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4.1 out of 5 stars76
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 13 February 2001
Well this record is one of the biggest growers in my collection, and has become welded to my CD player. The catchiness of the music is amazing. Tracks like "Dancing in the Moonlight" and "Achilles Heel" are proving themselves to be classics. These tracks have even hit the clubbing scene, making clubbers used to dancing to hard house learn to groove around.
Joseph Washbourne's lyrics are poetic in their simplicity and the whole record seems strangely reminiscent of some of the stuff of the 70's. Unapologetically mainstream, but lightyears ahead of most of the music in the charts. It's nearly a year for this record on the album charts now, and it keeps getting higher and higher, finally hitting the top ten after Christmas and staying there.
No review could be complete without a mention of Jamie Oliver's adverts and their "Dancing in the Moonlight" backing track, which has no doubt helped bring Toploader's music to an even wider audience. All I can say is that gradually everyone in my circle of friends has bought this album. If this is being replicated all across the UK, "Onka's Big Moka" could sell a ridiculously large number of units.
There are no duds on this album at all, every song has its proper place. I would give it five stars, only where would there be room for improvement if, as I expect, Toploader better this release with their next album?
Well done lads, keep up the good work.
Oh, and Joseph, get yourself signed up with some big shampoo company. Your hair's worth it!
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on 6 July 2000
I first heard Toploader at a Paul Weller concert a year or two ago, and whilst there I bought their "High Flying Bird" EP. Since then, barely a day has gone by that I haven't thought "I can't wait for their debut album!" The EP was really that good. The waiting has been a strange experience, as I have witnessed the releases of Achilles Heel, and Let The People Know barely even scratch the charts - such amazing songs yet no success - why? Early this year they released Dancing In The Moonlight, which I felt was not their usual style (they didn't write it) and not upto the standard of previous songs. However, this song was the first to get any serious airplay and really hit the charts, which was great because it felt like Toploader had finally "arrived." What's more, the more I heard the song, the more addicted I became to it - it's fantastic. I read that it's an old song and is actually the lead singer's favourite song of all-time. Then, a couple of months later, Achilles Heel got a re-release, and everyone was ready to give it a chance this time around. Of course, almost everyone who heard the song said it was one of the best songs in recent memory, so Achilles Heel really got the public fired up for the debut Album, Onka's Big Moka...which is fantastic! It's soooo full of raw energy; the lead singer puts everything he has into the songs, so much energy that it can feel electric at times. You really feel that they're all having a fantastic time playing their music, which is generally pretty happy, making it great summer fare. I have many favourites, but almost any listener would be gripped right from the start with the energetic Let The People Know (seems like a perfect song to listen to while running...although I habven't tried it, being a lazy...person). I guess Achilles Heel is the most accomplished pop/rock song here, and Only For A While is one of the most amazing ballads I've heard for ages, but there's generally something for everyone. There seems to be 2 main groups of people who buy the album - those who bought it for Dancing In the Moonlight and those who bought it for Achilles Heel. Usually lovers of Dancing cite Summer Cycle, High Flying Bird and Only For A While as their favourites, whereas the Achilles fans (the largest group) seems to like Let The People Know, Breathe, and Just About Living as their favourites. Either way, you won't be disappointed - the vocals are fantastic, the musicianship is awesome, and the songs are so perfectly arranged, they're pretty much faultless...except for High Flying Bird, which, while still a great song, was far, far better in it's original state, and most people may never get the pleasure of hearing, unfortunately. Still, one of the best albums I've heard for a good while - it takes considerable effort to put in another CD!
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on 14 May 2001
Fantastic - the one word to sum up this album perfectly. It's difficult to find an album which is both chilled yet uplifting but 'Onka's Big Moka' fits that catagory completely. The highlights would have to be 'Just Hold On' which for me is just the perfect summer song and 'Only for a While' - a great vocal performance on an absolutely fantastic song. What more can I say except bring on the next installment Toploader!!!
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on 21 January 2003
Toploader are five young men who are clearly inflenced by the music collections of their older siblings.
"Onka's Big Moka" is the kind of music that swaggered around in the 70's which you understand isn't a bad thing.
Produced by long time collaborator of the "Manic Street Preachers" "Dave Eringa" this is a goodtime album that is full of feel good songs sung by mad-haired frontman "Joe Washbourn" with his whisky soaked vocals that make a love song sound genuine.
"Dancing in the Moonlight" is the song thanks to a well know supermarket everyone knows and loves this is the catchy pop song on the album, the standout track for me is "Achilles Heel" what a wonderful piano sound, good stuff from a recent band that sound like an old band on this collection...
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on 17 May 2000
After hearing "Dancing in the moonlight" I wasn't sure what else to expect after such a brilliant party record. However after hearing this album, I found that there was a whole lot more to Toploader. With the fantastic "Let the people know" to begin with it's a very uplifting sound. And it has to be said that "Achilles heel" is pure genius. Every track is wonderful in it's own way, and Joe's vocals are a golden asset to the band. This has to be one of the best albums of 2000, by far! I think my personal favourites are "Only for a while" and "Summer cycle" but "Just about living" is just so uplifting, it too, deserves mention. All in all a really great piece of music.
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on 4 March 2001
You can tell as soon as soon you hear the gravelly- voiced Joe Wishbourne on Let the People know that this man has listened to a lot of Reef. For the most part this is not a bad thing; The stand out tracks of Let the People Know, Archilles Heel, Breathe and Do You Know What Your Future Will Be? all benefit form his emotionally charged voice. Who cares if he doesn't sound like Craig David? The album is great apart from a few at the end which fail to hold me and is of a high quality. They are a less "poppy" version of Jamiroquai and deserved a Brit I felt either for Best Album or Best Single It seem like they've manged to rub Atomic "Kitten" up the wrong way which is no bad thing and posssibly worthy of an award in itself. I saw Joe and the lads at V2000 and although I knew they were good after Archilles Heel, I was blown away by the set they played, with it being a fine summer's day it set the mood perfectly. The album is as good as anything else out at the moment - it grows on you more and more as you listen to it; originally I found the tracks (singles outstanding) dull but after a few more listens I was hooked Yessiree!...
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on 8 July 2000
I got the album in mid-June after hearing about the band through a friend. The album arrived and has been stuck in my CD player ever since, as well as in my car.
I was then fortunate to see them as the support act to Counting Crows at Wembley, so I think I can pretty much say they are fantastic.
The album suits so many tastes, and there really is something on there for everyone. I don't know anyone who can honestly say that "Dancing In the Moonlight" wouldnt get them up and dancing a bit.
The album is well balanced, and the piano work is fantastic throughout. Its even more impressive as Joseph Washbourn sings and plays.
If I had to compare them to anyone, they are similar to Jamaroquai in some senses, yet better in others. If you get the opportunity to see them in concert, go, because they really did rock Wembley Arena, and not many support acts do !
So if you want to buy one album, forget anything else and buy this, because these guys are excellent and their music is outstanding !
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on 30 November 2000
What can i say but genius. Buy far the best album of the year with songs you will never get board of.One of the only albums this year you can just hit play without having to skip tracks. Features the hit singles Achilles heel, just hold on and the brilliant Dancing in the moonlight. Also the great opening track Let the people know. Great job Toploader.
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on 18 October 2000
THIS ALBUM IS LIKE LISTENING TO PERFECTION, THE FUZZY MULLETED LEAD BLOKE HAS TO BE GOD IN DISGUISE FOR HE IS A MUSICAL GENIUS. THE BEST TRACKS ARE 'FOR A WHILE'-A BEAUTIFULLY DREAMY SONG THAT LITERALLY PULLS AT THE HEART STRINGS. THE ALREADY RELEASED TRACKS 'ACHILLES HEEL' 'JUST HOLD ON' AND 'DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT'ARE ALL AMAZING AND MAKE YOU WANNA SHOUT IT OUT AT THE TOP OF A MOUNTAIN. THE LAST TRACK 'FLOATING AWAY' IS PURE MAGIC WITH THE AMAZING PIANO SOLO AT THE BEGINNING, GOING INTO THE BEAUTIFUL LYRICS AND THEN INTO THE ROCKY SONG WHICH STILLS BANGS WITH THE BEST OF THEM IF YOU DO ONE THING WITH THIS ALBUM THEN MAKE SURE ITS TO BUY A COPY AND LISTEN TO IT PERMANENTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on 24 July 2000
I hadn't heard at all of Toploader beofre I heard "Dancing In The Moonlight" on the radio. When I got to school I was giving it rave reviews but only me and my best friend had heard of it. Later, I heard Achilles Heel on TFI Friday and immediately fell in love with it. I borrow the album from my friend and felt entirely compeled to buy my own copy.
I agree that the title is a bit dubious..what exactly is Onka's Big Moka? Something like "Don't Mind If I Do" might have been a bit more apt (especially as they seem very prepared to succeed Oasis as Britain's biggest soft rock band). Almost all of the tracks are very very listenable and I simply love this record.
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