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Oh Pioneer
Oh Pioneer
Price: £13.98

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2uibestow Review, 9 July 2012
This review is from: Oh Pioneer (Audio CD)
So 'Oh Pioneer' is either the third official 'Duke Special' album or could quite possibly be his 10th/12th album. Duke Special is one of them ever evolving artists who has expanded his array of talents into other forms of the Arts while releasing rarities albums, music for plays and live recordings. 'Oh Pioneer' released on June 15th is a varied album consisting of sublime songs of real quality to the odd ridiculous theatrical tune which is instantly skippable.

I adore two tracks on this album. 'Condition' is a song only Duke Special could write. It mainly consists of personal statements which contradict themselves. For example my favourite line is 'I Am A Whisper, I Am the Choir' and so on. It's a hughly powerful song which can conjure up emotions galore.

The other song to impress me is the wonderful 'Always Been There'. It's a charming atmospheric song full of positive lyrics which grabs your attention and squeezes the wow out of you.

'Oh Pioneer' is very much a grower. For instance the opening track 'Stargazers of the World Unite' and the song 'Lost Chord' grew on me as I got more into the lyrics. I didn't appreciate the lead single 'Punch of a Friend' on the first few listens but it's a really good representation of the album even if it's a bit too pure for popular radio playlists. The big problem with the single is that it only begins to get catchy towards the end of the track.

I don't think the condition of the 'inlet card' should come into a review but I do like the way Duke Special explains the origins of each track in the liner notes.

It's a terrible shame that there are three or four tracks which don't work for me. However the fact this album contains 'Condition' and 'Always Been There' means that it's an album I'd have to recommend you to check out.

Duke Special - 'Oh Pioneer' '10 out of 12'

Price: £9.80

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2UIBestow blog Review of I'd Rather Go Blonde, 5 Sept. 2010
This review is from: I'D RATHER GO BLONDE (Audio CD)
Surprisingly enjoyable album from the much travelled and recorded Eleanor McEvoy. The album is full of good tunes which deserves radio play and attention.

For the most part 'I'd Rather Go Blonde' is like a popier less artistic Julie Feeney. It kicks of with the violin picking rift of 'Look Like Me' where Eleanor confirms her belief that she should keep her individuality. The lyrics on many of the tracks are humorous and insightful and gives the album a feelgood effect. I wouldn't like to be the subject of the title track. Eleanor would rather go blonde than be seen out with the subject!

There are a couple of beautifully written love songs here. 'Away From You' goes through the motions of feelings while being separated from a loved one. The best song for me is 'Take You Home' which sums up the feelings of lust when you meet that person who lights a fire within you.

'I'd Rather Go Blonde' is not a flawless album. I don't get the soul-inspired track 'The Thought of You' which sounds a bit too Simply Red for my liking. There are a few very average tracks which fail to leave an impression. However the quality of the tracks mentioned above go in some way to make up for the average fillers. 'I'd Rather Go Blonde' ends on a high with a Regina Specktor sounding piano based track 'For Avoidance of Any Doubt'.

Eleanor McEvoy - I'd Rather Go Blonde [9 out of 12]

Price: £7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2UIBestow blog Review of Mines, 4 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Mines (MP3 Download)
In Ireland now there are many new rock bands attempting to make the breakthrough such as Kopek, I'd Fight Gandhi, Red Queen Contest and this Dundalk band Redtwelve. Mines is full of big indie rock sounds with a formula. That formula is good vocals, basic lyrics, gentle intro before building up to an intense harmony for the chorus. In general this works to a point but at times it's difficult to distinguish between tracks.

The best tracks off the album are Oh My God, Neither Friend Nor Enemy and the song available to listen here called Afraid. Redtwelve are a band I'm hoping to catch live real soon. Mines is the sound of a band with big ambition and big sounds.

Redtwelve - Mines [9 out of 12]

Sleepless Street
Sleepless Street
Price: £7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2UIBestow blog Review of Sleepless Street, 4 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Sleepless Street (MP3 Download)
I seen Peter Doran support Nick Kelly in Whelans well over a year ago and discovered his debut album 'Wood' relatively recently. 'Wood' is a very ambitious debut full of big sounds. In contrast 'Sleepless Street' finds Peter Doran singing delicate beautifully arranged songs accompanied by strings. The mood created by the Cello in particular within the album reminds me a lot of Damien Rice's 'O'.

The album kicks off with the big sound of 'Hunter's Sketches' which doesn't do much for me to be honest. The next three songs however are wonderful. In particular 'Pathways' which would be on regular rotation if I were the controller of music for a radio station. It's a great song with a catchy guitar rift, background cello strings and the vocal melodies any songwriter would be proud of. 'Pathways' for me is the main track on the album and worth the price of the album alone!

The next song to grab my attention is the Mic Christopher sounding 'The Composer'. It has that swagger in the song which can automatically make the body move. It's a song about the challenge of being a composer of songs and letting them go into the world!

Even when the sound is stripped back to just Peter's vocals and guitars the results are gripping such as in the song 'Steeped in You'. I find it very easy to be transported through the stories in each of the songs on 'Sleepless Street' due to Peter's fine vocals. To make an ultimate comparison I think Peter's vocals are the close to David Gray's vocals from 'White Ladder' era.

'Sleepless Street' is a quality album of intelligent songs sung by a singer with a great voice. It has upbeat rock tracks, delicate ballads, piano based tracks, strings, gripping lyrics and even concludes with an epic seven minutes plus swooning ballad which gave the album it's title. If you're a fan of people like Make Geary, Tom Baxter, Mic Christopher etc. then this album is right up your street!

Peter Doran - Sleepless Street [11 out of 12]

The Powerscourt Tapes
The Powerscourt Tapes
Price: £4.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Positivity in Album Format, 4 Sept. 2010
The EP kicks off with a song that is so positive some people would call it cheesy. For me I like the journey the charismatic Hamlet brings you on. The EP is produced by the in demand Karl Odlum with the legendary Binzer playing the drums.

The Powerscourt Tapes Tracklisting:

1. Perfect Day
2. Hey Girl (Oh La La)
3. I Am A Man
4. Voices In My Head
5. Mr Slim
6. Tie A Ribbon

The main thing about Hamlet's music is that is very honest. He's seems to be having so much fun on songs like 'Hey Girl' and 'I Am A Man'. Even when he gets a bit nasty at 'Mr Slim' it comes across as something very real and honest. In fact it reminds me alot of Ben Harper's great song 'Excuse Me Mr.'. The stand-out track is the Paul Simon esque 'Voices in my Head'.

Hamlet Sweeney - The Powerscourt Tapes: [9 out of 12]

Get Ready for War E.P
Get Ready for War E.P

5.0 out of 5 stars The Frames fronted by Neil Hannon!, 4 Sept. 2010
In really simplistic terms if you can imagine a quirky frontman of an alternative rock band, say for example if Adrian Crowley fronted The Frames then you come close to what The Blue Choir offers. Their debut EP entitled 'Get Ready For War' contains five well written songs which are full of guile and passion you don't normally get from a band on their debut release.

The opening title track is full of heavy conscious thought, crashing guitars and full string section which highlights the ambition of the band. I love the guitar rift of the second track 'It Happens To Everyone'. Barry's vocals can be a bit muddled but for me it focuses the ears to sharpen in on the vocals that bit more. The other songs are more of the same except for that one great tune called 'What If I Could Be The One'.

I was fortunate to hear the track live before I heard it on the EP. Seeing a quality band performing a song with so much passion and class was very moving. The song itself has all the components of a great song. Good lyrics, refraining singalong chorus, quirky guitar rifts, crashing guitars and passionate vocals.

Seán Kangataran
Seán Kangataran

5.0 out of 5 stars 2uibestow Review, 4 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Seán Kangataran (MP3 Download)
When I haven't written a review on the 2UIBestow blog for a few days it's usually because I'm really enjoying the next album I'm about to write about. It's a nice perk to the blog when a talented songwriter approaches me to write a review. I get to be one of the first batch of people to have heard the album and I really hope many many people get a chance to hear Seán Kangataran's self titled debut.

The album reminds me of Sufjan Stevens's Illinois album. There's a definite hint of Americana is some of the tracks. Unfortunately the music media mafia in this country will probably write the album off as singer-songwriter fodder but Seán's album offers so much more.

The lyrics really stand-out on the album. There are tales of love and relationships, of beauty and self image, of loss and breakdowns and of prominent life journeys. These lyrics are well thought out and mean something to me. It's one of those albums which I'll hold important to me way off into the future. The best tracks for me on the album are the upbeat opener 'Burn it All', 'Hold Back' and the album sampler below 'Hairpins'.

Seán Kangataran - Self-titled [11 out of 12]

Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars 2uibestow Review of Parade, 30 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Parade (MP3 Download)
If ever there was someone destined to be a massive star in the Irish music scene it was Luan Parle. At the age of 11 she appeared to every household in Ireland when she sang a song she co-wrote on the Late Late Toy show! Her debut album from a few years back had some decent radio friendly tunes in particular Free and Ghosts. I always thought Luan was stuck between genres. On one level sounding like a cool indie chick with a great voice and on the other level trying to be the new Mary Black!

Luan's new single seems to suggest that she has found her sound. The RTE1 play listed song 'Parade' is a very optimistic happy pop song. It showcases her main quality and that is her wonderful voice! 'Parade' is a big song full of trumpets, whistling, melodies and catchy lines. 'Parade' is the perfect tune to forget about the bills, recession, negative equity, Ronaldo.... etc etc

The Victory Dance [Explicit]
The Victory Dance [Explicit]
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars 2uibestow review of A Victory Dance, 30 Aug. 2009
David Geraghty releases "The Victory Dance" on 28 August 2009. In case you don't know David is the guitarist with Bell X1 and this album is his second release following on from the Choice nominated 'Kill Your Darlings'. Here's some background information:

"The Victory Dance is very much a collaborative effort, with band members Marc Aubele, Kevin Brady, Clare Finglass, Tiger Cooke and Dave Redmond involved from the very outset.

"I spotted a clearing in the dense forest that is the Bell X1 tour machine", says Geraghty, `so in June 2008, we retreated to a friends' house in West Cork to begin recording. We ended up using the old barn beside the house, which had a great vibe and the added bonus of a colony of bats, who lent us their vocals on a number of tracks. I subsequently forgot to include the addendum that no bats were harmed in the making of the album. I'm sure it wasn't an `FX first'! I can't imagine that Meat Loaf hasn't used bat noises on a number of his recordings!'"..... taken from the Press Release!

The Victory Dance consists of 10 songs of which there could easily be 4 radio hits on there. They are the uplifting songs of 'Instant Sunshine', 'Tuesday's Feet', the beautifully crafted 'Stones' and the opener 'Watch Her Win' from which the album title comes from. Just like Sean Needham's new album 'The Victory Dance' is an optimistic album full of feelgood melodies and moods. The album reminds me alot of Mark Geary's most recent album 'Opium' and on some tracks there's a real folk sound to them. These include the songs 'Wear out your name' and 'Soft Spot' which should find itself onto a romantic comedy soundtrack. The sample mp3 'Stones' is quite possibly the closest I have heard to John Martyn's 'May You Never'. It will be in my best of list of songs for this year.

Overall it's a great album which deserves to be successful both in Ireland and Internationally. In many ways I prefer this album to the over-long songs typical of Bell X1. However just like my feelings on Bell X1 I am not making a huge 'song and dance' about this album mainly because I didn't become completely enthralled by the lyrics and the overall mood of the album.

The Victory Dance - 9 out of 12

The Ghost Country
The Ghost Country
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars 2uibestow review of 'The Ghost Country', 12 Aug. 2009
This review is from: The Ghost Country (MP3 Download)
Here's a bit of copy'n'paste from GoodSeedPR:

"Clive has toured the world over in the past 7 years and has also recorded and toured with some of the biggest legends in music, who hold high esteem for this Irish musician and act: JEFF BECK in Vicar St (recently), Eric Bibb (as Eric's slide guitar player 2005- 2006), Joe Cocker, The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Seasick Steve, Joe Ely, The Flatlanders David Crosby, Dr. John, Peter Green, Garth Hudson (The Band) & Rodrigo Y Gabriela. Clive has also recorded with: Eric Bibb, Joe Cocker, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt (on Eric Bibb's latest album Get on Board). "

The Ghost Country is Clive's forth album and will hit the shelves in early September. When you read that Clive has performed with the above cast of musicians you get an initial idea of what The Ghost Country offers. There are many good aspects about this album. I was more than impressed by the vocal harmonies of Clive and Siobhán O'Brien on such tracks as City Lights, the title track and the lead single Shotgun Grin. The lyrics are thoughtful and colourful. 'Losing' contains some great lines of love, lose and despair. Many of the tracks cross over into the rock stadium genre such as 'Window West' and 'Exit Signs'.

In Summery The Ghost Country is a really good album and promises to be a big seller in Ireland.

Clive Barnes - The Ghost Country 9 out of 12

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