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Reviews Written by
Cuban Heel "Neil Schiller" (Liverpool)

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Stadium Arcadium
Stadium Arcadium
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.51

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing, 19 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Stadium Arcadium (Audio CD)
I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with this album. I thought their last, 'By The Way', was their best to date so I had high expectations. But 'Stadium Arcadium' really doesn't live up to them.

First of all, like all double albums you get the feeling this would have been a much better collection of songs if half of them had been ditched. But in all honesty, even then it would hardly have been a classic. There are a lot of bland pop tracks on here and even those that hark back to their earlier funk days like 'Hump de Bump' just seem really tired, like they're lacking the energy that made songs like 'Give it Away' and 'Suck My Kiss' so great.

That said, there are some stand out moments. I like 'Tell Me Baby', 'Slow Cheetah' and 'Desecration Smile'. And 'Wet Sand' is up there with the best tracks they have ever written - somewhere between 'I Could Have Lied' and 'Scar Tissue' in style. But even these high points can't drag the album out of mediocrity. The CD's title suggests it's their attempt at stadium rock - it's just a shame because I think this band have so much more to offer than the average stadium rock band. I suppose I'll just be sitting back and hoping the next outing is better, or that John Frusciante releases some more fantastic solo work in the meantime...

Classic FM Presents...
Classic FM Presents...
Offered by InfinityBuys
Price: £46.74

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous, 12 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Classic FM Presents... (Audio CD)
This CD is fantastic. I've been a vague fan of Opera for years but I often get put off by the voices of, in particular, male performers. Technically they sound great, but there's just something, some quality that stops me really enaging with them. This guy has a tremendous voice. There's an honest quality to it, a complete lack of pretention.

I first heard about him on Radio 4 when they were discussing his career and his discovery whilst working as a car mechanic in the North of England. They played a snatch of Core 'Ngrato, the second track from the album, and I was just blown away. I'd even go so far as to say his version of Nessun Dorma is better than that of Pavarotti who, let's be honest, made it famous in the last couple of years.

I'd definitely recommend it. He's one to watch out for in future.

Ladies Love Oracle
Ladies Love Oracle
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £8.02

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real find, 28 July 2006
This review is from: Ladies Love Oracle (Audio CD)
I wasn't even aware this album existed. I bought Virginia Creeper when that came out and thought it was good - a lot more mellow than the Grant Lee Buffalo output but better than Mobilize which I found to be a real disappointment. But when I came onto Amazon to order NineteenEighties I saw this had been out for a while.

This is Grant Lee Phillips at his best. Recorded in 1999 it has the same sort of melodic quality of, say, Mighty Joe Moon, but maybe a bit gentler, a little bit more sparse. Don't be put off by the fact this was recorded in his basement though, the production quality isn't at all rough, it sounds like a fully fledged acoustic release. NineteenEighties is good, as is Virginia Creeper, but this is by far the best of his solo output.

A Sphere In The Heart of Silence
A Sphere In The Heart of Silence
Price: £11.95

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 10 Dec. 2004
Ok, I'll get the important bit out of the way, this album is superb. I've been a fan of John Frusciante ever since I first heard his guitar work on BloodSugarSexMagic. In particular the track 'I Could Have Lied'. I've followed the Red Hot Chilli Peppers ever since and then became aware of John's solo career later on. In recent years his voice seems to have gotten stronger and his songs have become more structured which has turned what was perhaps a bit of a raw talent into a remarkable musicianship.
I was a bit apprehensive about this latest release as I'd read that it was much more electronic than his previous outings. Whilst all his solo efforts have had a different emphasis the constant amongst them all has been his ear for classic sounding but original melody and of course the stunning simplicity of his guitar parts. I didn't really see how he was going to fuse that into a more freeform electronic sound and all I had to go on were the experimental tracks on Shadows Collide With People which were interesting enough but not really classic material. Anyway, I was wrong to doubt it because he's pulled it off here in a way I really wasn't expecting. This is electronic music for real music fans - about as far as you can get from the dance-remix-by-numbers that a lot of artists put out. In places it reminds me a little bit of what Radiohead have been doing for the last couple of years but with a rawness, an indie quality that they didn't manage to preserve. And all credit to Josh Klinghoffer too because his input is markedly evident - his vocals on a few of the tracks are truly outstanding.
As I've found with every Frusciante album I've bought, I was a little bit bemused upon first listen. But I've realised that this keeps happening because I bring my expectations of the last album with me when I stick the latest release in the cd player and he manages to confound those expectations every single time. After another listen or two, however, the quality of what he's done really starts to show through and I found (again) that I was listening to it over and over. His songs really do seem to get into your head, almost insidiously, and hook you. The real test of quality is whether this hook is lasting or whether it starts to irritate. So far nothing he has produced has started to jar on me and I constantly listen to everything he's put out this year, almost to the exclusion of the rest of my cd collection. There's surely no higher recommendation than that...

So The Wind Won't Blow It All Away ("Rebel Inc." Classics)
So The Wind Won't Blow It All Away ("Rebel Inc." Classics)
by Richard Brautigan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Brautigan book I've read so far..., 19 Jun. 2001
I'm in the middle of reading everything I can get my hands on by Brautigan. Just because of the sheer originality of every sentence he wrote and the completely skewed take he offers of the world, triggering off every time some other thought that never before occured to me. And this is by far the best I've read up until now. An absolute masterpiece in minature. The months and years, remarkable and unremarkable, rippling backwards and forwards from this one significant moment of a boy's life. Astounding stuff. The tangents that Brautigan appears to stumble upon and then follow all the way to their logical end remind you that it's precisely these little episodes, these seemingly unrelated instances, that constitute the fabric of our lives.
Oh yeah, it's funny as well.

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