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Reviews Written by
SilverWolf "Rich" (Stroud, UK)

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Siamese Dream
Siamese Dream
Price: £20.55

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aching beauty and an introduction to melloncollie..., 6 May 2012
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This review is from: Siamese Dream (Audio CD)
Review of the remastered album.

Honestly this is one of my favourite albums, and I've waited a long time for a remaster. I'm trying not to be biased here...

This album captures the end of teen angst and the freefall into adulthood, seeing the world with shocking clarity. The lyrics are still apposite somehow in my 36th year, and I'm generally far more content in my world than I was 15 years ago when I first heard this - but this is album not just about the self, but the world outside my window its peaks and troughs, its futility and love, its life and death. Alongside the lyrics is a potent brew of buzzing guitars, cellos, psychedelic washes and reverb, acoustic folkyness and a high production value, a combination only rarely achieved in an 'alt rock band' - perhaps The Cure spring to mind as a British equivalent?

Anyway the remaster... Billy Corgan has been an overseer in the process of this re-release, in the same way Robert Smith was with The Cure remasters. Always a good thing when the main writer is heavily involved with a remaster in my opinion. The sound quality is frankly outstanding, and for me the first time the CD has really shone, and shown the high production value for what it is. The multi-layering on many of the tracks is far more apparent, with a few layers revealed I've never heard before, even after many listens. The reverb and delay effects have much greater clarity, and make more sense somehow, giving a more spacey and psychedelic edge. Vocals are clear, but to be honest always were. One of the best improvements is in the clarity of the drums - they are much more present without being overwhelming or loud. This adds a lot of weight to the album overall giving a more vinyl quality in its dynamic nature.

All in all this is a big success - I've not been near the extras yet but look forward to them. For those concerned with the 'loudness war', this isn't an obviously loud CD by any stretch (sorry that's the extent of my knowledge in this area!). In summary this re-release shows a great improvement sonically over the original, unveiling subtlety, pushing the weight and dynamics to an appropriate max, and adds a great deal to the already obvious quality of the lyrics, music and feel of the album. What more could we ask for! 5 stars, just for the remastering. Thanks Billy.


Psydeburns
Psydeburns

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More of the same, still a good listen., 18 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Psydeburns (Audio CD)
Bought this album after buying Upsyde Downe which I really liked. This album is a little different to the first - the tracks are a little more sparse in places, with leaning more to the earthy sounding tracks of the first album. It is good, but is by no means a big progression from album one in terms of the quality of the writing or the production. So 4 stars I reckon, my review of Upsyde Downe kind of applies to this album really.


Pretty Hate Machine: 2010 Remaster
Pretty Hate Machine: 2010 Remaster
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £10.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As it's meant to be.., 5 Sept. 2011
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The sound quality of the remaster of this album is substantially improved over the original CD. The synths and samples have far more atmosphere and depth, the bass and drums have much greater weight, and the soundstage is generally more pronounced. Some remasters are just louder and a bit cleaner than the original (The Cult's Love for example)but this isn't the case here. The original was very quiet and this isn't, but great care and attention is very apparent here. All in all it has a more analogue, vinyl feel to it which takes away the unnecessary harshness of the original.
If you have a love of this album, I would strongly recommend the re-issue. There isn't a second disc of extras, but the qulity is so good I don't think it really matters. Essential purchase, thanks Trent.


Let England Shake
Let England Shake
Price: £4.20

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Folk genius., 17 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Let England Shake (Audio CD)
This isn't my first PJ Harvey, and have always been a fan, liking her otherworldly voice, honest and poetic lyrics, and edgy rock music. And the fact you're never sure what her next album will be like. This album is a work of pure beauty really, shining brighter than her other releases, and I think is a work of genius. It is a folk album at heart, with its political lyrics echoing the times we live in, a suggestion of loving this country as much as hating it, whilst harking back to past times, times of myth and magic . It lives in the cities, in the grime and the noise, but also in the darkest woods and that sense of damp earth and old spirit. Carrying the lyrics is a mainly acoustic sound with a chilled ambience and also impending aggression, layered with a sharp psychedelic edge and an out of time feel, which has a profound effect of its own.
It took 5 or 6 listens to get this album - I knew it was a masterpiece on first listen, but didn't truly realise why until later listens. If you like her early albums, or even just a handful of her songs, buy this album! Same for anyone looking for real, modern folk; poetic and profound lyric writing and exceptional music. Half decent hi-fi or headphones strongly recommended here, there's some complexities on this album!
Thank you PJ, I hope you can equal this again!


Skying
Skying
Price: £10.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reminiscence with a modern twist., 14 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Skying (Audio CD)
This is the first album I've heard by The Horrors, so no comparisons to the early 2 from me. This album is fantastic, and seems to show a maturing band not scared to wear its old and current influences on its sleeve and transport it them to a fresh, exciting place. I can hear Echo and the Bunnymen, early Stone Roses and early Suede here, lovingly translated into a modern context, with quality, tight production. Well crafted and thought about, each track stands alone as being quite different, whilst flowing successfully from one to another. The range of instrumentation is very impressive, both 'live' and sampled/electronic.
The overall feel is melancholic and uplifting in one, with shoegaze drones, up tempo drums and floating synths. Real 80's translations, without a rip off feel. The quality here represents a band writing from a place of respect for its influences and the desire to do something new and different. If you have the bands I've mentioned above in your collection, and Stereolab, and The Cure and Kasabian then buy this, and listen a few times. I'll be checking out the previous albums now.


Upsyde Downe
Upsyde Downe

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Ambient Trance' at its best..., 13 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Upsyde Downe (Audio CD)
Bought this album on the strength of the other reviews. This is a fantastic electronic-with-instruments album, sitting comfortably on the shelf with The Ozrics, Shpongle and Ott. It has deep earthy bass throughout and a proper trancey feel, trippy but subtle and a little esoteric in nature. Through my very clear but a little bass light speakers it has proper dynamism and low end grunt, with a high production value - not quite Simon Posford production, but hey how many artists have that!If you've got very good monitors and a musical subwoofer you're in for a real treat. It is reminiscent of a low key but important Glastonbury album: Anahata - Doors To Avalon, in its thoughtfulness and 'Earth vibe' quality, at the same time organic and a bit edgy. It's ambient quality makes it both a background or upfront experience, sitting or dancing a possibility. If you like the artists I've referenced, and want a unique sound within these catagories don't hesitate..


Vaccine
Vaccine

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As excellent as ever, if a little different..., 22 May 2011
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This review is from: Vaccine (Audio CD)
I had the pleasure of listening to the tracks from this album live in Bristol before on cd, and was blown away by it (thank you Younger Brother). I've been a fan of Simon Posford and his works for some time now, and have always respected his frequent but seemingly considered changes of direction, within one incarnation or with each different one. Having lyrics at the fore is perhaps a logical progression and opinions of moving into the mainstream to me suggests just one listen and/or rejection of change. My feeling is that this album may well inspire a new generation of 'commercially successful' bands in time to come, perhaps on the edge of the mainstream but with credible ingenuity, the Coldplays and U2s of the future. This commerciality is not YB's aim here though, as the live show indicated - the potent mix of genius intent and pure enjoyment was tangible in all the band members - fame and money didn't seem to be on the agenda. This genius is further amplified on the album, with more textures and layering and the usual very high production values.
If you're really turned off by lyrics generally maybe turn away, but otherwise buy what will be one of the best releases this year, regardless of genre (hell this covers a fair few!!) and after a handful of listens hopefully you'll truly get it. Yes it is different to the other 2, but number 2 was so different to number 1 remember? That took a few goes to 'get it'. Through time I think it's actually these albums that endure and inspire. Enjoy, it truly shines in more ways than one. Please check out Shpongle and related projects if you don't know them as well, and share with everyone you know....


Grado SR225is Prestige Headphones
Grado SR225is Prestige Headphones

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest listening!, 13 May 2011
I'm glad I spent some time researching various headphones, and reading reviews of these - they sounded rough out of the box, brash harsh and bloated in the bass department. Listening to Itunes from my laptop through the Fiio E7/E9 combo I decided to try the burn in test, listening to a few favourite tunes when unboxed then playing the 'phones in 8 hour bursts at slowly increasing volumes so as not to damage them.
Apart from a few seconds of curiosity I didn't listen to them through this process - some people think burn in is nonsense and is simply a case of psychological adjustment to what you're listening to. For me this doesn't seem like the case. They sounded so different after 50 hours of use - the harshness was gone, the treble had become extremely detailed and spacious. The bass had appeared, and was deep and precise, perhaps not for bass heads but very natural. Massive Attack's Mezzanine seemed 'real' like the gig I saw 15 years ago, and not full of wicked bass but little clarity as in some hifi set-ups. Soundstage was far more 3 dimensional, even for headphones. Perhaps the most obvious physical difference was being able to listen to them at 11 o'clock on the headphone amp volume dial instead of 9. 9 was unbearable before. Without listening in the interim they must be burning in...?
Perhaps these 'phones are a bit more suited to rock than 'electronica' in some instances as they are very revealing of production values - that said stick some Shpongle on or any well produced electronic driven music, ambient, dance or otherwise, and the simple set up of the Fiio and headphones seems superior in many ways to speakers and CD of much greater value.
If you're in the market for personal listening, have the budget, want pure clarity over emphasis of certain musical content these headphones are a real bargain - read other reviews about their sound leak and initial harshness etc, then try them. They do look a little retro and even cheap, and may not be mega comfortable, but as is often the case in the hifi world looks mean nothing. Enjoy!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 3, 2015 8:28 PM GMT


Disintegration [Deluxe Edition]
Disintegration [Deluxe Edition]

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best whole album of The Cure. Really., 30 May 2010
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Review for CD 1 only.

Magnum Opus is a grand statement, the implication is not just masterpiece of an individual in the realms of art or music I think, but also of a movement, or 'genre'. Not that this is a Goth album, for those who naively presume it is. The movement of this album is perhaps 'emotional' or 'honest', and the genre 'rock', being a guitar, bass and drums driven album. It is emotional, truthful, psychedelic, colourful, dark and light, thoughtful and provocative.

It is a masterpiece, Robert Smith's Magnum Opus, and as others have said not bettered (in a full album) by Robert Smith before or since. I've waited for what seems like years for the remaster of this. Yeah it's fantastic on vinyl, of course, but the CD mastering has been poor until now. Kinda quiet and muddy for an album to play loud. Not any more, the muddiness has gone, clarity has come through especially in the bass (wow, it rumbles, tunefully!), RS's vocals and the classic shimmer of the chorus laced guitar work. It works loud now on CD, an emotional wash, floating, drifting, sometimes violent and occasionally pop-y. The love-songs are truly heartbreakingly sad and uplifting in one. The music is so well thought out, simple and hard work, trancey, multi-layered.

Buy this if you're a Goth, whatever that means, buy it if you're just interested any of the above. If you like guitar music, and aren't afraid of real lyrical expression outside of ego and image (i.e of the heart) it should be in you collection.


3000 Days
3000 Days
Price: £12.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine introduction., 30 May 2010
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This review is from: 3000 Days (Audio CD)
I think this is probably the first best of I've bought having never heard the band before - in fact it's rare I'll buy a best of of a band I have!! I bought on the strength of other reviews here on Amazon and I'm so glad I did. What a fantastic double album! Highly recommended for people who like Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, Bends era Radiohead, U2 and more radio friendly Verve and Coldplay, and carefully crafted lyrics and music. Why this band aren't more known in the indie/alternative rock world is beyond me (same as Porcupine Tree really!). A blend of the instant and subtle complexity makes this bands sound somewhat unique, and the comparisons I've listed don't sum them up fully by any means.

Excellent production is thrown in the mix - my impression is that the remastering probably isn't a dramatic improvement over original albums - perhaps the remixing holds more of a difference?

If you like any one of the bands I've listed, please try this album! Break a rule like me and by a best of first if you haven't heard them before. I'd be surprised if you don't like it. I'm off to order the original albums........


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