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J. T. Brennan (Oxford, England)

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Offered by mrtopseller
Price: 5.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars five star return, 23 Sep 2010
This review is from: Interpol (Audio CD)
Its been a while since I wrote any reviews, but after listening to this album (probably over 20 times to by now), I feel compelled to eulogise just a little about it.
Four albums in can be difficult, for some bands the sound can start to sound stale and I guess it can be quite easy to go through the numbers a bit. With Interpol though I've always suspected that they could build on their already impressive back catalogue and I think this album proves that they have.
Whilst not as easily accessible as Antics or Our love to Admire, I hate to say this but 'Interpol' grows on you more and more with each repeated listen. As a cliché I've always thought it was a pretty bad one but in this case it seems far to apt to use, so I'm probably stuck with it. The reason why I think this album is a grower is not because you wont like it to start with, but that it seems to have more layers the more you listen to it. There are more instant tracks like the punchy 'success' and excellent first single 'lights' (awesome bass), but the real depth and beauty of this album can be found on the likes of 'memory serves', 'always malaise' and 'safe without'. Each one of these songs builds up as it goes along and together as with the rest of the tracks they fit together perfectly. After a few listens you will find it impossible to get the refrain from 'memory serves' out of your head or the repeat of 'safe without'.
There honestly isn't a bad track, my favourite being 'The Undoing' which is a fitting end to the album, and possibly the most sincere track I've heard from the band. That being said you may find like I do that these songs work much better together, and you can't pick out individual tracks the way you can on their older records. Still I'm going to stick my neck out and say that I think this is their best album to date, a culmination of over ten years perfecting a sound that has matured nicely - Paul Banks sounds as superior as ever, no-one else sings quite like he does, and the influence of Carlos D is as evident as ever, it's a real shame that he has decided to call it a day but at least he has left on a high.

O Soundtrack My Heart
O Soundtrack My Heart
Price: 11.38

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums of 2008, 10 Oct 2008
This review is from: O Soundtrack My Heart (Audio CD)
This album may be labeled as an electronic instrumental album, but actually a lot more to it than that. In essence Pivot have produced a rock/electronic record of sublime qualities, without crossing the boundary into prog-rock land. I think even with multiple listens it's hard to pigeonhole (obviously a good sign), as there is plenty of originality and variety across all of `O Soundtrack my heart'.
It kicks off with the short and mysterious `October' resplendent with what sounds like the motion sensor sound effect from the film Aliens, and moves into `In the blood' - one of the stand out tracks with its edgy guitar and frantic drumming. The title track itself is beautifully realised and is a perfect blend of the bands rock/electronic style.
It's probably not until you reach `Fool in rain' that there is a really electronic heavy track, it sounds a little like Air but owes more to the Vangelis Blade Runner soundtrack than anything else.
The album continues with consistently good tracks - `Sweet memory' is funky and more upbeat, `Epsilon' does what I'm a real sucker for in a track, it starts off slowly and builds up to a faster pace without missing a beat, then the whole thing is rounded off with the subdued `My heart like marching band' which is the perfect outro in balance with the opening track.

There isn't really much to critisise here - `Love like I' is the only weak track in my opinion; it tends to meander a bit and doesn't really grab me like the rest of the album. But as a whole Pivot have produced an album with many moments of musical genius. If you like electronic music you'll like this, and it also stands up as a very good rock instrumental record. In fact the guitar playing and drumming in particular on several tracks is as good as I've heard in a long time. A great start from the band, lets hope we hear much more from them in future.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 26, 2012 1:49 PM GMT

Our Love To Admire
Our Love To Admire
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 5.16

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Antics, 1 Aug 2007
This review is from: Our Love To Admire (Audio CD)
Don't get me wrong, the heading `More Antics' doesn't mean it's more of the same - in fact both albums have their own unique style. What I mean is that in many ways despite the weight of expectation `Our love to admire' equals Interpol's previous stellar outing which is no mean feat.

It kicks off with a song many bands would not be brave enough to send out first - `Pioneer to the falls', but it really works well and sets a tone for what is to come. `No I in threesome' and the `Heinrich maneuver' are both perfect slabs of Interpol, impeccable bass lines (Carlos is awesome throughout), the strained vocals and often witty and perceptive words are all intact. Indeed one thing that has always set the band apart from its contemporaries are the strange yet alluring lyrics, on this album this has continued to great effect, a few of my favourites are - Through the storms and the light, baby you stood by my side and life is wine, you feel the sweet breath of time it's whispering, its truth not mine there's no I in threesome (from `threesome' obviously) and - `I haven't slept for two days, I've bathed in nothing but sweat, and I've made hallways, scenes for things to regret' from `Rest my Chemistry'.

There is much more to admire (sorry) here, `Wrecking ball' and `mammoth' both stand up against their better songs and perhaps the highlight for me `Pace is the trick' is Interpol at their most powerful, it's a beautiful song with a hint of a slowed down version of `Not even jail' towards the end.

There is no doubt Interpol are a fine rock band, they are original and have carved a niche for themselves in the music world, `Our love to admire' is definitely a grower, but give it time and it could well be your favourite album of the year.

Because Of The Times
Because Of The Times
Offered by Direct-Offers-UK-FBA
Price: 3.11

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long live the Kings!, 27 Jun 2007
This review is from: Because Of The Times (Audio CD)
The Kings of Leon are another of those bands who have released a hugely impressive album in the last few years, and who have since had a lot to live up to - with this their third outing they have certainly impressed and grown into potentially one of the finest rock bands of their era.

Following up `Aha shake heartbreak' was always going to be a tricky business, but `Because of the times' is a better album despite the feeling that it is less accessible at first and needs more listens before the realisation that it is better. The first single `On Call' is a fine example of this - I thought it was alright but nothing special to begin with, a few months down the line though listening to it again it is probably the perfect way to say `we are back', the southern drawl is intact, it has a great verse building to a rousing middle refrain that carries the song away before bringing it back again to the pulsing bass and jarring guitar. It is testament to the band that there is much variation within the record and barely a track dipping below their high standards - `Knocked up' is dark and brooding with it's ghostly backing vocals (a recurring theme), `Charmer' is a slab of Pixies-esqe rock and `Mcfearless' sounds like it could be made for a festival slot at Reading, you can almost smell the burgers and watered down beer, it's pure rock goodness.

However what made me realise how good this album is, was once you get past the point of 4 or 5 great tunes a lot of records trail off - not this one, and in my opinion it really comes into its own with a trio of songs that are all fantastic and set a real tone for the album - `True love way' (love it, especially the late track speed-up), `Ragoo' (Skank-rock?) and `Fans' (pounding anthem, my favourite at the moment). It just keeps on giving and there is more to discover on each listen.

In short it is musically impressive although they have always sounded pretty tight to me, lyrically an improvement over the first two albums: for example on the slightly gospel sounding `Runner' - `She comes from nothing, hoping for a taste of fame, she's got a birthmark, a birthmark the shape of Maine', and from `Knocked up' - `I don't care what nobody says, I'm going to be her lover, always mad and usually drunk, but I love her like no other', it just fits together so well. For me no question about it, best album of the year so far, if greatness isn't already upon them by now it will be soon.

Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever
Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: 7.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cribs best so far, 21 Jun 2007
Following up `The new Fellas' was always going to be a difficult job for the Cribs, so I approached this album with anticipation but didn't get my hopes too high.

The fact that they have bettered an album that was one of the best in 2005 is some achievement - the production may still not be all there, but I think that adds to their charm, and the tunes themselves certainly stand up against anything else out there at the moment.

Tracks one to five stand out the most, the single `Men's needs' being the highlight and the standard rarely drops, perhaps one or two of the latter tracks are a bit throwaway but as a whole it's a really enjoyable experience. In fact my favourite track is probably `Be safe', it's very different from most of their other songs and the poem being read throughout is a work of genius.

If you like either of the previous offerings from the Cribs then you won't be disappointed, I certainly think with their last two albums they are proving to be one of the best British bands around.

Half-Life 2 (Xbox)
Half-Life 2 (Xbox)
Offered by Lucianorder
Price: 9.49

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Half life, remembered, 21 Nov 2005
This review is from: Half-Life 2 (Xbox) (Video Game)
I have just finished this game (as it is actually out now!) And I can confirm that I have had one of the best gaming weekends of my life. Yes that sounds a little sad, but if you love your Xbox and a quality FPS, then you must own Half life 2.
From start to finish the experience is second to none, it’s a game world you feel fully immersed in from the moment you calmly step off the train in the first level through the unrelenting action that follows right up to some frantic battles in the later levels. Valve really have surpassed themselves in cramming this game onto the Xbox. Forget about what PC owners say, sure it does look noticeable that its inferior at times and you can actually hear your console whirr away attempting to load some screens, but that is missing the point because it more than stands up against other Xbox shooters such as Halo, albeit in the sense that it feels more ‘real’. It certainly beats everything else hands down for sheer size and looks – the corridor sections for example easily surpass Doom and the vast outside driving sections quite frankly embarrass the likes of Far cry and that is no easy feat.
So the aesthetics of HL2 are near perfect, what of the game play? You will not be disappointed. Fans of the first game will recognise many weapons from the trusty crowbar to the all powerful magnum, add to this some great new editions namely the gravity gun, which really shows off the games physics engine perfectly, and you have a varied arsenal at hand which is mostly great fun to use. Some old enemies return too – the head-crab zombies are a favourite (although its mainly the new humanoid Combine that die at your hands throughout) and there is the shady man in the black suit that you will catch the odd glimpse of from time to time. It all helps to keep the story flowing while you blaze or drive your way through set pieces aplenty and levels that really beggar belief at times due to the class of their layout. So what are the problems then? Well there really aren’t any. The occasional long loading screen may slightly annoy you and there is no multiplayer, but so what! Enjoy this game for what it is, an excellent one player experience, a classic first person shooter which at times has A.I. good enough to make you believe your fellow comrades are real people fighting with you. The variety of firepower, the differing human and alien enemies you face (with nods to Aliens, The matrix and War of the Worlds all thrown in the mixer), and the imaginative levels all add to the experience.
I think this may be the last and probably best game of its type to grace this generation of consoles. It really is worth the five stars and more for an outstanding achievement that proves games can live up to and exceed your expectations – you owe it to yourself to play this, go on…They’re waiting for you Gordon.

2nd Tindersticks Album [Includes Bonus Disc]
2nd Tindersticks Album [Includes Bonus Disc]
Price: 12.60

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second best Tindersticks album, 14 Nov 2005
The fragile voice of Stuart Staples and the exquisite combination of the Tindersticks mini-orchestra return for their second album; and whilst it’s not as accomplished as its older brother, the wide range of styles across the tracks only serve to highlight the real gems from the rest.
Herein lies the only real problem with the album, in my opinion many of the tracks can easily be discarded as average and just fill the gaps between the extraordinary stand-out songs. The first of these is worth its weight in gold though – ‘My sister’, lyrically it’s a masterpiece in spoken word from the very start – ‘Do you remember my sister? How many mistakes did she make with those never blinking eyes? I couldn’t work it out. I swear she could read your mind, your life, the depths of your soul at one glance’, and musically it reaches Olympian heights and may well still serve as their finest song. This is followed by ‘Tiny tears’, which is one of the best ballads written about love gone wrong you will ever hear. Two other tracks are worth sticking on repeat and they are ‘Seaweed’, which has a sublime and haunting piano rift that eventually gets under your skin. Plus the triumphant ‘Mistakes’ which slowly builds before sweeping you away and really should have been the finale.
I don’t want to be too critical of the Tindersticks as a band, as this is a very worthy follow up to their first release, and again this version is ably supplemented by an extra live CD which includes some of their best songs. It’s just a more hit and miss effort, so be prepared for a less polished album than the first one, still they remain head and shoulders over many of their peers.

1st Tindersticks Album [Includes Bonus Disc]
1st Tindersticks Album [Includes Bonus Disc]
Price: 12.78

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tindersticks finest, 9 Nov 2005
The Tindersticks first album is still arguably their finest, mainly because the highpoints are much more numerous than on their following offerings. Added to that now is the bonus of early demo material, mostly related to the ‘proper’ versions found on the first CD, but a worthwhile addition to an already great package.
Strings, piano, brass and all manner of instruments plus Stuart Staples voice combine to make Tindersticks what they are, at worst a late night working men’s establishment/cruise ship combo, with the voice of Vic Reeves club singer (alright it’s a cheap shot, really the guy has one of those fantastically original voices), at best a band that sum up the atmosphere of a smoky evening in a city bar, capable of tugging your heartstrings in a hundred different directions. True they may be an acquired taste but over the last twelve years or so they have produced some fine records with this as their pinnacle.
Once you come to terms with the melancholy subject matter of many of the songs you soon realise how accomplished the lyrics and musical accompaniment is; the lazy drawl of ‘nectar’ contrasting with its up tempo strings lures you in, ‘blood’ is understated and sublime, ‘city sickness’ is slick and was obvious single material, whereas ‘patchwork’ and ‘the not knowing' are simply beautiful. Added to this the rage of ‘Jism’ which builds to crescendo and ‘the drunk tank’ which is both poignant and moving, it all comes together as a fine collection of songs. Perhaps the only criticism of this album which in the original format I owned (double vinyl LP) is the almost experimental feel to some of the filler songs in between the more palatable three to four minute songs, note – ‘sweet sweet man’ pts 1-3 and tyed/tie-dye.
On this note it is worth mentioning that the bonus CD comes with some very listenable demos for fans and newbie’s alike, including a fine full version of ‘sweet sweet man’ and the quite simply sexy ‘for those…’. It’s well worth five stars and once you have realised your life has been emptier without the Tindersticks in it, check out their second album (including possibly their best song ever ‘My sister’) and also the soulful ‘Simple pleasures’. They may have waned in recent years with some of their releases (and I would steer clear of their film soundtracks!), but this album in particular shows what fine songwriters and musicians they are and that they really deserve the highest praise.

The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) [DVD]
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Billy Bob Thornton|Frances McDormand|Michael Badalucco|Adam Alexi-Malle
Price: 3.99

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coen gold, 10 Feb 2004
Ed Crane is the chain smoking barber and the man who wasn't there, one of the latest offerings from the impressive Coen brothers. Crane is played by Billy Bob Thornton who in character narrates this bleak film noir vision of an ordinary and invisible man, whose life spirals out of control due to a set of related incidents. There is murder, betrayal and blackmail plus also a slight glimmer of hope for the main protagonist, but there are larger issues at stake here which sets this film apart from its contemporaries.
The plot is set around the murder of a local business man - a distinctly unlike able James Gandolfini ('Big' Dave) and Crane's wife played superbly by one of the Coens favourites - Frances McDormand finds herself as the prime suspect. Things are much more convoluted than that of course, but to discuss the finer points of what happens from here would spoil too much of the plot. What is striking from the moment you start watching this film is the superb performance Thornton puts in, never has a character so openly taciturn and mundane been played with such emotion. You cannot help but feel sorry for Crane, especially when he finds himself in the dock for a crime he did not commit and despite his misgivings, the way Thornton portrays him can only lead you to empathise thoroughly with the mans plight. McDormand once again builds on her reputation from roles in previous Coen brother films, notably Blood simple and Fargo and the rest of the support cast put in good performances especially Tony Shaloub (Monk!) as the big shot lawyer from out of town.
What also makes this a highly likable and original film is the beautiful photography and the music score which suits the pace of the movie perfectly. Although this may not be the Coens most palatable film it is certainly a bold adventure which works well and can sit proudly amongst their finest. Do not be put off by the fact that this is shot in black and white or that the pace of the film can seem slow at times - it is the ideal antidote to much of what is produced in Hollywood. It is also hard to imagine Billy Bob Thornton in a finer role, he plays a man ignored by society, an ordinary man trying to live his life in an ordinary way - he cuts hair. Yes this is a depressing tale of a man with no real place in our world, a man who until he does something extraordinary or notorious will never receive recognition. It is a tale common to modern society and for that fact alone I can highly recommend this film.

Lost in Translation [DVD] [2004]
Lost in Translation [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Bill Murray
Price: 1.25

39 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murray's finest hour, 9 Feb 2004
Ok so this isn't a review of the DVD and all the possible extras that may come with it, but I have just been to the cinema to watch this film and it is simply the best thing I have seen in years....and it comes up against some pretty stiff competition!
Why is it so good? In a nutshell - Bill Murray. The guy is a comic genius and a master of 'the face tells a thousand stories'.
The premise behind Lost in translation is a very simple one - two people in a foreign city (Tokyo) and a culture that is alien to them meet and befriend each other over the course of about a week. They come from totally different backgrounds, Scarlett Johansson (who puts in her finest role to date) plays a recently married young girl who is intense but also fun loving - opposite Murray's sarcastic battle weary old actor (so he plays himself then!) somehow they hit it off, mainly because the people around them are either fawning, boring fellow westerners or incomprehensible Japanese locals and a very genuine tale of friendship ensues.
Sounds boring? Not at all - this is far from the average business trip encounter, it is infused with some of the funniest Murray moments ever, his whisky commercial impersonations and talk show appearance are just amazing pieces of film - you may not laugh out loud every time but you will certainly see the comedy in some of his merest facial contortions! Johansson is the perfect foil, she is the eye candy to Murray's grizzled features and the on the on-screen chemistry despite the age gap is easy to see. Throughout the film as they get to know each other and a relationship blossoms the more you feel compelled to watch on, at times both are thoughtful and reflective and at other times extrovert and Imaginative - the karaoke scenes in particular are fantastic!
In short there are absolutely no reasons why I cannot recommend this film to you, it is a bittersweet tale of random people meeting under unusual circumstances, connecting and then enjoying each others company. It is both sad in parts, funny and uplifting but also at times the feeling of being alone despite being surrounded by a sprawling metropolis could never be portrayed more vividly. Add to this a soundtrack which complements the atmosphere of the film beautifully and you are in celluloid heaven.

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