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Spencer Jones "Todd Bulky" (Exeter, UK)

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Disgusting Bliss: The Brass Eye of Chris Morris
Disgusting Bliss: The Brass Eye of Chris Morris
by Lucian Randall
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read-o-geddon!, 16 April 2010
When one thinks of Chris Morris and his attendant genre, what's the first thing that pops like a muddied speechbubble out of the old grey matter? Is it the gut-wrenchingly funny, painfully accurate news/sport spoof of The Day Today? (e.g BOOF! Eat my goal!) Or is it the intense, dark, uber-artistic Blue Jam? ("....Lizards!") Or, perhaps, the unstoppable satirical juggernaut that was Brass Eye? ("...crimes we know nothing about are going up as well!")

If you loved any or all of these, this book is something you should have been waiting for. Not only does Randall make it all hang together as one contiguous narrative, but it also bears repeated reads and, usefully, it works as a reference volume for the whole genre. Anecdote and insight are accompanied severally by fascinating biographical details and large helpings of the material itself. There may be stuff you know, but a great amount of unearthing has been done here; and, whilst the book does not unmask Morris fully, it also gives the distinct impression that the mask is part of the plan. You end up seeing just as much of the man as you feel you should.

Neither overly reverential nor lazily written, this is a cracking read about an auteur who not only demands your attention, but truly commands it. Read this, or receive a speaking-down...!

Year Zero
Year Zero
Offered by musikdrehscheibe
Price: £8.11

5.0 out of 5 stars Cracked genius, 8 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Year Zero (Audio CD)
Futuristic in a highly eccentric way, this album stood out in 1997 as one of the most critically lambasted discs of the year. Which reflects rather more on the integrity of the music press than it does on the album itself. Journalists, whether writing for music papers or not, are slaves to their own imagined zeitgeists, and therefore they (supposedly in the public interest) often get things very wrong indeed.

And so is the case here. Year Zero is possibly one of the oddest albums you'll ever hear, but it's crammed full of very beautiful sounds which seem to come out of every co-ordinate in the musical universe (and its own rather wacky stereo mix).

There are songs here, notably the dreamy northern psych of "Den Dagen, Den Sorgen", which will remain with you, almost invisibly, for years. "Stay" is simple songwriting at its very best; lyrically affecting and rather primal. "The Ballad of Paul Verlaine" is another one whose overall effect is much greater than the sum of its parts, careering on like a strange Hawkwind/XTC hybrid into a long playout in the style of Spiritualized. It is never derivative of these bands though - this album sounds utterly unique.

There are a couple of points here where 18 Wheeler appear to be stretching about ten years ahead of their rather stolid contemporaries. "Grease" is the epitome of this - a massive-sounding cheeky paean to "motion-lotion", it storms along like a huge, cracked prog-rock chaos engine.

A lot was made at the time of the group's supposedly "spurious" inclusion of dance rhythms into their indie-strum. This is not an issue now and it should not have been an issue then. They were actually being rather adventurous and should have been congratulated for it.

Of course, this fusion sound is completely de-rigeur now...just another reason to lend a fresh ear to this inspired, accomplished curio.

Better By Far
Better By Far
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £21.22

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated classic, 10 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Better By Far (Audio CD)
This album bristles with exactly the same songwriting brilliance and instrumental dexterity that made 'Plump in the Night' such a tour-de-force. 'The Last Unicorn' is the band's finest instrumental track, bar none. 'Behind You' will stick in your head forever once you've heard it. The title track is a corking ballad.

But it's the beautiful 'Nightmare' that crowns this album. Possibly Pye's best song ever, it is played sinuously and sung with a rare delicacy and emotion.

Totally recommended!

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