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primaryfan (London)

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Sway
Sway
Price: £10.80

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars why why why has no one heard of these guys?, 1 Sep 2003
This review is from: Sway (Audio CD)
i must confess i bought this album entirely on a whim, after seeing it in a record shop in las vegas. reading the quote from the sunday times on the cd case, which described the music as a cross between oasis, radiohead and the verve (three of my favourite bands) i could hardly resist. and i certainly wasn't disappointed. this is the album of the year so far, and the most accomplished debut record since 'definitely maybe'.
ironically, of all the bands the quote mentioned, the one it forgot was doves. whilst there are undoubtedly a few oasis-like flourishes, specifically the guitar solo on 'sweet marie', and some sonic touches reminiscent of radiohead's 'kid a', the overall sound of the album is far more akin to the ambient guitar grooves produced by doves. which is no bad thing at all.
the album opens dreamily with the swirling 'are you there?'. blissful vocal melodies rise and fall over soothing keyboards and soft acoustic guitar. it's a curious opening, but a magical one all the same.
this leads into the soaring 'life and illusion' - a pounding tune to add a surge of electricity to the album after it's atmospheric beginnings. that's not to say the song isn't similarly ambient, every song on the album shares the same dream-like quality. one fantastic solo later and the song drops away to the opening chords of 'baby blue'.
baby blue is the sort of song that bands often use as filler material, think 'green eyes' on coldplay's 'a rush of blood to the head'. however, phaser manage to turn a song that might otherwise be average into something outstanding. the song shimmers with an effortless beauty, and continues the imperious quality of the album.
the title track follows, and is the first of two enormous anthems. melodically perfect, sung with real conviction and featuring glorious female backing vocals, it's one of 'those' songs.
'would you believe?' infuses a touch of darkness after the heavenly nature of 'sway'. with brilliant guitar work, fantastic bass and a killer chorus featuring backing vocals that recall the title track of doves' 'the last broadcast'.
northern soul is the mid-album instrumental, similar to treefingers on 'kid a' but, in my opinion, superior in its conception.
this leads into the wonderful 'can't get you out of my mind'. thankfully this bears no resemblance to the similarly titled kylie minogue track. instead it's a gentle ballad with a gloomy voice that explodes into a delightfully uplifting chorus. brilliant.
'sweet marie' follows, and is the song that oasis' 'stop crying your heart out' and coldplays' 'the scientist' wish they were. it's the second enormous anthem, with perfect verses and a chorus that scrapes the stars (as well as that oasis-esque solo). maybe the vocals are mixed slightly too quietly on the first chorus, but it's a small complaint with such an otherwise flawless track.
'gone away too long' recalls 'can't get you out of my mind' with its minor verse-major chorus style. it's a very tough choice between these two wonderful tracks, and a marvel that they both appear on the same record.
'tess' revisits the opening 'are you there?' but injects it with a sense of urgency as siayko skalsky sings "just give me something i can believe in". the first part of a haunting conclusion to the album.
postlude gracefully brings the album back down to earth. a piano instrumental that seems to touch upon various motifs from the rest of the album (so far i've spotted baby blue and gone away too long, but i'm sure there's more). a true wonder, and a fitting end to the record.
hopefully my descriptions will have encouraged you to listen to this album. it really is remarkable. if you have ears, they deserve to hear this.


The Cure - Trilogy: Live In Berlin [DVD] [2003]
The Cure - Trilogy: Live In Berlin [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Cure
Price: £16.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, the perfect conclusion., 3 Jun 2003
It took 18 years for the cure to record their trilogy of pornography (1982), disintegration (1989) and bloodflowers (2000). Last November in Berlin it took them three hours to conclude it.
And what a three hours it is. The pornography set is, inevitably, the most intense. From the opening wail of 100 years to the closing noise of pornography, the set has an energy and tension which perfectly realises the abrasive nature of the album. 100 years would be perfect, although Smith's vocals are still warming up. The hanging garden is truly stunning, with especially impressive drumming from jason cooper. The band also deliver a cracking version of a strange day, but the highlight of the set though is undoubtedly cold (arguably the strongest track on the album anyway). As the cascading drumbeat and lavish keyboards emerge, the sense of eerie silence in the arena is tangible; the song is the most emotionally vulnerable moment of the set. The title track is realised in a way that makes it more performance-friendly than the studio track, and is a perfectly uneasy ending to the set.
As blue lights and quiet chimes fill the arena, the increasing feeling of a new dawn comes to a climax as the beauty of plainsong suddenly explodes across the arena. It is a truly magical moment, affording the song the status it truly deserves. Disintegration is (from my point of view) the strongest album of the three, and each song is well realised. The highlights are a pounding fascination street, a rare performance of the gorgeous the same deep water as you, and truly awesome renditions of homesick and untitled that close the set with a flourish of perfection.
As the songs of bloodflowers then fill the arena, the resigned tone of the album is evident. Where the birds always sing is delivered brilliantly, as is 39, but the real highlight of the set is the song bloodflowers itself. Cooper's drumming is again outstanding, as is the guitar work from Simon Gallup and Perry Bamonte, as the band gather strength towards the end of the marathon and produce a performance that is perhaps the finest of the concert. Smith's vocals are particularly perfect, infused with a power and emotion that really affirm the sense of occasion. The perfect end to a wonderful show, in which three fabulous albums (one of which has a legitimate claim to the title of finest album ever) are given the performance they demand.
The interviews on the dvd are also comprehensive, giving exaustive details about the gigs themselves, and also a fantastic insight into the band members' (particularly Smith and Gallup) feelings towards the songs.
A must for any cure fan. A must for any music fan.
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