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CJ Scuffins (Dublin, Ireland)
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I Wish I Could Have Loved You More
I Wish I Could Have Loved You More
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.97

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The break-up record of the year, 20 July 2007
The end of a relationship is full of false dawns. Only they happen after dusk. Long grueling nights in which you resurrect shallow-buried resentments to fling in the face of your lover. Who responds in kind. Only kind is not exactly the word. But little matter, this is not the end. By morning the raging reality has given way to a bland lie: we love each other still. So it goes. Until one heart summons the courage to express itself honestly in the cold light of day. Forcing the other to face the truth. It's over.

Or is that just me?

Candie Payne's debut album is about lovers coming to terms with their love affairs. But this is a break-up record that steers clear of false dawns. There is no wailing and gnashing of teeth. Ms Winehouse does the bunny boiler anthems. And does them very well. Ms Payne is concerned with what happens after the meltdown.

Her heroines have accepted the truth of their lives. They either plan to move on, have moved on, or never will. The heartbroken among them still issue desperate pleas to their men, but the words are not flooded with emotion nor studded with expletives. The only lip is of the stiff-upper variety. From the Liverpool-born songstress, these are very English affairs.

Not that the tunes themselves are reserved. By Tomorrow is a real toe-tapper, bustling along like Oxford Street during the January sales, while Payne assures herself she'll make the right move in her romance.

On the title track a girl breaks a boy's heart before expressing sorrow. But she ain't ever going back. As such, the vocal is mournful but the music shimmers and sparkles.

The album is produced by Portishead collaborator Simon Dine. He pastiches perfectly the backing tracks of 60s divas like Dusty Springfield, who Payne's strong soulful voice most resembles. Dine does add a trip-hop slap and dash to the drumming, yet the album overall is like many from the Deltasonic stable. Defiantly retro.

The lyrics are very 21st Century, however. Payne is unafraid to assign herself traits traditionally considered male. Such as a roving eye. In Why Should I Settle For You an unhappy woman looks to trade-in her current beau. But the joke is on her. "To my surprise, nobody catches my eye, but you."

Candie Payne herself has caught the eye of many fans of great music. I hope she sticks around for the long-term.

...

For Fans of
Dusty Springflield, Amy Winehouse, Portishead.


We Can Create
We Can Create
Price: 7.55

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What do British indie stars do in their bedrooms?, 20 July 2007
This review is from: We Can Create (Audio CD)
Sleep, shag, and make Mercury Prize-nominated albums, that's what. James Chapman aka Maps made the bulk of his aptly-titled debut LP We Can Create on an old 16-track recorder squeezed into his flat in Northampton, England. That's right, with noisy old instruments and ne'er a computer in sight. The neighbors must've kicked up murder.

What type of music had the Jones's banging on the wall? An updated version of "shoegaze", don't you know. That bookish older brother of a genre from the early 90s that championed droning guitars, whispery voices, trippy lyrics, and floppy fringes.

Shoegaze strove to create a specific feeling. Namely, that of being off your head on drugs. In a quiet, let's-not-attract-the-barman's-attention kind of way.

Chief purveyors of this performance-enhanced music in the 90s were My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, and Chapman's closest descendent Spacemen 3. They followed in the footsteps of the world's first shoegazer, John Lennon. He tried his damndest to replicate an acid trip with Tomorrow Never Knows. The result was out of this world. And he had a floppy fringe.

Chapman (no relation to Mark) has given us Shoegaze 3.0. A refit that maintains the genre's mood of low-key psychedelia. He's kept the breathy vocals, angelic aahs, and kiss-the-sky mantras. But the droning guitars are gone. Replaced by a universe of atmospheric electronics, including buzzing synths, trip-hop drums, and the odd Namlook-esque space bleep. In other words, ShoeRave.

Album centrepoint To The Sky winds into being like a musical jewellery box. Then the space-age beats kick in, and we're through the bedroom window off towards the clouds, where an ethereal voice drones dreamily, "I can sing it to the sky/ But there's a risk it won't reply/ If I could change it man I would/ And I won't screw it up this time". Words that seem meaningful but make no rational sense. Perfect.

The euphoric outros of Back & Forth and Eloise are also highlights. Non-stoned listeners will feel like they're pepped up on goofballs. Stoned listeners may have to be scraped off the ceiling.

Every respectable drug-related album needs a microdot of mysticism. On the stately Glory Verse Chapman gets transcendent while ruminating over his gift for music. "These sounds will never leave you/will be there to receive you/these songs, they seem to write themselves."

More prosaically I love how Chapman drawls a colloquial "yerrr" for "yes" on this and other songs. It suggests that when not writing music that reaches for the sky, James Chapman is very down to earth. Should serve him well at awards ceremonies.

...

For Fans Of
M83 , Stars, Low, Spiritualized, Spaceman 3, Sigur Ros, Chapterhouse, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Flying Saucer Attack, and Kid-A era Radiohead.


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