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Craig of Manchester

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Happy Nightmare Baby
Happy Nightmare Baby

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prototype Mazzy Star, 14 Jun 2011
This review is from: Happy Nightmare Baby (Audio CD)
I first heard Opal on Beyond the Wildwood, a tribute to Syd Barrett, and instantly fell for them. I'm imagining that most people reading this already know about Mazzy Star. Well, this was David Roback's project that immediately preceeded Mazzy Star.
I've had a soft spot for psychedelia for a long time but usually found the California Dreaming type of West coast psychedelia a little too pop for me. Opal came along and created this masterpiece.
It chugs along perfectly, a little harder than Mazzy Star and a little scuzzier.
You can imagine scene after scene of stumbling hedonism accompanying this album - it's the sort of music that could easily appear in the background to a terminally hip movie. To me this is as cool as the Velvet Underground.
Roback has the guitars sounding exquisite, they chug and keep it all shamanically shambling along, then suddenly drop licks like bombs.
Behind him is a line up capable of playing everything the songs need and nothing more.
The real gem is Kendra Smith.
She has all the sex appeal of Hope Sandoval but (I know you'll doubt this is even possible) sounds even more distracted and uninterested than either Hope or Nico. There is a certain druggy-chic to this record that remains timeless. NOW CHECK IT OUT ON YOUTUBE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

Sings Reign Rebuilder
Sings Reign Rebuilder

5.0 out of 5 stars Music to enjoy your space!, 12 Jan 2011
This review is from: Sings Reign Rebuilder (Audio CD)
I won't try to describe this too thoroughly as I imagine you are familier with Godspeed You Black Emperor (I know there was meant to be an exclamation mark there somewhere).

I always enjoyed GYBE a lot but gradually their charm began to fade. Every GYBE track seemed to begin with a wonderful repeated phrase that grew and grew until a squal of guitars and frenetic drumming blew warm air from my speakers.

This album is like a collection of the spacious and haunting repeated phrases and distorted samples that often began a GYBE track, the difference is that Set Fire To Flames don't resort to the standard wig-out. Instead they allow the spaces between notes, between sounds and (very importantly) between my ears to breathe. I still enjoy GYBE but this album is one that I play again and again. It's the sort of music I would play when content, in my home, probably pottering around simply enjoying myself and my time.

Air and Fire
Air and Fire
by Rupert Thomson
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A soporific classic, 12 Jan 2011
This review is from: Air and Fire (Paperback)
I have been enjoying Rupert Thomson's work since my friend gave me a copy of Dreams of Leaving more than 20 years ago. I have thoroughly enjoyed all I have read by him and would give all 5 stars for the original thought that he is able to produce (a skill very few authors can lay claim to).
The other reviews that give 5 stars are welcome to their opinion, the language and SLOW unfolding of the story are perfectly fine. I have chosen to give 3 stars as this book simply doesn't matter. I read it over an age as the prose conjured up scenes where not much matters with such success that I frequently fell asleep with the book on my chest. I must stress that the skill of this autor to grab me and to thoroughly entertain me and have me enthralled has been demonstrated in Dreams of Leaving, 5 Gates of Hell, the Insult, Soft and Divided Kingdom. That is an astounding amount of genuine original and enrapturing material. This book is well written but...
To cut a long story short, I spoke to my friend (that originally gave me a copy of 'Dreams..' way back, he said, "Oh yeah, that;s the one with the sub-plot about the guy that's trying to make perfect French bread isn't it?"
Read this author but don't choose this as your starting point.

Every Step's A Yes
Every Step's A Yes
Price: 9.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Slow Burner, 22 Dec 2010
This review is from: Every Step's A Yes (Audio CD)
When I first played this all I heard were a collection of pretty, laid back tunes that were indistinguishable from each other. Lots of the songs seemed very generic and didn't seem to offer me anything new/exciting or immediate. Most poeple reading this will own their other albums and this one contains less of a 60s pop (these are the ghosts) type of song and none of the CHicken Payback variety.
However, after a few listens it's a winner, in fact every step's a yes (see what I did there?). This is an album that rewards with more listens, the songs are growers and I will definitely still be playing this in a few years, just as I will 'Sunshine' and 'Free The..' (but less so Octopus).
If you enjoyed the first two but thought Octopus was a slight let down, get this. But give it a few plays to warm up.

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