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Reviews Written by (Warrington, England)

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Surfin' Safari/Surfin' U.S.A.
Surfin' Safari/Surfin' U.S.A.
Price: £7.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than Surfer Girl..., 15 Mar 2002
Though between them Surfer Girl and Shut Down Volume II contained at least three absolutely classic Beach Boys songs (In My Room, Fun Fun Fun and Don't Worry Baby), I would actually say this CD is superior. Surfer Girl is *very* ballady, but before Brian Wilson acheived the introspection that made Pet Sounds such a classic (tellingly, the song which his autobiography describes as the most personal - In My Room - is also the best) and far from being the first evidence of Brian's producing talent, it sounds like he's trying to establish a cliche. Shut Down Volume II has more filler than B & Q. The two albums here, however, are both much more entertaining (which is what you want from early Beach Boys, isn't it?). Sufin' Safari has a pleasingly raw, garage-y sound, and Surfin' USA goes along pleasingly enough. Both seem to cap a certain style of music associated with that era (revealed in the covers - Summer Time Blues on Safari, Misirilou on USA) with enthusiasm and talent. Finally, if you ever read Brian's autobiography Wouldn't It Be Nice you'll probably find, as I did, that it's these two albums you'll want to listen back to with renewed appreciation as Brian writes about the early recording sessions.

It's Alright [CD 2]
It's Alright [CD 2]
Offered by intrasound-gb
Price: £3.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab!, 23 Jan 2002
This review is from: It's Alright [CD 2] (Audio CD)
My first real experience of the Bunnymen was this lovely single, which really has it all - a simple, catchy hook; a chorus that lodges in your brain and an '80s-retro mysteriousness to it. Very underrated, even Ian McCulloch didn't like it, but one of the few songs that sticks in your head for a month, and you still don't mind hearing it again.

Time Out
Time Out
Price: £5.99

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to jazz, 4 Jan 2002
This review is from: Time Out (Audio CD)
A great introduction because the interest here lies in Brubeck's odd time signatures rather than odd melodies/harmonies/chord structure/etc. which is said about a lot of jazz - as such, it's much easier for someone unknowledgeable of music theory to understand what is special about Time Out. That Paul Desmond is such a wonderfully lyrical saxophone player who eschews the uncomfortably fast style of other players (the saxophones on Kind of Blue, for example) for a more pleasing, melodic effect - and reaps the unforgettable Take Five (which IIRC he wrote) as his reward - is just icing on a cake. And Dave is great too!

Kind Of Blue
Kind Of Blue
Offered by The Music Warehouse
Price: £6.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles' melodies are impeccable, 4 Jan 2002
This review is from: Kind Of Blue (Audio CD)
The bass line on opening track 'So What' is worth the cost of this album alone... and Miles Davis's trumpet, dark and mournful yet providing a hummable melody that I miss from a lot of mostly-improvised jazz (compare the saxes here), made me forget all about Salvation army bands and boring brass bands and pick up the instrument.

Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks
Price: £7.25

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and inspiring, 21 Dec 2001
This review is from: Twin Peaks (Audio CD)
I was thinking of giving this soundtrack 4/5 stars - after all, compared with soundtrack heavyweights like The Godfather, Twin Peaks with its three-or-four songs (and many variations thereof) seems a bit limited. But what songs they are - each one conjures up the elusive, ambiguous feel of the TV series instantly - the main theme has an immediate Lynch vibe, The Dance of the Dream Man is music to go mad to (clicking your fingers all the way) and is perhaps the best surrealist music (or music for surrealism) since Eraserhead, while the Laura Palmer theme makes me think I'm going to stumble across a dead cheerleader's body any moment now, even in the middle of a sunny day.
No, you can't deny Badalamenti's musical genius - this is unarguably the greatest TV soundtrack ever made.

House Of Leaves
House Of Leaves
by Mark Z. Danielewski
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.04

15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There's a fantastic book in here... somewhere..., 3 Nov 2001
This review is from: House Of Leaves (Paperback)
I think the fact that this book was so highly praised by the Guardian newspaper says more about their critics' lack of reading in the horror genre than its quality... the problem with House of Leaves is, it's like Danielowski wrote an interesting, compelling and extremely scary horror story (more Jamesian than Lovecraftian in tone), but then decided that the reader wasn't clever enough to pick out all his references and subtexts himself, so that he'd add many, many hundreds of made-up footnotes to try and laboriously explain what he meant... ironically this undermines the book because now no-one will ever attempt to analyse it - Danielowski has laid bare all he was trying to say, there really is nothing more there. But far from being an average book as my 3 stars would indicate, it is really a fantastic short horror novel (100% guranteed to have become a cult) totally negated by too many footnotes, too much clever typography (not *all* of it is redundant, but a lot of it), pretentiousness (the lists!) and a second narrative that, though it is touching and fairly interesting in parts, is ultimately just a distraction. Not average, but brilliant (even seeing someone refer to "the last Navidson exploration" sends a chill down my spine!) and rubbish (a large portion of the "angry young man" narrative, which disappointingly never clicks in with the rest of the story as much as you hope it will) in equal measures. Parts of it will thrill you, parts of it won't, but when you've finished reading it you'll be curiously unaffected by it.

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