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Reviews Written by
Level-head "Nick Snow" (Derbyshire)

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Price: £13.53

13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So... that's three Greatest Hits albums for Underworld, and none of them are any good., 30 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Collection (Audio CD)
I don't know why underworld keep doing this. This collection has got to be the most pointless so far. A bunch of radio edits of songs that were always 10 times better in their original formats. Not that the Anthology is much better, it's a 3 disc set, but Disk 1 gives far too much time to their first 2 years, then disk 2 picks a mere 7 songs from the other 18 years of their career, and disk 3 is about the worst selection of Underworld B sides you could get.

This is what the tracklisting should be:

Disk 1: Singles

1. Dark Train
2. mmm Skyscraper I Love You
3. Rez
4. Juanita Kiteless (Live version)
5. Born Slippy NUXX
6. Pearl's Girl
7. Jumbo
8. King of Snake
9. Two Months Off
10. Dinosaur Adventure 3D
11. Beautiful Burnout
12. Crocodile
13. Diamond Jigsaw
14. Scribble

(and yes you can get all that on one disk, if you use some of the (slightly) shorter versions, eg: Rez, Dark Train.

Disk 2: B Sides

1. The Hump
2. Spikee
3. Born Slippy (Original Mix)
4. Cherry Pie
5. Deep Arch
6. Tin There
7. Oich Oich
8. 8 Ball
9. Parc
10. 02-02-02
11. Phonestrap (2)
12. Downpipe
13. The First Note Is Silent
14. Simple Peal

Does anyone agree?

PS: I absolutely love Underworld, I only want a collection that does them true credit.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 17, 2014 11:43 AM BST

Drive [Blu-ray] (2011)
Drive [Blu-ray] (2011)
Dvd ~ Ryan Gosling
Price: £5.43

19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning! Definitely as good as they say., 1 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Drive [Blu-ray] (2011) (Blu-ray)
I noticed about 6 months ago that the film magazine I read rated "Drive" as the most exciting up-coming film of 2011. A few months later I read a review where they had picked it as the best film of the year, hands down. Later that week I glanced at a 'Total Film' magazine which also had picked it as the best film of the year. Then I watched it and I made a list of the best films of the year, with "Drive" sat firmly at the top, above some other brilliant films including "Contagion", "The King's Speech", "The Guard", "The Fighter" and "The Social Network" (although that was actually released at the end of last year).

Drive is amazing. It's slow, it doesn't fully explain itself, the main character is a little bit dull, but these things don't matter. The style and tone of the film is mesmerizing. The visual and auditory elements are so engaging and the 80's feel of the film really makes a lasting impression. The actors all provide thorough, understated performances, making every character so realistic and true to life. The opening driving scene is as well thought out and executed as the Bank Job from the Dark Knight. I mentioned before about Ryan Gosling's character being a bit dull, but I never meant that he was boring. 'The Driver' (you never even find out his name) barely has a back story, shows little emotion in most parts and probably has less lines throughout the film than your average man in a banking advert. Having said that, he proves to be meticulous, intelligent, thoughtful, protective, vulnerable, melancholic, intimidating, brutal and quite simply heroic. All in the space of 90 minutes.

There are twists and turns in the film but nothing too unexpected. Most people's actions are dictated by a similar code of unwritten gangster dogma to that portrayed in "Road to Perdition", by which I mean people who like each other have to turn on each other because of the unfortunate circumstances they are in. In "Road to Perdition", Paul Newman had to arrange to have his best friend killed, totally against his will, because his hands were forced. In "Drive" the seemingly friendly, but potentially vicious character played by Albert Brooks is forced to take action against people that he really liked. However, his actions are cold, brutal and deeply shocking. "The Driver" is equally forced to react and he does so without hesitation or consideration as he tries to save himself and the other characters he has come to love, including his sweet and innocent neighbour Carey Mulligan and his lovably hopeless boss Bryan Cranston. The 'ultra-violence' that ensues towards the end of the movie is as harrowing and shocking as any that I have seen, and yet it is masterfully executed with a true sense of realism and brutality.

The violent conclusion is terrific. But in a sense, it is the opening half of the film that really makes it the masterpiece that it is. Gosling's character packs his bag at the start of every job he takes and is ready to walk out of his life if anything should happen; the sort of discipline that Robert De Niro's character in Heat talks about. His life is very minimalistic, very reclusive and almost empty. However, when he meets Carey Mulligan's character and her son, his life starts to take form. The beautiful scene where he takes his two new friends for a Drive down the old canal in his suped-up muscle car to the sound of College's "A Real Hero" is pure cinematic perfection. You start to see a real bond develop between a closed man who barely even has anything to say and a Mother and child crying out for a strong person to help them rebuild their lives. By the time the film takes a turn towards thrills and spills, you are excited that people are being killed and that a bit of action has finally come, but you feel so gutted that the dream that was starting to form for the two lovers has been so abruptly extinguished.

In many ways "Drive" is a film that has everything (except Humour, you won't find much of that). It even featureso several homages to to other films including 'Grease' (the drive in the old canal passage), 'Halloween' (the featureless face mask Gosling don's when he kills a mob boss towards the end) and several ganster films. With superb performances from Gosling, Mulligan, Brooks, Ron Perlman and of course the director himself, Drive is a real contemporary masterpiece with a thoroughly convincing, non-contemporary 80s feel. It's definitely my favourite film of 2011 and one that I will never forget. The cars, the music, the violence and the beauty far exceed anything else that I saw in 2011 and I can't wait to get a hold of this film on Blu-Ray.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 14, 2012 12:26 PM GMT

L.A. Noire (PS3)
L.A. Noire (PS3)
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £14.46

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars People say you shouldn't compare this game to GTA, but if you were thinking about doing that, this may help., 19 Dec. 2011
This review is from: L.A. Noire (PS3) (Video Game)
I'm just going to do a very straight-forward comparative review here by rating each aspect of the two games, 5 being average:

L.A. Noire:

9 - Graphics - Amazing.
6 - Sound - Better than average.
4 - Music - Authentic but boring and with little variety.
6 - Attention to detail - Good, as expected.
5 - Controls - Sluggish and worse than GTA.
6 - Driving - Better than Just Cause, Similar quality to Godfather.
6 - Environment - Good, but flat and repetitive like True Crime: Streets of LA.
5 - Gun play - Average, nothing like a FPS.
6 - Challenge - Nothing too strenuous, but mentally challenging if you try to get 100%.
5 - Addictiveness - Not really addictive.
6 - Storyline - Twisty and solid, but in places a complete rip-off of several films including L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia.
3 - Longevity - There are only 2 things to do when you finish the game, solve the street crimes and get 100%. Poor.
2 - Sandbox - Yes you can roam around, but you are always on a mission or on duty and there's very little to do.

TOTAL 69/130

GTA 4:

7 - Graphics - Very good, but not the best.
6 - Sound - Better than average.
7 - Music - Very good selection and quality but not as good as Vice City.
10 - Attention to detail - Unparalleled.
7 - Controls - Never has been the best but they are a lot better than on the old PS2 versions.
8 - Driving - Awesome selection of cars, bikes, choppers and boats and the driving is extremely smooth for a sandbox game.
9 - Environment - I would have given it 10, but I'm predicting it will only be a 9 when compared to the next GTA (5).
7 - Gun Play - Still not as good as a FPS but a much better aim and selection of weapons than other Sandbox games.
6 - Challenge - Nothing too deifficult, but some challenging missions.
10 - Addictiveness - I'm booking a week off work for GTA 5 and I have a girlfriend.
6 - Storyline - Simple, but engaging.
10 - Longevity - There is so much to do after completing the game.
9 - Sandbox - There is virtually nothing you can't do, with the one exception being damaging buildings, as you can in other games like Red Faction Guerilla.

TOTAL 102/130

Price: £5.99

13 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars None of the other 1-star reviews made any sense, so here's mine., 17 Dec. 2011
This review is from: 4x4=12 (Audio CD)
deadmau5 is a massive household name in 21st century dance music. He wears a novelty mouse mask, he's remixed more tracks than Paul Oakenfold, he's had some massive club hits and he's probably featured on every house compilation in the last 3 years. However, I have never understood the appeal myself.

It's not that I find progressive house, or tech-house boring or monotonous. No! I am a huge fan of Sasha's recent work, Bedrock, Jaytech, Spooky, Pryda and James Zabiela; to name a few.

It's not that I'm one of those annoying people who just dislikes anything mainstream.

It's not the flaming mouse mask! (Although that is seriously tacky).

No. It's that complete lack of quality or ingenuity I'm afraid. I find deadmau5's particular blend of club orientated house music about as exciting as a bucket of water. His music is full of breakdowns, swells, over-powering synths and 'cool' production techniques. So full infact, that every track seems to have the same elements. If you go back to either of his previous releases, virtually every track sounds identical. This was heralded as his breakthrough 'artist' album where he had tried new things and 'pushed the boundaries of modern electronica' but I would have to argue that there is barely any difference between this album and the previous ones. When I think about all the incredibly creative, unique and understated dance acts who have been ignored in place of this one-trick pony, it makes me sad. It also makes me realise just how big the influence of pop-culture is now upon the dance and electronic industry.

No longer will artists like the Chemical Brothers or Underworld be revered for their creativity and flare. No longer will artists like Aphex Twin or Boards of Canada be celebrated for their diversity. No longer will bands like Faithless or Orbital be respected for their live performances. No longer will artists like DJ Shadow or Sasha be admired for their mixing skills and talented sets.

Nope. Dance music is currently in a state of selling out. deadmaus, Guetta and the Dubstep bandwagon want your money and they know how to get it. Your mates already think they're cool, you have to as well now. Conform and enjoy.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 24, 2012 9:52 PM GMT

If Not Now, When?
If Not Now, When?
Offered by FLASH
Price: £4.87

10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 90% Brandon Boyd, 10% Incubus., 27 Jun. 2011
This review is from: If Not Now, When? (Audio CD)
Is this really the new Incubus album because it just sounds as though it's just Brandon Boyd's second album?

As you can tell from my rating, I don't hate this album, but the early Incubus fans are going to tear this to shreds. I read that most early Incubus fans (S.C.I.E.N.C.E. era) disapproved of the band's move into the mainstream and probably hated my favourite album of theirs called 'Morning View'. If that is the case, then I expect this will seem like boring, slow, poppy soft-rock to them. The title track really sets the scene, brewing up nicely into a gentle rhythm but never really exploding into any kind of energy. That really is the case for the whole album. There is very little energy and a whole lot of gentle crooning from Boyd. Einzinger and co have really taken the back seat here, and the result is all the worse for it.

I would describe this album as 11 'semi-decent' songs from the band, and no outstanding ones. I'd now compare them more to Train or Matchbox 20 than to Rage or early Chili Peppers. Possibly their worst album to date, but then again, I still like it. It's good for a nice drive in the sunshine, not for rocking out to.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 11, 2011 10:26 AM BST

Monsters [DVD] [2010]
Monsters [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Whitney Able
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £2.94

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not many monsters?, 16 Jun. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Monsters [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Let's just put it this way: you could watch alien films like "Skyline" or you could watch alien films like "Monsters". Personally, I would choose Monsters every time.

This quaint little film posing as a big-budget sci-fi actioner is a beautifully sweet road trip movie and nothing like the absolute mess of "Skyline", "War of the Worlds", "Cloverfield" or "Independence Day". It's beauty is subtle, patient and wonderfully human with 2 excellent lead characters. Although there are a few key moments with the aliens in, they are really just the backdrop for the story. Think "War of the Worlds" meets "The Motorcycle Diaries" and you're getting closer.

Watch, enjoy but don't waste your breathe holding out for explosions and space ships. Not after the first 2 minutes anyway.

The King of Limbs
The King of Limbs
Price: £9.50

17 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oi! Radiohead fans! Stop kidding yourself! This album sucks!, 14 April 2011
This review is from: The King of Limbs (Audio CD)
My, oh my what has happened to Radiohead?

You need only go back and listen to the incredible album 'The Bends' to hear a talented, experimental indie band at the peak of their careers. Then you have 'The King of Limbs'. Let's draw up a contrast shall we?

The Bends was an album packed with 12 quality tracks, some downtempo, some energetic, all drenched in melancholy, feeling and beauty. Tracks like 'Fade Out', 'High and Dry' and 'Just' stole the limelight, while other non-singles like 'PLanet Telex', 'Bones', 'My Iron Lung' and 'Nice Dream' offered diversity and depth. The lyrics were soothingly beautiful in places and appropriately aggressive in others. The guitar work ranged from slow, gentle strumming to skillfully-timed and well-written solos. The album flowed magnificently as each track complimented one another, building into an epic finish which rounded off with similar strength and consistency. I even thought it was better than it's successor 'OK Computer', which has often been referred to as the greatest album of all time.

Then We have TKOL, a ridiculously short album, almost totally devoid of any quality. Gone are the energetic rock songs, or the beautifully melodic numbers. Gone is that unforgettable Radiohead beauty, only to have been replaced by some Kid-A-inspired electronic drivvel. The single track 'Lotus Flower' just about hits the mark and recaptures the appeal of their experimental side from the late 90s, while the album filler tracks like 'Bloom' and 'Morning Mr Magpie' are simply terrible, and so static it's just unnatural. The lyrics are sparse and much more negative. The guitar work is now almost completely second fiddle. The album has no flow to it and is basically a bunch of disjointed tracks stuck together in a terrible way. The tracks are diverse, but only in a way that draws strength from the good songs, resulting in a terribly confused album.

As an electronic enthusiast I believe I do have some right to judge this band in this manner. With 'Kid A' they might not have made the best album of their career, but I understood what they were trying to do. But with this album, its anyone's guess. If they were trying to be like Aphex or Ae, they've failed.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 3, 2013 3:16 PM BST

Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Price: £13.86

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums I've heard in years, hands down!, 16 Feb. 2011
The best thing about Mogwai is that no-one else can do what they do!

"Hardcore Will Never Die..." is essentially a 53 minute rock epic with barely a hint of vocals; except on 'Mexican Grand Prix' and my favourite track 'George Square Thatcher Death Party'. Where else have you honestly heard a decent rock album devoid of a dominant vocalist? Well, the Scottish quintet have often been compared to the US band Explosions in the Sky, although this album is leagues ahead of the dreary, slow-paced, soft rock that Explosions offer. They have also been compared to Sigur Ros from time to time, but again this is wrong. I guess that if Sigur Ros didn't sing in that ridiculous made-up childish language of theirs then their actual music might sound similar to Mogwai's? But I still don't think it would be as good. I would probably compare it more to some of Death In Vegas' best moments like "Blood Yawning", "Flying" or "Aisha", impressive instrumental rock music that holds its own without the need of any cliched vocals.

Honestly, most tracks would almost be ruined with the inclusion of lyrics. This is because (as most fans know) their music tends to ebb, flow and swell into crescendos rather than following the linear song strutures of most other bands (intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, end). In fact, it's this characteristic that the band have really perfected on this album. I say this because some of their predecessing albums were much more difficult to listen to in places. Take their classic anthem "Auto Rock" for instance; undoubtedly one of their finest moments but its crashing, smashing and turbulent finale is hardly easy on the ears.

This album however, is a lovely listen. It's possible that some fans may deem it 'too accessible' and too dissimilar to their earlier work, but I think it's fantastic.

Do yourself a favour, try something new today! (Or continue your Mogwai collection).

Try before you buy: 'George Square Thatcher Death Party', 'How To Be A Werewolf' and 'White Noise'.

Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.56

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely my favourite Pumpkins album., 11 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Adore (Audio CD)
The Smashing Pumpkins have so many great albums, but here's how I look at it. "Gish" was a smashing debut from a band at their purest, with raw production and sheer originality. "Siamese Dream" was the band at their most commercial, a concise, accessible album with lovely catchy tracks. "Mellon Collie..." was undoubtedly their masterpiece, showcasing the best of the bands various talents. This third album boasted some of their best grunge material like "Bodies", "Zero", "Muzzle" and "Bullet With Butterfly Wings", some of their best acoustic material like "Galapagos" and "Cupid de Locke" and some early examples of their electronically influenced music like the awesome "1979" and "Love".

However, "Mellon Collie" did have a lot of songs that I wasn't keen on like "Tonight, Tonight" (Overrated), "Porcelina" and "An Ode To Nothing". Also, as a double album with so many styles floating around it lacked the consistency of "Siamese Dream" or their excellent 4th album "Adore".

Simply put, "Adore" is my favourite Pumpkins album because of it's sheer style and consistency. Corgan's electronically influenced approach on Adore always appealed to me because I am a huge fan of electronic music. None-the-less, the style is certainly no gimmick and the album still offers a number of stripped down, solemn tracks typical of the band's previous albums. What is lacking however, is the band's original sound. Anyone with a purest attitude, would probably rather listen to raw, grunge-influenced albums like "Gish" or "Siamese Dream" which are so different to "Adore".

The Pumpkins were famed for reinvention, although I would argue that their career was successful more because of progression than reinvention. The reason I prefer "Adore" is because it represented the sound that I most associate with the band, namely; electronically-influenced, grungy soft-rock. You won't find tracks like "Perfect", "Ava Adore", "Appels and Oranjes", "Daphne Descends" or "Pug" on any other album. Even the softer tracks like "Dusty and Pistol Pete" and "Once Upon a Time" stand out due to the electronic production. Unfortunately, the band eventually progressed beyond "Adore" and made "Machina" where the tracks all started to sound very similar. Shame.

So, in conclusion, go and listen to the track "Appels and Oranjes" and then compare it to "Zero". If you prefer "Appels..." then go out and buy "Adore". Or try "Perfect", my favourite Pumpkins song ever.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 25, 2015 9:49 PM BST

A - Z Volume 2
A - Z Volume 2

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, more is less. Sorry Ash., 1 Nov. 2010
This review is from: A - Z Volume 2 (Audio CD)
I read somewhere that Moby wrote over 100 songs when he made his iconic album ''Play''. He then trimmed it down to a concise 18 tracks, which still proved a few too many as a couple of tracks get lost in translation. A large part of the process of making an album is trimming the fat. When artists have previously released double-albums they have often failed to impress as much as their previous records and sometimes seemed a bit too self-indulgent. Take Aphex Twin's ''Drukqs'', Nelly's ''Sweat Suit'' and ''Stadium Arcadium'' by the Chili Peppers. There have of course been some great ones too such as ''Mellon Collie'' by the Smashing Pumpkins and ''In Your Honour'' by the Foo Fighters. Unfortunately for Ash, their second contribution of A-Z confirms this double album as one of the bad variety, implying that more really is less.

There was a lot of quality on Volume 1 from Ash, but this second volume is much worse. A few tracks stand out such as ''Binary'' and ''Spellbound'' but there are lot's of terrible songs here too. I sincerely feel that Ash should have taken 12 of the best tracks (out of 36 in total) and put them together as a solid album. They could have released a couple of tracks as singles and put some of the worse tracks on as B-sides just like bands like Oasis used to. I don't think they should have done this just to sell a few records, but they should have done it so that they gave their fans a short concise album full of wicked tracks instead of making us flick through the albums to find the ones we like.

One thing is definitely clear, these albums are not the sort that you would listen to from start to finish. Not often anyway. And to any Ash fans out there who are wondering about A-Z, I would advise you to buy Volume 1 instead. If you absolutely adore Volume 1 and think it's the best thing Ash have ever done, then you might just about like Volume 2. Otherwise, avoid buying it and simply download the song Binary from Itunes or soemthing.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2011 5:03 AM BST

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