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Godfrey (Essex, UK)

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The Death Of You And Me
The Death Of You And Me
Offered by TM Stores
Price: £4.99

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Let's Hope the Album is Better, 2 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Death Of You And Me (Audio CD)
Honestly, this isn't a good single. If anything the B-Side is better. 'The Death of You and Me' is part 'The Importance of Being Idle', with what I've always considered an ill-advised falsetto from his Noelness and part 'Lyla' with a plodding percussion which frankly gets on my nerves. Yes there's a brass section playing a swanky tune at the end, but all it does is put me in mind of subpar Tom Waits or one of those scenes in comedy films from the fifties where the main character wonders drunkenly out of a bar. The lyrics are typical of Noel Gallagher (ie. rather formulaic), but that was never a problem when the music was decent. 'The Good Rebel' is marginally better, but is again let down by a lack of lyrical imagination and slightly staccato drumming. Frankly 'AKA...What A Life!' is a far superior song and why it wasn't the first single for the upcoming album only Noel Gallagher can tell. Call it misplaced faith, but I still think he's amazing and that bought him a star.


Fantasies
Fantasies

4.0 out of 5 stars Metric (finally) get it right!, 16 Jun 2011
This review is from: Fantasies (Audio CD)
Metric have always had a certain consciously 'cool' quality to them which has up until now somewhat overshadowed their music. Rather than fighting the pop sensibilities which let's be honest, are always going to come to dominate a keyboard centred indie band, they've finally embraced them and the results are that consistent combination of catchy AND cool which only occasionally fought its way out of 2005's 'Live It Out'. It's not a uniformly spectacular album, with 'Twilight Galaxy' dragging on a bit too long, 'Gold Guns Girls' too repetitive and 'Stadium Love' just sub-par, but this is by far and away the best album Metric/Emily Haines has produced and there is a lot to be positive about. 'Gimme Sympathy' is easily the most accessible track on the album, but the calmer, more enchanting (and unusually lyrically heartfelt) 'Collect Call' probably has the most catchy chorus. Equally 'Blindness' is highly addictive (I listened to it over and over when I bought this album) given you're prepared to wait for it to get into its flow. The rest of the album is solid, if not remarkable. 'Help I'm Alive' is really good, but the acoustic version (not available on every version of this album) is better; when Emily Haines says she trembles on the acoustic version, you can actually hear (and believe) it. All in all this is a solid album. It's more accessible than much of Broken Social Scene (of which Haines is a part time member) or Haines' solo material, yet suitably off the beaten track for most people, or at least those unfamiliar with the Canadian scene.


The Eraser
The Eraser
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £8.34

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You wouldn't even been looking at this if it weren't 'Him' the genius behind 'Them', 10 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Eraser (Audio CD)
This is what Amnesiac would've sounded like if Johnny Greenwood was in a coma during its recording. You won't be surprised, it's lyrically bloody miserable and without the rest of Radiohead behind him to musically (this is music remember) articulate all of those sombre reflections Yorke is basically left complaining about the state of the modern world and how we all struggle with it (which, mind you, he does very well) with samples going on behind him. 'Black Swan' is the only stand alone track and even then it's nothing mind blowing...which is probably why no one has heard it since the summer of 2006. If Yorke had had any truly amazing tracks he was hardly going to put them out on this shoestring album when he was a member of one of the greatest bands of all time, and this was born out by the far superior 'In Rainbows' which came out a little more than a year later. 'In Rainbows' had tracks on it that had been in Yorke's hands for years ('Nude' for instance was a Radiohead live favourite long before 2007) and yet did not appear on this album. Be honest with yourself, would you even be looking at this if it weren't Thom Yorke? A lot more people do this stuff far better than he does, if only because (unlike Mr Yorke himself) they actually have to. Do yourself a favour and plunder the Radiohead back catalogue (including B-sides and the much over looked 'I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings') first before you buy this. It's passed its 'hip' sell-by date anyway.


Buy the Ticket Take the Ride
Buy the Ticket Take the Ride
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £24.50

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some AMAZING tunes, but not strong as an album., 10 Jun 2011
I'll be honest, I bought this album entirely for "Let It Go", which utterly blew me away when I first heard it and is still amazing to listen to. It's haunting, sinister and got just such a cool groove to it. I really hoped the rest of the album would be half as good, which it is, just. A darker, more repetitive Brian Jonestown Massacre would be one way to describe Black Ryder...another would be to say a worse Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, but if you like either of those bands you'll know that's hardly a criticism. Guitars are heavily layered, distortion peddles constantly kicked and the percussion sounds like someone lazily building a shed (in a good way). The only problem is that most of the songs are so laid back that they're incapable of standing up in their own right. They feel too restrained and too often through this album I found myself wishing they'd drop the relaxed, almost hypnotised jam session routine and 'kick it up to eleven' for a bit à la BRMC. "Outside" and "All That We See" are both decent, but not memorable and "Burn and Fade" is the best of the effects laden atmospheric tracks, but "Let It Go" remains the only track on this album to consciously go back to...what a track though!


Future Primitive
Future Primitive
Price: £6.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Remember when they rocked?, 10 Jun 2011
This review is from: Future Primitive (MP3 Download)
I've been faithful to the Vines far more than most since Winning Days was panned by the critics in 2004 for not being original enough (I actually thought it was brilliant), and I've been willing to forgive the rather blaring holes in Vision Valley and Melodia for the most part as well, but Future Primitive is frankly a massive disappointment. Let's face it, Craig Nicholls was never going to win any originality contests, but through the first two Vines albums at least he did one thing and he did it well; namely producing rock songs filled psychedelic harmonies, grunge ridden distortion and a (refreshingly uncontrived) punk attitude. Some of that is still in evidence on Future Primitive, though none of it sounding as well thought out as it did on Highly Evolved or even the better parts of Vision Valley or Melodia. The real problem with this album though isn't the declining standards of Nicholls' song writing (a condition which has frankly been in evidence since 2004), it's the attempt to inject a different sound into a band which did orthodox rock so well. The experimental instrumental 'Outro' (the longest song on the album, but still under the four minute mark) is a horrendous cacophony of backwards drum beats, tempo changes and twisted vocal yells that sound like a those of a sheep locked in a room with a lonely shepherd. It's terrible. It's the Vines' 'Number 9' and The Beatles only got away with that one because it was the late 60's and they were The Beatles. There are other departures from traditional Vines territory too; 'Cry' and 'All That You Do' contain terrifyingly 80s keyboards and 'Future Primitive' actually has a bass drop (yeah, like in dubstep!). These changes wouldn't be so bad if they worked, but they don't. 'Future Primitive' would sound just as good/bad without the thumping low frequency oscillation and 'All That You Do' doesn't need Depeche Mode-esque keyboards. The Vines were brilliant because they were a no nonsense guitar driven rock band that came out in an age still largely dominated by the likes of Fatboy Slim and Moby. The more orthodox Vines songs such as 'A.S.4', the latest (and worst) in the 'Autumn Shade' series and the boring Gimme Love display how far the Vines have fallen since 2002's Highly Evolved (every track of which was an absolute howler). The only song I found myself listening to again with enjoyment was S.T.W. (another homage to an earlier and better Vines song), but even that has been partially sullied by the use of a cheesy sounding keyboard where a heavy guitar riff would've been a few years ago. On the negative side then, The Vines have finally hit that rock bottom they've been heading for since 2004, on the positive, the only way is up!...I hope.


Youth in Revolt
Youth in Revolt
Price: £17.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too conscious of itself, 3 Jun 2011
This review is from: Youth in Revolt (Audio CD)
There's a quality in most Michael Cera films (by accident or design) that leaves the music attempting to play a larger role than just the soundtrack of an awkward young man inexorably ending up with charming individualistic women far out of his league. The only problem is that this music is a bit too conscious of its joyous innocence, a bit too frivolous and a bit too 'I bet you've never heard of these guys'. It's got all of its 'indie'-coming of age-rom-com bases covered. There are banjos (Little Wings), aged pop songs that are more catchy than good (Bananarama), early 60's French music that would sound more in place in a Stella Artois advert (Dutronc), and even an instrumental from Cera himself. The instrumentals worth listening to are John Swihart's though, as he produces the same sort of simplistic, 'dancing through the fields' pace that was in evidence in Napoleon Dynamite and which for all of its frivolity can't but help bring a smile to your face. The best track (and the reason I took enough interest in the soundtrack to begin with) is easily When U Love Somebody by the Friut Bats, which is probably why it was featured twice in the film, but even this is lyrically lacking. There are other songs worth a listen (Happiness Trigger for instance). The only problem is that for all of the (heavily folk influenced) indie posturing, the songs lack gravitas, which is fine for a film about an awkward 16 year old trying to get his leg over, but can leave something wanting when played by themselves...unless you actually like Jo Stafford that is, but then why would have you seen a Michael Cera film?


Mouthfuls
Mouthfuls
Offered by Renegade Sports Group Limited
Price: £3.81

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eight years is enough time to get some perspective., 3 Jun 2011
This review is from: Mouthfuls (Audio CD)
Now that the indie-folk scene has had nearly a decade to wear thin it's probably best if we all took a bit of a step back and calmed down. Musically this album is fairly solid and on first listen it manages to tick most of the boxes for having on in the background on sunny sunday. There are certainly tracks that would not sound out of place in many of those independent comedic dramas that nevertheless contain sizable hollywood names, but there are problems. Lyrically (and lets face it, with a lack of instrumental experimentation, this genre relies on lyrics more than most) this album has serious holes. The entirely superfluous Track Rabbits is a perfect example of semi-instrumental gone all wrong and its continuous 'la, la, las' only serve to underline that Eric D. Johnson seems to have run out of ideas. The only problem is even when he has ideas they aren't anything astounding. Heavy with allusions to nature we are told that 'wind blows', 'tree trunks have rings', 'little acorns become mighty oaks' and various other philosophical musings which would not be out of place in a primary school science lesson. This in itself wouldn't be so bad if they weren't delivered (over and over again) with such a conviction of originality. The verses can (and do) become repetitive (particularly the numerous, airy 'ooooohs'), but provided you don't pay too much attention to them there are some undeniably good hooks (particularly in When U Love Somebody and Magic Hour). Indeed it's worth mentioning that the only song to fully avoid the clichéd nature tales (When U Love Somebody) is easily the best, filled with a sunny disposition which makes up for the fact that it only has only one verse repeated over and over again. But at most two stand-out songs and a few other tolerable ones do not make a good album. That said eight years later it has stood Fruit Bats in good stead if not simultaneously aging as well.


Passive Me, Aggressive You
Passive Me, Aggressive You
Price: £6.89

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's all calm down a bit., 3 Jun 2011
Reading the reviews of this album on amazon ('beyond music!' 'the sound of 2011!') you'd be forgiven for thinking that The Naked & Famous were some combination of John Lennon, Dubstep and Jesus. Frankly though, I'm not concerned with the 'sound of 2011', only the sound of their music. This is a brilliant, solid, highly enjoyable album and they're already proving to be the biggest (and best) thing to come out of New Zealand for years (OK, that's not hard when the main competition is The Flight of the Conchords, but still). I listened to little else for days when I bought this album it's still more than decent six months later. Their sound, though not unique, is certainly distinctive and ideal for festivals (this album has 'Glasto' written all over it). It's not musically complex, or even ridiculously catchy, but the thumping bass and combination of distorted guitars and crystal clear keyboards just make you want to move. The stand out songs include the singles Young Blood and Punching in a Dream, but also the less well known (but fantastic) Girls Like You, which is bound to feature of several upset teenager boys' mix-tapes this summer (though that's not a criticism in this case). The Sun (an all too familiar story of hangover ridden post-coital shame) also has a sinister, haunting quality to it which is just so cool. If I had a complaint about it, it would only be that the promised crechendo isn't impressive enough, but I'm nitpicking really. No Way also has a brilliant breakdown at its end which makes one lament that the rest of it isn't as good.
There are holes, people could find Alis Xayalith's voice trying (though I don't), Jilted Lovers tries (and fails) to cover its emptiness with shedloads of distortion and The Ends, with its annoyingly 80s guitar lick, is a needless interlude, but again, these are hardly massive complaints and at worst you can just click the 'next' button (you won't have to much). It's definately a contender for best album of 2011 and does deserve far more accolades than it has recieved, particularly given the competition from summer's sub-par festival bands. So this is one of the few times you can actually believe the hype.


Melodia
Melodia
Price: £10.60

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Improvement on Vision Valley, but that's not saying much., 3 Jun 2011
This review is from: Melodia (Audio CD)
I looked forward to this ablum, I really did. Having been a fan of The Vines since NME proclaimed (perhaps unwisely in retrospect) them the 'saviours of rock' almost ten years ago I expected this to be a return to form after the disappointing Vision Valley and it is...ish. Let's be honest, Craig Nicholls has never been the most original song writer, but then the mantra of 'if it isn't broke, don't fix it' is one that stood The Vines in good stead through their first two albums (yeah, I actually think Winning Days was an amazing album). As a result this is more of what would best described as a more melodic Kurt Cobain singing John Lennon songs. The only problem is that whilst still delivered with the same sort of conviction and gravitas as always, the quality of the songs aren't what they used to be. As the title would suggest this is a far more melodic album than Vision Valley, though there are certainly tracks with their fair share of the balls out rocking which made the Vines a name in the first place (Braindead for instance). One only needs to look at the track titles though to see that Nicholls has run out of ideas to some extent (Kara Jane a nod to the far superiour Mary Jane from Highly Evolved and Autumn Shade III, which is nothing to versions I and II). Equally some of the weightless, atmospheric vibe so in evidence in Mary Jane or Amnesia has fallen away, exposing a blandness to the lyrics which was always there to some extent, but not always never noticeable. True as the Night is a perfect example; the beginning is plodding, the lyrics are almost comically simple and the strings sound misplaced, but then half way through it finds its pace, Nicholl finds his voice and it becomes a gloriously floating, musically stirring statement of what might have been. And that's the problem with this entire album, some of the songs are catchy, some of them are stirring, the harmonising on A Girl I Knew in particular is classic Vines, but there is something to complain about (lyrically, lengthwise or just musically) on all of these songs where there wasn't in 2002 or 2004. The problem is we all know 'what might have been' because Highly Evolved and Winning Days tell us so. If you're a diehard Vines fan who's spent the last decade defending them to everyone who jumped ship when Winning Days came out, then get this album. If you're not, then buy Highly Evolved and Winning Days, become one and get this before you get Vision Valley.


Philharmonics
Philharmonics
Price: £6.49

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes it's delightful, but there's a lot of that about., 6 May 2011
This review is from: Philharmonics (MP3 Download)
Philharmonics is a delightful and charming album from someone with undeniable musical talent, but frankly one hasn't had to look far to find such albums in the last ten years. Even within the relatively small cross section of angelically voiced female singer songwriters, heavily influenced by decidedly aged music (English folk songs or pre-war jazz), with interesting names and from Nordic countries, the Icelandic Emilíana Torrini provides staunch competition. This album is full of piano work, but only at the end of many songs (such as the beautiful last few seconds of Just So) does the music truly flow and one become aware of Obel's skill. Some songs simply feel plodding with distinctly Chopin tinged flourishes added on as an after thought, which would be manageable if the lyrics were truly impressive, but they aren't. They're not bad, just not mind blowing, which is a bit of a shame for a heavily lyric driven genre. I know it's a lot to demand complex, poetic metaphors from someone who speaks English as a second language, but Emilíana Torrini manages it and English is her third. It's a fine album, and certinaly one I'll listen to again and again, particularly when writing, but few of the songs stand out, which makes the lack of variation from track to track all the more apparent.


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