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Amillionmiles (Hove, East Sussex)

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Price: 12.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Lamb return after an 8 year hiatus with a stunning fifth studio album, 30 Dec 2012
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This review is from: 5 (Audio CD)
After a very long 8 year hiatus, Lamb have finally resurfaced to release a fifth studio album, simply titled "5". After such a long period of time away from the music industry, their combined sound has never sounded so fresh and mature which is a pleasant surprise. "5" is an accomplished album filled with a variety of sounds and styles.

The opener "Another Language" is a very uplifting song with positive, thoughtful lyrics and captivating Electro Pop arrangements. "Butterfly Effect" projects a darker ambiance with heavier Techno/Dance influenced elements, but it still remains mesmeringly beautiful and accessible. "Build A Fire" has an anthemic Electro Pop/Rock appeal to it and is interpreted with grit and passion by Lou Rhodes. The atmospheric "Wise Enough" is an Electro Pop ballad with suave and soothing arrangements whilst the energetic "Existential Itch" is a short Jazz inspired song with Funk elements. "Strong The Root" has a distinctive Drum and Bass feel to it with a heavy bassline and a much darker club appeal than the other compositions. "Rounds" is another elegant acoustic guitar led ballad with sweet vocals harmonies and soft electronic arrangements whilst "She Walks" is another mesmerising creation with Trip-Hop stylings and haunting vocals. The explosive "Last Night The Sky" has a Folk Rock sound with a powerful drum beat and majestic arrangements whereas "The Spectacle" is a soft piano led ballad with glorious string arrangments and a fragile melody. The bonus track "Back To Beginning", co-written with and featuring Damien Rice, blends his Irish Folk sound with their more electronic vibe which creates a truly magical moment.

"5" is an unexpected return to form for Lamb and follows on nicely from their previous studio album "Between Darkness And Wonder" released back in 2003. Sometimes it does help to take a break from something good and come back to it after a while as it can be enjoyed even more throughly. I am glad Lamb are back and hope their next album is just as elegant and stylish.

Tinsel and Lights
Tinsel and Lights
Price: 11.64

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tracey Thorn entertains us over the festive season with "Tinsel And Lights", 30 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Tinsel and Lights (Audio CD)
In recent interviews, Tracey Thorn has stated that she has always wanted to create a Christmas album so for her fourth studio album "Tinsel And Lights", she has made this happen. Where it differs from other Holiday albums is that she has not chosen the most obvious Christmas songs which is very interesting and she has also composed a few nice songs which add to this releases' originality.

"Joy" is a sentimental piano led ballad composed by Tracey Thorn herself and is a very nicely written song that perfectly depicts the long winter months. "Hard Candy Christmas" is a melancolic cover of the Dolly Parton song released way back in 1982, interpreted with less of the original Country vibe and more of a gentle Pop/Soft Rock sound. "Like A Snowman", written by Stephin Merritt, is a very beautiful song nicely arranged on this album with the help of a captivating sounding string orchestra. "Maybe This Christmas" is another sentimental ballad this time composed by Ron Sexsmith, but the cover of The White Stripes' "In The Cold, Cold Night" adds fuel to this slow burner and has a distinctive Punk Blues sound. "Snow" brings us back to the subtle but effective piano led ballad territory whilst "Snow In Sun" adds a freshness to this album with its joyous Pop R&B vibe and uplifting lyrics. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" is one of the obvious covers and is well interpreted, sitting nicely next to the Tracey Thorn penned "Tinsel And Lights" which is a Folk song that sounds like an instant seasonal classic. The emotionally charged Joni Mitchell cover "River" has never sounded so majestic even though it has been interpreted by many different artists over the years. But it is the final two songs that are the most innovative - "Taking Down The Tree" and "Sister Winter" have a very interesting Electro Pop vibe and are both atmospheric and energising.

Tracey Thorn has therefore realised one of her dreams and has put together a very accomplished Christmas album. "Tinsel And Lights" does not have many outstanding moments, but it does have many strong interpretations of traditional, less traditional and original seasonal creations. It is certainly a must buy for Tracey Thorn followers who will cherish this album.

The Seldom Seen Kid
The Seldom Seen Kid
Price: 3.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Elbow have never sounded so confident and accomplished, 29 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Seldom Seen Kid (Audio CD)
Elbow always create a wonderful opening atmosphere on their releases. This is even more apparent on their fourth studio album "The Seldom Seen Kid" which is by far their most accomplished, most commercially successful and most critically acclaimed work to date.

"Starlings" is a fantastic composition with majestic arrangements and vocal harmonies delivered with subtlety. "The Bones Of You" is a much more dynamic piece with a more plaintive quality to it whilst the charismatic "Mirroball" is soft and gentle, almost caressing. The lead single "Grounds For Divorce" has a distinctive Blues influence in its arrangements and a Gospel feel to it in the vocal harmonies whilst possessing a strong energetic Rock theme. The Jazz inspired "An Audience With The Pope" plods along and saunters by, almost nonchalantly whilst the sultry "Weather To Fly" leaves an imprint with its elegance and beauty. "The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver" is atmospheric yet intense and poignant, "The Fix" is a sombre track with a deep intriguing vocal from Guy and "Some Riot" is haunting, melancholic and passionate. But it is the two final tracks that provide the heart-wrenching moments of the album - The second single "One Day Like This" is an anthemic mid-tempo Pop song with an instantly recognisable string orchestra arrangement, a solid melody and wonderfully inspiring vocal harmonies whilst the tear jerker "Friend Of Ours" is a tender moment of pure emotion with such heartfelt string arrangements and words of remembrance.

With somptuous arrangements, powerful vocals from Guy Harvey and well crafted melodies, "The Seldom Seen Kid" is a superb album with a continous flow of magical and empowering moments. Pop has never sounded so grandiose and emotionally driven. To top all of that, the lyrics are beautifully written and intense, providing the listener with lots to rave about.

West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 5.34

4.0 out of 5 stars Kasabian's third release is by far their most accomplished work, 29 Dec 2012
Kasabian's third album "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum", as well as having a great authentic title and album cover, is a really great Rock album. The band are finally maximising their potential and now sound like a very creative and accomplished collective. Each song is impeccably composed and chosen, displaying Kasabian's burst in confidence and maturity.

The opener "Underdog" has a distinctive Oasis flavour as Kasabian's lead singer Tom Meighan does share vocal similarities with Liam Gallagher, but this track is more energetic than anything Oasis released and blends different styles such as Funk, Blues and Techno which add to this addictive Rock infused creation. "Where Did All The Love Go?" is Rock on the dance floor with a stomping beat, memorable chorus and plush string synthesiser accompaniments. "Swarfiga" is a short and hypnotic Drum & Bass instrumental serving as interlude. "Fast Fuse" is a very manic and energetic creation with a powerful beat and a heavy injection of 70's Funk and Soul. "Take Aim" is an atmospheric Funk inspired slice of perfection with a laid back feel to it whilst the arrangements on "Thick As Thieves" remind me of a Country and Western film as do the sounds on "West Ryder Silver Bullet". "Vlad The Impaler" brings back the psychedelic Techno sounds from the beginning of the album and is an irresistible blend of mesmerising beats and vocals. The Soft Rock ballad "Ladies & Gentleman, Roll The Dice" is more gentle and melancolic with dramatic purposely laboured vocals and arrangements. "Secret Alphabets" has a Trip-Hop feel to it and is both atmospheric and haunting, sounding like a Rock infused Portishead recording. "Fire" is an explosive Blues inspired creation with an infectious rhythm and a seriously addictive chorus making it the highlight of the album. The final song "Happiness" is a suave mid-tempo composition and sounds like it was destined to close out an album.

"West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum" is Kasabian at their most daring, an album that is both extraverted and vulnerable whilst being equally energetic and disturbing. The impact of each song and the release as a whole is quite powerful and unexpected. Kasabian have managed to create a very confident and consistent musical moment - their best album to date by a clear mile.

Girl On Fire
Girl On Fire
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: 3.10

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alicia Keys is a "Girl On Fire", 29 Dec 2012
This review is from: Girl On Fire (Audio CD)
Alicia Keys has once again taken her time to write new material and has let three years pass before releasing her fifth studio album "Girl On Fire". Compared to her previous effort "The Element Of Freedom", this collection of songs is much more energetic and fresh. It is actually quite difficult to compare the two as they are so different, but Alicia sounds much happier on this outing, possibly because she is now married and has experienced motherhood.

Following the Classical music inspired intro "De Novo Adagio", the piano led ballad "Brand New Me", co-written by Emeli Sande, is very classy and stylish with a breathtakingly powerful bridge section that adds immensely to the quality of this song. "When It's All Over" is quite an interesting composition as it contains elements of R&B, Jazz and Funk, but then swiftly unravels and transforms into a melodic Dance track with lots of energy and commercial appeal. There are a variety of different styles on this album - "Listen To Your Heart" falls comfortably in between Neo Soul and R&B slow jam territory whilst "New Day" boasts punchy Hip-Hop drum beats and brings bags of energy and hope to this release, although it is my least favourite track due to its simplicity, being aimed solely at the commercial market. The lead single and title track "Girl On Fire", featuring the Hip-Hop artist of the moment Nicki Minaj, is another mainstream R&B creation with very passionate and soulful vocals from Miss Keys and a catchy melody, although it is slightly over-sung and a tad middle of the road. The duet with the ever so talented Maxwell "Fire We Make" oozes sensuality and has some beautiful soft vocals from both artists that blend with the suave and gentle Soul, Jazz and Funk arrangements. "Tears Always Win" is an infectious ode to Soul and Gospel whilst also possessing a very sweet laid back feel to it. "Not Even The King" is a beautiful piano led ballad and actually sounds very much like Emeli Sande at her most vulnerable. "That's When I Knew" is a gentle soulful acoustic guitar led ballad with sweet vocals from Alicia. "Limitedless" is a cool Reggae infused track with an addictive bass line and rhythm. "One Thing" is a fragile and beautiful atmospheric ballad co-written by Frank Ocean, another recent R&B sensation, and the final song "101" is the third piano led ballad co-written with Miss Sande and is just as passionately sung as the other impressive ballads.

"Girl On Fire" contains something for everyone as it is a very varied album blending many different styles successfully which allows the listener to pick and choose tracks depending on his/her mood. The album can also be enjoyed as a whole as the message of hope, joy and independence resounds through each and every composition. Personally, I do prefer it when Alicia opts for less commercial sounds, but I am just being fussy. Alicia is happy and you can feel that through her inspiring music - that is all that really matters.

The Pines
The Pines
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 12.31

4.0 out of 5 stars "The Pines" is Phantom Limb at their best and tops their debut by some distance, 26 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Pines (Audio CD)
It is often that, when artists blend genres and musical styles, they find a truly winning combination. Such is the case for Phantom Limb who have managed to blend Country music, Blues and Soul with lead singer Yolanda Quartey's powerful Gospel vocals. The result is close to perfection on their sophomore release "The Pines" which is a huge leap forward for the band in terms of defining their unique style and writing varied material.

The energetic opener "The Pines" is a melodic blend of Country music and Blues with an infectious chorus and superb vocals from Yolanda making it an instant favourite for me. "Tumbling Down" is a breathtakingly soothing Blues track with a powerful melody and lyrics and is a second highlight on here. "Give Me A Reason" is a straight up Blues song with a twist in the chorus. "I'll Have Mercy" has a sweet sing-along Gospel inspired chorus and is another powerful and effective mix of Country and Blues. The third highlight "It's The Only Way" is a beautifully written Country song sung with such raw emotion and heartache whilst the fourth highlight "Laugh Like You're Mad" is another Country inspired gem that allows the listener to drift away into the beautiful melody of the song. "Gravy Train" is a catchy song with that trademark Blues influenced sound whilst the addictive Country vibe of "Badge Of Descension" plods along very steadily, preceeding the soothing atmospheric Soft Rock ballad "Hollow Eyes". "Missy", an infectious blend of Blues, Gospel and Country, has such a fantastic chorus and overall feel good quality to it which makes it a fifth favourite for me. "Harder Than Stone" is a well crafted Country song with a strong chorus and "High And Dry" an epic Country Pop ballad with a beautiful atmospheric melody and well thought out arrangements. The final song "Angel Of Death" is a superb traditional sounding Country ballad with melancolic lyrics, powerful Gospel vocals from the wonderful Yolanda Quartey and a fantastic melody making it the sixth highlight on "The Pines".

It is very rare that I find myself becoming increasingly captivated and excited about a band, but this is what has happened when I have repeatedly put "The Pines" into my CD player. Phantom Limb have managed to create a beautiful chilled acoustic set of songs that stand apart from other Country and Blues releases. This album sets a very high standard for the group to exceed, but I rest assured that they will acheive this once again.

Knowle West Boy
Knowle West Boy
Price: 10.79

4.0 out of 5 stars "Knowle West Boy" is one of Tricky's finest moments, 26 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Knowle West Boy (Audio CD)
Tricky's eighth studio album "Knowle West Boy" is an ode to Trip-Hop as the album comprises many different styles and influences he has used throughout his solo career. His music has never sounded so creative and inspiring as on this set. His main focus on this album is to draw the listener in to his world and he manages to do just that through these thirteen very varied and dynamic compositions.

"Puppy Toy" has a great chorus and is a very hip sounding track with elements of Blues, Rock and Soul. "Bacative" is much more Ragga influenced and has a stronger Trip-Hop vibe whilst "Joseph" is pure atmospheric Trip-Hop and "Veronika" is much more Electronica influenced. "C'mon Baby" combines elements of Soul and Rock to create quite a raw and intriguing sound which defines Tricky and his collaborators. The lead single "Council Estate" is a very explosive Rock and Rap influenced song with an addictive feel to it. "Past Mistake" is a dark and atmospheric song with disturbing beats and vocals. "Coalition" is another hypnotic track with creative sounds and interesting choices in instrumentation. "Cross To Bear" is the most appealing song for me with haunting vocals and violins layered over a beautiful melody. The very hyper cover of Kylie Minogue's "Slow" is very cool and makes the already very accomplished original version sound very tame indeed. "Baligaga" is another Ragga inspired song with elements of Jazz Funk. "Far Away" has an endearing hypnotic Pop Rock feel to it whilst the final track "School Gates" has a much more acoustic Blues guitar vibe.

"Knowle West Boy" is Tricky's most interesting release to date. The blend of styles and genres on this album combined with the uniqueness and raw talent allow this collection of songs to flow together as a whole. Trip-Hop has never sounded so vibrant and enthusiastic, yet so disturbing and dark - utterly brilliant.

Only One In The World
Only One In The World
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 11.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Heather Headley sings with passion on her fourth offering, 26 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Only One In The World (Audio CD)
Before this point, Heather Headley had released two interesting R&B/Soul albums and one very beautiful Gospel masterpiece. "Only One In The World" is her fourth studio release and blends a variety of different styles including Soul and Gospel as per her previous releases, but it also has a strong Pop element and quite a number of nicely interpreted covers.

The title track "Only One In The World" is a stunning mid-tempo Pop creation with an infectious melody, heartfelt vocals and lavish arrangements making it the instant standout song on this release. "The Reason", a Hoobastank cover, and "Because You Need Me" are two beautiful ballads and odes to faith, the latter being a duet with Chris Mann. "Bring Him Back" is a soulfully arranged tune with inspirational lyrics and passionate vocals. Heather Headley is due to start playing the female lead Rachel Marron in "The Bodyguard" musical, so it is no surprise that one of Whitney Houston's most powerful ballads "Run To You" is featured on this album and is sung with just as much passion as the version recorded for the film's soundtrack back in 1992. The lead single "A Little While" is a very heartfelt piano led ballad with a soft sweet melody and an uplifting chorus making it the second highlight on here. A cover of "River Deep Mountain High" by Ike & Tina Turner adds energy, power and Soul to this release and fits Heather like a glove. "One Last Cry", a Brian McKnight cover, and "Superwoman", a Karyn White cover, are two further somptuous Slow Jam's sung with fierce passion. "Hey Mama" is a much more contemporary sounding track with a distinctive R&B/Hip-Hop flavour and suave soulful vocal harmonies. "I Wish", a surprising song choice for her new album being that this was one of the highlights from "An Audience Of One" released 3 years earlier, remains a very heartfelt Gospel song with a powerful piano and string led melody. The final song "Home", taken from "The Wiz", sounds just as majestic and ends the album with positive feeling.

"Only One In The World" is a very nicely arranged collection of songs that blend very well together and fit perfectly alongside each other. Heather has a beautiful voice and, although half of the songs are covers, she interprets all of these gems with such passion and power that you can only sit back in awe and listen to this beautiful album.

Nigerian Wood
Nigerian Wood
Price: 6.81

4.0 out of 5 stars "Nigerian Wood" is another strong release from Mr Jones, 24 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Nigerian Wood (Audio CD)
"Nigerian Wood" is Keziah Jones' fifth studio album and continues with the Funk infused Rock sound from his previous releases. The melodies are just as creative and original with many unexpected arrangements and sounds. That Blues/Funk vibe we have come to expect from his music is still very present.

The title track "Nigerian Wood" is an explosive Funk song with eccentric vocal harmonies and arrangements. "African Android" is a very fresh sounding Rock influenced song with elements of Funk and is a signature sound for Keziah with improvisations in the melody. "My Kinda Girl" is a Latin Jazz infused Funk track with a cool vibe and an off beat chorus. "Long Distance Love" is more appeasing and is a mellow blend of Soul and Funk. The same goes for "Beautifulblackbutterfly" which has an atmospheric quality to it. "Pimpin'" is a more acoustic sounding song with a strong Latin influence and a powerful message. "Lagos Vs New York" is a mixture of Soul, Funk and Jazz with a dose of crazyness and authenticity. "1973" sounds like a jamming session and is a rich collection of influences and styles. "Unintended Consequences" has a much stronger Blues vibe with a Soft Rock chorus whilst "Blue Is The Mind" is an acoustic guitar led track with Soul and Blues influences. "In Love Forever" brings back the 70's feel good Funk sound that makes this album so special and laid back. The final track "My Brother" is a soothing string led ballad with a beautiful melody and story.

There is nothing tame about Keziah Jones' music as he continues to reinvent Funk and Blues with his unique style. "Nigerian Wood" sounds very exciting and interesting, managing to keep the listener alert and focussed throughout the album. There are plenty of different sounds and variations of sounds on here which make this record one of Keziah's strongest to date.

The Antidote
The Antidote
Price: 7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Out with the old, in with the new is not "The Antidote" for Morcheeba, 16 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Antidote (Audio CD)
Morcheeba have released four pretty successful albums with Skye Edwards as their feature vocalist. Now she has left the band, they have recruited Daisy Martey who has more energy in her vocals then Skye, but a less distinctive and more generic sound. Nevertheless, she does her best on their fifth album "The Antidote" and tries to create a new image for Morcheeba. Unfortunately, I am not a huge fan and end up feeling slightly disappointed with this release.

"Wonders Never Cease" is a great opening track with a Pop Rock vibe injected with Soul and a 70's groove. "Ten Men" has a strong Folk Rock influence as well as some Indie elements, creating a memorable Pop composition. "Everybody Loves A Loser" is Motown inspired whilst still maintaining the Rock and Folk elements. But "Like A Military Coup" is a little too chaotic for me and Daisy's vocals are a tad too overpowering making this song my least favourite. "Living Hell" is just mediocre for me both vocally and instrumentally with heavy vocals and arrangements. By the time I get to "People Carrier", the songs start to sound too similar, Daisy's vocals grate and the arrangements blur. However "Lighten Up" brings back quality and is an uplifting track with nice Folk rock arrangements and less dominating vocals. "Daylight Robbery" is reasonably good with a Funk Soul vibe and title track "Antidote" is surprisingly soothing and mellow, a glimpse of former glory. The final track "God Bless And Goodbye" dips back into mediocrity as Daisy's vocals are as sharp as a knife and cut through this track too deeply.

"The Antidote" is not my preferred Morcheeba release as I am not that keen on Daisy Martey as a vocalist. I can certainly not dispute the fact that she has added energy to their music, but I find her voice is too harsh at times and lacks the control Skye has. By the time I got halfway through this album, I was already missing the calm soothing vocals of Skye. Sometimes, change is not always good and "The Antidote" suffers as a consequence.

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