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D. Newton (Swindon, Wilts)
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Glasvegas
Glasvegas
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.57

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Scots Rock, 12 Dec 2008
This review is from: Glasvegas (Audio CD)
For once you can believe the hype - the Glasvegas debut album is stunning. James Allan delivers his songs in a very Scottish voice indeed which will not be to everyone's taste but it lends real authenticity to his lyrics of contemporary Glasgow life: stabbings; absent fathers; social workers; paranoia and broken childhood dreams.

The music is guitar driven with strong percussion but it stands apart by way of its shimmering guitar backdrop, almost a `wall of sound' shining like a dirty jewel. The songs soar and are almost anthemic but are never dull due to the power and meaning behind the lyrics.

The singles `Geraldine', `Flowers & Football Tops' and the poignant `Daddy's Gone' are truly superb and rightly celebrated, but for me `It's My Own Cheating Heart..' is stunning with its pounding guitar line and lyrics delivered from the heart. `Glasvegas' shows amazing confidence for a debut album; `Stabbed' features a dreamlike lyric about imminent wounding spoken over Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. The band are also not afraid to sing a snatch of `You are my Sunshine' at the end of `Flowers & Football Tops'; both of these tricks work superbly. The final track, `Ice Cream Van' begins almost ethereally but gradually builds to a crescendo of guitar noise and is a fitting finale. Even the foul-mouthed singalong of 'Go Square Go' makes sense when you listen to the lyrics.

`Glasvegas' is a great record and shows how effective music can be when it is delivered with passion, meaning and authenticity.


The Burning World
The Burning World

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Diverse and Beautiful, 17 Nov 2008
This review is from: The Burning World (Audio CD)
Back in the late 1980s, when there was precious little crossover between underground and mainstream music, how Swans were picked up by MCA on the back of intense and sometimes terrifyingly uncompromising albums like `Greed', Holy Money' and `Children of God' remains a mystery. But they were and `The Burning World', Gira's only work for a major label, was the surprising result.

Surprising in more ways than one, because although the album's predecessor, `Children of God', showed a broader musical pallet than some of the band's sparsely brutal earlier work, the richness of sound on display here is a revelation. On `The Burning World' Swans go far beyond the average rock template and incorporate a heady blend of strings, tablas, bazoukis and other exotic instruments in the mix which strives for melody as never before.

At its most successful, the album is absolutely beautiful. `The River That Runs With Love...' opens with an aching melody and wonderful violin. `Saved' is a powerful yet catchy anthem and Jarboe's vocals have never sounded better as she takes the lead on the gorgeously melancholic `Can't Find My Way Home' and `I Remember Who You Are'. The chilling `God Damn The Sun' is one of Gira's finest and a brilliant closing track.

So why, then, in retrospect, does Michael Gira apparently have little regard for the record? The answer would seem to lie in Bill Laswell's production which, in places, seems a little too bright and shiny; slick even. Also, Gira's vocals sound quite unlike those on other Swans record; forced and overly monotone for the most part. You almost get the impression that he is trying too hard to please his major label paymasters and feels that he is compromising his artistic integrity a little. Interestingly though, as mentioned Jarboe's singing is superb without exception and really seems to rise to the style of the music as both a lead and backing vocalist. The songwriting is not of the highest order throughout; a couple of tracks are less than outstanding e.g. `Mona Lisa Mother Earth' and `See No More' fall a bit flat.

So, to summarise, an unusual and highly interesting record, very good but not excellent, a real divider of opinion amongst Swans fan but a must-own for all who are interested in the work of Michael Gira, one of America's greatest songwriters and performing artists.


Gogo's Crazy Bones Evolution Sticker Album
Gogo's Crazy Bones Evolution Sticker Album

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go Gos Still Going..., 17 Nov 2008
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
...in Series 2 'Evolutions' - so named because the original 80 Go Gos have kept their basic shape but changed colour and design in every conceivable way in the second wave or their quest for world domination. Like the first series for my five-year-old son these are the next big thing. A packet of three Go Gos with stickers costs only one pound so they fall very nicely into the pocket money bracket. The figures themselves are small, colourful, durable and bursting with individuality and personality. Eighty to collect (plus different colour combinations) will keep him going.

This new album is a must-have. Again, it costs only one pound from the shops and has comic strips this time and fun statistics about how much the new Go Gos have evolved. It also has 80 new names for them all! Why the five stars for educational value? Well, my son looks at this album all the time and can now easily recognise the numbers from 1-80. He also happily copies out the characters' names so improving his writing skills.


Gogo Crazy Bones Evolution Packet
Gogo Crazy Bones Evolution Packet
Offered by J & R Second Time Around
Price: £4.99

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go Gos Still Going..., 17 Nov 2008
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
...in Series 2 'Evolutions' - so named because the original 80 Go Gos have kept their basic shape but changed colour and design in every conceivable way in the second wave or their quest for world domination. Like the first series for my five-year-old son these are the next big thing. A packet of three Go Gos with stickers costs only one pound so they fall very nicely into the pocket money bracket. The figures themselves are small, colourful, durable and bursting with individuality and personality. Eighty to collect (plus different colour combinations) will keep him going.

Get the new album as well (if you haven't already) - it is a must-have. Again, it costs only one pound and has comic strips this time and fun statistics about how much the new Go Gos have evolved. It also has 80 new names for them all! Why the five stars for educational value? Well, my son looks at this album all the time and can now easily recognise the numbers from 1-80. He also happily copies out the characters' names so improving his writing skills.

Go Gos are still great - the only downside is they get everywhere in our house. From personal experience it's not nice to tread on one with bare feet!!


Gogo's Crazy Bones (10 Pack + 1 Free Pack)
Gogo's Crazy Bones (10 Pack + 1 Free Pack)
Offered by Bargainmax Ltd
Price: £19.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're Go-Going Crazy..., 2 Nov 2008
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
...in our house because for my five-year-old son these are the next big thing. A packet of three Go Gos with stickers costs only one pound so they fall very nicely into the pocket money bracket. The figures themselves are small, colourful, durable and bursting with individuality and personality. Eighty to collect (plus different colour combinations) will keep him going.

The album too is a must-have. Again, it costs only one pound and has fun statistics and names for all of the Go Gos. A nice touch are the various games with simple rules. Why the five stars for educational value? Well, my son looks at this album all the time and can now easily recognise the numbers from 1-80. He also happily copies out the characters' names so improving his writing skills.

Go Gos are great - the only downside is they get everywhere in our house. From personal experience it's not nice to tread on one with bare feet!!


3 x Go Go's Crazy Bones Packets
3 x Go Go's Crazy Bones Packets
Offered by MustBeBonkers!
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars We're Go-Going Crazy..., 2 Nov 2008
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
...in our house because for my five-year-old son these are the next big thing. A packet of three Go Gos with stickers costs only one pound so they fall very nicely into the pocket money bracket. The figures themselves are small, colourful, durable and bursting with individuality and personality. Eighty to collect (plus different colour combinations) will keep him going.

Get the album too - it is a must-have. Again, it costs only one pound and has fun statistics and names for all of the Go Gos. A nice touch are the various games with simple rules. Why the five stars for educational value? Well, my son looks at this album all the time and can now easily recognise the numbers from 1-80. He also happily copies out the characters' names so improving his writing skills.

Go Gos are great - the only downside is they get everywhere in our house. From personal experience it's not nice to tread on one with bare feet!!


Gogo's Crazy Bones Single Packet
Gogo's Crazy Bones Single Packet
Offered by tonysden
Price: £1.97

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're Go-Going Crazy..., 2 Nov 2008
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
...in our house because for my five-year-old son these are the next big thing. A packet of three Go Gos with stickers costs only one pound so they fall very nicely into the pocket money bracket. The figures themselves are small, colourful, durable and bursting with individuality and personality. Eighty to collect (plus different colour combinations) will keep him going.

Get the album as well (if you haven't already) - it is a must-have. Again, it costs only one pound and has fun statistics and names for all of the Go Gos. A nice touch are the various games with simple rules. Why the five stars for educational value? Well, my son looks at this album all the time and can now easily recognise the numbers from 1-80. He also happily copies out the characters' names so improving his writing skills.

Go Gos are great - the only downside is they get everywhere in our house. From personal experience it's not nice to tread on one with bare feet!!


Gogo's Crazy Bones Sticker Album and Game Rules
Gogo's Crazy Bones Sticker Album and Game Rules
Offered by MustBeBonkers!
Price: £3.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're Go-Going Crazy..., 2 Nov 2008
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
...in our house because for my five-year-old son these are the next big thing. A packet of three Go Gos with stickers costs only one pound so they fall very nicely into the pocket money bracket. The figures themselves are small, colourful, durable and bursting with individuality and personality. Eighty to collect (plus different colour combinations) will keep him going.

The album is a must-have. Again, it costs only one pound and has fun statistics and names for all of the Go Gos. A nice touch are the various games with simple rules. Why the five stars for educational value? Well, my son looks at this album all the time and can now easily recognise the numbers from 1-80. He also happily copies out the characters' names so improving his writing skills.

Go Gos are great - the only downside is they get everywhere in our house. From personal experience it's not nice to tread on one with bare feet!!


Sakura
Sakura
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £16.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Japanese Beauty, 27 Oct 2008
This review is from: Sakura (Audio CD)
`Sakura' had intrigued me for some time before I took the plunge and bought it - I could see it featuring regularly in fellow Amazonian's lists when crossed referenced to other electronica I like, such as Boards of Canada, but I confess that its ambient tag was always a little offputting. I thought this might be a bland an uninspiring record - how wrong I was!

The opening track `Saku' sets the overall tone of the record with its warm pulses of sound over which play electronic flourishes and synth effects. `Sakura' is definitely towards the blissed-out end of the elctronica spectrum but it is never dull. Its tracks are constructed carefully and minimally; built around simple repeating, melodic themes played mostly on the synth but with occasional use of strings too, such as the lovely harp sound on `Shinsen'.

One of the most satisfying things about the record is its variety; `Uchu Tanjyo' features a babble of Japanese voices as a vocal sample, whilst `Azukiiro No Kaori' and `Kodomotachi' both have hauntingly atmospheric female chant and vocals layered ino the mix. Yokota steps up the pace with greater use of beats on the playful melody of `Hisen' and the pulsing, rhythmic `Genshi', which makes you feel like you are looking out of the window of a bullet train as the Japanese countryside flashes by outside. There is even a jazzy, piano-driven workout on `Naminote'.

`Sakura' is perfect mood-music; brilliant to listen to when reading or just chilling out. Don't be put off like I was by its classification as ambient, if you like warm, melodic electronica you will love this record.


Sakura
Sakura
Price: £10.32

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Japanese Beauty, 27 Oct 2008
This review is from: Sakura (Audio CD)
`Sakura' had intrigued me for some time before I took the plunge and bought it - I could see it featuring regularly in fellow Amazonian's lists when crossed referenced to other electronica I like, such as Boards of Canada, but I confess that its ambient tag was always a little offputting. I thought this might be a bland an uninspiring record - how wrong I was!

The opening track `Saku' sets the overall tone of the record with its warm pulses of sound over which play electronic flourishes and synth effects. `Sakura' is definitely towards the blissed-out end of the elctronica spectrum but it is never dull. Its tracks are constructed carefully and minimally; built around simple repeating, melodic themes played mostly on the synth but with occasional use of strings too, such as the lovely harp sound on `Shinsen'.

One of the most satisfying things about the record is its variety; `Uchu Tanjyo' features a babble of Japanese voices as a vocal sample, whilst `Azukiiro No Kaori' and `Kodomotachi' both have hauntingly atmospheric female chant and vocals layered ino the mix. Yokota steps up the pace with greater use of beats on the playful melody of `Hisen' and the pulsing, rhythmic `Genshi', which makes you feel like you are looking out of the window of a bullet train as the Japanese countryside flashes by outside. There is even a jazzy, piano-driven workout on `Naminote'.

`Sakura' is perfect mood-music; brilliant to listen to when reading or just chilling out. Don't be put off like I was by its classification as ambient, if you like warm, melodic electronica you will love this record.


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