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Ellie Swell

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Boys And Girls In America
Boys And Girls In America
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars ...Their best?, 3 Jun. 2014
i have been a huge fan of the band and recently ordered this album - when it came i was entirely transfixed all over again. the crystalline springsteen beauty of the music contrasts wonderfully with craig finn's abraisive but plaintive voice. the band are tight, song structures intelligent, and franz nicolay shines on the piano, showering the broad muscular punch of the guitars with a shower of sparks. if anything, i think this album is better than stay positive. (which, to those who have heard it, ought to be saying something).

i would also like to say that i hate to see terrible reviews that are so misguided; one who's girlfriend didn't like it and one who thinks counting crows are 'truly awful' - please don't be dissuaded!

Madadayo [1993] [DVD]
Madadayo [1993] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Akira Kurosawa
Price: £3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars um, 19 July 2013
This review is from: Madadayo [1993] [DVD] (DVD)
i found this film boring. sorry, that's just the way i feel. charming, maybe, but it did drag on a bit. actually it dragged on a lot. i feel bad saying this.

Price: £8.98

5.0 out of 5 stars listen carefully, 2 July 2013
This review is from: Champions (Audio CD)
apparently this kind of music is called math rock. this has something to do with the bands using complicated time signatures, or something. i think the phrase math rock is stupid, but the general idea is 'hey, we're so talented that our music is unlistenable. yay.'

still, it's interesting. there are some slightly odd bits on this album (when i first heard it i was a little perplexed by the ridiculously out of key lead guitar breaks in the first track), but i wouldn't let that put you off - if you give it time the sound begins to make sense. they veer easily from the ferocious to the cautiously melodic; from pummeling crescendos with drums clattering like machine guns, thrashing guitars and screamed vocals, to the gentle swell of clean guitar chords and some neat vocal harmonies.

they pretty quickly won me over, but i would not blame you if you found their ceaseless complexity alienating, or even annoying. it's not so much that they're too 'out there,' more that that is exactly what they seem to be aiming for. this is a seriously talented band, and that fact will not be lost on you, but perhaps they are too talented (or too eager to show it) for their own good. nonetheless, in terms of both tune and rhythm the songs on this album are pretty adventurous, and it is well worth a listen. you need to concentrate on it, but it will reward you.

The Sleep of Reason
The Sleep of Reason
by C. P. Snow
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars interesting, but far from perfect., 1 Jun. 2013
This review is from: The Sleep of Reason (Hardcover)
this is a book i would have berated myself for giving up on. not that i'm in the habit of giving up on books, you understand. part of a series, the sleep of reason is just one small part of a much larger chronicle of the life of a man named lewis eliot. one of the later ones in fact. so, while i attempt to pass some kind of judgement on this book i must also confess that it is the only one of the series (indeed, the only novel by this author) that i have read; i can not, therefore, claim to understand the context of the novel, and potentially it is here that my faults are answered for.

the story is slow. it provides little motivation for the reader to continue (this is not an excuse for my tiny attention span) - i was not inclined to stop at any point but still, this is not a book you'd call 'un-put-downable.' about halfway through (and somewhat inexplicably) a murder trial emerges at the centre of the previously non-existent plot, and it is this that sustains the remainder of the story. along the way there are some interesting philosophical musings -though too few and far between to be particularly meaningful; and while the characters are beautifully drawn, with compelling attention to detail and the nuances of character motivation, this is no dickens.

while i was reading this book i was quite excited about finishing it, so i could get on with something else. at no point did it come together, realize something significant, even command my whole attention - or do anything that you'd expect from a good novel. bland and lacklustre, is how i'd have described it. nonetheless, i have just read the blurb (stay with me here...), and in that context the events of the novel begin to make more sense. although i was entirely convinced that this would not be a book to re-read, i'm now not so sure. it might be worth a go.

whoever you are, reading this, do not trust my word that it is a mediocre book. i expect you're probably reading this not as a prospective buyer but having read the book, and curious about another's opinion. (i presume this because it doesn't seem to be a very well-known book; i picked it up for pennies in a thrift shop and can't imagine too many people are seeking it out). in either case, i wouldn't trust myself. give it a go - i think i might as well. but don't put yourself out over it.

Senor and the Queen
Senor and the Queen
Price: £13.17

5.0 out of 5 stars painful, 31 May 2013
This review is from: Senor and the Queen (Audio CD)
listen to this while you are infatuated with a girl. the music and the lyrics will seep into you insidiously, beautiful and terrible; will coat your bones and command your spirit. when she dumps you, hide it under your bed until the sun comes out again.

Nothing Here Is Perfect
Nothing Here Is Perfect
Price: £14.69

5.0 out of 5 stars sterling work chaps., 16 May 2013
This review is from: Nothing Here Is Perfect (Audio CD)
i've no idea who this band are, but they're good. i can't remember where i got the CD from either. bought it ages ago and got really into it for a week or two, and here i am listening to it again. oh god, it's good. it physically pains me that this group aren't better known: i mean there's no iconoclastic trail-blazing or outlandish genre mashing, but if you like straight up rock music with just a little bit of genius thrown in to keep your interest then I wholheartedly recommend this album. the songs are tasteful and clever as well as catchy and extremely listenable; comfortably adorned with snappy basslines and spine-tingling lead guitar riffs, organ textures and some subtle but effective vocal harmonies. there is not a dud to be heard, and The Wave might well be the best rock song I heard last year. reader, whoever and wherever you are, whatever you like and whatever you end up doing with your life, i sincerely hope that you heed me and buy this. and then send copies to all your friends.

I Predict a Graceful Expulsion
I Predict a Graceful Expulsion
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £9.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars to concur with everybody else on here, 30 Mar. 2013
this album is very very good.

bought it in hmv sale because it was cheap. (at least some good came of their insolvency). i defy you to listen to a song whose opening lyric is 'the mere sight of naked fear choked every limb,' and not want to press on, through every other beautiful word of it. there's something special about an album you can read, as well as you can listen to. (i said this to a friend, and she recommended an audiobook. pah.) more wonderful lyrics populate this record, and lush soundscapes and gorgeous melodies to boot. you will stop what you are doing when you hear it.

(if i was feeling critical i would say that beautiful as it is, those 'lush soundscapes' or whatever it was i said up there have potential to denigrate into a bit of a dirge. i can see some listeners getting bored towards the second side.)


5.0 out of 5 stars visceral, but catchy., 30 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Z-List (Audio CD)
these songs sound as if they were recorded on a radio microphone from outside a gig. they're good songs though, not samey, never boring. if the whole chewed-up and spat out by the dog sound is your bag, this is great. if you're a true-life nirvana fan, you'll love it. if nevermind is your favourite album maybe think twice.

Ghost Ship [DVD] [2003]
Ghost Ship [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Julianna Margulies
Price: £5.25

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars boo, 14 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ghost Ship [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
i would have given this movie two stars, but apparently that means i don't like it. and i do, i mean it's a pretty crappy movie, but also very funny. a cornucopia of tacky jump-scares and stupidly contrived plot developments, that is far too enjoyable not to like.

the first scene is actually wonderful, but it quickly goes awry as soon as 'spooky' things start happening aboardship. at any point when it's not being deliberately ott the movie shoots itself in the foot with a complete lack of subtlety. it manages to waste (or lavishly overdo) the ample opportunity for suspense provided by the rusted hulk of a cursed ocean liner, and the 'terrifying' atmosphere swiftly descends into mirth.

this does not mean, however, that it isn't enjoyable to watch. so buy it and laugh your ass off.

Tool Box
Tool Box
Offered by HANG LOOSE Records
Price: £6.50

3.0 out of 5 stars given the album cover, surprisingly good., 8 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tool Box (Audio CD)
okay, i bought this album because of the low price and because i was tired of always seeing AC/DC and abba at the top of the artists list on my computer. i'm hardly country and western's biggest advocate, and i figured this cd would be at best diverting for a couple of spins, after which i could consign it to the pile and rarely look at it again. my enthusiasm was hardly encouraged by the pictures a quick google search elicited; of mr tippin playing a guitar tastelessly emblazoned with the stars and stripes (although i suppose that is the western spirit) - needless to say, this google search was conducted only after i had placed the order. nonetheless, for a penny plus p&p, i figured there was no losing.

ladies and gentlemen, miscreants and reprobates, this album is NOT INEFFABLY CRAPPY. it actually won me over fairly swiftly, opening with a good stiff 4/4 rhythm (none of that one-two-three, one-two-three line dancing bull), and a nice guitar riff. it's sort of rock/country, does not sound inescapably naff, and is very easy to listen to. mr tippin has a decent singing voice, and although the lyrics are typically maudlin - he's dancing with the devil and a bottle of whisky and he doesn't want to live without your love; you get the idea - you won't find yourself cringing and wanting to shut him up with a ten pound hammer from his tool box. far from it, actually.

i'd recommend this to anyone with no strong aversion to country (more like countryish) music, and fans of almost anything rock or folk. put it on in the car.

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