Profile for Mr. M. J. Hulme > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mr. M. J. Hulme
Top Reviewer Ranking: 308,721
Helpful Votes: 534

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mr. M. J. Hulme
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
pixel
The Webb Brothers
The Webb Brothers
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £6.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Third time lucky, 24 Sep 2003
This review is from: The Webb Brothers (Audio CD)
It's no surprise that the Webb Brothers (James, Christiaan, Justin) have opted to give their third full-length release an eponymous title - 1998 mini-album debut 'Beyond The Biosphere' showcased their Beatlesque songrwriting but at 28 minutes was too short to be an album proper. 2000's sophomore effort, Maroon, had a few bright spots but was prone to repetition and the use of sonic production trickery (multi-tracked vocals being the most used) to cover up a deficit of ideas. Now it's late 2003 and for the Webb Brothers, it's year zero. Time to relaunch themselves.
They've succeeded admirably. From opener 'The World Is Big', ushered in on an intro strangely reminiscent of the Beatles' Abbey Road before bursting into technicolor glory, through album standout 'Just As Sweet' (the song Coldplay wish they'd written) to current single 'Ms. Moriaty', which threatens to out power-pop Bowie and Bolan combined. Beyond the Biosphere proved they could write interesting medleys, and 'The Chill' and 'All The Dreams' sit back-to-back to prove how much they've improved since then. The closing 'Bitten By Snakes' is perfect, a haunting instrumental that swells with strings to finish the album on a bittersweet high - so fragile and powerful, it could have come from the pen of old Jimmy Webb himself.
Almost perfect from beginning to end - if you've got a pulse, you need to own this album.


You Forgot It in People
You Forgot It in People
Price: £8.83

9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Left-field rock hits the target, 10 Sep 2003
This review is from: You Forgot It in People (Audio CD)
There's no way in the world that a "band" pulled together from some of North America's most wilful musical dissidents should work. Yet Broken Social Scene, a collaboration between some of the Canadian art-noise rock bands at the furthest end of the spectrum from pop, have pulled out an absolute blinder here. Thirteen tracks that fizz with energy and invention, each one exploring different styles and themes. There's a debt to the art-rock stylings of Eleventh Dream Day on 'Cause=Time', a hypnotic Tortoise-like swirl of noise on "Anthems For A 17 Year Old Girl", an almost-emo sound to 'Stars And Sons'.


It Still Moves
It Still Moves
Offered by ludovico_institute
Price: £6.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best work yet, 10 Sep 2003
This review is from: It Still Moves (Audio CD)
This album seems to have divided My Morning Jacket fans down the middle - some praise the improved guitar work while others have voiced concerns that the band appear to be going down the dreaded "jam band" route.
Well, for what it's worth, I think it's their best album yet. 'At Dawn' had moments of beauty and some wonderful songwriting, but it was let down by a weak production and a few tracks that drifted on and on without ever really going anywhere. This time round, you still get the typically generous 72 minutes of music spread across 12 tracks - yes, that's six minutes a track - but this time, they chop and change and go off to different places, keeping the sound fresh and the listener hooked. 'Dancefloors' and 'Masterplan' between them are worth the money alone - if Oasis had been from the Midwest and had been able to write long but interesting songs, they might have sounded this good. If the Flaming Lips wrote countrified rock and roll, they would sound like this.
Jim James still sounds like Neil Young when he sings, but the material they play gets more and more original with every new release. If you're new to the band, this is as good a place to start as any. If you're an existing fan, you won't be disappointed.


John Betjeman's Collected Poems
John Betjeman's Collected Poems
by John Betjeman
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding talent of rhythm and rhyme, 13 May 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't pretend to be much of an expert on poetry, but when I first read Betjeman's work, I was stunned at the simplicity and beauty of the rhythm he brings to the language. Intelligent and articulate without being pretentious or high-brow, this is nonetheless extraordinary writing by a rare, rare talent. This collection includes some of his later works, perhaps overlooked in the light of his prolific mid-Century output. While not in the same league as his middle period, they still give an insight into a man that excelled at painting images with words.
'Revival ran along the hedge
And made my spirit whole,
With steam upon the windowpane
And glory in my soul.'


Rainy Day Music (Limited Edition w/ Bonus CD)
Rainy Day Music (Limited Edition w/ Bonus CD)
Offered by pokerbooks
Price: £15.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect soundtrack to a lazy summer, 13 May 2003
After the patchy 'Sound OF Lies' and the disastrously experimental 'Smile', Gary Louris needed to pull an album of great songs out of the bag to prove that the Jayhawks weren't washed up when Mark Olson left to pursue a quasi-solo career with wife Victoria Williams. Wisely, he's chosen to return to ditch the preoccupation with 1960's acid-rock and return to the rootsy, folky rock music that did so much to make the Jayhawks' name in the first place.
The album vindicates his decision. It's a wonderful slice of sunny, summery pop music and deceptively simple, but strong, songwriting. The vocal harmonies are out in force, and the influence of producer Ethan Johns shines through with the Byrdsian jangle of polished guitars and raw, honest production values. For any newcomers to the Jayhawks, this is as good a place to start as any - accessible and deep. (You may want to check "Tomorrow The Green Grass" first, though.)
From 'Stumbling Through The Dark' via 'All The Right Reasons',' Save It For A Rainy Day', 'One Man's Problem', the harmonies and tunes keep on coming, one after the other. It's almost an embarrassment of riches - until Tim O'Reagan contributes 'Don't Let The World Get In Your Way', which is, frankly, rubbish. BUt every album'allowed one clunker, after all.
And the bonus CD more than makes up for it - some gorgeous acoustic guitar and vocals from Gary Louris make you wonder why this wasn't a separate EP. A quality "extra" to go with one of the folky feelgood albums of 2003.


Rainy Day Music
Rainy Day Music

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just for a rainy day, 13 May 2003
This review is from: Rainy Day Music (Audio CD)
After the patchy 'Sound OF Lies' and the disastrously experimental 'Smile', Gary Louris needed to pull an album of great songs out of the bag to prove that the Jayhawks weren't washed up when Mark Olson left to pursue a quasi-solo career with wife Victoria Williams. Wisely, he's chosen to return to ditch the preoccupation with 1960's acid-rock and return to the rootsy, folky rock music that did so much to make the Jayhawks' name in the first place.
The album vindicates his decision. It's a wonderful slice of sunny, summery pop music and deceptively simple, but strong, songwriting. The vocal harmonies are out in force, and the influence of producer Ethan Johns shines through with the Byrdsian jangle of polished guitars and raw, honest production values. For any newcomers to the Jayhawks, this is as good a place to start as any - accessible and deep. (You may want to check "Tomorrow The Green Grass" first, though.)
From 'Stumbling Through The Dark' via 'All The Right Reasons',' Save It For A Rainy Day', 'One Man's Problem', the harmonies and tunes keep on coming, one after the other. It's almost an embarrassment of riches - until Tim O'Reagan contributes 'Don't Let The World Get In Your Way', which sounds uncannily like David Bowie's Space Oddity but isn't anywhere near as good. Not to despair - the album finishes strongly with 'Tampa To Tulsa' and a reprise of the opening track, by which time you want to press 'play' and enjoy it all over again. Perfect for summer, and great to hear the Jayhawks doing what they do best once again.


Long Gone Before Daylight
Long Gone Before Daylight
Offered by westworld-
Price: £19.98

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lesson in how to make pop music, 24 Mar 2003
Well, it's about time. After 'Gran Turismo' threatened to lead Sweden's premier pop purveyors down a blind alleyway of leather boots and Black Sabbath covers, they've recharged their batteries, cut the 'rock god' albatross from their collective necks, and gone back to doing what they do best. Which is writing perfect, candy-coated three-minute pop songs of heartbreak and loss.
Say goodbye to the pretence that the Cardigans were ever anything other than a pure pop band in the best traditions of the Beatles; melody has always been the key to their songs. Witness the lush pastoral pop of 'Life', which is an album that should never stray more than ten feet from the stereo of any music lover that believes in music as a tool to uplift and inspire.
Straight from the word go, ' Long Gone Before Daylight' blows away the cobwebs with delicious slices of Beatlesque songwriting - 'Communication', and future-single-of-the-summer 'You're The Storm'. They're on top form again, and they know it. Nina Persson sings with real passion and commitment, and Peter Svensson's songwriting is as clever and inventive as always, using standard pop stereotypes and twisting them inside-out.
Bottom line - the sorry state of today's pop music needs more bands like the Cardigans. This is the sound of a band back on track and enjoying life once more, and that can only be good news for the rest of us. This will be the sound of the summer.


AT DAWN
AT DAWN

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique hybrid of country-rock and the avant-garde, 10 Mar 2003
This review is from: AT DAWN (Audio CD)
This is very strange stuff. My Morning Jacket's links with bands as diverse as the Flaming Lips, Grandaddy and Mercury Rev can be best understood within the country-rock genre that they're close to subverting. Much less electronica than the 'Lips, and much more organic than Grandaddy… if anything, this is closer in soul and spirit to Mercury Rev's 'Deserter's Songs' or 'All Is Dream'. But what does it sound like?
Well, it's hard to describe. 'It Smashes Down' will haunt you - one guitar and a creepy, high octave vocal from Jim James, with sinister swirling lurking in the background. But then, 'At Dawn', 'Lowdown' and 'The Way That He Sings' all owe debts to a whole range of styles - ushering themselves in with percussion and electrical humming, before branching off into strummed acoustic guitar and slow-building rock songs.
Frequent comparisons with Neil Young's vocal style have been made - I partly disagree. To me, Jim James is part Young, part Wayne Coyne, part Jon Donahue. What matters is he gets the emotion and feel of the songs across, and his ragged, sometimes off-key singing has a kooky, endearing charm. Some listeners will hear the voice and be put off instantly - not me, but then I always think good songs are worth more than good singers.
This takes a few listens to connect with, and isn't an instant classic, but it will creep up on you and slowly filter into your brain until you'll be digging this album out on those late drunken nights when you want a glorious mixture of melancholy and harmony to lull you off to sleep. And at over seventy minutes, this is, if nothing else, remarkably generous stuff. Well worth the gamble.


Master And Everyone
Master And Everyone
Price: £10.83

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introspective, acoustic magic, 20 Feb 2003
This review is from: Master And Everyone (Audio CD)
We're blessed in 2003 already - it's only February and we've had Iron & Wine's astounding debut and now this... professional curudgeon Will Oldham has created an intimate, fragile masterpiece of eloquent lyrics and softly strummed guitar with the occasional augmentation of strings or keyboards. It's a neo-folky, countryesque ramble through loves lost and won and won't be going more than five feet from my stereo for the next few months.
Marty Slayton, who duets with Oldham on 'Ain't You Wealthy, Ain't You Wise?' has a voice that could melt your heart, and thought there are too many highlights to mention, special praise must go to the wonderful 'Three Questions' and the closing 'Hard Life' which starts as a John Martynesque folk lament and turns itself inside out into a classic acoustic pop tune. This is lovingly crafted, bubbling with emotion and it won't sell anything like as many copies as it would in a fairer world. C'est la vie.


The Creek Drank The Cradle
The Creek Drank The Cradle
Price: £7.62

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stripped-down, introspective magic, 10 Feb 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Interestingly, Sub Pop seem to be reinventing themselves from label of all things grunge-rock to a new, mellow, "two guitars on the front porch " affair. But then, Sub Pop were always one step head of the game. This collection of songs by Sam Beam consists of stripped down, acoustic guitar affairs, with slide guitar and banjo making an appearance to add extra layers of mystery. It's a million miles away from the noisy excesses of grunge, and very special.
Beam sings laconically, as though he's half asleep, in a voice reminiscent of the more fragile moments from Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse. In fact, these songs would have slotted seamlessly onto the more lo-fi moments of 'Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot,' Sparklehorse's excellent first album. No drums, just guitar and hushed vocals. Some strange magic is at work here - this is excellent, intimate stuff, transporting you to a mythical part of America in the same way as Gillian Welch's 'Time (The Revelator)' - timeless, haunting, and magical. Beam crafts songs that dig at the twisted heart of middle America; disturbing, but wonderfully well-drawn portraits of small-town life. This will be up there in the "2003 album of the year" stakes for sure.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7