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G. Munday "" (London, UK)

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Morning View
Morning View
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.00

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring View, 10 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Morning View (Audio CD)
Image isn't everything, but it takes no genius to see just from the change in the way the band front themselves, they've dropped part of their metal influence somewhere along the way. Of course a band's career twists and turns, and to drop the heavy edge is by no means a crime. But it is when it makes you sound middle-of-the-road and as dull as the 5 year old socks of a stamp collector. `Wish You Were Here' is just the kind of nice and airy stuff that people should avoid.

And although there is conviction in their pieces, there's just no substance, regardless of what sounds are going on, what (watery) vocal line is sung and what drum beat is played. The whole album is a slippery surface with absolutely nothing to instantly latch onto.

For those that border on the verge of liking rock when it's not so raw and a bit more hammed up, then it's fine. For extreme Incubus lovers, then it can't do wrong. Though for those preferring at least the `S.C.I.E.N.C.E.' Incubus that still packed a punch and other stuff that doesn't indicate the artists have mansions, then disappointment will be inescapable.

Highly Evolved [Australian Import]
Highly Evolved [Australian Import]
Offered by FREETIME
Price: £2.57

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Trends?, 10 Nov. 2006
Another `The' band. Going from previous helpings and how this album starts, it seems that to be a `The' band means plenty of no nonsense rock, but also so very fitting for the trends of the times. Which is a shame.

The Vines are no exception. Or are they? From `Autumn Shade' onwards, it's evident that this band isn't all about making a noise. When they do it, there's a reason. It isn't senseless thrashing. It isn't a groundbreaking effect but will certainly be top of its pile in the alternative chart rock scene. The first single `Get Free' is perhaps misguiding to the whole album - it is by miles the heaviest and full on.

Occasionally sounding vocally similar to that of The Beatles, mixed with the production and the raw aggression of The Stone Temple Pilots, The Vines create something distinct and ordered. Yet... yet... it's trendy as the rest.

`Highly Evolved' will be undeniably one of the most popular albums of 2002. They fit every requirement in the expanding MTV2 rock generation. Undeniably, they are riding the trend and will very probably go under as soon as the next one comes along.

Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk [Extra tracks]
Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk [Extra tracks]
Price: £4.97

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Necessary pilaging?, 10 Nov. 2006
A double album not produced by the artist but by the record company - always a touchy subject and rarely the correct thing to do. But what about this one?

It's clear which tracks got more attention. Opener on CD1 `The Sky is a Landfill' is one of the most complete-sounding, with those distinct and original melodic roller coasters that he pulls off with ease, with octave and distorted guitar parts reinforcing the mood.

Others are obviously work in progress, such as the broken down 4-track pieces where he is more susceptible to limitation. Some of the more partial tracks are on CD2 and include `Murder Suicide Meteor Slave' and `Gunshot Glitter', which are evidently strong, though have much room for evolution in their own concept. Others such as `Your Flesh Is So Nice' are simply peculiar due to just being skeletons. For example, the impression given by the said track is tongue-in-cheek Rock.

`Nightmares by the Sea' and `New Year's Prayer' are featured on both CDs, the reason being two different mixes being made. This is all very well, but there is little difference between the masters and seems to show a money-grabbing hunger within Sony.

The sudden and tragic end of this gifted individual is emphasized through this release. Hearing the sketches of tracks illustrates in a morbid way how Jeff had so much more to prove, that the big empty in each song could've been filled but stands forever never fulfilling their capabilities. His death was completely out of the blue. For many reasons, it should never have happened.

Neon Ballroom
Neon Ballroom
Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: £5.41

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glorious, huge, grand, 10 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Neon Ballroom (Audio CD)
Silverchair go for the bigger sound, after the simple and effective debut `Frogstomp' and `Freakshow' which followed in a similar way, the third offering builds yet one more block on top of their studio sound, adding to the orchestral parts introduced in `Freakshow' with more sounds and the session work from acclaimed pianist David Helfgott (on the opening track `Emotion Sickness'). Some critics say that a band really begins to show their true identity and direction from the third album onwards and this couldn't be truer for this particular act.

As briefly touch upon, the opener is full, glorious and fucked up. The second - `Anthem for the Year 2000' - is angst-ridden and built out with a choral backing. Just these alone symbolise the effort and layering that goes in the album as a whole. Their featured track on the `Spawn - The Movie soundtrack' is given a facelift and is elevated in greatness that reeks of psychopathic tendencies, from twisted screams to the guitar parts that Alfred Hitchcock would be proud of.

The deep and - well, black - `Black Tangled Heart' is enough to send shivers due to its honesty and somewhat depressing underlay. It's a classic example of Silverchair and their feel for atmosphere. `Neon Ballroom' isn't a party album. It's hard, sleek, will bring more success and will be the soundtrack for many an angry character.

Origin of Symmetry
Origin of Symmetry
Price: £6.03

4 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On coffee tables, worldwide, 10 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Origin of Symmetry (Audio CD)
This is sure to boost their popularity and success.

The exploitation of good catches and strong melodies are the winner for many an act, and Muse are no exception. Despite the opinion of the listener it is in black and white what the appeal is and that at least one song will get lodged in your head.

Matt Bellamy is one of those singers which can grate a little from time to time; perhaps best described as a mix between the angst and emotion of Thom Yorke and the angelic rasps of the late Jeff Buckley, it can get on your nerves if not in the right mindset - a particular painful track being `Micro Cuts'. But the overall thrust of the band is that they teeter between styles, winding in and out of classical-esque compositions and then dirt-ridden guitars (`New Born' and so on). This is delicately done and so doesn't sound completely unnatural.

Technical and very hot fingered, the band sure know how to play, but when the pretentious air hits its peak, then the truth that this band is good is somewhat clouded. Yuppie rock now has a new leader.

Source Tags & Codes
Source Tags & Codes
Price: £9.42

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing Madonna, 10 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Source Tags & Codes (Audio CD)
The welcomed new material from this band illustrates that they are competent in what they do, giving it all it's worth in the same fashion as before and quite rightly so. Why change a winning formula?

A beautiful piano piece - `Invocation' - starts off, graceful and hypnotising until `It Was There That I Saw You' smashes the tranquillity to pieces with the chaotic guitars and compelling vocals that the band are well known for. The strength in quality is maintained through the infectious `Another Morning Stoner', with a very distinctive and complex guitar line and a hook that makes it one of the best on the album. `Days of Being Wild' and `Homage' best illustrate the bombardment of sound that is uniquely theirs. The serene build-up music fronted by the piano is withheld and acts as a point to collect your head together and calm down after the assault the more hostile tracks lay upon you. The mix is beautifully orchestrated.

Somehow it isn't as striking as `Madonna' was, but is a neat follow-up that establishes its own ground, therefore making sure it is not a carbon copy of its predecessor. Think of it as a sequel not as good as the original, but still worth the money. Like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Price: £12.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrashed beyond recognition - beautiful, 10 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Rancid (Audio CD)
This self-titled release is a speeding burst of energy that concentrates on an area to Rancid's sound that had yet been focused on to such a drastic extent. To think that this is the next release on from `Life Wont Wait' is slightly crazy - the reggae/ska dimension is virtually lost and replaced with pure head-on punk, tinged with a street, underground sound. It's aggressive and the perfect comeback from the mainstream punkers.

Opener `Don Giovanni' is a slick, confrontational introduction that bursts out at a catatonic speed to set the pulse racing and from there on in it doesn't let its hold slip for a second. Each track flashes past at a manic speed, each boasting of the trademark catches previous Rancid material has. The two-year silence from the band in terms of new material has now been broken with a loud bang and has additionally been proven to be well worth it.

Outstanding tracks such as the brutal `Disgruntled', brilliant `Poison', incredibly catchy `Rwanda', `Rattlesnake' and the roaring `Axiom', with the trademark slick bass solo Matt Freeman is known for, are a few of the great tracks that stand out, though Freeman's lead vocal (on tracks such as `Black Derby Jacket') is a touchy area that is purely down to personal preference. His singing is a pretty much a love/hate phenomenon and so might taint the listeners view on the actual songs he takes lead on. This shouldn't be the case as no matter what your views are on his singing, the songs are just as strong as the others.

Perhaps for those who have little knowledge on Rancid, this would be a hard album to digest at once; it must be said that the sheer adrenaline and power that races through the entire album produces a blink-and-miss-it experience. Furthermore, it could be emphasised what this record is about but it really isn't needed. All you need to know is that it is perfect punk mayhem.

Plastic Fang
Plastic Fang
Price: £30.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No bite., 10 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Plastic Fang (Audio CD)
Some bands should never become well-known names. It appears that the underground acts lose their vigour when they are shunted further into the mainstream. One more to add to the list is The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

The first two tracks do the band justice and hold promise for this to be another great thing to come from the guys who "do not play no blues". `Sweet N Sour' is the Blues Explosion on form - upbeat, full of spunk, the tune is a party all on its own. `She Said' - the first single release on the album - is one of the rare songs that Jon doesn't sing of rock n roll and getting' with it but is a fine track. What does raise the real doubts is track four, `Killer Wolf'. It leads nowhere, is ineffectual and sounds like random pieces of their back catalogue moulded together. It is only `Shakin' Rock `N' Roll' (track 8) that jSBX are still capable song writers, but to see only three powerful songs out of 12 is by no means promising. The closing tracks reaffirm the fact that this is quite a dull album for the band that had released the amazing Acme and other great underground classics.

The most striking concern illuminated by `Plastic Fang' is their lack of new ideas. It's new material that is recorded, but only barely; obvious likenesses are made with previous work - more so than should be expected. A prime example is `Hold On', which sounds like a re-work of `Flavour' (on `Orange') and it goes on from there.

The new direction in producing is mediocre in the sense that they lose their raw guitars and basic effects (such things had become a trademark, especially on their earlier recordings). It could be argued that it is impressive, simply because jSBx are still able to make records and are finally getting recognised for being decent, but ironically, Plastic Fang lacks bite and is the weakest album they have to date. Sadly, Jon Spencer and the boys are slowly on their way out.

Group Sounds
Group Sounds
Price: £29.23

4.0 out of 5 stars A shot to the vein, 10 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Group Sounds (Audio CD)
RFTC are a back to basics rock band that show the world how it's done - all they've ever produced is fuelled on massive amounts of adrenaline. The songs are perfectly short, busy, exciting and ideal for parties, which means they should be given the admiration they quite rightly deserve.

Bursting in with the excellent `Straight American Slave' and then followed with the furious `Carne Voodoo', the album rushes through with a gush of chunky guitars, solid drums, catchy chants, touches of brass backing and hardly gives in to take a breath. Indeed, the track record of the band's activities is impressive and non-stop, which raises questions as to whether they are permanently on speed.

The aforementioned first two tracks `Straight American Slave' and `Carne Voodoo' are great and are followed with the brilliant `White Belt'. `Venom Venom' - a slinky track that possesses a slightly evil air - is just as magnificent; `Savoir Faire' (which seems to have a balloon solo) and `This Bad Check Is Gonna Stick' are also tracks that make this an amazing piece of work.

There is only one weakness to `Group Sounds' - and that goes by the name of `Ghost Shark', which is quite frankly not a classic and could have been put nowhere else other than on the end of an otherwise magnificent release. It is extremely infectious - the album couldn't have had a better cover to let you know what you are in for.

Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.04

1 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Call in the exterminators..., 10 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Infest (Audio CD)
"My name's Coby Dick / Mr Dick if you're nasty / Rock a mic with a voice that's raspy / 'cause I'm poetic in my operations / My God-given talent is to rock all the nations."

It starts like this...

...And it doesn't get any better...

`Last Resort', `Between Angels and Insects', `Blood Brothers' and any other track are limited, full on (with no effect) and weak. `Revenge' has a decent chorus; `Never Enough' is harmless and easily bearable in comparison to others. But what's with `Thrown Away'? Reggae?! It's like walking in on a jamming session with UB40 and Dub War.

A brownie point goes to them for sticking to the things they can pull off easier when live (lack of samples) and rubbing this fact in your face with the live version of `Dead Cell' that is on the limited edition release. However, the main bulk of `Infest' is Iron Maiden backing, minus the solos and harmonies and topped with grating rap/sung vocals... and not forgetting those infuriating whispered bits that push that same nerves Celine Dion does - i.e. the one to grit teeth.

Bruce Dickinson should sue...

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