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Scarhurzt "if you got a problem with my review then jus go back to your corner!!!" (London)

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Fabriclive 37
Fabriclive 37
Price: £7.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clubstep classic., 14 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Fabriclive 37 (Audio CD)
Now 6 years on from the original release, this record serves as a reminder of what once was in the dingy clubs of east central London. This is an introspective album in just about every way. It is a shout out for a scene which celebrated originality with conformity. It blends a mix of club sounds with the trademark lo-fi sub sounds that dominated London during the late naughties. Its theme is egocentric, a remark upon the genres growing popularity among the electronic underground venues at the time of its release. Its sound is huge, bombastic, intimidating and eclectic. The mix is not of the best quality (messrs Caspa and Rusko were probably far to out of it on the night to really expand on their sounds on the decks) but this shouldn't, and probably won't, matter to anyone who isn't a DJ. The list of songs is undeniably amazing. Why bother editing them any more than they have? Soo many classics of the genre to be found and some lesser known but still cracking tracks to fill the gaps. This collection is not only a seminal work from two of the most important producers involved in bringing Dubstep to a wider audience, but also a timeless celebration of a moment when these and like minded producers felt invincible. True oldschool steppas may discredit it for being too commercial. Let them. This is what resulted from organic populism and creativity in the genre. And its nothing short of brilliant...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2015 1:08 AM BST

The Fauns
The Fauns

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bristol's answer to club music... a revival of the shoegaze ethic, 12 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Fauns (Audio CD)
Whilst the protégée's of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Ride often aspire to such lofty heights as their great shoegaze contemporaries, none to date have assimilated themselves quite so directly to their predecessors as The Fauns. Possibly a reflection of the lack of time with which respectable bands have had to separate themselves appropriately from the aforementioned masters of the genre which was quipped as the 'scene which is in love with itself', the Fauns, have certainly attained a respectable level of notoriety in the past year. They have toured the UK and are currently touring Europe, a commendable feat when considering the lack of commercial popularity behind the shoegaze genre during the 1990s. So is there a revival of the genre in sight? Nu-gaze has pushed the cause on indefinitely during the 2000s. Bands such as Kyte, Presents for Sally and New York's Butterfly Explosion have worked tirelessly to resurrect the sound of 1991 into a modern adaptation of mystical lyrics, wavy melodies accompanied by a wealth of technology available to modern musicians. But what can be said for The Fauns' self entitled album?

This band has a wealth of talent and inspiration to draw upon, and what they have managed to achieve is a crisp and beautiful collection of songs which pass on the torch of Nu-Gaze to a modern audience. The strength in this album lies in its versatility. The tracks each take on a different aspect of the ability of shoegaze to inspire, transcend, subdue, amaze and conquer the minds and hearts of listeners. Its reverence for the past masters is apparent from start to finish and in some ways makes this an amalgamation of just about everything shoegaze epitomises.

There is no doubting the musical ability of The Fauns. 'Lovestruck' begins with a chiming, immersing melody and the whispered sigh of Alison Garner: 'You and I, with bright lights. Sight, by cycling tonite.' (correct me if I'm wrong) as the drum beat offers a strong rhythm over a chorused guitar. How much more 'shoegaze' could the beginning of this album be? 'Cool Stuff' then takes the listener into the world of the Fauns' synth sound which act, for the most part, as the melancholic mood setter and backing to this album alongside the beautiful bass lines, ranging from the soothing to the anxious. The blend of guitar noise is far from hectic but far more constructed and moderate than one might of thought. The band achieves a recognisable layered sound which can be heard in almost all of their songs as the predominant feature of their sound. In doing so they conjure up a much more 'Ride' like sound in their songs which is interjected from time to time with the drive of Slowdive and MBV.

The fourth track really catalyses the arena rock style, on leading to tracks like 'Road Meets Sky' and 'Deranged' which conclude in the mellow finale of '1991', a song about Garner's experience of shoegaze scene of the 1990s. The drive of the album in parts allows the band a more expansive use of their songwriting ability to produce fantastic swirling, eddying tracks like 'Black Sand' and 'Fragile' where the synths really come into their own alongside the hollering, distorted guitars. A bonus track at the end can be merited for its Shields-esqe experimentation with sound, utilising the full extent of modern technology to produce a truly disorientating and yet masterful wave of sound.

At times this album attains a sort of outspoken status, as if criticism would be above and beyond necessity for such a piece of anachronistic music. Indeed, the Fauns have produced a work of art, a mark of respect to the relic that is My Bloody Valentine's 'Loveless' and a tribute to the sacred tome (so to speak) of Ride's 'Nowhere'. Garner's voice in particular had me entranced in its clear, unfettered purity which contrasts beautifully with her bold and typically mystical lyrics. The texture and mastering on this album leave little to be desired, with a vast range of musical resources being used to set this album apart from other contemporary shoegaze bands. The Fauns are an indisputably adept band and this eponymous debut is a testament to their capabilities. But what the Fauns must be credited with more than anything else is achieving a sort of misplaced grandeur, a confidence in their ability and guile in deploying their talent as alternative songwriters, producing what can only be called a feat of shoegaze. They have cemented themselves as a capable and enduring tribute to the genre.

If criticism is to be found, then it could only be that this band doesn't really try to mark a real signature sound, or a new direction for Nu-Gaze. It is exactly what it says on the label, a passionate journey into the depths of sound, mind, experience and the genre itself. Whilst it transcends the issue of originality by claiming a place for itself among the great shoegaze albums, without an enduring revival of the sound, this band could be lost among the great names of MBV, Ride, Slowdive. I would hope that their current line-up has the musical stamina to produce a new experience for listeners with their second album. I await forthcoming EPs with anticipation.

Silent Alarm
Silent Alarm
Price: £3.93

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent album, music of the 2000's!, 7 July 2009
This review is from: Silent Alarm (Audio CD)
When people review what the signature sound of the 2000's is they will surely have to include the electro-indie guitar sounds of Bloc Party who brought fast rythms to fast guitar riffs.

This album is very very good, a testament to the flexibility of guitar sounds and the catchiness of fast drum beats. What makes this album quite refreshing is that whilst no song could be described as happy, most can have you dancing round like a fool at any party. On the other hand its bold sounds are still interesting enough to make listening to this album all the way through thouroughly enjoyable.

However the one downside is that there are no "signature songs", so to speak, and selecting any specific one that is better than another is not possible. Whilst all the songs are likeable none are 'classics'in their own right which ultimately makes this album sound well rounded but not brilliant.

Okerere's voice is uniquely impressive and the lyrics aim to address a fair few issues about modern life. However most impressive is the synergy between guitar and drums. Rhythms seem to blend in with melody to create a unique upbeat sound on this album that is most impressive in songs such as "Like Eating Glass", "Helicopter" and "Positive Tension".

Overall then a great debut for an already great band. But just wait till you hear Intimacy!!!!!!

Friendly Fires
Friendly Fires
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.54

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good good!, 7 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Friendly Fires (Audio CD)
A very catchy and upbeat album, The Friendly Fires produce a very interesting array of songs which make alot of use of electric influences and places the band into the popular electro-indie sound that is beginning to become quite a hit! The electric sounds on the album are used to create a wide range of moods from the bittersweet to the cheerful to the ominous. A very exciting album to listen to and definately worth giving a few listening to.

Music For The People
Music For The People
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.98

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but with a problem....., 7 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Music For The People (Audio CD)
Well this is a huge crashing rock 'n' roll album if I ever heard one. No electric sounds to be heard, all acoustic instruments used, big riffs, big songs! The album was recorded on tape rather than digitally to give it a real rocking feel. What more could we ask for?? Mabey some more originality in some of the songs...
None of the songs are bad and 'Elephant song', 'No time for tears', 'Sing when you're in love', 'Keep Losing' and 'Silver spoon' are exceptionally good songs in their own right. But everytime I listen to this album the Enemy's influences sound more and more as though they are directing the bands music rather than helping them find their own sound.
The album has a very 'punk' feel to it throughout heard clearly in the lyrics, guitar and hooks. Whilst this is in no way a condemning feature, songs such as 'Nation of checkout Girls', 'Be somebody' and 'Don't break the red tape' are too reminiscent of the ledgends of punk: The Sex Pistols and the Clash. In fact the whole album reminded me alot of London Calling and Never Mind the Bollocks.
Sometimes this simmilarity in sound borders on unoriginality and ruins the album for me slightly as I would prefer in the long run of listening to this to just listen to these other great albums instead of listening to the Enemy's take on them.
Other than this though I cannot find many faults with the album: the lyrics are witty and catchy, the guitar ranges from the rocking to the melodic and quite superb, and the use of acoustic instruments doesn't at all sound out of place on any song.
Overall then a very successful second album....but why not try and expand the sound with the third???

Loveless (Re-mastered By Kevin Shields) (2CD)
Loveless (Re-mastered By Kevin Shields) (2CD)
Price: £7.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A shoegazer epic., 29 Jan. 2009
After listening to this album I had a strange desire to walk around my area at 1:00am... so I did, while listening to Loveless again on my i-pod. It is a very very good piece of music, not a collection of songs but a continous symphony of distorted sound with soaring melodies over wavy riffs.
During my third listening I noticed that the music had sent me into a kind of trance, though i was completely aware of my surroundings and by no means incapacitated physically or mentally, I had stopped 'listening' to the music and started letting it sink into me like a drug. That in truth is what this album is like, its like a fix, once you hear it you want to hear it more and more until finally the stimulation merely satisfies you rather than giving you the buzz. The calm this album allows you to sink into is intoxicating and yet no single strum of the electric guitar is lost on you.
The album is a masterpiece, 'Only Shallow' grabs your attention early on and 'Loomer' sets the mood of the rest of the tracks. From the mystical melody of 'To Here Knows When' to the utterly brilliant climax of 'Come In Alone' to the uplifting ending track 'Soon' you will not find a moment where you are not hooked.
Not an album for the weak of heart, despite its calming effect it is an intense listening to which requires time to appreciate but it is definately time well spent.

Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends (Gatefold Digipack)
Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends (Gatefold Digipack)
Offered by westworld-
Price: £14.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grand indeed., 8 Dec. 2008
Well, Viva La Vida is grand. Its like a massive bulk on the horizon casting an epic shadow over their other albums. But does this make it better or worse?

Lets summarise what most fans already know: Coldplay have been gaining more momentum throughout their career. With it has come a proportional increase in the grandeur of their music. Now that the band have hit every radio in the world, practically, its music has to appeal to a mass audience. In this respect the album is great, world class even.

But there is something missing from this album that made its predecessors uniquely 'Coldplay' albums. Parachutes and Rush of Blood were beautifully contained and shy whilst being intimately emotional and easy to connect with. X&Y retained this template albeit straying into the realms of arena rock in some songs. Now Viva La Vida is here and suddenly the magic has dissapeared!

I don't know why but this album is not anywhere near as good as their debut and second. It is spectacular and yet substantially less spectacular than their previous records. Songs like 'Lost', 'Viva La Vida', 'Violet Hill' are all real Stadium rockers that fill you with images of marching armies, big battles and strife. And yet I find the only song I really end up looking forward to is 'Strawberry Swing'!

So what has changed...well I'm afraid to say that Coldplay's music has Lost its soul! It has become a force devoted only to selling records. I did not find it difficult to believe every word of emotional drivel in Parachutes and Rush of Blood because it was sung with such belief and intensity by Chris and the music was so perfectly, exquisetly fitting to every damn song on both albums. X&Y even managed to have me suckered into the beautiful melodies of 'Fix You' and 'Speed of Sound'. But this album does not connect with me emotionally at all. In fact it leaves me with a kind of empty void in my stomach after each listening. While Coldplay are out trying to tackle issues about war, poverty, injustice here I am trying to figure out why Coldplay are singing about something they don't know anything about.

It is not that I do not commend Coldplay for trying to convey a different message through their album, but the real problem with doing this is that it isn't convincing enough. All the musical influences make this album feel like a world tour and the songs often sound like tracks on mediocre 80's albums. This makes the album totally and I mean TOTALLY insincere. Fitting for an album trying to tackle world wide issues?......Nope...

So how to round up? I think I would have to conclude that:

This is a good album, but it is missing the magic that made the first 2 great. Great for stadium rock concerts but completely uninspired. A massive empty bulk on the horizon.

Surfer Rosa & Come On Pilgrim
Surfer Rosa & Come On Pilgrim
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most influential albums of all time..., 29 Nov. 2008
'Velvet Underground and Nico', 'Srg Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Dark Side of the Moon; these are just a few of the albums that shaped the world of music and influenced every band that precedes them. Surfa Rosa HAS to be counted among them!

The Pixies were like a bomb hitting the music scene with the force only a really special band can. People in 1988 were ready for a band to put the poppy 80's sound away and bring out guitars that were not making white noise or playing single notes over and over again. People wanted catchy tunes with rocking guitar riffs and melodies, people wanted raw, simple lyrics and an outlet for their energy.

The album is an exquisite mix of stunningly powerful vocals, wailing guitar sound, powerful rock guitar backing and some of the most fantastic simplistic drumming and bass work ever.

What made this album great however is how every song was just the right length, not too long but just almost like a glimpse into an issue. In some ways it is what we all wanted. Each song is like a compacted outburst that fills you with energy and probably one of the most skillfully placed tunes that calms you down in the middle of the album proves to be the best song they ever wrote: 'Where is My Mind'.

All the tracks are intense listenings but also accessible for casual listeners because of the catchy lyrics and guitars. Santiago plays wonderful yet brutal solos and can be credited for introducing the attcking guitar phase from the 1990's onwards. Francis on the other hand sings with an emotional rasp untill he hits the high notes which are pure and yet rugged as well. his screams are the most powerful and hard hitting aspects of the album. It is unchained and naked passion bursting out of songs about promiscurity, in-breeding and other such vulgar subjects. Black Francis truly makes this style of singing his own.

The bass and drums can be comended for being brilliantly contained and only what is competely neccessary for each and every song. No bass or drum solos but instead the tone and tempo are provided throughout the album fantastically.

You run out of superlatives for this album, if there was any criticisms of this album it is that lyrics are not for young children, a few songs are played twice throughout the two albums and that Come on Pilgrim is slightly weaker than Surfa Rosa.

Buy this album or be forever ignorant of how a fairly simple band changed the music industry forever!

Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles
Offered by Music-Finder
Price: £14.51

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre electronica, 29 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Crystal Castles (Audio CD)
Well, I will not deny that this album interested me when I first heard 'Alice Practice' at a mates house. A great song, edgy and yet very emotional, quite a punch in the stomach! It seemed finally a band was doing something to break down the barriers between pop and electronica.

Three listenings to the album have left me somewhat confused, though I like the riffs and melodies (and can even stand the video game sounds that make them up) I found that the woman made the whole thing a bit too ridiculous at times. Her voice too often competes with the noise from the DJ, in a bad way, so that you can hardly ever understand what she is saying. This forces you to listen to the mediocre tunes instead which are not where the music's strengths lie. The whole album is split in this way between her angsty, discordant lyrics and the jingly sound of the video game music. It truly disorientates you at times (in a bad way) and leaves the album sounding like two, slightly weak and unfinished albums in your mind rather than one whole and complete album.

Worse still the few tracks which get you interested are often brutally interuppted by a stupid bleeping beginning to another track. It make the ordeal of listening to the album almost unbearable.

The lack of synergy between the proto punk singer and the oddball electronica music makes this a below par album and three stars is for the risk they took recording this (that is if it was a risk). I can only hope they can utilise a wider range of sounds next time to complement her voice, then we might see their true potential as a band.

Rage Against The Machine
Rage Against The Machine
Offered by 247dvd
Price: £3.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album, 31 Oct. 2008
This is most definately an album that deserves at least 3 listenings to from everyone who says they like listening to music because it is very very very good.

The opening title track 'Bombtrack' is a perfect track to listen to to understand this album because it is almost like a round up of everything to come in the rest of the album. Driving guitar riffs and licks (yes licks) from Morello and angsty hip lyrics from Zach. In fact the only thing it really doesn't convey about the album is quite the intricate brilliance of Morello's soloing ability and guitar playing. What made Rage popular back then still holds so much appeal today. Real music fans will revel in this album because they are a truly unique sound and their debut album can easily be counted amongst the greatest rock albums ever.

Be patient with it on first listenings as conservative listeners might mistake it to be too 'Metal' or 'Hip-hop' for their tastes. With a broadened horizon comes the true appreciation of why this album is so great.

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