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Shady Ady "the_velvet_voice" (Norfolk, UK)

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Ecohero
Ecohero
Price: 13.98

4.0 out of 5 stars And I was blown away, into the bluer than yellow..., 12 Sep 2010
This review is from: Ecohero (Audio CD)
Like the previous reviewer, I discovered this wondrous little novelty of an album thanks to hearing two of its tracks on the late night work of genius that was Chris Morris' "Blue Jam". After much painstaking searches to identify the artist responsible, I eventually tracked down and purchased 'Ecohero'.

And what a delightful little oddity it is - quirky, funny, chilled out and mellow one minute, catchy as hell the next. As far as concept albums go, it's certainly one of the most entertaining I've heard, and you could certainly do far worse than the sci-fi tinged eco-disaster theme at play here.

Granted, it is perhaps more than a tad cheesy in places, but sometimes nothing else in my record collection quite fits the bill. The Special Edition version of the CD also includes a separate mini-comic with the front cover booklet/lyric sheet. The comic provides a necessary prologue to the album, and I would strongly suggest that you read this before you listen to the album, as it will help making sense of the ensuing storyline considerably easier for you!

"Liz, come over 'ere a minute - I think I've found a spaceman in t' bracken..."

For those not already familiar with Jackie (a.k.a. Helicopter Girl) Joyce's vocals, these in particular may not appeal to all, since she sounds to all intents and purposes like she's perpetually breathing helium. For me, it's just one of the many little idiosynchrasies that I love so much about the album.

Same goes for the little sequences of dialogue dotted here and there between the songs, little interactions between the various characters of the piece who carry the storyline along: two Aussie friends discussing bizarre weather patterns over the phone, the young hippy couple getting away from the hubbub of city life, trekking across country on their Harley Davidson when they happen across Ecohero and his intergalactic travel companion Kitty Cutanis - coupled with the additional 'cheesy' voiceovers (which frankly I rather enjoy) to help explain events, it all adds up to an oddly engaging mixed bag of ideas.

The songs themselves are rather eclectic too, although they fall predomninantly into either the 'upbeat' or 'mellow' categories. From the smoky jazz stylings of 'Blue', and the sublime chilled-out 'Green', to the irrestistibly catchy 'Helicopter Kinda Girl' and 'Mobilized'. The late-night time slot of 'Blue Jam' certainly suited those last two tracks, and would have equally fit the mood of the album's more introspective moments.

Among the more message heavy tracks, 'Onozone' amuses as much as it preaches, a mostly spoken word layman's dissection of the human race's ruination of the planet. One or two tracks have an eery omninousness that underpin the more serious themes, while providing a nice varied balance of styles.

All in all, a thoroughly entertaining album, and one that I return to on a regular basis - my only gripe with it is that the 'next thrilling installment' promised in the 'Outro' was never realised!


Teo And Tea
Teo And Tea
Offered by FUNTIME MEDIA
Price: 8.83

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So, so far from Jarre's 'genius' best, but naggingly addicitive., 9 May 2007
This review is from: Teo And Tea (Audio CD)
I still consider myself a true fan of Jarre's, but I truly feel he has lost his way since Metamorphoses, and while this is a partial return to form, there is still a considerable distance to cover before Jarre wins my full respect in him as an artist.

I have to say that I find it incredible how many five star ratings there have been for this album - without wanting to sound harsh, that's just blinkered fan-boy optimism in my opinion. It's far too simplistic in its overall tone to be hailed as a work of genius, especially as it is rather lacking when it comes to the quality of compostition that I've come to expect of Jarre - this was my first real gripe with the album, and it still remains the case. He really could have done so much better - as it is the album feels like it was rushed, with very little care involved.

The same was true of 'Geometry Of Love' - a work of staggeringly cold banality. But at least 'Téo & Téa' has a spark of zest about it. But that alone does not a great album make - a truly great Jarre album has heart, and there is precious little of that in evidence here. Also, much of the instrumentation he has used sounds cheap and nasty, with out-of-place samples dotted about unnecessarily. Too many of the songs sound dreadfully sparse from a compositional point of view, something I am not particularly keen on. Minimalism is not what has been employed here, rather a lack of ideas or inspiration. At times the album is just plain ordinary, and calling it 'bland' would be doing it a kindness. But on occasions it does partly redeem itself - the title track and 'Vintage' for me are the two key standouts, and though fairly sparse in structure or depth, they do have a tremendous appeal. The title track alone is at least a return to Jarre's more energetic works of old, even if the melody is somewhat lacking. The same applies to 'Vintage', probably by far the best track on the album, and while it is yet another 'dance' influenced number, it posseses an aching beauty to its melodic core that I've not felt from Jarre's music since some of Metamorphoses' more haunting melodies. That said, this album is far from comparable to 'Meta' or indeed 'Zoolook' - now THERE was evidence of a true pioneering genius; 'Zoolook' is simply a standard of quality that this album couldn't even hope to attain.

Sounding oftentimes far too cheesy and out-dated, 'Téo & Téa' is probably the most difficult of Jarre's albums I've ever had to classify, insomuchas whether I like it, love it, hate it or merely tolerate it. But despite my initial misgivings regarding its cheap and tacky sheen, there has been something about the album that keeps me listening again and again at the moment.

'Like' almost seems a strong word to employ at present, but it has something I can't really put my finger on. 'Téo & Téa' isn't an awful album, it's merely an okay album, and I really do expect something more fulfilling from Jean-Michel Jarre next time. (...)
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 3, 2011 5:44 PM BST


Black Cherry
Black Cherry
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 4.97

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Cherry - An exciting change of pace!, 8 July 2003
This review is from: Black Cherry (Audio CD)
(...) Black Cherry bears all the hallmarks of its predecessor. The haunting, ethereal beauty still lingers, despite the radical new direction that Alison Goldfrapp and her musical collaborator Will Gregory have taken. And what a direction!
A pounding, glam-rock-electro-funk-pop odyssey, it is catchy as hell, and with raunchier, sexier lyrics, is rather more tantalising than fairy tale mysteriousness of Felt Mountain. Opening track Crystalline Green is a terrific introduction, pretty much setting out the stall for the remaining nine tracks - hefty bass lines, lovely retro synths (can't beat 'em!), not to mention that gorgeous voice....
And although first single 'Train' cranks things up a notch, the title track brings us back to Felt Mountain territory, and together with the likes of 'Deep Honey' and 'Hairy Trees (excellent song titles!), should appease those who find the upbeat sound a bit heavy going. Particular favourites would have to be the sexy, catchy 'Twist'(containing the choice lyrics "Put your dirty angel face/Between my legs and knicker lace"), second single 'Strict Machine', and the brilliant opener 'Cystalline Green'. The album tails off slightly with the last two tracks, but this does not lessen the overall effect of the album.
Black Cherry is a more energetic, exciting and vibrant album than Felt Mountain, but Goldfrapp have not compomised their unique sound merely to knock out something more mainstream. (...)


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