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Rich Creamery-Butter

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Reincarnated (Deluxe Version)
Reincarnated (Deluxe Version)
Price: £6.73

4.0 out of 5 stars Endearingly silly, 11 Dec. 2013
What's surprising about this is how few actual reggae performers are on it. Snoop, a rapper, decides to make a reggae album, so who does he recruit to help him? Major Lazer aka Diplo who is himself a dilettante dabbling in reggae, pop producer Ariel Rechtshaid, Angela Hunte who wrote Empire State of Mind, Akon, Rita Ora, Miley Cyrus... the list reads like a satire of a stab at a reggae album.

But the funny thing is, it's pretty good. I believe Snoop and his collaborators are sincere about their love of reggae, so this boils down to talented people making music they love: what's not to like? It's a bit like British bands making ska in the 70s - they weren't trying to be authentic, they just wanted to entertain themselves and other people. Nothing wrong with that.

Some of the tracks are a bit of a chore (Fruit Juice step forward) but overall the album is likable, enjoyable and endearingly silly. If you just want a taste, So Long, La La La and Torn Apart probably show it in the best light.


Lessons : Illustrated
Lessons : Illustrated
Price: £8.87

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding and I don't even know exactly why, 8 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Lessons : Illustrated (Audio CD)
Not many indie bands excite me, but the Cads do. I'd say the EP Spark Up In Style is slightly ahead of this album, but the album is great nonetheless, and as a bonus, there's more of it (though the length's still quite compact).

The Cads write spare, elegant lyrics that constantly surprise. They are capable of being dreamy and boisterously energetic at the same time.

Musically, there are lots of spiky interweaving guitar lines, bass is fluid, drums are excitable, keyboards come in when necessary. There's a real elegance to some of the arrangements, showing a band that is quietly ambitious within the indie-pop framework they've given themselves.

But ultimately, the above might be said of a lot of indie bands. I can't quite put my finger on why I put the Cads head and shoulders above all the others - I suppose they just do it better, fresher, more deftly, more charmingly. Give them a go and see if you agree.


Nine and a Half Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s and early '80s
Nine and a Half Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s and early '80s

3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of 70s food, 15 Oct. 2012
Wrestling aside, this album does a great job of immersing the listener in a child's personal world. Mysterious events on TV are seen and not really understood, theatrics like pro wrestling are taken at face value, and the reality (of wrestling and other subjects) frequently drifts off on tangents of peculiar, free-associative imagination.

Particularly evocative of Haines's childhood are the recurring references to foods that are much less seen nowadays - liver sausage and cheese, egg and chips from the transport caff (want some more? Oh dear god, no) and so forth. These pop up so much that the album could almost equally be called "Nine and a Half Psychedelic Meditations on the Type of Food Given to British Children in the 1970s and Early 80s". Which is not necessarily a bad thing - anyone of Haines's age and background will probably feel the memories flooding back.

Overall, the album does a brilliant job of creating its own world and immersing the listener in it. What it doesn't really do is work as a conventional piece of music - it's more of a social history, or an autobiographical snapshot, or a tableau to escape into, or all three at once. As those, it's great, but to enjoy it you probably have to be the right kind of person in the right kind of mood. Don't go to it looking for pop tunes.


(I Can't Get No) Stevie Jackson [VINYL]
(I Can't Get No) Stevie Jackson [VINYL]
Price: £18.93

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, 10 Oct. 2012
From the title onwards, (I Can't Get No) Stevie Jackson is a charming, enjoyable album. The songs are quite a varied mix of styles, but all are melodic and often funny without crossing the line into the dreaded comedy songs.

There's not all that much here that is really remarkable, but what elevates it above average for me is Stevie's winning personality - the sleevenotes on each song and the obvious sense that he is having fun with the pressure off help draw me into his world. If you're a fan of Belle and Sebastian then you are likely to enjoy this album, but if you're not then you might not find all that much in it for you unless you happen to share Stevie's wryly naive outlook on life.


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