the career of this outstanding Canadian prog metal band, 14 July 2010
This review is from: Different Stages (Audio CD)
Different Stages is a live album recorded at 3 different points in time: the 1994 Counterparts tour, the 1997 Test for Echo tour and the A Farewell to Kings tour in 1978. Its therefore a souvenir of the career of this outstanding Canadian prog metal band. Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart are individually mega talented multi-instrumentalists. As Rush they achieve the status of Power Trio. Live they are in their element. All the key tracks are here, so for fun I will compose my perfect Rush set by way of a review. "Dreamline", "Anthem", "The Analog Kid", "Roll the Bones", "Show Don't Tell", "Limelight", "YYZ", "Xanadu", "Working Man", "The Spirit of Radio", "Tom Sawyer", "The Trees", "Closer to the Heart" &"2112" in its entirety. With this Cd you can do that.


In It for the Money
In It for the Money
Offered by samurai media JPN401
Price: £11.96

5.0 out of 5 stars The surprised everyone probably even themselves., 14 July 2010
This review is from: In It for the Money (Audio CD)
Supergrass's second album dashed expectations and remains a classic. Out with the Small Faces style comic street operas and in with sophisticated structures, rich arrangements and an interesting variety of instrumentation including sounding brass passages give the album gravitas. Lyrically, it's more serious and introspective too. In It For The Money starts with a chant and builds into fully fledges rock operetta. Richard III is almost prog rock. Late In The Day stuns with its beautiful guitar solo but the album belongs to Sun Hits The Sky. Its an up tempo prog pop-rocker complete with complex turnaround, extended middle 8 & keyboard solo. The surprised everyone probably even themselves.


K
K
Offered by Giant Entertainment
Price: £2.90

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of time and still a classic., 14 July 2010
This review is from: K (Audio CD)
A mixture of classic rock & 60's psychedelia, an obsession with Eastern mysticism, and complete boredom with grunge and indie made this the fastest selling debut since Oasis' Definitely Maybe. Despite this Kula Shaker manage to stamp their own identity over the whole thing and actually succeed in building something spiritual and sensual. Hey Dude opens the album and is a full on rocker. Knight On The Town continues that theme and then Temple Of Everlasting Light acts as a bridge to the sweet spot of the album. Govinda is based around a chant and hypnotises nicely. Tattva is similar but more epic. Weak pun aside Grateful When You're Dead / Jerry Was There acknowledges their roots with appropriate gravitas. Out of time and still a classic.


Coming Up
Coming Up
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £6.08

5.0 out of 5 stars their best, 14 July 2010
This review is from: Coming Up (Audio CD)
Suede's third album, and their first without main songwriter Bernard Butler, features their trademark raunchy glam indie-rock but this time its more accessible and consistent. Anderson's lyrics are evocative and melancholic and obsessed with bored youth, casual sex & urban life, but its new boy Richard Oakes on guitar who impresses most with a stunningly accomplished & inventive debut. It featured five hit singles, "Trash", "Beautiful Ones" (best riff on the album), "Saturday Night", "Lazy" and "Filmstar", but the pivotal track is The Chemistry Between Us, an epic, drug fuelled ballad that explores the dubious basis of a relationship and questions the entire rave culture. Alas, they never got close again.


Grace
Grace
Price: £5.33

5.0 out of 5 stars Young, tragic genius., 14 July 2010
This review is from: Grace (Audio CD)
Bandleader, songwriter & guitarist Jeff Buckley inherited the voice of his father, Tim, from the ecstatic upper registers to his long, enraptured moans. Musically the album transcends genres mixing blues, rock, folk, ballds, rockers, small ensemble & full orchestra. Lyrically and emotionally its bi-polar and very personal. Highlights include "Lilac Wine" and "Hallelujah" which feature his transcendant guitar and mystical vocals. "Dream Brother" achieves a Morrison-like melancholy. Elsewhere, Buckley showcases his new band's hard-rocking power, perhaps best on "Mojo Pin". Young, tragic genius. I saw him live.


Definitely Maybe
Definitely Maybe
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Beatles song writing and Sex Pistols attitude, 14 July 2010
This review is from: Definitely Maybe (Audio CD)
Passion, self-belief, traditional working class English song writing, Beatles song writing and Sex Pistols attitude combine to make an album of classic anthem. Rock 'n' Roll Star sums it all up perfectly and is an inspired choice of opener. Live Forever builds on this vision and also explores the sibling dynamic of the infamous Galagher brothers. Supersonic swaggers into life with the best 2 riffs on the album actually layered over each other for jaw dropping effect (lads, you play it too fast live). Cigarettes And Alcohol , with its Get It on based riff, teaches an entire generation how to party. Hidden gem Slide Away should have been a single, but Noel refused, arguing, "You can't have five [singles] off a debut album." Actually, you could have.


Splendor Solis
Splendor Solis
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £12.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Remember them with this hidden gem., 14 July 2010
This review is from: Splendor Solis (Audio CD)
Splendor Solis (1993) was power trio The Tea Party's first release on EMI Music Canada and by far their best. It's essentially Led Zeppelin meets The Doors but with their own identity writ large over that. 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars feature heavily along with powerful drum & bass driven rhythms. The quiet/loud dynamic is exploited successfully too. Elements of blues and psychedelia creep in too. There are 3 all time killer tracks. Album opener "The River" sets out their stall perfectly, fading in with a shimmering guitar, developing into a hypnotic rhythm before pausing and going nuts. "A Certain Slant of Light", dedicated to a heroin addicted friend, is a dark power ballad, exploring the inevitable panic of coming down from the high. "Save Me" is a heroic and epic tale of battle & loss seen from the POV of the lady who must watch her man leave to fight. The chorus is a heartfelt plea that will move even the coldest heart. This brilliant album was buried under a sea of Grunge toss and its lack of global sales forced the band into a more commercial, alt.rock direction which was a sad affair.


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