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Thick As A Brick 2
Thick As A Brick 2
Price: 17.15

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pale imitation, 3 April 2012
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This review is from: Thick As A Brick 2 (Audio CD)
I eagerly awaited this album, having been a fan of the original for christ knows how many years now - having given the WHOLE album a few spins, it does both clearly reference Thick as a Brick (1), but in the main falls into a collection of rather bland, and forgettable MOR tunes that really don't hold up to the original. The musicianship is fine, and very occasionally inspired (but appears very controlled, I suspect by Mr Anderson - you get the impression that if he let the other band members off the leash a bit, this could have been so much more interesting).

Lyric wise, there is some good and occasionally embarrassing story telling, that sometimes matches the wit of the original. There are themes about the various possible outcomes of the life of Gerald bostock, with some quaint English cultural references (Fray Bentos pie etc). Themes that reference the current recession and bankers, and recent global conflicts.

Having listened to both albums back to back - I'm going to be blunt here - Ian Anderson might have a band of crack musicians on TAAB 2 , but it misses the driving,creative drums of Barriemore Barlow; the incendiary guitarwork (and sound!) of Martin Barre; John Evan plays the Hammond organ like a demon possessed - John O'Hara does not etc etc. (I'm a bassist - I know Ian Anderson's current bass player is good, but where's the passion?).

I've given this a few more listens and its definately a grower - but the issues that keep coming back to me is - the bass and drums just don't cut it - they lack passion, and are just lazily played. This is probably the key difference for me about why TAAB 1 stands out so much more.

I probably will come back to this album,but I just wish Anderson would rein his ego in a bit, and let the other musicians shine more.

Incidently, when I watched the DVD, I got a sense that the musicians did not appear that relaxed and were constantly being watched over. And the lyric readings were an embarrassing disply of Ian's ego, that had me cringing.

Listen to them back to back and you decide. We all know really that classic Tull stopped after Stormwatch, if we're honest with ourselves.

Ho hum it's still no more than 3 stars, even though I like it a bit more.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 14, 2013 7:22 PM BST

Theme For Great Cities
Theme For Great Cities
Price: 0.79

5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 22 Jan 2012
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This is a classic instrumental from Simple Minds - I'd arguably say that they are better at instrumentals than vocal songs. This just lifts you up and carries you along from the moment the analog synths announce the main tune, to the driving rhytm section so oftern overlooked in early Simple's timeless and as a tune, stands alone in a good way. Buy it, turn it up and, if you remain unmoved, there's something wrong with you!

Rites At Dawn
Rites At Dawn
Price: 12.30

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Be warned..., 11 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Rites At Dawn (Audio CD)
I've given this album a number of listens, and own the other 2 wobbler CD's, both of which I really like, especially afterglow.

Rites at Dawn, whilst being very well played throughout, as I would have expected,is far too derivative of it's influences, particularly of both Yes and ELP, but without including any musical originality which say's 'Wobbler' (unhlike the previous 2 albums).

A key problem throughout is the lack of any discernable melody, both musically and particularly wiht the vocals. I do not like the new singer's voice - there is no passion behinhd the vocals, and - where's the tune??'. I may be in the minority, but I much prefer the previous vocalists voice,annd his (better in my opinion) ear for melody.

It's not that the songs are bad, they are just not memorable. If I went into each song individually, I would be saying the same thing each time i.e. well played, lacking melody, poorly, and blandly sung, and ripping Yes and ELP off, to the point of plagiarism, without the 'Wobbler' stamp.

I hope this is a blip, and that they come back with a more original stronger 4th album, with a different, better, more passionate singer who sounds like he means the words he sings.

3 stars is gererous, but that if because the music is played to a high standard.

Veruy disappointed...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 22, 2011 3:38 PM GMT

The Wake in Concert
The Wake in Concert
Price: 13.96

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wake ....better live!, 16 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Wake in Concert (Audio CD)
Just got it direct through iq store. Watched it last night - fantastic, brings back memories of seeing them on this tour. Wxcellent musicianship, visuals and theatrics [pete nicholls likes his theatrics! - see Infernal chorus]. Only thing is, John Jowitt does not look his normal energetic 'up' self....the sign of changing times?
The Wake was and is always better performed live, and this excellent vaue CD/DVD shows this well.

Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth +Bonus CD
Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth +Bonus CD
Price: 11.63

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a grower, 12 Dec 2010
Echoing some of the other reviews, when I first listened to this CD, I was unsure on several counts. Firstly, the absence of a credited drummer - I can only guess that the drums are computerised. Steve, why didn't you get Gary O'Toole to play drums on this? Secondly, although Chris Squire and Anthony Phillips are there, they for the most part are low in the mix, and therefore how they have been recordred and mixed does not do them justice. That aside, most of the songs grew on me, apart from one (more of later). There is the usual eclectic mix of musical styles any Hackett fan should come to expect, which I appreciate is not to everyone's taste.Favourites include Nomads, Sleepers, Ghost in the Glass, Emerald and Ash and Tube Head - all these songs are multilayered, and have different musical styles from flamenco, classical, minimalist, experimental to outright rock. Fire on the Moon is a big sounding song but not as good as soe have made it out to be (much better live though, as Hackett always is, in my honest opinion). Last Train to Istanbul sounds like 2 different songs have been cut and pasted together - it took a number of listens to get into this song, and it is a good album closer, but does not stand out to me. Still waters is the one song that could have been left off the album (and out of the live setlist, having seen Steve do this last and this year) - I like the blues, and I am not a purist by any means, but this does sound like a bad pub rock number, with vocals that do not fit the song. I'm sorry if this does sound harsh, but this is the one song I skip, and this could have been replaced by something much more imaginative from Steve, hence the 4 star review. My last gripe is that I bought this in 2009, on the Wolfwork label at one of Steve's gig's, and was a bit miffed to see this re-released with extra tracks a few months later cheaper! I do recomend this album to Hackett fans, but would not say this is a good place to start with his solo work - Spectral Mornings and Voyage of the Acolyte are the ones to start with I think. Enjoy!

Price: 5.57

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars true progressive music, 28 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Ys (Audio CD)
I read a review saying this was not for the faint hearted. I would agree. But this is exceptionally good stuff, incorporating recognisable influences, such as elp, and Gentle Giant,Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and PFM whilst retaining a unique sound of their own - jazz, rock, experimental, atmospheric.

The songs flow into each other, and offer the listener a lot of contrast. The vocals are dramatic, without becoming histrionic, the keyboards are the main instrument featuring here with Hammond runs that would leave Keith Emerson standing. Moog, Mellotron, piano and harpsichord are used occasionally but offer the listener contrast and sometimes relief from the aforementionned Hammond.

The musicianship is very tight, and shows off the high standard of musician ship from all 4 band members. What I like is that it is not another prog album where the guitar is the main instrument to dominate - indeed, the guitar, whilst clearly in the mix, takes more of a rhythm role, second fiddle to the keyboards. Each band member is showcased on Ys, without risking the band moving into spinal tap territory.

The only thing that I feel let this album down, is that the Epilog has a section that becomes too repetative for my liking, where the same bass line repeats for over 5 minutes, with a keyboard section over the top. It does get a bit wearing and the song could have moved on much earlier - but this is my only criticism. At 5 minutes, the Epilog would have been perfect. But this is a minor point, considering the imaginativeness of the rest of the album.

It won't be to everyone's taste, but if you like your music truly progressive, don't mind non English vocals (I quite like being sung to in other languages!!), I would recommend giving this a listen.

Ambient 1: Music for Airports (2009)
Ambient 1: Music for Airports (2009)
Price: 7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly beautiful..., 25 July 2010
This is perfect mood music...this could conjour up images of cloudscapes, empty aitport terminals at night or day, ait travel...This really is music that is not so much there to be listened to as experienced. The main thing about this is ther space that exists in the music that's up to the listener to fill. The music itself does not demand your attention, but subtlely fills the space around you. Either at low volume, or louder, this has the power to draw you in and leave you spellbound everytime. I get very reflective, and always feel rejuvenated and envigourated by the experience each time I listen to it. The ambient series stands apart and, of it's kind, I think this music is unrivalled. Trust me when I say you will be listening to this for many years to come if you buy this....

Rush - Beyond the Lighted Stage [DVD] [2010]
Rush - Beyond the Lighted Stage [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Rush
Price: 9.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, for seasoned fans and non fans alike, 9 July 2010
I watched this with my wife (I didn't force her to watch it - she actually wanted to watch it!) and both of us really enjoyed this. What you get is a moving, funny, insightful film, with stuff I bet even the most dedicated Rush fan hasn't seen before. You get a good range of live footage from there early days to the Snakes and Arrows tour, making me wonder if there is enough footage for Rush to release, say a gig from the 2112, or Hemispheres tours etc. You get a real sense that Rush are good friends, as well as being Rush, and just nice people, which is probably why Rush have stayed together all these years.There are alot of interviews with key rock luminaries (you'll find out who they are!) talking about how Rush influenced them, and what Rush mean to them, inlcuding some you may not expect. Particluarly moving is how the band dealt with Neil Peart's double loss, and also the reasons why John Rutsey left te band. I don;t want to give too much away, but I found this moving, uplifting, and inspiring, and would highly recommend this to Rush and non Rush fans alike. And the ending is unexpected and made me and my wife laugh out loud!....BUY!!!

Signals (Rmst)
Signals (Rmst)
Price: 5.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still my favourite rush album, 24 years after first hearing it, 9 Jun 2010
This review is from: Signals (Rmst) (Audio CD)
I still **** my pants every time I listen to this album, I really think it's that good. I remember listening to Countdown when it was in the charts (yes it was people!), this being the first song I had ever heard by the band - I was mesmerised by the lyrics, and story telling of the song, and the way the song just builds and builds, carrying me with it. When I heard the album 5 years later, I had just found out Rush were a 3 piece and was amazed that 3 people could produce such a big sound.

Subdivisions still ranks as one of my favoutite Rush tracks, showcasing Neil Peart's drumming in particular (especially in the closing bars of the song).

As a bass player, I reveled in learing how ton play the bass part in Analog Kid - from the start, this is a tour de force for both bass and guitar. I cannot understand why people complain about the guitars on this album - the solo on Analog Kid is one of Lifeson's best ever, and even now I can hear the passion and rawness of that solo that would leave many guitarist's going back to the drawing board.

Chemistry has Lee, Lifeson and Peart on an equall footing, but, again, I have to say, listen to Lifeson's guitar in this - the playing is full of emotion.

Digital Man - listen to this, then listen to The Police's Walking On The Moon, and you can tell who and what Rush were listening too at the time (I love the police too, and Peart could have done much worse than study the playing of Stewart Copeland...but anyway, this isn't a Police review).

The Weapon starts with an evil disco drum and synth part, and has some of the darkest lyrics Neil Peart has ever written...which might have indicated his mood at the time, I don't know. There are many layers too this song, and you really feel (again) like you are being taken on a music journey...left hanging (until The Enemy Within finishes of the Fear trilogy on Grace Under Pressure, the next album - another must have).

New World Man is not my favourite on the album, but is still a well crafted song with Lee, Lifeson and Peart contributing in equal measure...the upside of this track are the lyrics, which are thought provoking.

Losing It...the one and only Rush track to feature a (wonderful) violin solo - joind by Lifeson at the end. This song still has the ability to make me feel sad and reflective, and when you read the lyrics you are transported into three different stories of 3 people 'losing it'...the end of this song will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

...and back to Countdown again...the Columbia maiden voyage set to a Rush soundtrack, and the first Rush song I heard, when I thought they were a 4 piece band.

Really...whether you like Rush, or are just looking out of curiosity, this album has the capacity to stay with you through your life, and still have the same powerful effect each time you listen to it.

There's your recommendation :)

Price: 11.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars new classic symphonic prog, 29 April 2010
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This review is from: Afterglow (Audio CD)
This really is excellent. The musicianship is top notch, the vocals, when they do appear suitably dramatic, but fitting. All of this is great symphonic prog in the vein of Gentle Giant, PFM, Gryphon, ELP, Yes, King Crimson, and, more recently, Anglagard,and Anekdoten. I can't stop listening to Imperial Winter White - mutli layered, peaks and troughs, classic instrumentation, such as minimoog and mellotron, I really think it is that good (and I own a lot of varied prog from all over the world). Wobbler weave all the above influences to weave their own unique sound. I would also knock off one star because of the length of the album, but the quality of the songs and musicianship, and well played classic symphonic prog warrants five stars. Buy Hinterland too, you will love it!!

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