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Reviews Written by
clarketj@yahoo.co.uk (Stroud, England)

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Pink Moon
Pink Moon
Offered by Side Two
Price: £7.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, haunting, essential, 21 Jan. 2000
This review is from: Pink Moon (Audio CD)
The last of Nick Drake's albums released in his lifetime, Pink Moon is the last gasp of a man struggling to make beauty out of his life and his art.
Just voice and guitar for the most part, this album is exceptional: haunting, melodic, calming, moving. 'Place To Be' is perhaps my favourite, but elsewhere there is plenty to absorb and enjoy.
Buy.


OK Computer
OK Computer
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.69

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating futuristic rock, 16 Jan. 2000
This review is from: OK Computer (Audio CD)
Sounding even more strange and spaced-out than its predecessor, OK Computer takes Radiohead's blueprint for emotional and innovative rock music a step further. Essentially a treatise on man's changing relationship with technology, this is an intelligent and moving concept album, and further evidence of the band's considerable talent.
No doubt everyone has heard the 'Bohemian Rhapsody for the 90s' that is 'Paranoid Android', the funereal lollop of 'Karma Police', and the bittersweet lullaby 'No Surprises'. Elsewhere there are further superb moments. Like 'Planet Telex' on The Bends, 'Airbag' kicks off the album with a strange sounding experiment, all disjointed beats and juddering riffs. Simultaneously unsettling and uplifting ("I am born again"), it is one of the few optimistic appraisals of our relationship with technology - you can still crawl from the wreckage of a car. The irrepressible advance of computers and faceless infrastructure is palpable elsewhere. 'Fitter Happier' is essentially a account of how our lives can become robotic and monotonous, devoid of meaning; 'Let Down' is a beautiful lament to being overwhelmed by everything that surrounds us; 'Lucky', recorded for the War Child project, is the albums finest song and includes the image of Thom being pulled from the wreckage of a crashed plane.
Beautiful and moving, or moany old rubbish? The debate continues, but I'm positive which side I'm on: long live Radiohead.


The Bends
The Bends
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £5.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turn on, tune in, freak out, 16 Jan. 2000
This review is from: The Bends (Audio CD)
Disproving all the critics and doubters who proclaimed that 'Creep' was their only decent song, Radiohead returned in 1995 with an absolute belter. The Bends is a monumental album, significant in both its stirring rock sound and the scope of Thom Yorke's lyrics.
Radiohead have always had a melancholic, contemplative side to their music, but this album aligns it on many of the songs with a life-affirming rock snarl that is defiant, exciting and excellent. The title track is a full-on adrenaline rush coupled with a superb solo from Jonny Greenwood; 'Bones' recalls the rockier moments from Pablo Honey and cranks it up further; 'Just' jerks and spits and screams like a snotty child. It's all pretty fantastic.
But, as ever, it's the slower songs that break your heart. 'High and Dry' sighs and swoons beautifully; 'Bulletproof', Thom's favourite on the album, is touchingly sad and delicate; and 'Street Spirit' is perhaps their finest moment.
One part RAWK, one part genius ballads, The Bends is essential listening.


Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo
Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo
Price: £8.90

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting collection from an essential band, 16 Jan. 2000
This double disc of outtakes, b-sides and rarities demonstrates the humbling fact that Yo La Tengo's weaker material still stands head and shoulders above other bands' best moments. Not quite essential (turn to most of their other albums for perfection), but there are plenty of gems to be unearthed in over two hours of music.
Admittedly almost a quarter of this time is spent meandering through the droning instrumental epic 'Sunsquashed', but there are succinct and beautiful songs like 'Demons' too. Disc one is the best: lovely tunes coupled with breathy vocals and occasional exhilirating outbursts of guitar noise. Disc two (entirely instrumental) has a few great passages that would put a band like Mogwai to shame for sheer ferocity and melodic invention, but on the whole it can be trying on the listener's patience. Two short drum solos, two early versions of 'From A Motel 6', and a 'Gooseneck Problem' (whatever that may be!) are disposable diversions.
So, for Ya La Tengo fans: buy, buy, buy, if, like me, you can't get enough of their music. And for non-fans: an interesting collection that gives a few pointers as to what the band are capable of, but suffers in comparison to their excellent proper albums.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums of all time, 5 Jan. 2000
Yes, I know it's predictable, but any music critic will rank Pet Sounds up there as one of the best albums ever. However, on the first few listens it's not so obvious why - it's The Beach Boys, so, obviously, the complex, delicious harmonies are in evidence, and the instrumental arrangements are lovely - yet it initially seems to be missing that special something to make it stand out.
That special something only begins to shine through on repeated listens. It's all in the detail: Brian Wilson made sure that every moment of his musical vision was perfectly realised. Everyone who's heard this record has their favourite moments: the breathtaking ascending harmonies on 'You Still Believe In Me', the lonely bass heart to 'Don't Talk', and the superb 'Caroline, No', a touching paean to lost youth and beauty.
It is, by all accounts, essential stuff for anyone who loves moving, melodic pop music. A classic.


Siamese Dream
Siamese Dream
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £14.98

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Noise and melody twinned beautifully, 5 Jan. 2000
This review is from: Siamese Dream (Audio CD)
Before the Pumpkins got boring, they rocked in the best possible way. At a time when Nevermind made other grunge records seem flimsy and false, Siamese Dream snarled and spat, or floated along in a narcotic haze.
This, quite simply, is the Pumpkin's finest hour and has all their best songs: 'Cherub Rock', 'Today', 'Disarm', 'Rocket' and the peerless roar of 'Mayonaise'. The distorted guitar sound makes every one of the loud songs sound gargantuan and throws the stark ballads into even greater relief.
One of my favourite records of all time. Don't miss out.


Black Love
Black Love
Price: £7.53

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A solid gold heart of darkness, 5 Jan. 2000
This review is from: Black Love (Audio CD)
Like some ultra-cool soundtrack to a violent and beautiful gangster film, Black Love plunges the listener into a dark urban world. This is essential listening for anyone still interested in the rock album as an art form.
Greg Dulli draws on his ever-present lyrical themes of love, sex, death, revenge and redemption to create a complex and evocative world of angry loners, jilted lovers and dark alleys. Opening with 'Crime Scene Part 1' and the awful cry of "Do you think I'm beautiful?/Do you think I'm evil?", and closing with the pure ray of light that is 'Faded', Black Love takes us through the groovy arson fantasy 'Going To Town', killer single 'Honky's Ladder', and the sparkling 'Step Into The Light'. Nothing is wasted; everything adds to the mood, builds on the story.
This is a perfect album: soulful and moving without resorting to cliche; aggressive and gritty without becoming macho; and complete in itself to make you want to ride the emotional rollercoaster again and again. Is it God or the devil at the controls? Who knows.


How to Know
How to Know

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Butterflies affect, 5 Jan. 2000
This review is from: How to Know (Audio CD)
Best listened to very loud and accompanied by a bottle of whisky, How to Know is a clumsy, bleary-eyed and touching album of indie-rock. It sounds as though it was made years ago, when a bunch of mates with some effects pedals and a book of sixth-form poetry was enough to secure a short musical career. But that's part of its charm. Any band audacious enough to release an album that sounds so dated and yet so beautifully confessional and affecting deserves praise indeed.
As with most indie-rock albums, all the songs sound approximately the same: each has an echoed guitar line, a drunken swagger and a clutch of lovelorn lyrics. This record grows on you with repeated listens, and it's easy to become very fond of the wonderfully slurred 'Rob a bank' and opener 'Mt Everest': "No matter how I try/I do something I regret every day." A[...]
Not a great record, but worthy company on winter days when you're stuck inside feeling sorry for yourself. The Butterflies of Love won't make you feel good; they'll just make you feel bad in a better way.


Black Foliage
Black Foliage
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £46.27

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strange and melodic bush of a record, 3 Jan. 2000
This review is from: Black Foliage (Audio CD)
Part of the weird and wonderful Elephant 6 collective, Olivia Tremor Control have created an album based on ideas sent to them by fans, subtle variations on melodic themes, and on parasitic transformations of their own music.
Taking its cue from The Beatles and the psychedelic sounds of the 60s, Black Foliage takes a LOT of listening to absorb in full, and it certainly can't be consumed in one sitting. Song titles like 'The sky is a harpsichord canvas', 'The bark and below it' and 'Another set of bees in the museum' give you clues as to their sanity. No doubt all members of the band have beards.
It's a long and disorientating trip, with difficult abstract segments and gorgeous tunes in equal measure, so be prepared to separate the wheat from the chaff. Rest assured that it's never conventional or dull, and it's almost worth buying for the superb song 'Hideaway' alone. Lovely stuff.


Closer
Closer
Price: £5.39

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure, beautiful horror, 3 Jan. 2000
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Despite their primitive sound, Joy Division were always perfect. They created bleak, austere slices of suffering that reflected a band utterly committed to a post-punk aesthetic of artistic salvation. Closer, their finest forty-five minutes, is simultaneously depressing and uplifting, creating an emotional no-man's land that leaves you feeling empty but enlightened.
The music works by creating simple and nagging melodic lines that dig into your subconscious and remain there like splinters. Each note and drum strike is played with absolute conviction as Ian Curtis half-sings/half-talks over the top with his tales of loneliness and suffering, tempered by a belief in salvation ("If you could just see the beauty/There's things I could never describe").
Some of the band's best songs are here. 'Isolation' manages to sound positive despite its theme of dejection. 'Heart and Soul' is hauntingly beautiful. 'Decades' closes the album perfectly with its glassy keyboard line and solemn vocal delivery. Each song acts as a hymn - a religious exorcism of darkness that leaves nothing but a stark white light in its wake.
It's difficult to find a time to actually 'enjoy' Joy Division, but there's a poetry, purity, beauty and sadness to 'Closer' that is incredibly compelling. Overlook at your peril.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2011 11:26 PM GMT


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