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Reviews Written by
Lord Kirk (England)

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Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Songwriting, 8 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Hypoxia (Audio CD)
Given the concept, this is never going to be uplifting. It is dark. It is raw in places. Given her admiration for Leonard Cohen, then we can perhaps understand her willingness to take this on.

I have always felt that her songwriting was exceptional and this shines through. For me this contains some of her best songs. Checkout - Battleships and Tango with Marco. The standout track for me is Cuckoo.

Find some silence and go on the journey.

Heirs and Graces
Heirs and Graces
Price: £6.19

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Collection of Captivating Songs, 10 April 2014
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This review is from: Heirs and Graces (MP3 Download)
A collection of captivating personal songs from this young singer songwriter. His delivery and (relatively) simple arrangements allow the songs to shine out. The mood swings between whimsical love (Monday Morning), unrequited love (I Can't Be Right) through facing the reality of mortality (Oh My God) to bitterness and darkness (Shadows), Overall a great mix.

Listening I was reminded of John Martyn and Nick Drake amongst others, unsurprising given that it was produced by John Wood.

My favourites are Oh My God, I Can't be Right and Shadows.

Check out a few of his videos on the web ... then buy this!

Going Back Home
Going Back Home
Price: £4.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British R n B at it's Best, 25 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Going Back Home (Audio CD)
When I first heard about this my initial concern was this was going to be dominated by Roger Daltrey. The first piece of good news is that it isn't - it's Wilko and Roger, and 1 and 1 does make 3.

As Wilko is already well known on the scene, (some would elevate him to legend / national treasure), let's focus on the contribution of Mr Daltrey. This is Roger with more grit that the "Who" incarnation and he is a natural for this genre. Vocals are not Wilko’s forte and a highlight for me is that Roger brings Wilko’s songs to life (all of the songs bar 1 are by Wilko) – notable examples are Turned 21 and Sneaking Suspicion.

All in all the combination of Wilko and Roger, supported by the excellent combination of Norman Watt-Roy, Mick Talbot, Steve Weston and Dylan Howe, is spot on. All of the tracks benefit from the bigger band when compared to the usual pared-back Wilko 3 piece. So let’s talk about the tracks..

Going Back Home is a number for the whole band, and it’s a belter, with drive and some excellent harmonica from Steve.
Ice on the Motorway and I Keep it to Myself feature the classic Wilko guitar riffs.
Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window is the only non-Wilko song (it’s a Dylan song). This is the one track that Roger dominates (and is sounds a little bit more like the Daltrey of old) – but it’s an excellent version.
Turned 21 is reborn for me and comes to life.
Keep on Loving you and Some Kind of Hero bring us back to Wilko guitar, with Roger obviously enjoying himself.
Sneaking Suspicion has always been one of my favourite Wilko tracks – Daltrey takes this up a notch breathing new life into the song.
Keep it Out of Sight, is the one track that doesn’t work for me – I prefer the Dr Feelgood version. Though I’m willing to forgive this one.
Everybody’s Carrying a Gun is a good rocker (reminds me of Alex Harvey a bit)
All Through the City with its classic riff stands up well compared to the Dr Feelgood version, and leaves us wanting more.

Wilko fans will note some omissions from his usual set … the obvious one is She Does it Right. But the Wilko version is outstanding - so they were right to pass it by.

One final point, the production is excellent - the whole album has a crisp, immediate, almost live feel.

Origami Paper 100 sheet gift set - Pantone Green 341
Origami Paper 100 sheet gift set - Pantone Green 341
Offered by Folded Square Origami
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Container is The Best Bit, 8 Dec. 2013
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Firstly these guys have an excellent range of colours.

The cardboard wrapper they come in is excellent for easy storage.

Solo: A James Bond Novel
Solo: A James Bond Novel
Price: £4.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good effort - that just falls short, 8 Oct. 2013
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This is the Bond of Fleming, not the Bond of the cinema: hard drinking, smoking, using craft and training rather than high tech. As such I found it sits well with the Fleming works, and I liked the few playful touches (Car, Martini recipe etc). It is well researched; in particular the depiction of West Africa feels accurate. Fans of Fleming's books will recognise and appreciate the effort that Boyd has made. So far so very good.

I did read it to the end and it kept my interest for most of the time. So what went wrong... well ultimately some key points in the plot:

The "escape" from Africa feels a bit of a cop out.
Only one of the 2 key bad guys gets a decent character development - the rhodesian mercinary. The shady millionaire figure is almost incidental - I was expecting him to feature much more in the later chapters.
The(final)ending needs more work, it could have been quite chilling.

So three stars, which with a bit more work on some of the characters and the plot twists could easily have been more.

Jet Black Raider EP
Jet Black Raider EP
Price: £2.76

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Follow-on From Black Prince Fury, 18 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Jet Black Raider EP (MP3 Download)
Firstly, if you liked Black Prince Fury, you'll enjoy this. It sounds more subtle, more honed.

The openener, Unicron, draws you in with swirling synths, then builds, with some echoes of Nautilus.
Bubble Gun, is stripped down electronic somewhat Kraftworkesque - but definately Anna.
The standout for me is Orlok with it's ebb and flow and excellent use of percussion.A video to go with this was available when it was released - check it out to listen to the whole track and see if you agree.
To close we have Anna singing on ALR, which is light, slightly subverted pop, which feels a bit out of place. Apparently she was terrified of singing!

All in all a worthy follow-on from Black Prince. Despite ALR, the other three tracks mean 5 stars.

Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Triumph and an Evolution, 1 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Desfado (MP3 Download)
First let's get the English tracks out of the way. A Case of You, whilst a good effort, is no match for Joni Mitchell: it lacks credibility. Would a Portuguese lady "draw a map of Canada"? Thank You suffers from the lyrics, which feel a bit like Portuguese that has been automatically translated. Fortunately Dream of Fire works. So 1 out of 3 for these. These would normally mean less that 5 stars.

However, the remaining tracks are a Triumph, We have Fado with a hint of Blues, Fado with a hint of Jazz, uptempo Fado, late-night languid Fado, traditional Fado. All superbly produced.

It's hard to pick a favourite and the more you listen the harder you get:

Desfado - Upbeat ... you will not be able to keep still listening to this
A Fadista - The most traditional. This reminds me of her excellent 2007 Album Para Alem de Saudade. Check the english translation of the lyrics to get the full effect.
Quando O Sol.. Liad back
Despiu A Saudade .. a hint of Blues

Fado fans, apart from the strict traditionalists, will love this album. If you are new to Fado then this is an excellent place to start.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 17, 2015 11:13 PM GMT

CR2032 Battery (2 pack) - Panasonic, Lithium Coin Cell, 3V
CR2032 Battery (2 pack) - Panasonic, Lithium Coin Cell, 3V
Offered by Googlez
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Product at a good price, 12 April 2013
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I found these hard to find or very expensive in the usual shops. Great price and deliverted without excess packaging.

Black Prince Fury EP
Black Prince Fury EP

5.0 out of 5 stars Stimulating Pieces From One Of The Best Young Composers Around, 18 Oct. 2012
This contains 4 tracks of very different moods, characterised by interweaving rhythms and sounds.

Firstly... Nautilus grabs your attention. What sounds like bright horns and brass with a fainty hypnotic feel. Menacing (play loud): here be monsters! This is the stand out piece for me, very distinctive and quite different from the other 3 pieces. Check out the official video.
Rhododendron is gentler, flowing, industrious (Bees on a Rhododendron flower?).
Never Wonder is surprising in that it contains a few lines of Power of Love ("Cause I'm your lady, And you are my man") in the middle - is this a (self)portrait of a woman?
Orca has hints of the sea.....reminds me bit of Jean Michelle Jarre (mainly due to the use of synths playing as the piece builds). This one continues to grow on me.

Since hearing Nautilus some time ago I was pleased to see it finally available. At the time of writing the MP3 download is less than £3, excellent value for work from one of the best young composers around.

The No Testament
The No Testament
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Up to the Level of Keepsakes, 31 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The No Testament (MP3 Download)
We have waited for 3 years since the acclaimed Keepsakes for new work from Sam and when it arrives it doesn't quite come up to the same level. Though, to be fair, a lot of the impact of Keepsakes was his refreshing style, so this new work doesn't have that advantage.

For me, Sam is at his best when dealing with current themes, rather than traditional "folk" material. We are treated to divorce and loss (The One, Separate Ways, One Thought), getting old and inheritance (As Long As You Hear Me and The No Testament), and money (Dreams Are Made Of Money).

The standout piece for me is The One, both in terms of the song and the arrangement - this will strike a chord with divorced Fathers.

Sam introduces some new styles: Choral / Gospel (Antioch & No Testament), which work well, and Blues (Waves and Tremors), which doesn't.

I have read a review, in the press, complaining that his lyrics lack depth and are too obvious. Granted he doesn't write songs with the depth of the likes of Chris Wood, but he is writing about the lives of "ordinary" people using their words.

So, what does all this mean? Well, if you enjoyed Keepsakes then there are definitely songs in here you will enjoy. If you are new to Sam then you may find it a bit of a Curate's Egg.

In either case, at the time of writing a number of videos have been made featuring some of the tracks; check them out on Sam's website / YouTube and see if you agree.

Most people rated Keepsakes as 4 stars, hence the 3 star rating, though 3 and a half would perhaps be more accurate.

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