Profile for Alex > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Alex
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,499,469
Helpful Votes: 162

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Alex (Reading, UK)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3
Super Delux
Super Delux
Offered by TM Stores
Price: £9.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super Return from the Bradford Rockers, 2 Mar 2011
This review is from: Super Delux (Audio CD)
Though disbanding in 2001, Terrorvision initially reformed for a week of gigs in 2005, which has since progressed into a sort of annual sing-a-long around the country up to the present day. For a band dropped by EMI and told by Radio 1 that they would no longer be played, the gigs and festival appearances since that first comeback have been an undoubted success. The fans haven't left - if anything they've attracted some new ones along the way - which goes to prove that great music lives on without commercial support.

How many live reviews have exclaimed how easy it is to forget just how many great, great songs the Bradford lot have written? Well, you can safely add several new ones to the list in the form of album number six, Super Delux. With a new drummer and a fresh sense of energy, the album is a rocking ride of big choruses and sublime riffage. Opener Demolition Song is aptly named. It strikes you as modern day Perseverance but with another injection of adrenaline, with singer Tony Wright in fine voice and new sticksman Cam wasting no time in making his mark.

Hold Tight is just classic Terrorvision to a tee, another TV tune with the ability to instantly leave a huge grin on your face, but it's Neighbourhood which really convinces the listener that the boys are not messing around. This track confirms that the new album is not a simple excuse to carry on touring. There is real intent, and the near-metal instinct of the track coupled with guitarist Mark Yates truly cutting loose will leave you anxious to snap up a ticket the next time the 'Vision travel past your way. Shiny Things also explores a harder edge, boasting some huge riffs and a typically catchy chorus.

Those pop-nuggets of the 90s are in air-brushed force amongst the likes of Pushover, bassist Leigh Marklew displaying a funky-vibe with some nifty work, before another killer chorus preceded by a cheeky Middleman reference takes hold. Babylon is another instant classic, giving the Tie Your Mother Down riff a full could say it's been Terrorized! Coupled with the future sing-a-long bounce of Rock Radio, complete with the much-noted 'I want Ozzy on the wireless not Sharron on the tele,' lyric, you have enough in the bank to ensure Super Delux as a rather delightful return.

The likes of Friend In Need and This Is Suicide could perhaps do with a little ironing of the creases, whilst Run And Hide has a lovely tone but doesn't quite hit the heights of former ballads Bad Actress and Some People Say. However, even these have superb moments and showcase a band free from any pressure and making music for the genuine love of it. Besides, when you have the 50s rock 'n' roll work out of All The Girls Wanna Dance to fall back on, the band can just about get away with anything.

Overall then, a very impressive and welcome return from some honest rockers making honest music. The sheer joy that comes through the speakers as these firm friends rock out some more future-classics is infectious as it is accurate. One can only look forward to the gigs when such fresh impetus will be up the bands sleeves. Welcome back!

Different Gear, Still Speeding (Deluxe Edition)
Different Gear, Still Speeding (Deluxe Edition)
Price: £6.00

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Statement from Gallagher Jr., 28 Feb 2011
Different Gear, Still Speeding is an appropriate title for Liam Gallagher's first post-Oasis offering. Love him or loathe him, it's difficult to think of a stronger front-man of recent times, but how much of that arrogance and invincibility was reliant on a huge back-catalogue of classics and near misses, the majority of which sprung from brother Noel and perhaps the real leader of the Gallagher's former band? Well, not a lot of it. Liam is still Liam and, judging from the typical bravado displayed in pre-release interviews, is far from ready to give up his rock 'n' roll crown. And there is the fact that he, alongside Andy Bell, Chris Sharrock and Gem Archer, has every right to be confident and proud of Beady Eye's debut album. It both justifies Beady Eye as an outfit in their own right and as a songwriting collective. The band themselves may have never doubted this, but you can be sure that even the most hardened Oasis fan would have.

The latter point gives way to the first positive regarding Different Gear, Still Speeding. It is not simply sub-par Oasis. In fact, it's difficult to place many of these songs in any Oasis album. In regards to sheer quality, there are several tracks that would smash some of the more uninspired moments on Standing on the Shoulder of Giants and Heathen Chemistry out of the park. But ultimately, the comparisons with Oasis are needless and, well, besides the point. Because the album confirms Beady Eye as Beady Eye. A weaker album would have confirmed them as a band missing a certain Noel.

So, the music. Four Letter Word is the most aggressive sound on here, Liam's trademark snarl ever present, over a dirty rocking riff and some incessant Sharrock pounding. It by no means sets a template. For Anyone is a lovely Liam ditty, singing at the top of his range, over some delicate playing, with a wistful and memorable melody. The initial love/hate opinions formed on first single Bring The Light are unlikely to change with time, but in this reviewers eyes it remains a thrilling piano-driven stomp, harking back to original rock 'n' roll template laid down in the 50's but ultimately updated in the 70's. The Beat Goes On is another highlight, a bona-fide classic that one imagines will be sung at the gigs for years to come. It achieves that rare kind of balance between being whimsical yet rousing at the same time, whilst the brilliant lyric 'It's not the end of the world, oh no, it's no even the end of the day,' emphasizes the air of optimism present on the record. Such moments are pivotal in escaping the shadow of Oasis, but with the confidence on display throughout this record and on the live clips released so far, it shouldn't be a problem.

The album isn't flawless and as such isn't quite a classic. Beatles and Stones is for some raucous, others generic, but it isn't going to stand the test of time either way. That said, it's not without it's charm, and has a bit more to it than the usual Liam penned aggressive burst (e.g. Ain't Got Nothing, Meaning of Soul). For all it's distorted premise, meanwhile, Standing On The Edge of The Noise is a little rudderless and, to perhaps be a little harsh, bland. The Roller is also an odd one. Part of you wants to say instant classic, another can't help but think of Instant Karma, whilst the majority should accept it as a decent tune which will go down nicely at the gigs. Much of the album follows it's 'neither heavy nor soft' mantra. Wigwam may fail to have any impact on it's first listen, but give it time, and those 'sha-la-la's' prove hugely effective in their simplicity, before an ambitious and trippy outro proves Beady Eye can dare when they want to. Millionaire has the kind of swinging riff and glam edge that fuels the diversity on offer here, whilst the Morning Son is a delightful closer, growing gradually from Liam and a guitar to an epic climax complete with waves and several kitchen sinks.

The album succeeds in that you simply don't think of Noel Gallagher. Chris, Gem and Andy, are competent and experienced musicians, the latter two displaying song-writing free from the pressure of delivering on a much-anticipated Oasis record. Different Gear, Still Speeding has all the freedom you'd expect from a debut, which a refreshing looseness amidst the songs and simple, crisp production at the hands of veteran Steve Lilywhite. The producer has also apparently charmed some of Liam's best vocals out in years, apparently through laying them down first - as opposed to at the end, over a wall of noise. In fairness, Liam has nearly always sounded excellent in the studio, but the difference here is that he is - for the most part - properly singing, which suits the music here to a tee. It is a pleasure to hear one of the most distinctive voices in rock sound as good on record as he'd have you believe off it, and as such adds to the overall impression that Beady Eye will succeed for many years to come.

Know Your Enemy
Know Your Enemy
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Know Your Manics, 29 Oct 2010
This review is from: Know Your Enemy (Audio CD)
Know Your Enemy met a fierce critical backlash upon release. Whether to do with the fact they'd simply been riding on the cusp of a successful wave for the last 5 years, coupled with the contemporary criticism the band received for their visit to Cuba, the album was dismissed by critics overly eager to dismiss it. Which is a shame, as it's an album that has stood the test of time remarkably well, due to the simple fact it's actually very good.

The key to Know Your Enemy's endurance is perhaps the variety on offer. Joint lead single 'Found That Soul' and the rocking 'Intravenous Agnostic' are as about as fierce as anything the band have ever done, whilst 'Baby Elian' is the Manics at their most tender. In-between, 'Miss Europa Disco Dancer' is exactly as the title suggests, whilst 'Wattsville Blues' is really stripped down, lo-fi, sleazy-blues, Nicky Wire's unflinching vocals proving an uneasy presence and stark contrast to James Dean Bradfields rather delightful harmonies.

So it's a mixed bag of styles, but fortunately a strong collection of songs. 'So Why So Sad' doesn't really sound like anything the band have released before or since, with it's overflowing harmonious and almost nu-gospel feel, complete with a bombastic middle-eight, proving it to be the Manics most daring single. 'Year of Purification' comes across as a Manics take on classic R.E.M, all neat guitar playing and irresistible melodies, whilst the tender 'Ocean Spray' - completely written by Bradfield - is an understated paean to the loss of his mother. If it doesn't strike an emotional chord then you either possess a cold heart or are without a pair of ears.

The production achieves a rare balance between warm and rough n' ready, whilst musically the songs have room to breathe and will reward repeated listens. 'Epicentre' may initially sound like 4 minutes of nothingness, to reference the recent single, yet it soon becomes clear that it's perhaps the most complete Manics song this side of the century. Before long, there are too many highlights that, perhaps overwhelmingly at first, seem to scream out at you; the return of the Sean Moore's trumpet to 'Ocean Spray', THAT chorus in the lost classic 'Dead Martyrs', and the undeniably uplifting tone of 'Let Robeson Sing' - it may be politically driven (surprise), but it stills feels like the happiest Manics single in years.

So yes, Manic Street Preachers were harshly dealt with at the time, but this is perhaps the most unique collection in their cannon. Diverse, daring, typically honest and track for track better value than the Brit-winning This is my Truth, Tell me yours, it's a worthy purchase that will reward you in time, especially if you prefer the less commercial side to this evergreen band.

Awesome; I Shot That! [DVD]
Awesome; I Shot That! [DVD]
Dvd ~ Beastie Boys
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £19.99

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best concert movie of all time?, 28 July 2006
This review is from: Awesome; I Shot That! [DVD] (DVD)
I imagine you all know the story...50 cameras handed out to the crowd, footage edited, mixed in with the pro shots, some crazy effects added...and so on and so forth.

But let's not forget though that this was a brave - whilst now proven brilliant - move. The Beasties, consistently over the years an energetic, entertaining and more often than not superb live attraction, have never released a live video/dvd before now. Now, in their 40's, this is probably the last chance they have to do so, and my god it couldn't be any better.

In keeping with the band's ideals to do things differently with innovation this DVD captures so much which is great about the Beasties. The sheer style of it....the shots are all well chosen and expertly edited (over a year in time frame) and visually I think the editing really gives a feel to the energy of this gig.

And what a gig. The track listing is near perfect, offering cuts from all 6 studio albums, albeit missing out on the hardcore (which was the same throughout the latest tour). The frenetic shots swarm through the likes Sure Shot and Shake Your Rump (where Ben Stiller can be seen rhyming along to every word), then cleverly slow down in time with the mid-set instrumental break, where the boys come out in 50's wedding style tuxes and play through the mellow grooves of instrumental career highlights such as 94's Sabrosa, and to great effect.

It's not just the songs though. Effects on the likes of Body Movin', where a living graffiti style offers something new, and the black and whiteness of An Open Letter to NYC... everything all plays it's part in this film, from these effects to the aforementioned editing. During Intergalactic, the Beasties make their way into the crowd, with an almost 'I can't believe how good this is!' effect. What's more, the cameras follow MCA, Adrock, Mike D through to the back of the arena, again proof that this film gives such a complete experiance of a gig you probably weren't at.

Other highlights come in the way of Time to Get Ill, where the Beasties are joined by Doug E Fresh, or the crowd singing Paul Revere word for word and the band beaming at their efforts. All special moments from what had to be an incredible show. All these individual moments make up something which go's back to the general idea. The cool idea of the fans being so involved, and the boys putting so much trust in such spontaneous film making.

By closer Sabotage, it feels like you've witnessed an event, from the early shots of the band making their way on stage and the fans being told to keep on filming, right through to Ben Stiller proclaiming the show as one of the best he's been to in the end credits. Obviously, I'm a fan...but I imagine you are too if you're reading this, and trust me, if you like the Beastie Boys then this is essential.

The extras offer a chance to switch between some of the cameras, take detours at certain points in the concert (which is all explained in the DVD manual), listen to the mic's acapella...they're all above anyway I think. I'm not too sure about the David Cross portrayal of Hornblower, but the BBQ extra really made me laugh a few times. The exclusive Shazam! video allows you to switch audio and angles during playback (in line with the Criterion DVD). For me though, there could have been no extras and I still would have loved this concert film. One of the best things ever to come from one of the best bands over the last 20 years.

Black Holes And Revelations
Black Holes And Revelations
Price: £8.72

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Revelations, No Black Holes, 6 July 2006
This 2006 offering from Muse is their biggest album to date. Starlight and Supermassive Black Hole were singles which built on Hysteria's mainstream success, and deservedly so. The former is a soothing number - the perfect pop single - and a strong chorus to steer the song clear from treading some worrying Coldplay waters. The latter is an instant classic: immediately fresh, world's apart from anything on Absolution and catchy as hell.

For a band following up two outstanding records, there is a sense of a near overwhelming pressure to deliver, even if to their own sky-high expectations. Invincible aims high but falls short of Absolution's centre piece - Butterflies and Hurricanes - and for all it's positivist vibe, it feels a little forced. Album closer Knights of Cydonia is better: a ready-made epic which will draw lazy Queen comparisons from some, but for everyone else it simply provides a lesson in patient, atmospheric build-up, before unleashing the mother of all riffs at just the right time.

If a patient build up ends the album with a bang, a relentless drive begins Black Holes... with a fizzle. Take A Bow just keeps surging higher and higher, one key at a time, as Bellamy blasts the leaders of the world in a powerful, if thinly-disguised, opening statement. The apocalyptic themes of Absolution progress into political territory on Black Holes... with mixed results. While Exo-Politics is no Freedom Song lyrically, it's huge riffs and irresistible melody make it another stand-out.

Best of all is Maps of the Problematique which, dodgy title aside, provides a dark, personal touch over a beautifully effective 4-chord riff. It's magic stuff. The delicate sounds of Soldier's Poem and Hoodoo meanwhile provide a welcome change of pace in an album which deservedly confirmed Muse as one of Britain's biggest and best bands. Whether they will release works as cohesive as Origin of Symmetry and Absolution again is up for debate, but Black Holes... remains a big-sounding and at times scintillating record.

Solid Gold Hits [CD + DVD]
Solid Gold Hits [CD + DVD]
Offered by Musical Notes
Price: £15.98

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most illingest B-Boys, 3 Jun 2006
In order for Capitol to allow the Beasties to press forward with their soon to be released (in the UK) concert movie, Awesome; I Shot That, they requested the bands MCA to compile a 15-track greatest hits collection in the run up to Xmas 2005.

But never mind the fact that this is a blatent record company idea. And never mind the fact that 1999's excellent Anthology (with most the hits, rarities, b-sides, and other songs the Beasties themsleves like and chose) already exists...if you're new to the boys or just a casual fan, this is absolutely perfect.

Every track really is solid gold, and each album is represented fairly, albeit obviously. So there's the early frat boy rocker anthems of Fight For Your Right and No Sleep Til Brooklyn, still sounding gloriously mega 20 years on, to the recent offerings including 98's Intergalactic (a UK best single chart-wise for the boys) and even more recently the Beasties comeback single Ch-Check It Out.

For a band who, in all honesty, offer so much on the individual records, taking the biggest singles over 20 years is always going to result in a decent collection. Sure Shot, perhaps a career highlight, is just absolutely perfect hip hop, as is 95's old school Jimmy Smith sampling Root Down. See Brass Monkey, a hip hop classic, slide along side later works such as the excellent Pass the Mic, or 2004's heavier toned An Open Letter to NYC.

The whole 15 track collection is littered with classic, classic Beastie Boys, old and new. It's no fair representation of all their work over the years, and the various styles they've incorporated in their music, but it's a collection of singles any rap group would die for. And I say rap, I use it in the credible sense. Today's artists at the top of the pile, say the Eminems or 50 Cents of this world, could never match the work here.

Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2010 2:58 PM GMT

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned
Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £2.90

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Return, 13 April 2006
When you were as big as the Prodigy, or when you have peaked in terms of success as they have, it can be tough to make your comeback. 2002's Baby's Got a Temper certainly wasn't as bad as some people made it out to be. But how people made it out to be no doubt influenced Liam Howletts decision to scrap an albums worth of new material, and start again.

And, after a nightmare year of writers block, things started to come together for a man quite rightly referred to as a genius. Just look at the back catalogue, three excellent and differing albums preceding this, the Prodigy's fourth, to gain an idea why.

Anyway, Spitfire is a massive sign of intent. A thunderous opener, with crashing guitar stabs and a big, heavy beat, and shouty vocals not a million miles away from one Keith Flint. For him, and Maxim, are not included on this record. And straying away from the Prodigy formula, which includes those two, generally works quite well.

The next song, and first single, Girls is a hip-hop inspired slice of fuzzed out bass over a simple hook line and beat. And no, it's no Poison, but it's nice. Fresh even. There's nothing here as immediate as say, Firestarter, or 1996's No Good Start The Dance, but some perfectly acceptable modern dance music that blows hot and cold.

And it's loud. Very. In Maxim and Keiths place comes a line of guest vocalists, from Hollywood star Jullitte Lewis (who lends her tones to the un-Prodigy-like bounce of Hotride) to Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, who has certainly sang on worse songs this side of the millenium. In fact the track in question, Shoot Down, is a highlight. Howletts description of the track - 'I wanted to chew Oasis up and spit them out Prodigy style' - is spot on, and the result is good, with an excellently menacing sneer of a vocal, if not great.

And that's really all there is to say about Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. Good, but not great. But it's an important step for Liam and The Prodigy to make; a step away from The Prodigy everyone knows, and post The Fat of The Land, expect. With the frantic Wake Up Call and the insanely catchy, trippy Middle-Eastern vibe of Pheonix in tow, it's a decent step to take.


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First Masterpiece From A Stunning Band, 3 Sep 2005
This review is from: Clarity (Audio CD)
I truly believe Jimmy Eat World to be one of the best band's around, and Clarity (they're second full length proper) is a wonderful example of a band unafraid to explore their emotional feelings, which are put forward in some beautiful lyrics and just as importantly, music.

Clarity bridges the gap between earlier, more raw sounding efforts, and the heavy/mellow mix of later albums. This one's nearly all mellowed out pure-emo, straight from the heart. The majority of tracks are acoustic driven, but this is by no means a collection of soppy ballads.

Whilst he album starts calmly enough - the spine tingling 'Table For Glasses' - songs like the lush vocally harmonised 'Ten' and lead single 'Lucky Denver Mint' arrive with enough urgency to satisfy those looking for something a bit more up tempo. And if that's not enough, 'Your New Aesthetic' is arguably the heaviest thing the band have done.

Elsewhere it's essentially track after track of beautifully written emo classics (before emo became such a dirty word), with experimentation seeping through at appropiate moments. Jim Adkins vocals are perfect throughout with an honest quality shining through as he sings often meaningful lyrics, a far cry from current mainstream music and the pre-millenium crap that was about then.

Other highlights come in the way of album closer 'Goodbye Sky Harbour', a song that changes pace, volume and fades out into a delightful 10 minute plus instrumental, that ends the album fittingly. And 'Clarity' itself is pretty damn fine.

Lastly, the production creates a deeply warming impact, be it through the big, raw sounding drums, the gentle and constantly melodic guitars, or as mentioned before the perfectly captured vocals.

All in all Clarity is an essential album, and in the world of emo rock, an absolute must as well as a blueprint.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You thought they couldn't get better..., 28 April 2005
This review is from: B.Y.O.B. (Audio CD)
BYOB is a stunning track, with the standard but undeniably brilliant manic styles mixed into an excellent comeback single with a poppy chorus treading water on being too damn's a simply glorious return from a band that have already unleased too absoutely blinding records, and is arguably their finest single to date.
There's always been something radically different about System of a Down, but this single really is something else. It's almost as if they're finally fulfilling they're potential on this one track, yet many would've felt they'd already achieved that with Toxicity.
God knows how earth-shatteringly good Mesmerize is going to be, but judging by this (and leaked track 'Cigaro') it looks as if it's to be their best work yet, which looking at their first two records is some accomplishment. Class.

Ill Communication
Ill Communication
Offered by westworld-
Price: £10.00

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Licensed To Ill Communicate, 23 Jan 2005
This review is from: Ill Communication (Audio CD)
When I first stumbled across this album, back when I was about 10, I took it back to the shops a week later. I had heard 'Sabotage' and thought I'd try it, but it sounded like a mess.

About two years later, after slowly purchasing other Beastie Boys releases and beginning to appreciate different syles of music as a whole, I picked it up again. I began to get it a little bit more with each listen, until it became arguably my favorite album of all time up to this present day.

I wrote a review in 2003, but thought I'd right another one as that particular one doesn't do this amazing record justice. So to the record...'Sure Shot' IS hip-hop personified. You will not find a more straight up hip-hop cut on anywhere, especially not in todays rap society. It's a perfect opener.

From then on you'll probably be surprised, but stick with this record. Distortion effects on the vocals can be heard throughout, something which may or may not take awhile to get your around. But it helps make Ill Communication into a sort of dirty sounding record, a pure old school street jamming album, with throbbing, pumping basslines and some wonderfully enthusiatic rapping by the 3 MC's.

'Alright Hear This', 'B-Boy's Makin' Wit' The Freak Freak', 'The Scoop', 'Root Down' and 'Get It Together' is hip hop at a wonderfully loose and cutting level. It's rap, but it doesn't sound like the clear, slickly produced so called hip-hop of today, or in some cases even back then. They're raw and jazzy, and simply performed to stunning effect. That early 90's vibe between the Beasties, A Tribe Called Quest and Cypress Hill and the like represents a golden age for the genre.

But Ill Communication crosses several musical boundaries. For instance, the Beasties as musicians shine in the chilled, funked-out instrumentals in the face of 'Sabrosa,' or the blissful album closer 'Transistions', while the hardcore stab of 'Tough Guy' and the near-metallic jam of 'Sabotage' add to this dense, sprawling masterpiece perfectly.

It may take awhile to get your head around, but when you do, Ill Communication is an album you can live inside. And you want to know the best thing? There are 5 other classic, varied albums by these talented men across 20 years, and this is just one. And the other best thing? Ill Communication-wise I haven't even mentioned the various references, solo spots, instruments, collaborations (see Q-Tip on 'Get It Together') and the sheer cool style and vibe present on this record.

The Beasties have always done their own thing, and it's always had a marvellous result, and Ill Communication is a wonderful example of how effective they were, are and always will be.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3