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Reviews Written by
juliet R "Juli" (London,UK)

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Norwegian Wood
Norwegian Wood
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gossamer Prose, 1 Jan. 2007
This review is from: Norwegian Wood (Paperback)
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend and thoroughly enjoyed it,although I must state that it is not really a man's read.The characters are drawn from life and they shine like the fireflies which Murakami describes so beautifully in one of the chapters in the book.

The story is a real page-turner and Murakami takes ordinary emotions and puts them into a different setting,scotching the myth that the Japanese are often portrayed as cold-blooded and without feelings.The character of Naoko,Watanabe's first love,stands out as a tragic figure whom the reader reaches out to with compassion.

It is also surprisingly down-to-earth and the prose will envelop the reader straight away.

I won't give too much away about the story as it is very precious and

needs to be read maybe on recommendation.

How To Spot A Bastard By His Star Sign
How To Spot A Bastard By His Star Sign
by Adèle Lang
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Xmas Gift, 18 Dec. 2006
I received this book as an early Christmas gift from a friend of mine with a great sense of humour.I found it VERY apt,especially for a Piscean male who as been intriguing me for some while now.Can recommend this book for its razor-sharp insight and piercing observations of the dark side of the male character.Even if you're not into horoscopes,give this book a try-it's a great laugh and will give you direction when deciding which "bastard"to go out with!

Confessions on a Dance Floor
Confessions on a Dance Floor
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £4.48

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dance Your Blues Away, 28 Nov. 2006
I bought this CD today on a whim as I felt the need for Madonna's spirited

haunting dancey tunes in my head at this depressing time of the year.Say what you like about Madonna,even with all the hype around her you can't ignore her.

She still dominates the music scene in her own corner.

This album is as motivating and positive as Madonna's album "Ray Of Light",I found.My fave tracks include "Hung Up","Forbidden Love","Jump" and "How High".

Each song on here is a short story relating to different stages in Madonna's life and career so far.Immaculately packaged and produced,this album lives up to all expectations. Ok so it's all about Madonna herself,as usual,but nevertheless it is so easy on the ear and slickly presented,all is forgiven.Buy it,you will enjoy its surprising depth.

Madonna is still searching for the elusive butterfly of love in this album and she is never one step removed from the angels.

Submitted 28/11/06 by Juliet R

Lie Lover Lie
Lie Lover Lie
Offered by Direct-Offers-UK-FBA
Price: £1.57

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paint It Black, 19 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Lie Lover Lie (Audio CD)
I was fortunate to acquire this album as a freebie recently.I'd heard the single "Suspicious Character"and seen the accompanying video online(shades of "Shampoo")and hummed its catchy chorus.

All the tracks are great,I love"Stay Put" and "Going To Arizona"with its singalong feel.Nathaniel Fregoso's voice is surprisingly sexy and rich and all the tunes have their individual stamp.I have yet to see them live but have heard excellent reports of their fire and energy onstage.

I can really recommend this album.

Standing In The Way Of Control
Standing In The Way Of Control
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.81

18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Mess With Beth, 19 Nov. 2006
I loved this album.Beth's voice is full of soul,sharp wit,compassion and dominating overtones.My faves are "Fire With Fire,"the first track and "Dark Lines",the last one.Gossip have just completed their second British tour and have made their mark now with this album.Have a listen to it,you'll admire this band for their positive stance.

Someone To Drive You Home
Someone To Drive You Home
Offered by Giant Entertainment
Price: £3.20

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LUST IN THE NOUGHTIES, 15 Nov. 2006
This first album from the LBs-longawaited and anticipated-does not disappoint.Kate Jackson,stylish recipient of a coveted Sexiest Woman Award at the NME Shockwaves Awards in February this year,is a star in the making. She preens,sings intelligently,soaringly and with sweet irony on every track listed on this album.

The opener has Kate singing a la Dietrich,fronting a bouncy beat,neurotic jangly guitars and an irresistable chorus featuring three tragic female icons' names shouted/sung loudly and obsessively.These catch the listeners'ears straight away. We feel for Kate in this song,which rattles along at a fast pace,but never really finds a satisfactory conclusion.

A beseeching Kate in the final bars of this song makes it sophisticated art-pop at its best.

There are twelve songs on this album,of which "Once And Never Again" and "Madame Ray"(about Man Ray's muse and lover,Lee Miller)are my favourite tracks.The first-mentioned song starts with Kate giving her worldly advice to a young girl.."Nineteen,you're only nineteen for God's sake-you don't need a boyfriend",and ending "Oh how I'd love to feel a girl your age-your age....once and never again," suprising the listener with this

twist in the last line.We smile at the words.I found myself whistling this irresistably catchy one at odd moments throughout the day.

"I know all about fear and desire",sings Kate knowingly in the aforementioned "Lust In The Movies."

"Only Lovers Left Alive"is delicious to listen to,and will make you smile,like sweet Turkish delight.Listen up!

Shades of The Pipettes in "Giddy Stratospheres"question and answer section,an indie Phil Spectorish touch which works surprisingly well.

The whole album has sensuous,urgent and painful overtones to its songs.

Referring again to "Madame Ray",I believe this is the most emotive song on the album.The last track"A Knife For The Girls",with its last two lines,"My baby doll........don't go to London" contain acidic bitterness to end this remarkable debut album from The Long Blondes.

A must-buy.

These Streets
These Streets
Price: £3.00

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Velvet and Honey, 19 July 2006
This review is from: These Streets (Audio CD)
I bought this debut album on Monday,having heard a clip of "Last Request"online recently,from T in the Park.Listened to it all the way through last night and was captured by this young man's soulful,bluesy,haunting voice. My favourite tracks are "Autumn",rather sad and intensely emotional,and "Last Request" a perfect love song for a dying romance.

We need more voices like Paolo Nutini's at the moment,he has a

rich depth and mature sound for such a young lad.

If he had timed its release nearer the Mercury Music Prize nominations,this album would have been a cert for the shortlist.

Master Nutini has a voice which made me sit up and listen the

first time I heard it-so raw and emotional was his delivery.

If you want to hear reflective,soulful words and music,have a

listen to this's very very beautiful.

We Are The Pipettes
We Are The Pipettes
Price: £7.87

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars POLKA- DOT PRINCESSES, 17 July 2006
This review is from: We Are The Pipettes (Audio CD)
Are we ready for a 60s girl group revival in the 21st century?

Yes!if they are as fresh and punchy as the three forceful girls who sing with conviction on this debut album,released today.

There are 14 tracks on this album,my faves are "Pull Shapes" and

"It Hurts to See You Dance So Well",the latter very tongue-in-cheek.My only criticism of these girls' vocals is their slightly

unsophisicated diction(I'm not meaning that in a derogatory sense)but they present themselves well,and sing very harmoniously. Well-produced and reminding me of Bananarama when they began,they do have alot of potential.Their image is good too,wearing polka-dot mini dresses and cinched belts(Becky,the

studious looking one,wears red tights),which should attract both male and female fans in the audience in equal proportions.

Backing group The Cassettes don't disappoint either,providing

snappy keyboards,bass,drums and guitars to complement the girls'


If you're unbiased,dear review-reader,and don't mind lightweight,candyfloss songs like these,with no "side",buy this

album,lie back in a scented bubble bath wearing your polka-dot bandana,and LISTEN.

You'll love it.

Maximo Park: Found On Film [DVD]
Maximo Park: Found On Film [DVD]
Dvd ~ Maximo Park
Price: £14.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A HARD DAY'S SLOG, 20 Jun. 2006
Whatever Maximo Park's critics may say,I'm going to stick my neck out and call this unusual band the New Beatles for the 21st Century.This group of lads have made a promising start to their musical careers with "Apply Some Pressure",their first

successful single release,in 2005. Now their first DVD is a clever compilation of tour documentary,live shows,BBC studio

sessions and an online AOL session,plus a 16-page booklet containing nearly 100 photos of the band's travels during their

first year on the road.

I thoroughly enjoyed this DVD,which will appeal particularly to

the 16-30 year age group (and hopefully older mark, who will recall that other groundbreaking art rock band of the 70s,Roxy Music,who may have been a romantically-inclined influence on the

band.) Furthermore,when the Beatles started out,they had the same jokey approach and look what it did for them!

Paul Smith has the necessary charisma for a memorable frontman,

Duncan Lloyd provides the harmonious and melodic guitar accompaniment,Lukas Wooller is moody on keyboards,Archis Tiku

provides a solid bass and Tom English is the band's backbone

on drums.

As Paul Smith quotes during a voiceover commentary in Brighton

"We're not crack demons or weirdos,we're just ordinary people,"

a description of the band which comes as refreshing in this day and age,with its uncertain future for the younger generation.

Maximo's intelligent and well-balanced approach in their songs

and lyrics are sometimes perceived as too harmless,I feel,for their own good(I don't mean that unkindly!)Fortunately they have

now established a strong fanbase since their inception just over

a year ago.

There are two Academy shows,Newcastle and Brixton,captured on

this DVD.The Newcastle one shows the band at their most powerful,filmed in their hometown on 10/12/05(error on DVD cover reads 10/12/06.)Six of their strongest songs,filmed at the

start in black and white,with all the band on excellent form

and Paul Smith's stage persona which is uniquely his own.Comparisons could be drawn to Bryan Ferry in his early years

but Smith's passionate stage performance cannot be compared with Ferry's aloof,detached approach.

The Brixton Academy film presents Maximo at their full power.

Wham!We get our money's worth with this set.

The backstage documentary is entertaining and lighthearted,

opening with backstage shots of the boys in the band in various

cameos.At the start,Paul Smith takes a Polaroid shot of the docu's title(his own handwriting),the letters of which are

superimposed on a handtowel draped over a hanger on the back of the dressing-room door.Clever stuff,which intrigues the viewer

to delve into this cosy film of life with the Maximo boys backstage.

The Promos section of the DVD is a selection of six promo video

films,starting with a b/w "Coast Is Always Changing"and an almost unrecognisable Paul Smith before the combover made an

appearance.But that passion is there,and the intensity of the

performance shows through.

Some lively studio sessions follow: "Aol Sessions" in crystal

clear resolution.These are my favourite filmed sessions on this DVD.

Then the audio CD "BBC Sessions" which is a compendium of the

Maximo songs which those fans of theirs will know and love,particularly the beautiful and moving "Shiver"with its moody cello and Paul Smith's yearning interpretation,and "Surrender",with its intriguing lyrics.

A lovely compilation of tunes.

This DVD is a generous slice of the cake for all Maximo fans.

Prior to the last song at the Brixton Academy film,Paul Smith announces "The name of this band is Maximo Park.....don't forget it", before an inflatable guitar and drumsticks are

thrown into the crowd.

How could we forget?

"The lies we tell

Are found on film

And you start to push

Your lips to mine"

Why aren't Maximo's songs afforded higher chart placings?

It's one of pop's mysteries.Perhaps their musical/lyrical talents lie beyond the Top 40 trivia.

Beg,borrow or steal a copy of this DVD at any cost,as soon as you can.It'll make your day.

Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam
Price: £9.99

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Renaissance Rock, 22 May 2006
This review is from: Pearl Jam (Audio CD)
I wasn't at all familiar with this band before they made a recent comeback.My first comparison when I heard the powerful opening track"Life Wasted",was with Free's Paul Rodgers, and that band's playing style.
Am I the first person to have noticed this?
The driving rock guitars and stirring drums evoke fond memories of Free in the 1970s when they were at the peak of their success.
The second track and single,"World Wide Suicide" is just as powerful."I felt the earth on Monday,it moved beneath my feet
In the form of a morning paper,laid out for me to see."
Those lyrics were made for the 21st Century.
"It's a shame to awake in a world of pain
What does it mean when a war has taken over?"
Listen to ALL the words of this song when you buy the album.In fact listen very closely to the words of ALL the songs.
And then listen to them all again.
"Severed Hand" a song about taking a trip,has some excellent backing-a '70s trip in itself,which I thoroughly enjoyed listening to. However,the words are perhaps not for those of us who are sensitive about drug-taking. Be prepared for some quite disturbing lyrics.However,the fantastic driving rock and roll instrumental compiments these.
A surprising track is "Parachutes",with Vedder's touching lyrics:"And war...break the sky and tell me what it's for
I'll travel there on my own,
And love...what a different life
Had I not found this love with you" is almost a ballad and is unexpectedly emotional.
"Unemployable" is hard-hitting,describing one man's desperation and isolation at not being capable of providing for his wife and child,encased in quite a hummable tune.Eddie Vedder's voice is in great form;evoking sympathy and emotion in swathes.

There's a definite formula to this album and a message in every track.Look beneath the surface and there lie some very insightful lyrics,courtesy of Mr Vedder.
Quite a chunk of disillusionment there and impossibly hard times experienced as well.
Some people might describe Pearl Jam as heavy-going,but they have a very powerful message and substance to their songs on this album,which is one of the best and most sensitive rock albums I've heard for some time.
It's apparent that the band have experienced a reinvention and have woken up to emotions and feelings,after a long sleep.
"Wasted(Reprise)" has Eddie Vedder singing to a rather spiritual organ backing-a few minutes of decisive words which are extremely moving.........leading into "Army Reserve"- a powerful,heart-tugging song which speaks for itself and speaks volumes.

But here comes "Come Back",possibly the most moving song on the album,with a tragic sense of loss running through its lyrics,which oddly,reminded me of David Gray's song words.
A rock version of one of his songs,perhaps,with a dash of Bob Seger thrown in.
Vedder's imploring vocals at the end of the song show a vulnerable side.
The last song on the album,"Inside Job",with its beautifully timed piano and Vedder's emotional vocal delivery...
"Holding on,the light of night
on my knees to rise and fix my broken soul again"
will strike a chord with all who have had to pull themselves back from the brink.

A very powerful collection of songs indeed.Most certainly it deserves a placing in the Albums of the Year 2006 and delivered by a rock band with a frontman who passionately has concerns for the state of the world.

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