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Glenn Austin "blip" (Hampshire, UK)
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State Of Decay
State Of Decay
Price: 7.49

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winning Electropop Formula, 18 Nov 2009
This review is from: State Of Decay (MP3 Download)
Well the decade ends with the most upbeat slice of Electropop of the noughties. Following on from my album of 2008 'Electricity', Parralox have this time hit upon a winning formula for pure Electropop, with large refreshing splatterings of Electrodisco thrown in for good measure. In many ways, this is a more confident and assured album, with more level and less variety between the tracks. Having said that, the level is impressively high with a good half a dozen potential single releases here in addition to the simultaneous releases of the excellent 'Hotter' and for me the more catchy and thought-provoking 'I Am Human'.
This time around, we are treated with the vocal talents of Amii (replacing Roxy), which begs the question, does Melbourne have a production-line of classy, powerful Madonna-esque singers?
Highlight tracks for me are 'When The Walls Came Tumbling Down', the singalongable 'Be Careful What You Wish For', 'How Do You Break a Robot's Heart?' and the superb 'Time' which sounds like an out-take from the Human League's under-rated last album 'Secrets', but with an added Depeche Mode 'Violator' period melody. Fantastic stuff. The neat added touch of a dedication for each track continues, but with less personal resonance this time around.
With bands like Parralox, Marsheaux and Electrobelle around, it looks like the next decade for Electro is in great hands.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 19, 2009 5:49 PM GMT


Only Better
Only Better
Price: 4.45

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Can't Believe It's Not Better, 18 Sep 2009
This review is from: Only Better (MP3 Download)
Okay, cards on the table time. mesh are my favourite band of all time by a very long margin, so any new release fills me with a mix of excitement and a little dread. Three years on from their last release, I felt there was ample reason to feel a little apprehensive about this new single. For me, a dedicated electrohead, their last album 'We Collide' saw a bit of a shift where the dreaded guitar began to gain a greater prominence in their music, and as a result it took me a while to really like 'We Collide'. It also marked the end of the original line-up with keyboard player Neil Taylor departing. So, would Mark and Rich, the new mesh duo, continue on the dark path? Early reviews I read didn't help, with comments like 'not afraid to use guitars'. I need not have worried.

'Only Better' is like a mesh song, ONLY BETTER! (Sorry, but I couldn't resist). Yes, there are guitars here, but Mark and Rich have kept the synths in prominence and the guitars don't overwhelm it. And what a great song it is. It still has that dark edge that most mesh lyrics are famous for, with familiar themes of failed or failing relationships, but the hooks are as strong as a good pop song albeit with a far more complex tune than your average top ten fodder. I found it very sing-a-long-able. The Alien6 mix is the best of three versions here, and the two additional tracks, 'Shattered Glass' and 'Everything I Made' are just as good if a little darker and harsher. mesh have returned in great form and I have no worries that the new album 'A Perfect Solution' will be only better too.

Grown up music for grown up people.


Only Better
Only Better
Price: 10.67

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Can't Believe It's Not Better, 11 Sep 2009
This review is from: Only Better (Audio CD)
Okay, cards on the table time. mesh are my favourite band of all time by a very long margin, so any new release fills me with a mix of excitement and a little dread. Three years on from their last release, I felt there was ample reason to feel a little apprehensive about this new single. For me, a dedicated electrohead, their last album 'We Collide' saw a bit of a shift where the dreaded guitar began to gain a greater prominence in their music, and as a result it took me a while to really like 'We Collide'. It also marked the end of the original line-up with keyboard player Neil Taylor departing. So, would Mark and Rich, the new mesh duo, continue on the dark path? Early reviews I read didn't help, with comments like 'not afraid to use guitars'. I need not have worried.

'Only Better' is like a mesh song, ONLY BETTER! (Sorry, but I couldn't resist). Yes, there are guitars here, but Mark and Rich have kept the synths in prominence and the guitars don't overwhelm it. And what a great song it is. It still has that dark edge that most mesh lyrics are famous for, with familiar themes of failed or failing relationships, but the hooks are as strong as a good pop song albeit with a far more complex tune than your average top ten fodder. I found it very sing-a-long-able. The Alien6 mix is the best of three versions here, and the two additional tracks, 'Shattered Glass' and 'Everything I Made' are just as good if a little darker and harsher. mesh have returned in great form and I have no worries that the new album 'A Perfect Solution' will be only better too.

Grown up music for grown up people.


Until the Shadows
Until the Shadows
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blind Faith, 2 Sep 2009
This review is from: Until the Shadows (Audio CD)
I've been a huge Psyche fan since the mid-Eighties and pre-ordered this album 'blind' without knowing what it contained. So I was a little disappointed that nearly all of the material here has been released previously, mostly on the superior 'Club Salvation' 2007 release, and their last two proper releases 'The 11th Hour' and the classic 'Babylon Deluxe'.

Nevertheless, 'Until the Shadows' is a good collection in its own right, starting with the best version of the Joy Division cover of 'Disorder' (one of my favourite JD tracks), and continuing with another best version cover, of Q Lazzarus' fantastic 'Goodbye Horses'. Other highlights include 'Assassin' and 'One Last Kiss', but for me these kind of compilations rarely hang together very well.


Lumineux Noir
Lumineux Noir

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's the Greek for WOW?, 29 July 2009
This review is from: Lumineux Noir (MP3 Download)
Lumineux Noir is simply breathtaking.

If Marsheaux's first album 'E-bay Queen' was the hors-d'oeuvre, (or whatever the Greek equivalent is), and their second 'Peek-a-boo' a tasty starter, then this duo have served up a spectacular main course. Those earlier outings laid the foundations, but there was little to suggest in their overall electro pop simplicity that Marsheaux would be able to pull off such a BIG and mature album as this. From the opening seconds of the excellent first track 'Exit' you can tell this is different, a bigger darker sound much more akin to say Mesh or Psyche than their electro girl contemporaries showcased on the recently released 'Electronically Yours Vol 1'.

Next up is the single 'Breakthrough' with its simple but effective chorus. With a bit of exposure, it could easily equal the success of La Roux. There seriously isn't a duff track here. Other highlights include 'Radial emotion' complete with a Front 242 synth rift, the fantastic 'Destroy me' and the up tempo 'It's fine now' musically reminiscent of Telekon era Gary Numan. They keep the very best two tracks for last - 'So far' and 'Sorrow' which is by far their best song to date.

There is only one thing stopping me from declaring this my album of the decade. The direction they have taken with Lumineux Noir suggests they want to take their material on to the next level, and whilst the music more than hits all the spots, it is still largely accompanied by simple but effective pop songs. There's nothing wrong with that, but for me the lyrics don't yet tell a story like they do for Mesh or Psyche.

Bring on the dessert trolley!


Electricity
Electricity
Price: 7.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Plug for Electricity, 29 May 2009
This review is from: Electricity (MP3 Download)
[Review previously published on Amazon.com]

Every once in a while, no more than twice a decade perhaps, a truly seminal album emerges. Electricity by new Australian electro duo Parralox certainly deserves such praise. Less than two weeks after its release it is already amongst a select few albums that I can't imagine living without...such as Dare (Human League), Metamatic (John Foxx), Replicas (Tubeway Army), Who Watches Over Me? (Mesh)...we all have our own essentials. It is no exaggeration to say Electricity more than holds its own amongst such company, and as a debut it is astonishing - on impact alone it is the best since Depeche Mode's Speak and Spell over a quarter of a century ago.

I have already read comparisons with Dare, but Electricity is far from being a retro album. It is fresh, confident and pacy, and singer Roxy's Madonna-esque vocals gives the unashamedly electro music a truly commercial feel, which successfully pulls off the trick of not only appealing to oldies like me who were around to witness the Eighties emergence of `vocals and synthesisers only', but also to the younger audience fed a diet of Rhianna, Sugababes, Leona Lewis and the like (I know because I've tried it out on my teenage daughters). This is largely because of John Von Ahlen's strong, well crafted and exceptionally well produced songs.

The album's highlights for me are Eastern Wall, with its Germanic theme, Electricity (even I'D dance to that!), Sharper Than A Knife, the first single due out soon, We Believe In Electric Love, which really wouldn't be out of place on Dare, and the futurescape ballad Should Not Be. A nice added touch is that each track has a personal dedication - for example, You And Me Both is not surprisingly dedicated to Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke. Others getting a name-check include Martin Rushent, Depeche Mode, John Foxx, and Gary Numan. To top it all, Electricity's beautiful packaging knocks spots of most new releases around at the moment.

If there is any justice in this world (which there isn't), Electricity would be massive (so it probably won't be).


My Lost City
My Lost City
Price: 11.46

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Blast from the Past, 22 May 2009
This review is from: My Lost City (Audio CD)
This fantastic new album by electro-pioneer John Foxx feels incredibly personal to me, and brings back wonderful memories of interviewing John at the East London studio where he recorded this back in the mid Eighties. In fact, I like to imagine he broke off from recording these very tracks to do the interview and subsequent photo shoot.

Listening to tracks such as 'Holywell Lane', 'Just Passing Through', and 'Barbican Brakhage' feels just like I'm time travelling back to the very point these pieces of music were born. But this collection still has a contemporary feel to it, as if it had just been recorded. I'm more of a fan of John's recent releases with Louis Gordon such as 'Crash and Burn', 'From Trash' and the extraordinary 'Sideways' than, say, the more reflective instrumental ones like the 'Cathedral Oceans' series and 'Tiny Colour Movies', but 'My Lost City' has a lot more depth to it than those others. This represents MY Lost City...indeed it is also my lost past.

John has to be the most creative guy around at the moment, and he is at his most prolific by way of releasing material after a hiatus in the '90s. And he seems to be getting better and better. He writes wonderfully about this release in his quietman blog, "Electricity and Ghosts - the story behind My Lost City".

Thanks for re-discovering this John!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 21, 2010 3:14 PM BST


Who Watches Over Me
Who Watches Over Me

5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest album of all time!!!!, 17 Mar 2009
This review is from: Who Watches Over Me (Audio CD)
Why am I reviewing an album which is almost 8 years old? Someone asked me a few days ago what my favourite album of all time was. "Stop being so nosy," I said in my head. Actually, what I did say was "Who Watches Over Me? by mesh". Who? was the typical reply, which led to an oft-repeated discussion about the largely hidden gem that is mesh.
So why is this album such a stand-out? There isn't much to add to the other excellent reviews here, other than to say having followed this band since their early days, WWOM? is the most complete and accomplished collection of electro based songs marking the coming of age for mesh. The songwriting is particularly strong, and for a self-produced album the composition is remarkable. On first listen, there are one or two tracks that seem below par, such as the opening 'Firefly', but even here the depth of it becomes more apparent with every listen.
The intro to 'Little Missile' gives me a chill every time I hear it, and throws me back in time to when I first heard it. The music seemed to follow a path in my head where nothing else had gone before. It felt like it had been recorded just for me, such was the emotional connection.
A must-buy!


From Headlines to Hard Times
From Headlines to Hard Times
by Ed Mitchell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.30

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living in the real world, 6 Feb 2009
This isn't normally the kind of book I'd either buy or read, but like others I found the documentary Saving Ed Mitchell absolutely fascinating to watch. Until recently my own job involved regional homelessness policy and it was a real eye opener to read first hand about Ed's experiences navigating through the homelessness system. Unfortunately, the statutory and third sector services weren't shown in the greatest light here!

This is a great read, strangely uplifting and thought provoking. The underlying message of hope and not giving up clearly shone through.

I had to laugh when I opened the package though. Amazon had thoughtfully included a 40 off voucher for Virgin wines...the irony I am sure would not have been lost on Ed!


Original Remixes and Rarities
Original Remixes and Rarities
Price: 7.97

43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They're only human..., 16 Nov 2005
This year, I have mainly been listening to...The Human League! Being an old Eighties New Romantic, the League are a band that have always been high in my consciousness, but until this summer I had seen them as being very much in the past. On summer holiday in North Wales, I came across their 2003 double album release of 'The Very Best of the Human League' in a chuck-out box, and it has been a constant on my car stereo ever since. This new collection of 'Original Remixes and Rarities' takes this retro feel a step deeper. It was great to hear again such classic b-sides as 'Hard Times', 'Non-Stop' and 'You Remind Me Of Gold' in particular, and to also have extended versions of some of their greatest singles on disc for the first time.
With the possible exception of the opening track, 'Being Boiled', a classic but a bit out of place to include here, this is a great compilation. There's always a long wait for new Human League albums, but this release will keep the many die-hard fans ticking over in the meantime.


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