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Reviews Written by
Simon Levene "dano fan" (Colorado, USA)
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Holy Ghosts (Orchestral Reworks from Union Chapel / Pro Patria Mori)
Holy Ghosts (Orchestral Reworks from Union Chapel / Pro Patria Mori)
Price: £12.37

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is it just me?, 13 Mar. 2014
I am a long time follower of both Echo & the Bunnymen and Mac's solo work but certainly don't fall into the sycophant bracket.
I find very little to like on either of these albums.
Pro Patria Mori seems a weak (even half-hearted) effort, the songs sound like rehashed versions of songs from The Fountain or Sliding (both of which I liked). I found the lyrics to be simplistic to the point of being childish, especially evident in Me & David Bowie and the cringeworthy opener Different Trees.

I have to admit I was never a fan of live albums and the Union Chapel recordings do nothing to win me over. Mac's voice sounds brittle and lifeless, the re-workings do not improve the original recordings. No revelatory moments here for me, sorry Mac.


Devil On The Wind
Devil On The Wind
Price: £14.02

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to love this, 29 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Devil On The Wind (Audio CD)
After some time since their previous album, I really wanted this album to be amazing. The problem with the album is the songs themselves. The performance, instrumentation and vocals are top-notch. The lyrics seem clumsy and forced compared to much of the outstanding back catalgue of TMTCH songs. Mrs Avery is cringeworthy and Heartbreak Park is over sentimental, the title track is too wordy and pretentious, the rest to me are forgettable. At least their previous album, Cherry Red Jukebox had The Hill, a song which echoed the glory of the band's heyday.
This album seems like a blanched, washed-out version of what the band could be.


Iconography
Iconography
Price: £12.74

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars welcome re-release, 29 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Iconography (Audio CD)
I had been a fan of Bill Nelson's work for several years when I bought this album on it's initial vinyl release. I had previously bought the 12 inch single of Sex, Psyche, Etc (the last three tracks on this release were included on the 12 inch single) and didn't really understand or enjoy the music at the time. Being a hardcore fan, I bought this album despite some reservations.
Even on first listen this album was clearly an instant classic. It pushed the boundaries of what I had been exposed to back then. It's essentially an instrumental album but each track contains several "found" vocals taken from various vintage radio and film sources. These vocals are used often in a mesmerizing, repetitive way laid over Bill's complex keyboard textures. Despite the obvious lack of the standard verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure, these songs are surprisingly immediate but repeated listens will reveal greater depths.
Some of the tracks, such as The Gods Speak and Who He Is, can be a little taxing hence only a four star review.

Highlights include Christ Via Wires, Clock Conscious, Eastern Electric and News From Nowhere. The attention to detail in the mixing, matching and splicing of the vocal parts is quite amazing, particularly when you remember that this was recorded way before the days of digital cut and paste. I often wonder just how long these pieces took to create. A welcome re-release and a glimpse of a true genius at work.


Dakar - Kingston
Dakar - Kingston
Price: £7.09

4.0 out of 5 stars excellent blend of styles, 11 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Dakar - Kingston (Audio CD)
I have several of Youssou N'Dour's previous albums and have to admit that I really like the more westernized songs (sorry all you purists out there), I enjoy hearing musicians who are not afraid of blending styles of music and this is certainly a well-realized project.

The production is crisp and the playing is tight, the vocals (both lead and backing) are superb. The songs are performed in a relatively straight forward reggae style although most of the songs have a more typical array of African percussion.
The opening song, Marley and one other: Black Woman suffer from having what may be described as clumsy lyrics sung in English. This is certainly not the first album where the English lyrics appear awkward and it maybe that the songs sung in French suffer the same way. These two songs diminish the power of the album as a whole, hence four stars instead of five.
If your expecting a traditional-sounding album from Youssou N'Dour, then look elsewhere. This is, however, a fantastic hybrid, one where the old songs get a fresh breath of life, not necessarily better than the originals, just different enough.


Big World For A Little Man
Big World For A Little Man
Price: £12.04

5.0 out of 5 stars too long away, 17 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For those who followed The Immaculate Fools through their often hard-to-find recorded output, this album will come as a huge welcome back.
To me The Fools ended on a bitter note, their final album Kiss and Punch soaked in a bitterness and bleakness that seemed hard to break into. Years later finds us hearing what sounds like a different, gently uplifting story. Reading the bio for the album, I wasn't sure what to expect and I approached this with slight trepidation. Oh, how my fears were ungrounded. Everything you want is here: the plainly confessional truth with hints of irony and self-effacing humour in the storytelling, the unabashedly raw guitar work, those trademark vocals and heartbreaking chord-changes just at the right time. To me there is more than a passing nod to Nick Cave, certainly more accessible than Tom Waits or Lenard Cohen, but you see the way Ray's leaning. Still there's enough of the Fools in here and less of the Delta Blues than I was expecting. It's great and Miles Hunt and his friends have done a fine job of bringing out the best in Ray. I hope we don't have to wait another 14 years for the follow-up.
Great work Ray, I love it when my heroes come through!


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