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You Cant Stop the Bum Rush
You Cant Stop the Bum Rush
Price: £7.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely Hidden Gem, 22 Jun. 2011
Yes, most people will remember Steal My Sunshine and Cryptik Souls Crew - but for real music fans this album is one of the more diverse, daring and downright eccentric you'll ever hear. Veering from pop, through hip-hop, gospel, 80s synth, rock, easy listening and more besides it's a remarkable listen - and more to the point contains some excellent music. I'm a particular fan of Junebug and The Hard-Disk Approach myself, but there's nothing I'd skip.

I suspect this album at the time fell between two stalls having a little too much depth for the MTV teenies lured in by the singles, but seemingly too lightweight for the more serious critics to properly assimilate and champion. That's a shame as it's worth far more than that and to some extent this album feels like a precursor for the sort of avant-garde collection of styles which was polished and put forward so perfectly by the Scissor Sisters a few years later.

To be honest I only originally bought it dirt cheap in a sale for SMS, but this is an album I am still putting on regularly more than a decade later. Investigate...

The Larry Sanders Show: Complete Season Two [DVD]
The Larry Sanders Show: Complete Season Two [DVD]
Dvd ~ Garry Shandling
Price: £8.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Corking Comedy, 5 Oct. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Finally, finally we're getting the funniest sitcom of the 90s released after such a long wait! Every episode made of this show is fantastic - there is no weak link - and this season is a treat including as it does the classic episodes "The List", "Hank's Wedding" and "LA or NY?". But particular special mention should be made of the quite magnificent "Hankerciser 200" which could be the best of the lot. And all for a bargain basement price. Buy it now!

Welcome to Sunny Florida (CD + DVD)
Welcome to Sunny Florida (CD + DVD)
Dvd ~ Tori Amos
Offered by hifi-media-store
Price: £20.26

5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Treasures - You Bet!, 19 Feb. 2010
Quite apart from the DVD concert which has been reviewed heavily elsewhere, this is an essential purchase for any Tori Amos fan as it contains simply the finest collection of studio music she has made. All six tracks on the very appropriately titled 'Scarlet's Hidden Treasures' are of remarkably high quality - in fact the big question this mini-album poses is how on earth these tracks could have missed out on making the original 'Scarlet's Walk' as they top most of the (albeit very good) material on that album?!

One minor criticism with more recent Tori Amos albums is they can often be slightly overlong, squeezing 20 songs in where 10 would do - the result being that many wonderful songs can simply find themselves buried amidst the crowd. This mini-album, though, is almost the perfect length, allowing the listener to connect deeply with each song and appreciate it for its own individual brilliance. Ruby Through The Looking Glass has a surpressed malevolence rarely executed as effectively on record by any artist. Seaside evokes a slightly regretful nostalgia akin which would sit well with much of latter half 'Under The Pink'. Bug A Martini's lounge vibe (a style that is developed more on later tracks such as Witness) is as cool as a properly-chilled margarita, while Apollo's Frock is a fantastic example of one of the deep brooding piano paintings that Tori has made her trademark over the years - highly emotionally charged. Tombigbee simply rocks! Indian Summer is epic and sweeping - a worthy end to a deeply involving half hour. It's also fair to say that Tori's piano has never been better produced on any of her albums - there is a rich intensity to the sound on these tracks which envelopes the listener. And her playing is immaculate.

It's quite sad that such a beautiful collection of music should have been rushed out as essentially a 'free gift' to accompany a DVD. Nonetheless, maybe the enigmatic Ms Amos always wanted it that way so that only the true believers would find it buried away. Seek and listen...

Price: £5.99

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as often made out, 10 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Tonight (Audio CD)
It is a ironic that artists as talented as Bowie can often end up as victims of their own success. Sure - as many reviewers point out here - this album pales when put up against the genius of most of Bowie's 70s output. But when compared to other 80s material - both of Bowie and other artists of the era - this album ought to be viewed more favourably. It certainly takes a few more risks than the production-perfect Let's Dance, and hangs together as an album far better than the chaotic mess on Never Let Me Down.

As most listeners know most Bowie albums seem to try and deliver an interpretation of a given sound of the times they are made - a notoriously tricky thing to do given it is only in hindsight one can really be seen to have captured the zeitgeist. Generally Bowie's judgment in this regard can be seen to be excellent - right throughout the 70s and more recently on Outside and Heathen. I think the mistake he made with this album, though, was trying to capture 1984 as Culture Club or Frankie Goes To Hollywood rather than New Order or the Cure. But at least it was better than attempting to become Go West or Power Station on the next album...

Whilst Tonight is never going to feature in any Top 100 albums list, it's a perfectly pleasant collection to have on in the background - particularly if you have a soft spot for the 80s. And, even if you hate the rest of it, it does contain Blue Jean and Loving The Alien - both of which should rank on any comprehensive Bowie playlist. I'd say if you can pick it up cheap, then give it a go.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 1, 2013 11:16 PM BST

Columbo: Series 10 - Volume 2 [DVD]
Columbo: Series 10 - Volume 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Falk
Price: £6.99

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More classic Columbo, 12 Oct. 2009
Whilst the last episodes in the 35-year run of the series lack some of the precision of those in the 70s heyday, this set is nonetheless still fantastic fare for all Columbo fans. Admittedly "Undercover" is a slight departure from the original format - though it is entertaining and nowhere near as bad as the awful "No Time To Die" experiment earlier in the decade. But "Ashes To Ashes" and "Strange Bedfellows" can stand tall with many of the best in the entire series. There are even some better calibre guest stars than in much of the latterday series, with Patrick McGoohan, Rue McClachlan, Rod Steiger, Billy Connolly, Ed Begley Jr, George Wendt and Tyne Daly all cropping up here and there. All in all newcomers might be better off starting with some 70s episodes (I'd suggest Season 2 or Season 6/7 myself), but this is again an essential purchase for all Columbo afficiandos.

The Resistance
The Resistance
Price: £5.95

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible and Moving, 14 Sept. 2009
This review is from: The Resistance (Audio CD)
In a world where mass-consumption music has in many areas been reduced to a bland colourless numbers game, with even "independent" bands increasingly refusing to step too far outside the accepted norms, Muse continue to confound and break new boundaries. The diversity, verve and sheer style of this beautiful set is exceeded only by the sheer depth of vision that runs through the whole album!

This may seem overly superlative to those unfamiliar with the band, but never has rock music fused classical grandeur so movingly. And that is the key to Muse - their bombastic tendency is actually underpinned not by a desire to show-off (as too often was the way in the 70s Prog rock which they tip their hats to), but a sincere and genuine will to use music to reach deeper emotions. And the beautiful sonata closing United States of Eurasia or the sorrowful introspection of the closing symphony in the Exogenesis suite should bring any serious music fan of any genre close to tears. But what is incredible is how this raw beauty can sit so comfortably next to close to perfection synth-rock such as the pounding Uprising and the relentless MK Ultra - both dyed-in-wool Muse classics for the faithful.

I didn't personally think they would top Absolution, then they produced Black Holes and Revelations. But The Resistance demonstrates the hunger and ambition this amazing and innovative band has shown in reaching yet another high watermark! Outstanding stuff.

Your Arsenal
Your Arsenal
Price: £6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morrissey on top form, 7 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Your Arsenal (Audio CD)
A perenially misunderstood album on its release, listening back now it rates as one of the finest works of all Morrissey's career. Following the disappointing Kill Uncle, Your Arsenal injected a new energy (and a sense of humour!) that that album - and parts of Viva Hate - had been lacking. Chirpy and cocky, yet insightful and political, every song tells its own tale and there was chemistry in the match with producer Mick Ronson. It's disappointing that the political overtones of We'll Let You Know and National Front Disco (both excellent AND relevant songs in hindsight) overshadowed such a well rounded set - a particular irony given that it would only be 2-3 years later that the Union Jack he was criticised for adopting would make a triumphant return through Britpop. It's difficult to pick stand out tracks from such a strong group, but they do include the vibrant Glamourous Glue, the tongue-firmly-in-cheek You're The One For Me Fatty, and most notably the tour-de-force I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday - a song that for most lesser artists would surely still be a set-closing pinnacle.

Vauxhall and I - an excellent album itself - reaped the plaudits a couple of years later, in a similar way that Parklife would upstage Modern Life Is Rubbish for Blur around the same time. But for this listener, Your Arsenal is remains perhaps the most musically accessible and enjoyable of Morrissey's solo albums to date.

Happiness Is the Road, Vol. 1: Essence
Happiness Is the Road, Vol. 1: Essence
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £7.93

5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Essentially sub-standard, 17 Oct. 2008
Essence is the first disc of Marillion's Happiness Is The Road double album, an album which as a whole feels like the culmination of the band's gradual shift towards the more laid back sound they have been developing over the last decade. Much of this material - when it works - has helped to reinvent Marillion as an exciting, contemporary and criminally ignored band. Unfortunately Essence showcases the poorer tendency towards some aimless pieces that lack any proper punch and go on too long. 'Wrapped Up In Time' for example aptly describes a song that at around 5 minutes feels more like 15! 'Nothing Fills The Hole' - despite an admirable attempt at soul in the chorus - kind of summed up how I was feeling by that stage of listening to an album I'd eagerly anticipated for the last 12 months.

However, the album is salvaged by three tracks. Firstly the beautiful precision of opening track 'Dreamy Street' sets a wonderful tone. Next the vibrant (and again appropriately titled) 'Woke Up' which is Marillion on top form and, in a world where airplay was divided more fairly, would no doubt see a big hit. But it is title track 'Happiness Is The Road' that is worth purchasing the entire album for. Across the whole two-album set, this is surely one of the tracks which will end up becoming the classic populating the burgeoning canon of fans' favourites come gig time.

No doubt diehards will disagree, but in Essence I feel it's the patchiest the band have done for many years, despite being punctuated by a couple of their best moments ever. Vol 2:Hard Shoulder is a better overall purchase. But nevertheless - even when Marillion are off-form they still outdo most other bands around.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 18, 2008 7:37 AM BST

Happiness Is the Road, Vol. 2: The Hard Shoulder
Happiness Is the Road, Vol. 2: The Hard Shoulder
Offered by MEGA Media FBA
Price: £7.36

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Better Half, 17 Oct. 2008
The Hard Shoulder is the second disc of Marillion's Happiness Is The Road double album, and if forced to choose between the two this is the better purchase. As a whole, the complete Happiness Is The Road album feels like a culmination of the band's gradual development into a sort of progressive 'space jazz' sound over the last decade. At it's best it makes Marillion sound unique and contemporary (such as on most of the sublime 'Somewhere Else' set last year). But at weaker points (e.g. The Only Unforgiveable Thing, Angelina, Thankyou Whoever You Are) it can sound little more than MOR begging for airplay, albeit sometimes with more complicated musical structures to the songs. Thankfully, The Hard Shoulder (unlike its companion piece) comprises mainly examples of the former. Highlights? 'Thunder Fly' simply rocks; 'Whatever Is Wrong With You' rivals far younger, trendier outfits with it's driving hook; 'Real Tears For Sale' is touching and relevant; and 'Throw Me Out' is fresh and innovative with bags of musical ideas. But highlight is the outstanding 'The Man From Planet Marzipan' which exemplifies all the reasons why Marillion remain the most under-rated band in the UK.

There are a couple of better Marillion albums than The Hard Shoulder, but this is by no means their worst. Park up and enjoy!

Sunsets On Empire
Sunsets On Empire

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The high point of the solo career, 8 April 2007
This review is from: Sunsets On Empire (Audio CD)
Against all the odds it was the reconstituted Marillion who by this point had gone on to greater heights after the acrimonious split in 1988, but this album provides a tantalising glimpse of what Fish might have achieved had alcohol and arrogance not shipwrecked his career.

The vicious and shocking opening of The Perception Of Johnny Punter illustrates immediately that the man still has the bite he'd been lacking since Fugazi. This is evidenced further in the throbbing single Brother 52 and the burning What Colour Is God? But it's actually the ballads that really make this album - the light and thoughtful Change of Heart, the sad dignity of Say It With Flowers, and the personal note to daughter Tara, all add the necessary warmth to the texture without sounding trite or insincere as those on prior albums. The standout, though really comes in the title track, a behemoth of a song which builds to a Pink Floyd-esque climax - involving and full of artistic release.

Sunsets on Empire was released in 1997 within a month of Marillion's worst post-Fish album to date (This Strange Engine) suggesting a sea-change in the fortunes of the two parties. It wasn't to be though - Fish went on to create the pompous and ill-conceived Raingods With Zippos and if any of the world was still interested after that it stopped being with the almost unlistenable Fellini Days. However, Sunsets on Empire deserves a listen if only to appreciate that it wasn't entirely downhill after Marillion.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 12, 2008 9:04 PM GMT

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