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tom (Notts United Kingdom)

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Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £8.47

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You may have heard of these, 8 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Statues (Audio CD)
The Open's debut album 'The Silent Hours' was one of those albums that came out of nowhere a couple of years ago and blew me away. I read a couple of things about them and decided to take a chance. The album hasn't left my stereo since. The only problem for me was that the band didn't get the recognition they desrved either from the public or the industry.
It is with situation that the 2nd album arrives - no hype, no build up, no front page magazine covers declaring them to be saviours of the world etc. I found out very quickly at HMV that the album would be out on 6th Feb so penciled in that date.
What can I say? Like 'TSH' 'Statues' has ambition to burn. I've listened to the album 5 times now and already had 6 favourite tracks. The Open don't follow a generic middle of the road route with their songs, rather they create their own soundscapes that don't instantly jump out at you with commercial intent. Perhaps that's why the public haven't taken to them. Who knows.
Anyway this album is shaping up to be a corker. It's different from 'TSH' but only in the sense that 'OK Computer' was different from 'The Bends' - it expands upon their sound with new layers and dimensions.
Never is this more present than on the gorgeous opener where a jazz style trumpet plays over simmering guitars and Steven Bayley's delicate vocals whilst the drums build and build. It's nearly 7 minutes long but so beautiful you don't notice it. It's only when The Open play it straight and simple they faulter, but it's a small quibble. A couple of tracks ( 8 & 10) didn't grab me as much as the rest of the album but taken on their own are alot better than most bands being hyped each week. The rest is stunning - melodic yet on occasions ferocious (tracks 6 & 9), epic and intimate ( 1,4,7 ), down beat yet beautiful (3,5) and catchy and anthemic (2). It doesn't get the full 5 stars like 'TSH' but over time it just might. I feel you have to really live with an album before giving a true verdict.
If I were to try and pinpoint the band's sound for those unfamiliar yet curious about The Open I would say they are an emalgamation of Talk Talk , Echo & the Bunnymen, Mansun, Doves, Jeff Buckley and New Order to name but a few.
If you are new to the band 'Statues' is worth a try. If you've been waiting like me to see where they go next it's unmissable. You may have to give it time but it does not disappoint on any level.

Some Cities
Some Cities
Offered by Giant Entertainment
Price: £2.01

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a real grower, 22 Feb. 2005
This review is from: Some Cities (Audio CD)
Having just read a review on teletext comparing Doves to the likes of Keane I felt compelled to voice my opinion. Doves are in no way a band designed for mass appeal and chart friendly hooks that only appeal to the smash hits brigade. Don't get me wrong, I like Keane in a background music sort of way but Doves are the real deal. I've been a massive fan since their debut 'Lost Souls' came out. 'The Last Broadcast' further enhanced their reputation and gave them deserved success both critically and commercially. 'Some Cities' deserves to do likewise.
Part of the appeal of each Doves album is expecting the unexpected. You never know what style of song is coming up next but they remain an individual sounding band with their own brand of songwriting. 'Some Cities' like their previous 2 albums takes some getting into. Also with the addition of new producer Ben Hillier this album has a more rough and ready sound, almost live.
That is not a bad thing but on a couple of (still excellent) tracks - 'Sky Starts Falling', 'One of these days' - I really wanted to hear Jimi Goodwin's bass rumble away in the background with abit more urgency. I feel that a couple of tracks will most probably sound even better live and having seen them twice I can highly recommend them in concert. This though is mere nitpicking on an otherwise great collection of varied songs.
The highlights for me are the obvious 'Black and White Town' the stomping 1st single, the euphoric 'Walk in Fire', and the beautiful, soulful ' Someday Soon' but as with all their albums so far, because of the variety on offer my opinion will probably change from day to day!
This album is a worthy addition to Doves excellent back catalogue and if you are thinking of buying this album don't go expecting a commercial pop record, rather an ambitious, beautiful, uplifting piece of music sung and played with real emotion and genuine honesty. See them live too.

State Of Grace [DVD] [1991]
State Of Grace [DVD] [1991]
Dvd ~ Sean Penn
Price: £5.00

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked classic of it's kind, 10 Mar. 2004
This review is from: State Of Grace [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
First saw this film on long term absense from work years ago. I'd just about seen every film in my local video store and what attracted me was the cast and the fact it was a gangster film. Say no more. I was tempted and took a chance - what a choice!
It'a fair to say that the themes of this film are set in stone yet what the last reviewer fails to say is how thrilling the plot is. I was hooked. If you can accept that films about street level hoods and mob based crime have long been the norm since the Godfather then you can focus on the plot details rather than pointing out the cliches.
I will say no more about the plot than it follows Terry Noonan (Sean Penn) returning to his old neighboorhood wher he hooks up with his old pal Jackie Flannery (Gary Oldman) and becomes involved with Jackie's bro Frankie's (Ed Harris) mob who rule over Hell's Kitchen.
It is a brutally violent film yet no matter how repulsive the actions of each character become (watch Gary Oldman wipe out a couple of drinking hoods with no remorse if you know what I mean) you find yourself rooting for them.
The central trio of actors are as good as they've ever been and are supported by a collection of underratedactors - John C Reilly, John Turturro to name a few. Gary Oldman and Sean Penn are the two that bind the film together yet it is Ed Harris that holds the attention, he is repulsive yet vunerable in his scenes with his boss leading the viewer to empathise with his crucial decision.
I have recommended this film to many friends who would never have seen it otherwise and they all agree that it kicks arse! If you are a fan of filma such as Mean Streets, Donnie Brasco, King Of New York and (of course) Goodfellas then give this one a try as I feel it is truly underrated and deserves to sit alongside those afore mentioned.
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