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Mr. H Chinaski "Professional Alcohlic" (England)

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The High Country
The High Country
Price: £11.61

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The High-Arts Country, 11 Sep 2011
This review is from: The High Country (Audio CD)
Over the last five years Willy Vlautin (singer/songwriter in this veteran alt.country act) has released three exceptional novels. After (or because) of his success in this field, Vlautin & his band seem to have taken their already highly novel-esque approach to songwriting to even greater standards. Imagine if you will an Elmore Leonard novel set to music and your somewhere close.

Stories of murder, illicit romance & drug abuse all feature throughout the album and the piece as a whole works along the lines of a concept album, with each track moving the story along from is rather mundane beginings towards it's bloody conclusion. The story itself tells of a married mechanic by the name of Claude Murray who falls hard for an equally bethroned girl (who remains nameless throughout), their illicit love is the backdrop for the escalating violence that enventually engulfs the record in a sea of blood. Charachters such as Angus King & the girl's one-legged husband (the kid) flesh out the tale, incrementlly adding some back-story until their parts slowly build to become a key component in the whole tapestry of the story.

Is this story important to the record as a whole?. Well, yes and no. In a narrative sense the story really adds a pulsing intensity to the piece. If your reading the lyric sheet as you listen to the LP, then you can gain a sense of relativity towards Claude's situation and begin to despair at the actions he decides to take. But if you were to ignore the story and just listen to the record as you would any other, then it would'nt incur any loss of enjoyment. In fact, if you did decide to ignore the story then you could at least skip the dreadful 'acting' sequencess that plauge the record. Tracks 9 & 11 offer cringe-inducing voice inteludes, these are by far the weakest element of the album and go some way to un-hinging the entire project. By putting a voice to Claude Murray it really breaks the illusion and should hopefully be a lesson learned if the band continue down this narrative-lead path.

What of the songs?, I hear you ask. Well, if your a fan of any of the band's previous work then you should find much to enjoy here. Slow, spacey ballads give way to rollicking, high-drama numbers. The album seems to take a while to build, with many songs passing without much incident. But the slow and patient build-up reaches a real zenith by the time you reach track 11 ('Lost In The Trees') when the LP suddenly bursts into life. Each of the final 6 songs bring something new to the table and could easily be the band's best work since the classic 'Post To Wire' in 2004.

Overall this is a fine release. If the acting sequences go some way to hampering the work as a whole, then repeated plays reveal more and more delights that make those discrepancies all the more easy to forgive. Recommended.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2012 5:18 PM GMT


Slave Ambient
Slave Ambient
Price: £7.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Drug You Can't Shake Loose, 9 Sep 2011
This review is from: Slave Ambient (Audio CD)
Philadelphia has been responsible for some great things over the years. Benjamin Franklin, Grace Kelly, the eponymous cheesesteak and (of course) DJ Jazzy Jeff. But all these cultural greats may well have to take a back seat from this day forth, for you see Philadelphia can now lay claim to a success which has so far alluded 8 succesive US presidents including Richard Nixon, both George Bush Snr & Jnr, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Thats right folks, Philadelphia has won The War On Drugs. And long may it last.

The War On Drugs (the band now, not Nixon's 1971 crusade) really are the real deal. As american as apple pie, this is a band raised on the true greats that our friends across the pond have given rise to. Think Dylan, Springsteen, Young and Petty and your somewhere close, but much like John F. Kennedys' famous 'Ich bin ein Berliner' speech from 1963, the band have certainly got some european sensibilities as well. Most notably the repetitive style of Krautrock acts such as Can or Faust (just hear those drums on 'Come To The City'), but they also seem to have taken some influence from our very own My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3 with long inteludes of space that are almost deafening in their intensity.

The album as a whole is almost faultless, it almost feels pedantic to cherry-pick anything resembling a 'favourite' (althought I suspect the superb noise-fest that is 'Baby Missiles may get a few extra spins in the coming weeks). This is exactly what the term 'long player' (LP) was invented for, it almost feels like a languid dream which is getting continualy punctured by swathes of noise and dischord. Guitar and keyboard seem to slice through at intermittable phases, but in all honesty, the instruments this sound is emitting from feels unimportant. AS will your life for the 45 minutes it takes for this record to reveal all it's glory. Truly unforgettable.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 29, 2011 11:01 PM BST


Elsie
Elsie
Price: £8.67

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fallon's New Blue's, 9 Sep 2011
This review is from: Elsie (Audio CD)
In a recent interview for Uncut magazine Brian Fallon (lead singer of Springsteen-acolytes The Gaslight Anthem and leader of this new project) described how his goal with forming The Horrible Crowes was to update blues & soul music for this new generation. A generation which, ironically enough, has certainly had it's fair share of 'traditional' blues singers such as the late Amy Winehouse or the recent output of welsh songstress Duffy (not in the Muddy Waters sense of blues tradition admttedly, but lets not be too pedantic shall we?). If this was his goal then he is to certainly be applauded for ambition, even if sometimes he does fall a little short of anything approaching a 'revolution' in modern blues.

The 'modern' blues that I speak is of The Afghan Whigs & The National variety. So expect lots of slow-building numbers punctuated with chest-rousing finales & moments of reflection, all delivered with a level of pin-point precision that would make an X-Factor song-writer blush. Tracks such as 'Behold The Hurricane' and 'Go Tell Everybody' take this precision to excess levels and become a little too predictable & fall back onto the same 'one trick pony' sound that has sometimes plagued The Gaslight Anthem in the past. But when Fallon hits a high note, he can certainly hit hard & true. 'I Witnessed A Crime', 'Cherry Blossoms' and 'Ladykiller' are exlempary examples of the type of lounge-lizard blues that Greg Dulli & co where pedalling in their mid-ninety's heyday. Fallon perfectly captures that sleazy zeal that made so many Afghan Whigs & Mark Lanegan so irresistible.

Overall this is a mighty fine album and promises a lot from any future work Fallon and Ian Perkins (the other driving force behind this project) decide to create in the future.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 24, 2012 10:22 PM GMT


Skying
Skying
Price: £9.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Return Of The 'Big Music'?, 15 July 2011
This review is from: Skying (Audio CD)
When The Horrors first arrived on the indie music landscape with their 2007 debut LP 'Strange House' I was quick to dismiss them as a bunch of chancers (with admittedly wonderful hair) intent on grave-robbing the career of seminal 70's/80's psychobilly act The Cramps (Lux Interior R.I.P) and feeding upon their corpse for all their musical and stylistic ideas. Their initial output seemed large on ideas but extremely small on ambition, throw in the some rather desperate association with hip video directors such as Chris Cunningham and the career of The Horrors seemed to be heading towards only one destination (namely, the indie landfill currently home to such 'greats' as The Pigeon Detectives & Alfie). But then an epithany of sorts was conjured when the band exploded back onto the scene with 2009's fantasic 'Primary Colours'. Here was a band who had stared oblivion in the eye and retreated back to revelancy. Obvious influences were abundunt with the sounds of 70's Germany cleary an influence (as the incredible force of 'Sea Within A Sea' would certainly attest) but this was more than just mere crib-sheets being passed off as their own. Incredible tracks such as 'Who Can Say' & 'I Only Think Of You' cemented the group as true pioneers of their generation and single-handedly breathed life into the listless british indie music scene. Discovering the music that influenced the group only enhanced the feelings that this was a group well aware of their place in the musical landscape and gave promise of yet more wonders in the future (those influences include Bobby Beausoleil, Royal Trux, Graf Zepplin and For Against. Not your typical influences on modern british acts).

And so now here we are in 2011 and the band have unleashed their third LP. Titled 'Skying', this could definitely be seen as a declaration of intent for this is easily the most commercial record in the band's catalouge thus far (I use that tag rather loosely, don't come here expecting anything resembling Justin Beiber) and one which should see the band gain a wider appreciation than the current 'the band with the lead singer who used to date Peaches Geldof' public persona. This is the first record to be produced by the band themselves and it' eventual conception took place in the London studio 'Offerclass', after the initial idea of roughing it in the Devon countryside was shelfed. This geological fact is actually rather intriguing because the album does feature an airy element usually associated with any band that decides to go 'to the country' to record (see 'Waiting For The Sun' by The Doors for an example of this, or for an example of how the city can effect an albums eventual sound, see the sweaty clastraphobia that surrounds the Talking Heads masterpeice 'Fear Of Music'). Tracks such as 'Endless Blue', 'Moving Further Away' and 'Oceans Burning' all feature a sparse air that gains them an inflated gravitas not evident on past recordings.

Some people have observed/complained (delete where applicable) that the band share a sound with 80's scottish act Simple Minds. Whilst this is certainly applicable to the more stadium friendly songs such as 'You Said' or 'Still Life', overall I feel that mindset to be a tad credulous. This is not the throwback towards the 'big music' of the 80's that some seem desperate to encourage (see Glasvegas's dreadful second LP for evidence as to why we should all be wary of anything approaching 'big music' in 2011) but nor is it the niche market sound that encompassed all of 'Strange House' and parts of 'Primary Colours'. Aspects of 60's psyche still prevail and that Krautrock rulebook still comes in handy when the group feel the desire to freak out the kids sat around the common room jukebox. The record generally feels a lot more forceful than 'Primary Colours' with Joshua Hayward's guitar licks seeming to leap out of the stereo at times and Coffin Joe's drum kit has surely gained an extra octave level in the intervening four years.

Overall this record is a step towards a brave new world for The Horrors. Radio playlists await and stadiums may well struggle to cope with the size of some of the tracks (namely 'Still Life') but will that eventually lead towards the detriment of the band's original blueprint?, and of equal importance, will early adopters feel the need to follow Badwan and co towards the stadium aisle and confectionary counter?. Only time will tell, but for now this is the sound of a band in complete control of their own destiny and fully aware of their place within the music lineage (even if that place is occasionally a little too close to Simple Minds for comfort).


David Comes To Life
David Comes To Life
Price: £8.88

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Punk Comes To Life, 6 July 2011
This review is from: David Comes To Life (Audio CD)
Having grown up on a diet of Husker Du, The Replacements, Black Flag, Minor Threat and Minutemen (thanks to elder siblings with fine taste), I'd grown a little weary of the current punk scene (hardcore or otherwise). Not since At The Drive-In unleashed 'Relationship Of Command' way back in 2000 have I been felt anything resembling excitement towards any of todays more abrasive acts. Bands such as Off!!, Art Brut, No Age and the fantastic Titus Andronicus have offered some respite but in general we seem, collectivly, to be awash within a sea of tepid ignorance towards the art & importance that punk can inspire. Too many times have I seen chancers such as the atrocious Paramore or the truly insipid noise of All Time Low (neither of which would claim the title of 'hardcore' or possibly 'punk', but never-the-less, this is what the youth of today are being bred on. THIS is what they consider relevent).

But this week my love of everything the classic american punk acts held dear came racing back when I chanced upon 'David Comes To Life' by F***ed Up. Now I must hold my hands up and admit that this is the first FU record I've heard. Having heard only good things about their previous work (especially 'The Chemistry Of Common Life'), I neglected to search them out. My apathy towards anything resembling my cherished memories of the 80's hardcore scene meant that I was getting my musical fix from other leftfield artists such as the Animal Collective & Grizzly Bear. But sensing a lull in quality over recent LP's (seriously, The Cults is incredibly over-rated and only 'Bon Iver, Bon Iver' has kept me going the last couple of weeks) I decided to give the band's most recent output a chance to impress me.

And Impresed I certainly was. This is a milestone in modern music (punk or otherwise). 18 songs played out over 77 minutes, 'David Comes To life' is a lengthy rock opera that rivals the best in the genre such as 'Tommy' by The Who or 'Zen Arcade' from the peer-less Husker Du. The band's thrice guitar line-up, which on paper seems grossly over-indulgent & wholly un-punk like, combine breath-takingly throughout. Tracks seem to flow with a natural progression and it never feels convulted or over-egged. The only sticking point for some will be the vocals of man-mountain Pink Eyes (each of the group take up a different moniker including 10,000 Marbles, Gulag, Young Governor, Mustard Gas, Mr Jo and the aformentioned Pink Eyes) whose deep-throated delivery may have some running for cover. But anyone who grew up with the sounds of Henry Rollins ringing in their ears will feel right at home.

The album does tell a story of sorts (and there is some serious noise about a future musical) but in all honesty it feels rather unimportant once the needle hits. My advice is to sit back, forget about the story and remember a time when the term punk actually meant something. Introduce this to as many kids as possible and remind them that music CAN change the world, it can make a difference and that those damn Fall Out Boy CD's can still be used as a decent coaster replacement.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2012 10:20 PM GMT


CQ
CQ
Price: £9.45

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest Dutch Export Since Marco Van Basten, 25 Jun 2011
This review is from: CQ (Audio CD)
Marco Van Basten is one of the finest footballers to ever grace the planet. Born in th dutch city Utrect in 1964, Van Basten went on to play for Ajax Amsterdam & AC Milan. He played a total of 280 club games and scored 218 goals in the process. During his club career he amassed a total of 19 medals including 2 European Cups (now known as The Champions League) and 6 league wins (3 Eredivisie titles with Ajax & 3 Serie A titles with Milan). For the dutch national team he garnered a total of 58 caps (24 goals) and was an integral part of the UEFA European Championship winning side of 1988. But for all this success Van Basten will always be remembered for one moment of genius in the 1988 European Championship final against USSR. When Arnold Muhren's deep cross reaches Van Basten on the edge of the 18 yard box it seems that he does'nt have the angle to beat the Soviet Union's goalkeeper, but with pristine technique he manages to loop the ball over the goalies head and score the ultimate winning goal of the tournament. A legend summed up in one moment of pure genius.

The same could well be said for Amsterdam's finest musical export, The Outsiders (Wally Tax/vocals, Ronnie Splinter/guitar, Appie Rammers/bass, Tom Krabbendem/guitar, Leendert Busch/drums and Frank Beek/guitar). The group released 3 records in their time (1967's 'Outsiders' & 'Songbook' LP's being the other 2) but it is surely with 1968's 'CQ' that they will always be remembered. A slice of pure hard-edged rock 'n' roll inspired by groups such as The Pretty Things & The Small Faces, 'CQ' may well be the most underrated LP of all time. An otherwise fine career summed up by one moment of pure genius.

'CQ' is an astonishing listen. From it's brash & confident opener ('Misfit') to it's atmospheric closing ('Prisonsong') it incurs moments of true spine-tingling dynamics (just listen out for the moment 2 minutes into 'I Love You No 2' when the song changes direction completely, blossoming into a beautiful melody that The Beach Boys would have been proud to have produced) mixed with pure blood-lust. The album recalls artists as varied as The Velvet Underground, Jacques Brel, Love & The Go Betweens. It is a lost psyche classic which deserves to be mentioned alongside landmark releases such as 'Ogden's Nut Gone Flake' or 'Forever Changes'.

'Not just the finest Dutch group from a non-English speaking country but the finest group from a non-English speaking country, period'
Richie Unterberger.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 3, 2011 7:38 PM BST


...For The Whole World To See
...For The Whole World To See
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.36

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In The Land Of The Blind, The One Eyed Man Is King., 2 May 2011
When Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus first uttered those famous words above, I'm sure that he didn't have a little known rock 'n' roll group from Detroit in mind. But when, in 1974, three african-american brothers by the birth name of Hackney (Bobby, Dannis & David) decided to record a 12-song LP, the title of which was to be a call to arms for the worlds undivided attention, he could well have been contemplating their eventual destiny & place in musical history.

The Death story truly belongs in rock 'n' roll mythology. The three brothers were first introduced to the magic of 'the devil's music' by their father when in the early 60's he sat them down to witness the first of The Beatles legendary performaces on US variety show 'The Ed Sullivan Show' (Febuary 9th 1964). The day after this momentus occasion it is reputed that David Hackney was to find a discarded guitar in an alley behind their family home and set forth to learn all the wonders that the instrument had to offer. Brothers Bobby & Dannis soon followed suit and the story of Death's inception is now set in stone. Nearly.

When the brothers first started out they were plying their trade as an R&B group (back when that term actually meant something) calling themselves Rock Fire Funk Express. It was only with the epithany that an Alice Cooper live show brought them that urged David and his siblings to change their name to 'Death' and take a more rock oriantated approach to their own music. In doing so they were to become one of the real fore-runners of the punk movement of the late 70's and attain a truly special place amongst the great 'lost' bands of theirs or any era (you know the place, it also contains The Modern Lover's teenage angst, The Soft Boy's psychotic doodlings & d.boon's eternal soul).

After recording a 12 song LP in 1974 the band were asked by Columbia Records to change their name (more preciscely they were asked by american uber-producer & executive Clive Davis, who has had a major role in countless acts careers, most notably Janis Joplin, Iggy Pop, Earth Wind & Fire and, uh, Milli Vanilli. Kind of falls away a little with that last one, no?). When the band point blankly refused, apparently telling local record promoter Brian Spears of Groovesville (who'd once worked with the legend that is George Clinton) that 'Clive Davis can go to hell', the recorded music went away in storage and was never to be heard of again. Thankfully in 2009, indie label Drag City (home to Pavement, Joanna Newsom, Will Oldham & Royal Trux amongst many other greats) deemed fit to release the 7 surviving songs as this long awaited LP, '...For The Whole World To See'. And history can now breath a huge sigh of relief.

The record is a blistering slice of proto-punk that brings memories of great luminaries such as The Stooges, MC5 and the whole CBGB's movement. Opener 'Keep On Knocking' almost sounds like a lost Beatles standard played for kicks, the lenghly 'Let The World Turn' predates Television by a generation and barn-storming closer 'Politicians In My Eyes' is surely the great 'lost' song of the Vietnam war (just to think, as america was belattedly pulling it's troops from the jungle nightmare this animilistic vendetta was pouring from this incredibly anit-corparate act. The more things change...). Fans of acts as diverse as the MC5, Love, Television, The Ramones, Chic and Sly & The Faimly Stone will all find something to adore in this music and it is only sad that the world remains as blind now as it was in 1974.

Also, thanks to Robert Manis of Chicago who's great music taste and unrelenting drive ultimately led to this release. Thank you sir, we are eternally grateful.


Let Me In [Blu-ray]
Let Me In [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Chloe Moretz
Offered by rsdvd
Price: £6.08

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Still Prefer The Right One, 20 Mar 2011
This review is from: Let Me In [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
When a 12 year old girl, Abby (Chloe Moretz), moves into the same Los Alamos neighbourhood as bullied schoolboy Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), the pair strike up an unexpected & loving friendship. But this not being your typical 'Girl Next Door' rom-com, Abby appears to be as a pale & fragile child who is exceptionally good with a Rubik's cube (the fact that she walks barefoot ankle-deep in snow & feeds on human flesh is also a clear give-away as to the films true intent). Over the course of the films 112m length, Owen finds comfort in his new friends companionship whilst also dealing with the dilemma of protecting her dark secret and trying to find solace away from his schoolyard tormentors.

Directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield), this a stylish, almost film noir-take on the original source material ('Låt den rätte komma in' by John Ajvide Lindqvist) which continually suprises but can never quite step out of the shadow of its 2008 predessesor 'Let The Right One In' (memorablly starring Kåre Hedebrant & Lina Leandersson and directed by the formidable Tomas Alfredson). This adaptation does at times feel like a reel-to-reel remake of the swedish classic to the point where that unforgettable ending ends up feeling a little tired & predictable on this iteration. But Reeves does also show some real flair. A car crash scene in the middle of the movie is breathtaking in scope and almost Hitchcock-ian in its approach & execution. Also, by almost exclusivly sticking to the relationship between the two protagonists, Reeves almost acheives the impossible by making their relationship even more pronounced than the original film.

The performances are superb all-round. Smit-McPhee (The Road) shows a maturity beyond his years by giving Owen a real sense of desperation towards his state-of-being & life chances. Moretz (Kick Ass) is truly fantastic and is starting to show a real determination towards taking challenging roles that should serve her well throughout her career. Special mention must also go to Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under, The Visitor) as 'The Father' and Elias Koteas (The Prophecy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!) as the police detective desperate to solve the sudden spurt of strange deaths.

Overall this is a fine film which deserves to be judged in its own right. It never quite reaches the highs of the swedish adaptation but it is by no means the dumbed down Hollywood remakes that some (me included) had feared.


Smart Flesh
Smart Flesh

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Storm Is Brewing., 5 Mar 2011
This review is from: Smart Flesh (Audio CD)
After the (critical at least) success of 2009's 'Oh My God, Charlie Darwin', you could easily have forgiven The Low Anthem going all Kings Of Leon on us and releasing a more radio friendly unit shifter in the vein of the Tennessians recent 'Come Around Sundown' LP. This is the route that many a lesser band would have endeavoured to take and it is to the Rhode Islander's credit that they have stuck to their initial vision and once again plundered the depths of the 'quiet storm'.

So the fable goes that 'Smart Flesh' was recorded in an abandoned pasta sauce factory in their native Rhode Island. This is easily identifiable by the records vast depth of sound which is akin to hearing a beautiful hymn being sung in the Sistine Chapel. Tracks such as 'Matter Of Time' or 'Burn' take joy from the smallest of incident (see the incredible use of theirmin in the latter) almost evoking a religious like epiphany. From these quite awakenings, seas could part and man could ressurect from death. The band seem to take joy in making music that is borne from the ether, it feels like a strong wind would blow it away like petals on a violet flower, never to be heard of again.

These quiet, almost hymnal moments are undoubtedly the records high point with opener 'Ghost Woman Blues' and the penultimate 'Golden Cattle' being barely auidible beneath the deafening silence but devastating in their noise. But amongst all this silence sits the standout 'Boeing 737' which is most easily indentifible as being this record's 'The Horizon Is A Beltway' (from OMGCD). The track seems to revisit that fateful day of September 11th 2001 with the incredible verse:

I was in the bar when they rigged the towers,
Trying to leave all my sins,
The barmaid asked my order,
And where my mind had been,
I tried to recall that high wire,
Phillippe and his foot there in heaven,
As the prophets entered bodly into the bar,
On the Boeing 737, Lord, on the Boeing 737.

all the while the band play as if on an artillary field. It is a true stand out moment that will surely leave The Arcade Fire watching their collective backs in the future.

Overall this is a truly magical record which deserves repeated listens by anyone who loved the band's previous work or by anyone who enjoys the music of artists such as Lambchop (circa 'Is A Woman'), Bonnie Prince Billy or Fleet Foxes.

RECOMMENDED.


Underwater Moonlight
Underwater Moonlight
Price: £11.84

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Link To Our Past...And A Vision Of Our Future., 2 Jan 2011
This review is from: Underwater Moonlight (Audio CD)
30 years on since it's release, 'Underwater Moonlight' by The Soft Boys remains one of music's great 'lost' albums. A record which could easily draw similar plaudits to anything in the R.E.M catalouge or the incredible 'Third Sister Lovers' Big Star, but for one reason or another got left behind to sit alongside many others such as The Dream Syndicate's 'Medicine Show' or The Posies 'Frosting On The Beater' upon the shelf of unrewarded greats (to be honest, that shelf is currently heaving with numurous acts: Green On Red, Smudge, Minutemen & Mission To Burma are all still gathering dust, just waiting for their inevitable public recognation).

But surely within the pantheon of great 'lost' bands/albums, The Soft Boys must take their place atop of the rest. The band hailed from Camberidge and consisted of Robyn Hitchcock (guitar/vocals), Kimberley Rew (guitar/vocals), Morris Windsor (drums) & Matthew Seligman (bass) and in 1979 released their first LP, 'A Can Of Bees' (which has also had the re-release treatment). Whilst their debut is a fine record in its own right, it alway had the feeling of being a little too much 'of it's time', and for-going any attempts at forging it's own sound in favour of being one amongst many others. In fact it holds many similaritis with american greats Devo with its simple drum structures and jackhammer like guitar work. But it reamins a good investment for any exsisting fans of the band who may have overlooked it previously. But it was to be a year later, in the summer of 1980, that The Soft Boys were to release their definitive work and the album upon which their reputation would live forever.

'Underwater Moonlight' is a rush of post-punk style aggresion incorpated within swathes of neo-psychedelic strokes of genius. Tracks such as 'Positive Vibrations' have a sound not a million miles away from 60's greats The Small Faces but it is played with such rigour that comparisons to NYC legends Television are just as valid. Thats the true delight in hearing this music, it has the sound of a british band dragging the corpse of the London music scene circa 1966, into the new-age of minimilist punk ethos of late 70's/early 80's New York. So whereas a song like 'I Wanna Destroy You' (once covered by the superb Uncle Tupelo) has the kind of harsh structure of classic Kinks fare, it has a rousingly messy guitar style that surely had an influence on the sound of many 80's acts such as The Replacements or Husker Du.

I've spent this entire review comparing the band to many others and, in a broad sense, if you enjoy the music of any band I've mentioned you will love this record. But my deeper point is to shed some light on where The Soft Boys stand in the history of recorded music. Obviously influenced by the greats of the 1960's and owing some debt towards the punk scene exploding in America during the latter period of the 1970's, the band went on to influence the next generation of bands that included R.E.M, The Flaming Lips & The Replacements. And it is with all these great bands that The Soft Boys should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with. Truly, one on THE best records ever commited to tape, please don't let the oppurtunity to own this slip past you again.

ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 13, 2011 6:16 PM GMT


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