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Reviews Written by
T. SMEDLEY "terrysmedley" (Taunton UK)

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Offered by hifi-media-store
Price: £3.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Go on, give it a go!, 10 Jan. 2007
This review is from: Simpatico (Audio CD)
I made the mistake of reading the reviews or this album, rather than just buying it, which is what I've done with all the Charlatan's previous releases. It's fair to say that as a band they have always attracted 'mixed reviews', but this album seems to have received a particular mauling!

As below, it was heavilly criticised for having a reggae feel to some of the tracks, which I think is incorrect. Ska would be a lot more accurate, a few songs have something of The Specials, Madness, etc. about them, but still sound like the Charlatans, unlike lesser bands such as the Ordinary Boys and to a lesser degree Hard-Fi, who just sound like these bands!

The album probaly opens with one of the best tracks and lead single, Blackened Blue Eyes and moves on through songs, some of which are reminiscent of the last few albums, Up At The Lake and Wonderland in particular and some in the new style, as described above.

Highlights for me include For Your Entertainment, Muddy Ground, The Architect and the instrumental album closer Sunset And Vine, but the whole album flows well, which demands repeated listening and the 45 mins are up fairly quickly, it feels.

Overall then, another fresh, consistent album from one of the best bands, if not the most uner-rated, of the 90's and onwards. For those more open-minded individuals, I'd also recommend checking out Tim Burgess' solo album, I Beleive, traces of which can be heard in this album and to a greater degree, Up At The Lake, it's really quite excellent...

You Are Here
You Are Here
Price: £11.32

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts well, then...., 17 Oct. 2006
This review is from: You Are Here (Audio CD)
I have always liked Banco De Gaia's music, I've got all the CD's, but I do find him a little bit hit and miss, ranging from Maya - OK, but not great, to Last Tain to Lhasa - excellent, with Magical Sounds Of... somewhere between. (By the way, if you haven't got Live at Glastonbury, shame on you, it's superb!)

Anyway, this CD starts off OK, what you'd expect from the man, the usual mixture of upbeat and ambient, then along comes 'Grey Over Grey' and completely kills the album. I've given it a chance and listened to it quite a few times now, expecting it to grow on me, but I still see no redeeming features of this track, it's so bad. Just grim (and I don't generally mind depressing/melancholic music!)

I find it even taints the rest of the album and I switch off (mentally), so the rest of the album seems forgettable. This is a shame, as there are some good tracks later on, but my interest is gone. Obviously you can skip this track, but I enjoy hearing an album as the artist intended and this song casts a long shadow.

Having read the more positive reviews for his new album (Farewell Ferengistan) I may again be tempted, but this one seriously made me consider buying it, especially following after Izigeh which was also patchy, though less so than You Are Here. Overall, a shame, as this is a disappointing album.

Once Upon A Time
Once Upon A Time

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Five stars if it wasn't Dreadzone!!, 6 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Once Upon A Time (Audio CD)
My first encounter with Dreadzone was hearing 'The good, the bad and the dread' over a large PA system as a student! Awesome!! I managed to track it down to the 360 degrees album, also got Performance and have followed them ever since. I loved Second Light and all it's singles, Biological Radio seemed to me to be treading water after this, but was still a great album, then goodbye Virgin and nothing for a few years.

When Sound was released, it was harder and a bit less commercial, but a very strong record and the musicianship and production was top notch. This was also displayed on the BBC Sessions CD, containing live versions of the classics, plus a handful of rare, unreleased tracks. Both these were essential.

Now then, sorry I'm waffling, onto Once Upon A Time...

The fact that this is very hard to find in any mainstream record shop shows the decline in their commercial appeal, but I was expecting great things nonetheless. However, my over-riding feeling of this album is mild disappointment. Roughly half the songs sound live Sound (spot the pun), some of the others have a more contemporary rap/r&b feel and one even sounds mildly Jamaican dancehall!

This is the problem with this CD for me. Are Dreadzone trying to sound more 'urban' (how I hate that word), or are they the Dreadzone we know and love? The latter-sounding tracks are awesome as ever: great basslines, production and clever use of ambient melodies/samples. These make this CD a worthwhile purchase, but it's their least satisfying and patchy album to date. Sorry!!

A Final Hit - Greatest Hits
A Final Hit - Greatest Hits

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the money...., 4 Jan. 2006
Not the most prolific of dance acts, but with Leftfield the quality more than made up for the quantity (Not everyone can be Moby..). This is an nicely packaged, intelligently compiled 'best-of', overall a good balance, but compilation albums are never toally as you'd like, everyone has their favourites, after all.My only real criticism is that there is perhaps a little too much overlapping with the two studio albums, particularly as there were often quite different versions of the tracks available. (Song of Life being a perfect example - the original single version is awesome and really quite different).It's great to hear the early 'Not Forgotten', which seems almost out of place, I have never (knowingly) heard this track before and top marks for including it! (If only the Prodigy could have done the same with 'What Evil Lurks' on their recent best-of!). It's good to have the soundtrack songs all collected in one place too, but where's 'Space March' from David Arnold's Bond CD, it's a great track and would have fitted in well!The DVD's are worth a look and make this CD better value, it shows you another side of the band, their high quality levels carrying over to their videos too!So, a more than worthwhile addition to your CD collection, even if you own the two earlier albums, there is enough here to tempt fans of quality dance music. If you are relatively new to Leftfild, remember tracks 1-6 were released 1994-'95 and years ahead of their time (some people still haven't caught up), quite a sobering thought!

Their Law: The Singles 1990-2005
Their Law: The Singles 1990-2005
Offered by Bee-Entertained
Price: £10.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still not convinced......, 7 Nov. 2005
I've been a massive fan of the Prodigy since hearing Charly on London's Kiss FM as a teenager and have resolutely stuck by them, even through the lack-lustre 'comeback' that was Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (AONO) and have every commercial release so far (inc. imports, etc.)
I was looking forward greatly to the prospect of a best of/singles collection, especially when I heard there was to be a bonus disc of rarities. The fact that it follows on only a year or so from the above-mentioned third album is telling indeed....
So, looking through the track listing once I had my copy, I noticed at least 2 singles missing: Wind It Up (Rewound) and Baby's Got A Temper. The latter is indeed best forgotten, but Wind It Up is classic Prodigy, even if Liam himself didn't like it at the time (a backwards step when he was moving on to the sound of Music For The Jilted Generation, he didn't even want it released).
It's absence is mystifying, as is Fire, which as someone has already rightly pointed out was a double-A side with Jericho and deserves to be here. Their Law, despite being the title track (and rather good), was unfortunately never a single though, and could have made way for these.
Now don't get me started on What Evil Lurks, which was I believe a single released by the Prodigy in 1990? Obviously this is their ultimate rarity and retirement fund, hence it's absence, but due to all these omissions, why is this CD called a 'singles collection'? Surely best of, greatest hits, etc. would have been more accurate and appropriate...
Right, enough moaning, now the good points. It's great to hear the full length version of One Love, previousyl vinyl-only, and Out Of Space, Charly and No Good all sound wonderful in their full versions too. I'm not a great lover of Fat Of The Land era-Prodigy, shockingly, though it's still got that spark of energy that's sorely missing from AONO. I've heard it all too much, and excess hype always puts me off, but the songs (Firestarter & Breathe) still shake the walls nicely when turned up loud! As for the latest 3 singles (AONO), the less said the better.... (though I do grudgingly like Hotride).
The bonus disc is predictable, in my opinion there are better non-album B-sides/rarities (Rip Up The Sound System, Rock & Roll, Rhythm Of Life, to name but three) and their earlier stuff has generally been looked-over in favour of Fat Of The Land-era material, but all is forgiven for the inclusion of the awesome Your Love.
Again, it would have been good to hear some earlier live stuff, but the new remixes of Voodoo People and Out Of Space are surprisingly good. A remix album would be a good next move for XL, collecting all the US-only mixes (Charly/Everybody.., Out Of Space, Wind It Up, Voodoo People) and other 12" only stuff.
My verdict? Could have been better, but could have been a lot worse......If you're a proper fan, only the 2 disc version will do, but casual listeners will be content with the single disc, as it has all the songs you'll know.

Night on Earth
Night on Earth
Offered by hifi-media-store
Price: £8.80

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a pleasant surprise!, 8 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Night on Earth (Audio CD)
Since becoming aware of this album on this website, this has been near the top of my 'CD's to buy' list for some time. However, I had great difficulty finding this album in any record shop whatsoever, in the 2 or 3 towns/cities near where I live. Accordingly, I had to resort to buying it online (which I don't do too often, except for rarities - I like to handle the product before purchasing!). This indeed is a great crime, as it's simply superb and should be a lot more widely available.
I've been aware of Rialto since the original release of 'Monday Morning...' back in my student days, quickly becoming a fan and rate their debut album very highly indeed. I did perhaps listen to it a little too much at one time...but I still come back to it regularly. Hence the prospect of another album's worth of material was very eagerly-awaited!
Well, I was very pleasantly surprised, as it's a genuine progression from the debut and perhaps even a little better. I was fearing simply a re-hashing of that album, lacking in any new ideas, but how wrong I was. My favourite tracks are the opener 'London Crawling', 'Shatterproof' and the final two songs 'Deep Space' and 'Under A Distant Moon', which close the album very nicely.
The first two of these are up there with the afore-mentioned 'Monday Morning 5.19' and 'Summer's Over' as works of sheer genius, with the ability to make you feel yearningly sad yet strangely euphoric at the same time. The drum pattern on 'London Crawling' is particularly effective and the choruses on both are built up to wonderfully and don't disappoint. 'Catherine's Wheel', 'Drive' and 'Anything Could Happen' are not far behind these in quality and I feel one of the album's strenghs is it's consistency, with only one or two weaker songs letting it down slightly ('Idiot Twin' being my least favourite - but it's still damn catchy!).
To put things in perspective, this is one of the few albums I have bought in recent years, which I really get the urge to listen to every day, it's that good. It goes up there with the Boo Radley's last album 'Kingsize' and My Life Story's 'Joined Up Talking' as albums I can listen to over and over again, which just get better and are personal favourites.
Funilly enough, you'd be hard pushed to find either of these unsung classics in any 'mainstream' record store in most towns either!

You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Alone
You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Alone
Price: £6.02

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly consistent, excellent compilation, 12 May 2004
This is the last of St Eteinne's commercially UK-release albums (* see below) that I have bought, planned more of an afterthought/gap-filler, really.
Well, I was in for a shock, because it's superb!! The album flows as well as any studio-effort, it being, I beleive, a collection of B-sides and non-album singles from their first two albums ('Foxbase Alpha' and 'So Tough'). It shows a good range of the band's abilities, from catchy singles: 'Who Do You Think You Are', 'People Get Real', to dancefloor-based material: 'Speedwell',as well as the more melodic, standard St Etienne fare, always of a high quality.
However, for me, the standout track is 'California Snow Story', with it's echoes of Angelo Badalamenti's 'Twin Peaks' soundtrack, a simple Sarah-and-a-piano track which is emotive as anything they have ever done. One of those songs which makes you stop what you're doing and contemplate.....well, anything really!
The album does overlap slightly with the 'Too Young To Die' greatest hits collection, which is possibly why I left buying it 'till last. The same is true, I expect, with the more recent 'Smash The System' complilation, which I have yet to buy at all.
BUT DON'T LET THIS PUT YOU OFF! This album is worth every penny in it's own right.
* Unfortunatley, perhaps, St Etienne are one of those bands who revell in releasing fanclub-only albums, oscure EP's, alternate versions of albums for foreign consumption, as well as whole albums abroad not released in the UK. Very frustrating!

Doctorin' the Tardis
Doctorin' the Tardis

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Song, Great Band...and Gary Glitter!, 4 May 2004
This review is from: Doctorin' the Tardis (Audio CD)
This is a US import, relased in 1991 (originally a no. 1 in 1989), presumably to cash in on their chart success around that time. However, it is a superb CD, for reasons I shall go on to discuss..
Firstly, the track listing is as follows:
1) Doctorin' The Tardis
2) Doctorin' The Tardis - 12"
3) What Time Is Love - The KLF Original Version
4) Gary Joins The Jamms
5) Doctorin' The Tardis - Instrumental
So, you get 4 versions of the title track, all similar, but different enough to be of interest, particularly 'Gary Joins The Jamms'. The real bonus is, however, the 'KLF Original' (!?! - can you ever beleive them?) of 'What Time Is Love', which is different from the 'Pure Trance Original' on that single's official release and is superb, making this worth the money alone.
Oh, yes, and the credits are as follows (in typical KLF style):
The Timelords
Ford Timelord - Talent
Lord Rock - Controls
Time Boy - Navigation
A great single, then, but we never expect anything less than these two (except perhaps 'Kylie Said To Jason!). Quite hard to come by these days, I would imagine, but worth tracking down.

3 A.M. Eternal
3 A.M. Eternal

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius - Well It Is The KLF!, 4 May 2004
This review is from: 3 A.M. Eternal (Audio CD)
This is a German Import, 'Special Maxi-CD', released in 1991 on the Blow Up label, for KLF communications. None of the songs are the 'standard' version, all being remixed by Neil 'Mad Professor' Frazer at Ariwa Studios. It is subtitled as 'The Moody Boys Selection'.
The tracks are as follows (all 3 a.m. Eternal, not surprisingly):
1) Wayward Dub Version
2) Rankin' Club Version
3) Klonk Blip Every Trip
The tracka are a lot more dancefloor-based in style, though there is no mistaking them for any other band, and are excellent versions of an already classic track. Good examples of the quality dance music that was around in the early 90's, before it all became money/chart-orientated.
Well worth getting if you are a fan, together with the similar 'Moody Boys' versions of 'Last Train To Trancentral'.

Last Train To Trancentral - Meets The Moody Boys Uptown
Last Train To Trancentral - Meets The Moody Boys Uptown
Offered by rbmbooks
Price: £22.43

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great versions of a superb track, 8 April 2004
The track listing is as follows, all versions of 'Last Train To Trancentral':
1. 808 Bass Version
2. 120 Rock Steady
3. Mu D. Vari-Speed Version
Very fine remixes, by 'The Moody Boys', great variations, showing the quality of the original track. Released on the German label, Intercord, for KLF Communications, in 1991. The first mix is more upbeat, albeit with creepy samples, the second a great bass-heavy, trancey affair, the best of the three. The third track is a rather odd, yet strangely compelling, experimental affair.
Bit of a story behind this one.... I was desperate to get hold of the 12' version of the single mix, a big hit in 1991, as the original 'White Room' album featured a different mix. I bought this single in Oxford Street HMV, and was initially disappointed as it didn't contain the afore-mentioned version. Therefore I didn't listen to it a great deal, possibly in protest, until I found the 12' version I was after on the Japanese import of 'The White Room'! Hooray!
Anyway, when I gave this a chance, I was pleasantly surprised, highly recommended if you are a fan of Mr Cauty & Mr Drummond!

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