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Reviews Written by
C. Porter (Worcester, England)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

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Sing To The Moon
Sing To The Moon
Price: £2.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of wonder!, 7 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Sing To The Moon (Audio CD)
What a breath of fresh air, LM is.

I heard 'Green Garden' on that old-fashioned thing, the radio. Not an internet channel, mind. Just 'the radio'. And, in this age of too much info, Ms Mvula truly stood out.

A great song, with a laid-back vocal, hypnotic percussion and imaginative production hooked my ears instantly. It's the definition of undeniable! I then downloaded the free track which Amazon saw fit to give away, 'Can't Live With The World'. Not a one-trick pony, this songstress. That was awesome, too.

And so I bought the album. It kicks off with walls of vocals that stamps personality all over the listener, and then takes you by the hand and leads you on a moonlit walk through textures of harp and strings and percussion and production and and and... her voice! Wowsers.

I could go on, but you get the idea. If there's any justice, lots of music lovers will stumble across Laura like I did and part with some money to re-imburse her for what I'm sure was many thousands of hours learning to craft work like this, earning very little.

My first great album of 2013. Yummy!

Several weeks on from the above - and the DEPTH of this album is incredible. Just amazing. Make your life a better place to be and buy this record.


The Alphabet Of Hurricanes
The Alphabet Of Hurricanes
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Best since his debut, IMHO, 15 Feb. 2013
The debut Tom McRae album is a corker, Mercury-nominated and the culmination of his writing up to the point of discovery and being unleashed upon the world. So, rich and varied and the cream of what was probably a vast body of work.

Since that, however, his albums have got denser, duller and darker. And not in a good way, for me. Dark, desperate, miserable and, frankly, a bit whiny for my taste.

Until this one! He appears to have got his mojo back. The tunes are just that, tunes, not dirges, and in the song 'Please' there is even potential for a crossover hit (if he wants it).

There's a market for Tom, and always will be, I hope - he's a talented guy - but I hope this album does bed down and spread by word of mouth and get him some more attention. Off the back of this set, he deserves it again.


Balloons
Balloons
Price: £13.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like songs, you'll like this album!, 7 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Balloons (Audio CD)
The Candle Thieves are properly good.

I was lucky enough to be on tour with them when they supported Dave Giles. Catch them live, and pray that something goes wrong technically, and you might be treated to their acoustic Right Said Fred piano medley while the problem is sorted. Heartbreaking! There's something innately amazing about The Glock sadly caressing the keys while emoting "I'm too sexy for my shirt...."

But this is about their second record, the sublime 'Balloons'. It's every bit as amazing as their first album. But wait - am I using too many gushing adjectives already? No. I'm not. The songs are like an English twist on Eels, occasional tinkly toy sounds mix with acoustic guitars, piano and other keys, handclaps, strings, drums, layered vocals and intricately-weaving BVs that create smooth collages that get stuck in your brain. The lead vocals are more measured and reserved than E's, but no less affecting for it.

The songs? Too many good tracks to pick a favourite, but the continuing fascination with Balloons intoxicates. They're just fantastic. Plain and simple great songwriting. Uplifting and melancholy in equal measure, and often at the same time.

There's some good life advice here: don't let go of your balloon! Indeed, a childlike insistance pervades all, but make no mistake, this is a very aduly opus.

A properly good album, then - utterly deserving of its 5 star status here.


Beastly Balloons Creative Kit (Box Set)
Beastly Balloons Creative Kit (Box Set)
by Parragon
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A game of two halves, 29 Oct. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have a 9 and 6 year old. I set them the task of making these balloon monsters for Halloween. After initial enthusiasm for the task, the making petered out and the boredom RAPIDLY set in. Which surprised me. So I told them to forget about following the book of instructions and create their own monsters. This helped, but not for long.

Ultimately, I finished off the monsters on my own. Everyone agreed that the net result was good, but that the enjoyment of looking at them vastly outweighed the fun of constructing them.

Finally, a comment about price. Essentially, it's £12 for 10 regular balloons, 1 page of stickers and a thin book with pre-cut shapes that you stick on with Sellotape (not provided). In my estimation, rather steep. It's a good idea writ large for profit. At a cheaper price point, and as a kit to just 'make your own', it would have been better - the book is padding. The presentation box is similarly, and unnecessarily, lush.


The Highway Rat
The Highway Rat
by Julia Donaldson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.49

3.0 out of 5 stars OK then, 25 Oct. 2012
This review is from: The Highway Rat (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Julia and Alex have notably achieved more than this.

It's really ok, but the bare facts show us that The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom (say) have more longevity.

It's fine, but just can't live up to these (plural of collosus).

Pictorially, ir's business as usual, which is great, but it's stories that linger in the imagination, and relative to the rest of the canon, this doesn't measure up.

We wanted to like it so badly that it might have affected our judgement (me & my family, that is), but ultimately, it just doesn't stand as tall....

Not so much magic as before...


Element: Pilates Weight Loss For Beginners [DVD]
Element: Pilates Weight Loss For Beginners [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brooke Siler
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Brace yourself!, 25 Oct. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
OK, we've had this beggar for a while, and it's NOT for beginners - at least, I don't think so!

DOES IT WORK?

Yes - in the same way any sensible regime would. 'Lara' puts you through your paces and you get the idea about how inadequate you are pretty quickly!

As this is billed as being for beginners, it feels inadequate - as that implies 'no previous experience' - for those wobbly amongst us, therefore, this is a wake-up call of quite large proportions!

DOES IT WORK? Yes. In the way that sensible diet and adequate exercise always does.

Is it fun, though, to wrench yourself through this? Not too much, to be honest - hence the score.


BrainBox - Horrible Science Blood and Guts
BrainBox - Horrible Science Blood and Guts
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars More than just blood 'n' guts!, 28 Sept. 2012
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Now then.

I unpacked this (nice design, with magnetic seal - like all Brainbox products) and thought I'd have a go before the kids came home from school.

Two things struck me immediately. 1. The facts and presentation are excellent and fun. 2. It was damn difficult to get all of the questions right on a card. It seems (to me, at least) to require Mensa-level concentration and recall to do this on a first pass.

However, maybe that's the point, because, as it's replayed, the familiarity will aid the recall. And that means... yes, you've guessed it, you have learned stuff! Excellent!

All in all then, it's clever, with attractive design. Best of all, it engages children (even grown up ones like me). I say grown up....

My family are all fans of the Horrible Histories franchise, and this is a good example of it diversifying a little.

Oh, and the reason it's more than blood & guts? There's enough toilet humour, bad puns etc. to keep the little beggars giggling dirtily for ages!


Leitz Soft Click A4 Presentation Ring Binder 30 mm- White
Leitz Soft Click A4 Presentation Ring Binder 30 mm- White
Price: £13.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 28 Sept. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Nice, robust design, and loving the soft-click action!

It's great that there's a clear plastic wallet inside the file (front and back), for tucking in other complimentary documents, though it could be a little taller, to avoid 'floppage', should you wish to stand the file up to copy or read from it.

Once the branded paper has been removed, the file is pleasant to look at, and easy to label or customise to make it stand out, or to appear individual.

All in all, an excellent product.


Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty unshackled, 10 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Bon Iver, Bon Iver (Audio CD)
Not often do you hear a thing of such instant appeal and beauty that you are driven to enquire after the artist and the piece.

Such a thing is undeniable!

A sound engineer put 'Perth' on in a gap between bands at a gig I was attending.

One listen was all it took, and I was hooked.

And then came here and wrote this.

It's got unusual production, distinctive vocals and an almost dream-like, indefinable quality, this album.

Buy it, and your life will be enriched.


Horrible Histories - Series 3 [DVD]
Horrible Histories - Series 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dominic Brigstocke
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, 11 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is easily one of the best things on TV EVER.

Simple.

Gifted actors, witty scripts, fantastic pastiches of classic songs and their accompanying videos all make HH a phenomenon that all involved should be truly proud of.

Oh, and I'm learning stuff with my kids, too. At Eastnor Castle, there was a pic of Queen Victoria. My son correctly identified her and added, "She reigned for 64 years, y'know".

Brilliant stuff!

The outtakes and unused sketches all add to the great value of this package. Don't hesitate - get them all!


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