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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Queasy listening, 28 Aug 2003
By 
Tony Floyd "Travis Pickle" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Das Capital - The Songwriting Genius of Luke Haines (Audio CD)
Luke Haines reminds me of Kaa, the snake from The Jungle Book (I mean the Disney animated version), who sings ‘Trust in Me’ with menacing yet hypnotic sibilance. Haines too uses insidious melodies and his soothing yet vitriolic whispered tones, in his case to inject a strain of venom into the grotesque spectacle of modern life, where the shabby, second hand, crass, mediocre and stupid are celebrated and anything that smacks of intelligence or doubt or scepticism about the whole rank process is dismissed as killjoy miserabilism. This is no way to get on Top of The Pops and so Haines has remained, in the words of Kenneth Williams, a bit of a cult, releasing excellent, but commercially negligible, albums under various guises.
This latest collection, sadly, is unlikely to change this state of affairs with its re-recorded versions of old favourites interspersed with three new songs. There is also a not so secret ‘hidden track’ lurking at the beginning of the CD, comprising an introductory suite of even more old favourites from the Haines back catalogue. The up-dated settings coat the songs in candy-sweet strings (or “luxuriant orchestral delirium”) to provide a contrast to the acid rancour of the lyrics. Musically it wouldn’t be out of place on Radio 2 but lyrically it’s post-watershed (in an indefinably disturbing, rather than sweary Parental Advisory, way): perhaps queasy listening describes it best.
The new songs first, then: ‘Satan Wants Me’ is a lightning history of the various manifestations of the horned one in modern pop culture, from clownish disciples like Aleister Crowley to the Keanu Reeves/Al Pacino cult turkey The Devil’s Advocate. With its galloping strings and catchy chorus, it should be the number one song in hell any day now. ‘The Mitford Sisters’ is a rather well-timed gem, given the recent death of Diana Mitford, about mad horny aristos and their love of fascism (or at least individual fascists). ‘Bugger Bognor’ is a lushly orchestrated fantasia, with an icily beautiful coda, woven around the famous last words of George V.
Of the re-makes, I’m less fond of ‘Junk Shop Clothes’ and ‘Lenny Valentino’ in their new arrangements, but that’s because the originals are so perfectly realised already, but the rest I think are worthwhile re-tailorings. Most successful are surely the tracks that top and tail the CD: ‘How Could I be Wrong’ (from New Wave), now re-tooled with the “greatest sax solo in the history of popular culture” according to Haines’s sleeve notes, and ‘Future Generation’ (from How I Learned to Love The Bootboys), a great song rather let down in its earlier incarnation but now buffed up so that it finally lives up to the boastful claims made in the lyric.
Haines relishes the role of gainsayer and and general all round grumpus (see the recent interview in Word magazine) but I like to see him as a pop George Sanders; cynical, amused, urbane and sophisticated and an upholder of standards that have withered away elsewhere. When I went to a preview screening of ‘From Hell’ last year or so I saw Luke Haines and companion sitting a few rows in front of me. Call me an idiot but I was rather disappointed that, as we all filed out of the screening room, Haines held the door open for me to go through, rather than, as the persona suggested by his recorded output would surely have done, holding it open just long enough for me to get to it and then letting it slam shut so that I would be left standing there, my nose touching the door, listening to the muffled sound of his sneering and malicious laughter echoing away in the distance. This album captures that sound.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the genius of luke haines, 30 Jan 2004
This review is from: Das Capital - The Songwriting Genius of Luke Haines (Audio CD)
the best songwritter in england, certainly of the nineties at least, compiles an album of his best work. he was really spoilt for choice. Haines has been labelled by many as the great "moaner", but unlike may prentitious artists he does it constructively and delives with wit and intelligence. highlights of the album? pretty much every track. the snarling vocals on tracks like "Lenny valentino" is a delight, and the simple rhythms match them perfectly. haines it seems is a very critical man and bitter about many aspects of British life, but it is very hard to criticise this album.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars go forward by looking back, 1 Sep 2003
This review is from: Das Capital - The Songwriting Genius of Luke Haines (Audio CD)
Luke Haines has done it again - created yet another fresh and innovative album, bursting with his distinct originality and candid distain. It is thoroughly enjoyable to hear something which does not pander to the market demand for pre-packaged, digestable ditties but shines with sparkling, spiteful wit.
'Das Capitol' is composed pricipally of re-worked, or better yet re-discovered, songs from Haines' extensive back-catalogue, but they are far from pale shaddows of their former selves but grandoise, orchestral masterpieces. They are not just a more than welcome excuse to bring the songs to public attention, but actually map the change in culture that has taken place over the past decade, with the fashion tendinng towards bigger and better ideas with smaller accessories.
So this is more than an innovative greatest hits. The orchestra adds a fullness and lush quality to Haines' previous sparcity, and changes the emphasis of his message. This is necessary as Haines' albums all have a self-contained theme: class, fame, terrorism, nostalgia, and the various offings chosen for exhibition have to be melded into a cohesive whole to sit alongside one another comfortably.
The three new songs reveal that, unlike many other bands I grew up admiring, Haines has not lost his touch. This may be because Haines' interests change over time, so his lyrics are never stagnant. Nor are his vocals treated as a mere aspect to the musical mix, there solely from necessity. He has stuff to say, and it is worth hearing. 'The Mitford Sisters' is particulary good - did he know Diana would die so soon after its release? Prophetic.
Of course, as Haines says, this project was also conceived with the design of pointing out to people what is under their noses, and if it does that for even a handful of people, it will have been a worthwhile exercise. Buy this album - Luke Haines is not touted as the best lyricist in Britain for nothing. He is right - he is a genius.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A grand return for Indie's grumpy grandpa., 24 July 2003
By 
Dan (London, UK.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Das Capital - The Songwriting Genius of Luke Haines (Audio CD)
Luke Haines returns from retirement to rescue us from Coldplay et al with new recordings of great songs from the Auteurs/ Baader Meinhof back catalogue, this time with a string orchestra; a rather wonderful departure from the usual "best of" format.
I have been a fan since the early days and it is great to hear these new interpretations of old favourites. The new songs are are fine additions and of typical Haines style; sardonic lyrics wrapped in opulently beautiful music.
For newcomers this will be a good introduction to Luke's, ahem, "songwriting genius" and I would recommend this to anyone who likes strong and intelligent songwriting and missed Haines and the Auteurs the first time round.
By the way, there is a "secret track" - press rewind after playing the first track for a medley of many more Auteurs classics.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I don't care what your old man say...", 27 July 2003
This review is from: Das Capital - The Songwriting Genius of Luke Haines (Audio CD)
well, i've been a fan since the first auteurs album. luke haines is one of the most underrated and unknown rock composers of the century. so i agree completely with this "own" tribute he has made to himself ("the genious")... the intro suite hidden at the first track is amazing... IF YOU KNOW LUKE HAINES AND HIS WORK AND YOU REALLY ENJOY HIS MUSIC...THIS RECORD WILL BE A GIFT OF JOY AND PLEASURE!!!!... it is really emotional for me to listen to early tracks such as "showgirl" and "how could i be wrong?" with this beautiful and glorious string arrangements. highlights are "baader meinhof", "lenny valentino" (never been this powerful before) and the closing "future generation", where haines changes the lyrics (again) to say "I DON'T CARE WHAT THE HISTORY BOOKS SAY"... and surely he is right, this is his gift to humanity. for those who haven't heard his work: THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO SAVE YOURSELF!!!!!!! VANDALISM!!!!!!!!!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Productionvalues finaly deliver on the haines promise, 27 Aug 2003
By 
Chris Hoare "Chris" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Das Capital - The Songwriting Genius of Luke Haines (Audio CD)
So the title is ever so egotistical but if you ever managed to listen to Baader Meinhof; Lukes Haines rock trip through the world of terrorism, or any other album you will have an impression of how his music sounds. The original albums all sounded as if they were recorded at the Edison Labratory onto a wax cylinders - all compressed and hissy. To my ears the change is most noticable on Baader Meinhof- this is a whole new era of terrorism (sorry) the strings are open and the attack is more to the front.
Get this just to here the songs the way they should have been; lets hope more of the songs are released with better production values
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