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Reviews Written by
Alex A.C.M (Chelmsford, Essex)

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Parallel Worlds
Parallel Worlds
Offered by UKMusicFiendz
Price: £10.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This song is quite good. Even though I shouldn't like it..., 20 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Parallel Worlds (Audio CD)
I will admit that I am the person who of the odd occasion is very rarely likely to listen to emo based pop and/or rock a la Fall Out Boy or Panic! At The Disco. But I do make exception for our own Elliot Minor, and this single elaborates on why I'm fond of their music particularly.

Rather like their previous releases "Jessica" and "Still Figuring Out", there is something boundary breaking about them that makes them a good pop band in my eyes. On "Paralell Worlds" not only do they come up with these fantastic vocal arrangements and catchy hooks but they are genius enough to combine it with crashing guitars and hints of euphoric string sections.

In short, they are probably, in my opinion, best filed alongside the adrenalin packed stadium pop that the likes of All American Rejects and Matt Willis have provided us with also. Definitely worth investigation.

Read My Mind
Read My Mind
Price: £3.80

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not all of their second album was rubbish, you know..., 16 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Read My Mind (Audio CD)
If there's one thing bands can often fall prey to and really risk their career on, it's making that second album. And you generally, if history is anything to go by, will either release an album that's just as good, if not better, than your debut (Franz Ferdinand, Scissor Sisters), or you will release something so far removed from what your fans became fans of you for that it's simply not worth anything.

Sadly, the Killers fell into the latter catergory on their second album, 2006's "Sam's Town". When it stands next to their epic 2004 debut "Hot Fuss" it just seems lazy, rushed and uninspiring, as if they had been swallowed whole by the trappings of fame and suddenly of the opinion that they could release a recital of the Oxford Dictionary and get in the top 10. However, this third single off "Sam's Town" was an exception to the bilge.

"Read My Mind" sounded like the "Hot Fuss" single that never was - beautifully ambient with great vocal arrangements, yet still with the hallmarks of classics like "Mr Brightside" or "Smile Like You Mean It", it's no wonder Brandon Flowers from the band was believed to have called this "the best song [he] had ever written". The B-side, a remix of the track by the equally brilliant Pet Shop Boys is the best musical match made, and therefore this is one of the most essential pop singles of the last two years.

Offered by Global_Deals
Price: £1.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guitar licks, drumsticks, and another massive hit..., 11 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Denial (Audio CD)
We're now onto single #3 from the Sugababes' massive fifth album "Change", which, quite rightly, is "Denial". Ever since the album got released last October it's been a fan favourite all round, and it's not hard to see why. Balanced on the same scale as "About You Now", this song is a perfect match.

Whilst it may make more than a passing nod to the Gossip's "Standing In The Way Of Control", it's driving beats and slap bass guitar licks ensure that this irresistable pop ditty will be in your head and on your iPod for days to come. Sense tells you that this will doubtless be another huge hit for the girls.

Can't Speak French
Can't Speak French
Price: £6.75

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I won't bother with a pun filled title for this review..., 27 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Can't Speak French (Audio CD)
Whilst Welsh songstress Duffy tries to make a stab of being a 60's songstress a la Sandie Shaw or Dusty Springfield, Cheryl, Nadine and co win the race by miles with the release of single #3 from the "Tangled Up" album. Their 18th single, "Can't Speak French" sounded like a risky choice of single when the album came out back in November.

But now that the track has been given an all important single mix by Jeremy Wheatley (Rachel Stevens, Lemar, Madonna), it does actually sound a lot more commercially promising. The updated additional drums and twirly synths on the track don't take away too much from the original's shuffly, seductive Burt Bacarach stylings.

The video, in which they gatecrash a tea party in Marie Antoinette wigs and bodices is one of their most fun and colourful since Love Machine. It therefore wouldn't be too risky to suggest this one placing them inside the Top 10 once again when it comes out later next month.

Absolutely Fabulous - Series 4 [DVD] [1992]
Absolutely Fabulous - Series 4 [DVD] [1992]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Saunders
Price: £3.32

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong offering, in spite of what the critics thought..., 27 Feb. 2008
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Though it seemed unlikely to return for another series after "The Last Shout" Christmas special from 1996, Jennifer Saunders defied everyone's expectations when she came back to our screens in September 2001 for a fourth series of anarchic and hedonistic misadventures as the notorious PR doyenne Edina Monsoon in Absolutely Fabulous.

With some old favourites in tow, like Patsy, Bubble and Mother, as well as some new faces like Edina's latest PR conquest Katy Grin, plus some star studded cameos ranging from 60's icon Twiggy through to fashion model Erin O'Connor, Series 4 of Ab Fab might not have always been as consistent as some of the previous series, but despite the critics rubbishing this and Series 5 within an inch of it's life, there are still numerous belly laughs to be had in this series.

Just as Saunders satirised all the trends and neuroses that affected life in the 90's, here too, she mocks those of the Noughties and the new millenium; everything from nu metal concerts in "Fish Farm" (Patsy dressed as Marilyn Manson is a particular highlight) through to tried and tested by Carol Vorderman diets where you only eat meat and water in "Donkey" (containing the highly amusing line about Edina "wanting to take [her] clothes off and not be marked by them").

In terms of storylines and dialogue, the episodes "Fish Farm" (Edina is painfully funny to watch as she tries to flirt outrageously with the gardner Saffy's brought in) "Paris" and "Small Opening", the latter of which seeing Saffy stage a play about her life titled "Self Raising Flower" (not met, naturally, with a good response by Edina or Patsy), are probably the best. The series closer, "Menopause", however, does feels a little inconsistent and I only found myself laughing at the first 15 minutes - I think it's probably Saffy's hallucinations of Patsy that threw me back a little bit there - it seemed too bizzare, even for a show notoriously bizzare as Ab Fab.

Overall, a strong effort of a series from Jennifer, Joanna and co. For a show to have come back like that in the new millenium is no easy task but they obviously dealt with it very well.

Sweet About Me
Sweet About Me
Offered by Discountdiscs-UK : Dispatched daily from the UK.
Price: £7.89

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Victim to a pigeon-holing industry she ain't..., 25 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Sweet About Me (Audio CD)
In the increasingly fickle music business, we are always bombarded with all these "hot tips" from the likes of Edith Bowman or *shudders* Fearne and Reggie as to who will arrive in a cloud of hype and millions of record sales in the new year. BBC News' recent Sound of 2008 poll was a disappointment - the tuneless, po-faced Adele came top, followed by the "new Dusty Springfield" Duffy, suggesting to me that this so called new music had become something of all style and no substance and record companies deciding there and then what the trend was and following it like the sheep that they are.

Thankfully, there's a couple of exceptions to every rule. The exception here being part Antipodean part Greek chanteuse Gabriella Cilmi, who's quietly been beavering away on her forthcoming debut album "Lessons To Be Learned" with Girls Aloud hitmakers Xenomania since 2006.

However, whilst the pigeon holing comparisons to Amy Winehouse will be inevitable (and this next sentence is in no way dismissing Amy Winehouse, because she is an equally talented artist herself) but Cilmi is in a musical field of her own. With a voice that radiates a charm well beyond her 16 years of age, "Sweet About Me" is a sneakily fine effort of a debut single - it's catchy without being too repetitively annoying, and the production is one of the most stripped down but elaborate ever seen in a pop song so far this year. Instinct tells me that this will definitely be one to watch out for in the charts over the next few weeks.

The Journey Continues
The Journey Continues
Offered by Global_Deals
Price: £3.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why can't all dance tracks be like this?, 16 Feb. 2008
This review is from: The Journey Continues (Audio CD)
There's usually two schools of thought to any musical genre; one will be more experimental and forward thinking, the other will always be more driven towards the commercial market. Dance music is no exception, as for every forward thinking dance act (see Hot Chip, Klaxons and Chromeo) there's always going to be a dance act that relies solely on a repetitive beat and "suggestive" video for the FHM readers of the nation (Basshunter, Eric Prydz et al, I'm looking at you).

Thankfully, on this new song from Mark Brown, Positiva Records' head honcho, the gap between both commercial and forward thinking is bridged up successfully. Sampling an aria from Swan Lake best known to all as the Lloyds TSB music and outstanding vocals from Sarah Cracknell (she of indie pop legends Saint Etienne), "The Journey Continues" not only has an element of trip hop cool but also has the hallmarks of a classic #1 record a la Sonique's It Feels So Good or Spiller's Groovejet (a record which incidently enough, Sarah was asked to provide vocals on). An accomplished effort, this is one of the best singles released so far this year by far.

Just / Valerie [CD 1]
Just / Valerie [CD 1]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real UK talent continues to shine..., 5 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Just / Valerie [CD 1] (Audio CD)
Say what you may about Mark Ronson, but there is something extremely unique about him that gives him a real selling point. Even if he has shot to fame with a covers album that's seen him bring in the likes of Amy Winehouse and Robbie Williams to help out, (that album being the now BRIT nominated Version) it's still better than half the albums that have come out in the last 6 months or so. This new single from it is further proof of that fact.

A cover of the old Radiohead track "Just", Ronson brings in the vocal talent of Phantom Planet vocalist Alex Greenwald, best known to all as the band behind the O.C. theme tune "California" which hit the UK top 5 in March 2005.

A slow burner that sees the vocals be just as menacing as that of Thom Yorke's on the original, it brings in, by contrast, the trademark stuttery drums and horn interludes that hallmark Ronson's 60's pop influenced numbers and, whilst is unlikely to reach the dizzying success of "Valerie" or "Stop Me" at this later stage of the album campaign, it is still a very good choice of single and another winner all round for Mark.

I Thought It Was Over
I Thought It Was Over
Price: £5.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Smart slinky pop rock from the days when MOR was still a bit disco..., 3 Feb. 2008
This review is from: I Thought It Was Over (Audio CD)
According to their record company, in 2006, for one in every 5 minutes, a radio station, somewhere, was playing a single by The Feeling from their massive selling "Twelve Stops And Home" album. In 2008, this looks set to be the case once more.

Off the scene since the underperforming final single from their last album, "Rose" from this time last year, the band are back with the first single from second album "Join With Us" that sounds every inch like it's been litmus tested against every radio station going. But in a good way - in fact, make that a very very good way.

Perhaps drawing on inspiration from the band's good friend (and Richard's wife) Sophie Ellis-Bextor, "I Thought It Was Over" is a rollicking discotastic invite to the dancefloor which still carries the band's trademark 70's pop rock sound a la Supertramp. It's their best single since "I Love It When You Call" and certainly deserves a top 3 position at least.

Girls Aloud: Style [DVD]
Girls Aloud: Style [DVD]
Dvd ~ Girls Aloud
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.90

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful hints and a whole lotta (fashion) history..., 1 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Girls Aloud: Style [DVD] (DVD)
I got given this as one of my Christmas presents this year (which is just as well, seeing as I asked for it), but because I've been so busy these past few weeks it's only till last night that I've watched it properly all the way through. And, speaking as someone who nearly wore their Off The Record DVD into the ground, this has got to be the best DVD the girls have done so far.

Letting the cameras follow them around once more, "Get Girls Aloud's Style" is an enjoyable, amusing, and very helpful look into what it takes for the girls to look as fabulous as they do, be it for a premiere or for a video shoot (or a night in the tiles, in Sarah's case - sorry Sarah). It begins with the girls sitting around and discussing how their fashion sense has evolved, looking back at their fashion highs (like the red and black pencil skirts from Biology) and their fashion lows (like the spandex and foil nightmares from No Good Advice or, as Nadine says of their first post Popstars final photocall, "those cream and wine things").

And then the DVD is split down into 5 more mini-style guides - first there's Cheryl, with the girls' make up artist Chloe Butcher, who takes an in-depth look at her love of make up plus there's a chance to see where the girls got the eyelashes for the "Sexy! No, No, No..." video.

Then there's Kimberley, who gives advice on clothes shopping on the net whilst trying out a couple of her own online purchases to decipher which'd be best for a friend's wedding. Then Sarah takes us on an accessory spree, as well as to the place where they filmed the Sunsilk advert in West London.

Nadine's section is all about shoes, as we see her with her sister trying numerous pairs of day and evening footwear, as well as launching a full scale rant at Crocs (it's OK, Nadine, I hate them too). And then Nicola goes to find the perfect pair of jeans using a special computer that breaks down all your measurements and stuff.

And then what you do find interesting is the little "Top Tips" sections at the end of each mini-guide, which offer particularly helpful hints like always checking the returns policy of internet sites, never using a shop mirror to judge whether an outfit looks good (I never trust them anyway) and helpful stuff like that.

But then the DVD's piece de resistance has to be the inclusion of all the videos from "Sound Of The Underground" up to "Sexy! No, No, No..." with the option of audio commentary from Cheryl and Sarah - it's interesting to see which ones the girls prefer and certainly, when I look back, I do kind of see why videos like "The Show" and "Something Kinda Ooooh" did look a little bit cheap and rushed. Still, I'm glad I got this DVD, a perfect "night in" DVD for Girls Aloud fans everywhere.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 18, 2008 2:43 PM BST

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