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Profile for M. Speller > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
M. Speller "mattwareherts" (Herts, England)

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Offered by Todays Great Deal
Price: £1.44

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Starr* performance, 10 Oct. 2003
This review is from: stellastarr* (Audio CD)
Releasing an album is a momentous feat, that needs to be timed to perfection. After releasing the limited 'Somewhere Across Forever' EP earlier this year, people became aware of this band. Just by the fact that the EP was exchanging hands for as much as £50 a pop, say a lot of this band. I was lucky to see them support the Raveonettes back in May and it was the first time I had heard of them. I was blown away. It was the first time I have seen a supporting band outplay and class a headliner. This mixture of a charismatic front man, an exceptionally talented lead guitarist and a beautiful female bassist seem to be ready to blow the world apart.
The only problem I foresee for Stellastarr* is that they have been labelled as another Strokes. The Strokes, they are not. More on par with Interpol than the Strokes, with there influences coming from the Joy Division and The Pixies. Going back to the timing, the album is released near enough to the Strokes album to be consumed by the mass hysteria that will surround them. This is just very bad timing on the record company's part.
Don't get me wrong, I think the Strokes are equally great, just I feel there is more to American music than just them.
The album it self includes the recently released single Jenny, which is a brilliant track. Also included are two tracks from the aforementioned EP 'Somewhere Across Forever', the title track and No Weather. These two tracks alone will make this album one of the albums of the year.
Being embraced by the music media, where they have not been the open mind to listen to the music, but also passed off as another American Band by those without the decency to see them as individuals, Stellastarr* may have a stormy ride, but hey what a way to ride into the storm.
*** Like:- Joy Division meets Interpol, but not necessarily The Strokes ***

Price: £3.99

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard To Explain..., 8 Oct. 2003
This review is from: O (Audio CD)
Now here is an interesting one. I brought this album on the strength of seeing this guy live at a festival. He managed to fill field he was performing in, and with some really intense emotion and an almost angry performance he impressed a fair few people. My first impression of the album, made me wonder if it was the same guy. After the live show, the album is a little of a let down. Strong album? yeah maybe, just with none of the intensity of the live performance. I also must add that the single, Cannonball, just released is completely different to the version on the album, again it seems to have been spruced up for the public airing.
Disappointed with the initial impression, I listened through the album a couple of times. I began to like what I heard, it grew on me. The only real issue with this album, apart from Damian's ability to change the sound of the album when live, is that you cannot just listen to one song and realise what talent the guy possesses. I think he is a good album artist, but just a single listen to any of the material does not put this across. Albums from similar genre artists like 'The Optimist LP'(Turin Brakes) and Tom McRae (EP) hang together throughout and sounds superb from start to finish, this album also hangs together well. But, it doesn't hold any standout gems that require listening to again and again like 'Underdog (Save Me)' or 'Boy with the Bubblegun'.
Unfortunately I think the best I can label I can give this album, is background music. The guy has the talent, just needs to be a little more positive when expressing it.
*** Like: Badly Drawn Boy solo artist crossed with the gentle song playing talents of Tom McRae and a completely acoustic version of Coldplay 'Parachutes' ***

You All Look the Same to Me
You All Look the Same to Me
Offered by dolandaka
Price: £18.00

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No easy listener – strong and challenging album., 4 Sept. 2003
This is no walk in the park. With seven tracks that last over an hour, two tracks of them lasting over 15 minutes, on the first listen this album can be a hard long slog. There seems to be a plot to most of the tracks, whereby the listener is eased in slowly, blown away then taken down again to the beginning of the next track.
I found there to be a good variety in styles, with a strong electronica dance theme existing in a couple of tracks. What they try to achieve from this album is unclear, as the directions taken contrast. With slow building guitar based tunes mixed with electronica beats, I found myself struggling to be fully consumed on the first ten listens.
The standout track for me is the opener – Again. I brought the album on the strength of this single alone, but at 16 minutes long, the mind does start to wonder.
As a concept album, it works really well. Pushes and pulls in all the correct places, making this a suggestive and an innovative piece of work.
*** Like: Massive Attack crossed with mainstream dance and guitar driven ballads. Strange***

Psychedelic Shack & All Directions
Psychedelic Shack & All Directions

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The deepest funkiest vocal in the world, 28 Aug. 2003
An amazing collection of songs including Papa was a rollin stone and War. War is one of those songs that everyone loves. I had not heard this original version before, being happy with the James Brown cover version, but I was blown away with the brilliance of the version on this album.
You will receive one cd with both albums on it. It comes in a double CD case with a cardboard sleeve.
The best bit by far is whenever the member with the deepest voice I have ever heard sings, it really is like an instrument all of its own.
*** Like: James Brown, Generic Funk***

Iomega 48x24x48 External CDRW Drive
Iomega 48x24x48 External CDRW Drive

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does exactly what it says on the tin, 28 Aug. 2003
I have a laptop, running XP and wanted to have a CD Writer to back up all my files. This writer fitted the bill. I needed to also buy the Belkin USB 2.0 pci card to make it work at its fastest speed.
I brought both from Amazon and am not disappointed. The USB 2.0 card works a treat, the Writer happily works through the card too. It is mega quick, very easy to install and use, the software that comes with the hardware is not bad at all, allowing me to burn all the data very quickly indeed. The software also allows you to choose what sort of task you are going to do, (i.e. Music CD, Data CD, etc) then assists in the best way possible - although it is not annoying like the paperclip in Office 2000! - You can turn the help off if required.
It has met my expectations and was money well spent. Ideal for competent user who wants a robust, quick, non-fussy piece of kit or the first time user.

Chain Gang Of Love
Chain Gang Of Love
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.97

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor follow up to a brilliant debut EP, 27 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Chain Gang Of Love (Audio CD)
Being such a strong supporter of their EP they release last year, I was eagerly awaiting the release of this album. I had heard some of their new stuff when I saw them live as well which I thought sounded superb, but I must admit I am immensely disappointed with this release. Rather than grabbing the bull by the horns and hitting on the same upbeat strong tempo punk/white noise/rock that made them so appealing, they have ventured into a Beach Boys versus Jesus and Mary Chain niche market.
The hard hitting. strong record I was expecting as certainly not materialised and I think the majority of the fan base collated with the first album will be left with a sour taste in their mouth and a dent in their pocket.
*** Like the Beach Boys crossed with The Jesus and Mary Chain ***

Magic and Medicine
Magic and Medicine
Offered by Todays Great Deal
Price: £2.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Coral lose their jewel from their crown, 20 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Magic and Medicine (Audio CD)
Once in a while a band produces a fantastic debut album and then struggles to rise that level for the difficult task of bettering that album with their second release. Also a band may release a debut album which is so experimental and diverse, that the direction chosen for the second album will not match the style of the first. Some bands pull it off with style, i.e Coldplay (Coldplay ep and Rush of blood to the Head))and the Stereophonics(Word Gets Around and Performance and Cocktails). Others though struggle to hold their ground, unfortunately The Coral fall into this category.
My personal opinion on this album is that it fails to deliver the punch of the debut album and whereas the psychedelic elements were so much the main quality of The Coral’s music last year, now these same qualities have been lost when the band have tried to tone down these influences. Subtle undertones just do not seem to work with The Coral.
The hit single ‘Pass It On’ is a standout track. Don’t buy this album if you expect the whole album to be of this same quality and, again, do not buy this album if you are expecting more of the same from the debut album.
To sum it up, The Coral have changed their style to appeal to the more commercial market, like many other bands, and to me disappoint with this attempt to break into the big stage.

The Decline Of British Sea Power
The Decline Of British Sea Power
Price: £8.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Debut of the year?, 20 Aug. 2003
I like an album to be a varied beast. Change in pace and style keeps the listener on their toes and in this album I think that the user will be tiptoeing around until the last chords of the final track.
Starting off with an atmospheric, almost classical track, any calm that may have settled is completely dispelled once the deep, bruising bass line of 'Apologies To Insect Life' hits in. The next couple of songs bite into each other with a frantic almost punky tempo. Then comes the variation, after getting the listeners attention, a set of tracks designed to epitomise the talent held within the band hits home. Strong melodic 'anthems' which touch upon Bowie, Smiths and for added zest Joy Division are the hi-light of this album. 'The Lonely' is an amazingly haunting track which takes the listener back to the great David Bowie days.
Catchy rhythms and strong lyrics take the listener home, which left me scrambling to press the play button again. For an album to so accessible on the first listen that you are humming along during the second listen shows a depth in quality - so rarely seen.
The music journals have lined up to heap praise on this album and for a change I tend to agree.
*** Like Bowie, Smiths, Joy Division ***

The Funky 16 Corners
The Funky 16 Corners
Price: £10.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funking classic, 18 July 2003
This review is from: The Funky 16 Corners (Audio CD)
A rather neat idea to expose the lesser known funky bands in the USA by producing an album that will give these bands a fair share in sales. That alone gets a thumbs up from me. I own the Funk Spectrum trilogy, which I love to death. (Look for Funk Spectrum 1, 2 and 3 separately). This album is on par with those ones, although the one major difference is that where as the Funk Spectrum albums have a variation and allow the user to recover from amazing tracks with a selection of less dirty in your face tracks. This CD though is in your face all the time. That is not a bad thing, but without a little variation it can become a little ‘samey’.
The standout track is the on the album is named after, but the others are just as good., I agree with the other reviewers that this album is brilliant, but as I like a tadge more variation in a compilation I have to knock a star off of it. I’d recommend the fast selling out Funk Spectrum Series if you like a bit of a mix of styles, otherwise this is a sound purchase.

Jetstream Lovers
Jetstream Lovers
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a patch on Beat Your Crazy Head Against The Sky, 18 July 2003
This review is from: Jetstream Lovers (Audio CD)
I have not listened to this album that much. The reason for is that I particularly like the debut album from these guys, which I rate in another plane to this one.
Having drawn comparisons to the Zombies and bizarrely in my opinion Nirvana, the band a have a certain style which lays between screaming Seahorses like guitar solos and composition of the Zombies.
It is not a bad album, but if you like the first album, don’t get your hopes up, as I did. Save your money and listen to the first one again, as it is superior.
*** like Seahorses and Zombies***

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