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D. Rankin "Trust Me, I'm a Stomach" (Wellingborough, UK)

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Vignetting The Compost
Vignetting The Compost
Offered by Blind Owl Records
Price: 14.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melancholy Genius, 2 Jun 2009
This review is from: Vignetting The Compost (Audio CD)
Without question, this is my favourite album of 2009 so far. Like flicking through the pages of a lost childhood scrapbook you forgot you ever had, it is a joyful and sweetly melancholy experience.

'Dopplerton' could have sound tracked an episode of the popular 60's kid's show Trumpton, while 'Great are the Piths' showcases Stephen Wilkinson's surprisingly impressive vocals. Strange as the comparison may be, the track bears an uncanny likeness to Greg Lake's seasonal classic, 'I Believe in Father Christmas'. To my ears, at least!

'The Ephemeral Bluebell' is the album's highlight, a beautiful guitar refrain that loops infinitely and grows ivy-like through a garden of glorious sounds.

While I enjoyed Bibio's first two releases, Fi and Hand Cranked, Vignetting the Compost is an album that exceeded my already high expectations. It is an album that I will return to for a good few years to come: a garden I will continue to happily explore.

Hard Islands
Hard Islands
Price: 7.82

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not what I was expecting......, 1 Jun 2009
This review is from: Hard Islands (Audio CD)
If, like me, you bought this mini-album hoping that it would be more of the pastoral and hazily nostalgic IDM of Fake's Border Community label debut, 'Drowning in a Sea of Love', you may be in for somewhat of a surprise.

This release is beat-driven and crisp in it's production, where 'Drowning...' was melodic, lazy paced and muddied. 'The Turtle' would be destined for the dance floor if it didn't sound like it was short-circuiting and ready to explode at any moment. Which is a good thing.

'Castle Rising' is nine minutes of acid soaked joy and never outstays its welcome despite its considerable running time.

'The Curlew' is the anomaly of this record that stands out like a sore thumb. Conjuring the warbling beauty of prime Boards of Canada, this short piece doesn't seem to sit right with the rest of the album. I love it, in fact it's my favourite of the six tracks here, yet it somehow feels like a token gesture. A kind of apologetic nod to those who may be disappointed with Fake's sudden change in musical direction; a sweetener to the acidic flavour of the album as a whole. I don't know, but I would have been more impressed if he had found a more adept balance between 'Old' Fake and 'New' Fake that resonated throughout the discs duration, as opposed to a meager 1 minute 17 seconds of lovely, yet out of context music slapped bang in the middle of the track list. Either that or gone with his convictions and made a balls out, no compromise decision to sever all notable ties with Hard Islands gentler predecessor completely.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 4, 2009 12:17 AM BST

Blue Bell Knoll
Blue Bell Knoll
Price: 7.54

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Cocteau Twins? I Reckon So., 9 April 2009
This review is from: Blue Bell Knoll (Audio CD)
I bought the Cocteau's second album, 'Head Over Heels' on a whim a few years ago and, while I certainly enjoyed it, I wasn't overwhelmed by the urge to delve further into their catalogue anytime soon. However, about a year later I found a cheap second hand copy of 'Blue Bell Knoll' and decided to give it a go. It was unquestionably the best 3.50 I have ever spent.
For anyone new to Cocteau Twins and intrigued to know more, I would recommend this as the place to start as it succinctly encapsulates the group's definitive sound.
'For Phoebe Still a Baby' is just over 3 minutes of perfection. Rendered beautifully by Liz Fraser's exquisite vocals, the simple lullaby is at once comforting and yet, somehow, utterly heart breaking. It's the kind of track I could listen to on loop for eternity and never tire of.
'Carolyn's Fingers' puts forward the case that Fraser is one of the all time great female singers as she pulls off some deliriously euphoric vocal acrobatics.
As with practically all of the Cocteau's output, don't go hunting for deep meanings or poignant messages in the lyrics. In fact, don't hunt for lyrics at all because you'll struggle to decipher them, let alone make sense of them. The emotions conveyed through THAT voice coupled with the enveloping wash of Robin Guthrie's guitar work speak infinitely greater volumes than identifiable lyrics ever could.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 13, 2012 10:01 PM BST

Saturdays = Youth
Saturdays = Youth
Price: 6.92

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saturdays = Youth = an essential album, 9 April 2009
This review is from: Saturdays = Youth (Audio CD)
It is maybe because I am of a similar age to M83's Anthony Gonzalez that the themes and aesthetics of 'Saturday = Youth' resonate so strongly. This album is drenched with 80's inspiration and takes its atmospheric cues from the likes of Cocteau Twins, the post punk band The Chameleons (give their second album 'What Does Anything Mean? Basically' a listen - the opener 'Silence, Sea & Sky' in particular could have been plucked straight from an M83 album) as well as an obvious nod to 'Hounds of Love' era Kate Bush.

In some respects, the album is comparable to the work of Boards of Canada. That is not to say that M83's compositions resemble the mood or sonic palette of BoC particularly ('Music Has the Right to Children' was menacing and claustrophobic, 'Saturdays = Youth' is light and airy), it is more the sense of delicious nostalgia that each act expertly taps into.

There is a shamelessly heartfelt sincerity to these tracks, which is extremely refreshing given the number of bands that are currently adopting an 80's influenced sound but are far too self aware and engrossed in cool posturing to cut loose and have fun with it.

The whole album is an absolute delight, but a special mention for 'You, Appearing', 'Kim & Jessie', 'We Own the Sky' and 'Dark Moves of Love'.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 13, 2009 12:18 PM BST

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