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Music is one of my radars

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In Love
In Love
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Derivative, but so, so good, 14 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: In Love (Audio CD)
Peace have been gathering a following with every song released. The early releases of Follow Baby and Bloodshake were promising, while jaws hit the floor with 2012's 'EP Delicious' - every song was fantastic, showing different sides of Peace, from the sun-kissed harmonies of 'California Daze', to the effortless groove of '1998 (Delicious)'.

Hype justified. It's a remarkably assured album, for a debut, with only one real misstep (the missable 'Toxic'). 'California Daze' and 'Follow Baby' reappear (the latter with a new coat of paint), while 'Higher Than The Sun' and 'Lovesick' are enjoyable romps through familiar lyrical material. In Love's high mark (there aren't many wasted notes here - the album clocks in at less than 36 minutes) is undoubtedly the one-two-three punch of 'Wraith' (the return of groovy, dance music-influenced Peace), 'Delicious' (grooving bass with driving drums and chiming guitars) and 'Waste of Paint' (beautifully languid guitar lines in the verse meet urgent riffing at the stunning chorus).

Overall, the sound is gorgeous. It's not hyperbole to compare them to the Stone Roses. It's not a match for the Roses' stunning debut, of course, but the sound is here - the bass and drums groove so naturally, while guitarist Douglas Castle effortlessly riffs, licks, and shreds with only the sky to limit his talent - to which can be added Harry Koisser's quality vocals, mature and leathery (in a good way). Excellent - a great start.

Pale Green Ghosts
Pale Green Ghosts
Offered by wilfsiddle
Price: £14.39

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pale Green Greatness, 14 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pale Green Ghosts (Audio CD)
A stunning second album follows a great first album. With less of a 'warm' sound then his debut, John Grant comes back with an electronic palette. The title track opens the album, setting a high benchmark, putting pulsating synths and beats to their most eerie use ever. Grant has no trouble maintaining the high standard - the beautiful GMF and It Doesn't Matter To Him evolve the sound of Grant's debut effectively - but it is the unfamiliar tracks that warrant special praise here. Sensitive New Age Guy and Ernest Borgnine are similarly electronic but stun in completely different ways, while Glacier's luscious balladry carries considerable emotional heft. The standout track (of an album bursting with high points) is the incredible Why Don't You Love Me Anymore, which combines a hard electronic edge with Grant's rich tenor voice and effortlessly moving melody-writing ability.

Present throughout is John Grant's trademark lyrical mix of humour and bitterness - set once again to stunning music, with much for old fans to love while developing in new directions. A must-listen, and a must-buy.

Given To The Wild
Given To The Wild
Offered by trec002
Price: £19.99

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Maccabees Mature, 6 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Given To The Wild (Audio CD)
Given To The Wild, The Maccabees third album, is a triumph. Its host of good songs follow a mellow-but-rock style that is difficult to classify, although comparisons with elements of Coldplay- and U2-esque arena rock are not unwarranted.

The opening trio of Child, Feel To Follow and Ayla are a melodic triple-punch, laying a beautiful and solid foundation for the rest of the album. Unknow is a highlight, anchored by a rhythmic bass and emotive vocals, while Pelican is wonderfully lateral with a gloriously euphoric breakdown.

There's plenty to love about Given To The Wild, an album that is accessible from the off, while retaining some mystery - with many delights to be discovered after repeat listening.

Price: £6.63

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An album of moments - some great, some not, 4 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Rome (Audio CD)
It all seems a little pretentious - fabled uber-producer unites with Italian composer to create a musical film (no actual film accompanies this 'soundtrack') based on the golden age of Westerns. Stars, of both the indie and café scenes, come together to assist in making music evocative of the Ennio Morricone scores of yesteryear.

Well, the latter is certainly true - the instrumentals sound overly-familiar, although that's clearly part of the goal, and familiarity doesn't damper enjoyment of the sweeping melodies that do actually evoke images of the lone Cowboy trekking across the plains. The results don't quite match the hype generated by its five-year conception, but it's beautiful enough to draw the listener in.

Norah Jones redeems herself with perfectly-timed breathy vocal turns on Season's Trees and Black - two of Rome's highlights, the former being the standout. Her sense of rhythm is exceptional - more than can be said for Jack White, whose three tracks are surprisingly no match. White sounds listless, his voice not fitting the atmosphere and unable to create some of its own.

It's certainly not perfect, and some of the early interludes are more engaging listens than their fuller versions - but beautifully crafted it most certainly is, and sometimes that's enough

No More Stories
No More Stories
Offered by westworld-
Price: £15.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulously unlike anything else, 4 Nov. 2011
This review is from: No More Stories (Audio CD)
Wow. There's few other words capable of describing the aural feast that is Mew's third album - there's more here to digest than that considerable mouthful of a title.

Don't be deceived by confused opener New Terrain - No More Stories... is a magnificent, experimental, post-pop album. Mew have made an album more joyous than their previous output would suggest, avoiding their previous two albums' heavy set and musical angst.

Sometimes Life Isn't Easy is one of the highlights: almost impossible to describe, and certainly impossible to categorise, it sounds almost like Sigur Ros playing Coldplay. Other highlights include Cartoons And Macramé Wounds and the pure pop rush of Hawaii and Repeaterbeater. Tricks Of The Trade builds a haunting atmosphere, while Reprise is a beautifully gentle closer.

In all, No More Stories... is the album where Mew finally nail all the details - every sound is fleshed out, but not overproduced, the songwriting is at its peak, the psychedelia actually sounds fresh, and they're finally making the music no one else can make.

Price: £4.54

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shameless Carriers of the Indie-pop Torch, 4 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Torches (Audio CD)
Let's get it out of the way immediately - Torches is immensely contagious, an audacious indie-pop record. It doesn't always click - but when it does, it's impossible to keep one's feet still.

Pumped Up Kicks is this year's ubiquitous indie-pop crossover - even after many listens, it refuses to lose impact. But does the rest of the album stick quite so successfully? The answer is both yes and no - although more of the former. Opener Helena Beat tries unsuccessfully to re-bottle lightning like their breakthrough hit, but doesn't have similar legs.

Call It What You Want and Houdini, on the other hand, suggest that Foster The People have what it takes to stick around much longer - they hint of the clichéd, but are so joyous and effervescent they render resistance futile. It's not all so golden, but there's enough here to delight in and plenty to enjoy.

Price: £5.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sense of space - a new sensation, 22 Jun. 2011
This review is from: XX (Audio CD)
It's refreshing to find a record like xx in 2009, in an era of popular music that seeks to overwhelm the listener with massive effects and crushing walls of sound - where the focus of the artist is to add as much as possible, covering up for inadequacies of music and lyrics.

The xx do things differently: a four-piece at the time of recording (keyboardist Baria Qureshi has since left), the xx prize a sense of space in their songs. There are moments of silence in the middle of a song, while the heaviest the album gets is with a combination of throbbing bass, quietly interweaving guitars, gently pulsing syncopated beats and breathy vocals (as on 'Intro' - recently ubiquitous as a TV sports event theme - and the fantastic 'Islands'). This sparseness works brilliantly - xx is great for a relaxed listen or as furniture music, but turn up the volume on decent headphones and the subtle touches come out of the woodwork.

Despite their youth, the xx are a perfectly attuned band - they work together with their talents that fit together perfectly. Oliver Sim's bass never dominates, but finds moments to be funky and moments to back off, moments to be in sync with the guitar and moments to syncopate. His vocals aren't strong in the traditional sense, but fit the lyrical atmosphere (primarily the uncertainties of young love) perfectly when paired with those of Romy Madley-Croft, whose light guitar work is excellent ('Night time'). The musical atmosphere and beats are largely the work of young production wunderkind Jamie xx - always supporting and occasionally driving the songs, but never dominating them.

In short, xx is a refreshing listen, and a compelling one too.

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