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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Cornwell at Heart
Incredibly, Beyond Elysian Fields is Hugh Cornwell's 11th solo release and marks an almost back to basics approach; recorded in only two weeks with Tony Visconti producing, the entire record is unfussy, has minimal over-dubs and shows off the songs, rather than technical wizardry.
Many of the songs have been showcased live over the last couple of years and the largly...
Published on 6 Oct 2004 by James Belton

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful, sometimes inspired release
Hugh seems to be sneaking in homages to his past all over the place with melodies and bass riffs seeming eerily familiar. Elsewhere, 'Beauty On The Beach', is a strange mix of melody and atonal, but it somehow works, although I could have done without the Bob Dylan tribute '24/7', although at least it is amusing. However, the next track, 'Mr. Big' is my personal...
Published on 28 Mar 2005 by Mr. H


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful, sometimes inspired release, 28 Mar 2005
By 
Mr. H "Mr H" (Embra) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Beyond Elysian Fields (Audio CD)
Hugh seems to be sneaking in homages to his past all over the place with melodies and bass riffs seeming eerily familiar. Elsewhere, 'Beauty On The Beach', is a strange mix of melody and atonal, but it somehow works, although I could have done without the Bob Dylan tribute '24/7', although at least it is amusing. However, the next track, 'Mr. Big' is my personal favourite, the one song that seems to best reflect the New Orleans environment that the album was recorded in. Dark and organ filled, hmm, where have we heard that before.
This is a thoughtful, sometimes inspired release, assisted by the production expertise of Tony Visconti. It's a shame that people probably won't give it a chance, as there are some excellent songs, well worth hearing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Cornwell at Heart, 6 Oct 2004
By 
James Belton "jamesbelton" (Oxfordshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beyond Elysian Fields (Audio CD)
Incredibly, Beyond Elysian Fields is Hugh Cornwell's 11th solo release and marks an almost back to basics approach; recorded in only two weeks with Tony Visconti producing, the entire record is unfussy, has minimal over-dubs and shows off the songs, rather than technical wizardry.
Many of the songs have been showcased live over the last couple of years and the largly acoustic airing they recieved then have been retained, with the addition of bass and drums - other instruments such as keyboards, toy piano and flute have been, to great credit, used minimally and effectively, giving tracks such as the fantastic Beauty On the Beach and Henry Moore memorable riffs.
Overall, the album is very upbeat and borrows from a Dillon-esq influence - indeed 24/7 is all about Bob. The track that sticks out as being the last you'd associate with HC is The Story of Harry Power. You'll either love or hate it, but I think it grows in you.
Although it's different to what has come before (which is what I've come to expect from HC's music) it's classic Cornwell at heart - the music is good, the lyrics are playful and some of the couplets strained (check out the use of Under-carriage in Mr.Big - amazing!) and it's just darned good listening. In a just world, Beyond Elysian Fields has at least three or four hits or at least some decent airplay on R2.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great return to form, 11 Oct 2004
This review is from: Beyond Elysian Fields (Audio CD)
When you look at the most recent Stranglers album you realise just how little they've come since Hugh left the band in 1990. Whilst containing some good songs, "Norfolk Coast" travels the same road they've been on for the last ten years whereas Hugh's solo output, in contrast, has been more sporadic and not entirely successful, but the previous two albums to this one ("Guilty" and "Hi-Fi") promised a truly great album to follow, and yes: "Beyond Elysian Fields" is it.
The depth of muscianship and songwriting talent on this CD is superb, with each song an absolute delight for the ears. Favourites would have to include "Beauty on the Beach", "Cadiz" and "Henry Moore", but it's so hard to pick out a favourite because they all contain the illusive ingredient of "talent" so often lacking in post-punk solo albums. And in addition the rich production by Tony Visconti perfectly compliments the songs.
This isn't a retro-punk album (thank God), but a superlative showcase of an imaginative songwriter at his best. Buy it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense nervous neckache?, 22 Sep 2004
This review is from: Beyond Elysian Fields (Audio CD)
First of all I doth my cap to Visconti - 2 gems he produced within about 2 weeks of each other - This album, then in the studio the week after the Manics "Lifeblood" album (surely their finest?).

And just wow! Visconti pushes the lead vocals waaaaaaay up high here - Sounds like Hugh is singing over your shoulder right into your lugole. And not a bad thing - what a rich textured voice he has - just wanna bathe in it fantastic!!!

That said it does seem a little over produced. When I think about hearing some of these songs live before they were laid down they seem to have lost some of their edge and appeal on the record. I don't wanna pick faults with this album because it's a cool and contains some great songs I just think it's a little too glossy at times.

That said this album contains one of Hugh's best ever tracks "Henry Moore" sheer classic song - file next to your greatest songs in the world ever. It's such a treat to hear, a real luxury moment. I love hearing it when travelling through a city late at night.

I heard someone say yesterday that Hugh is writing his best stuff in his entire career at the moment and I have to agree - It's all here pure genius. The lyrics, the vocal delivery and that guitar *more please*.

I can't wait for the next one.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars COOL AS A CUCUMBER SITTING IN A VERY COLD FRIDGE, 31 Oct 2004
This review is from: Beyond Elysian Fields (Audio CD)
BEYOND ELYSIAN FIELDS
HUGH CORNWELL
Track Records TRA 1050 2004

For many Stranglers fans, Hugh Cornwell's low-key solo offerings embrace the bridge until his former Stranglers colleagues launch their next big label power pop renaissance.
Ditching previous producer Laurie Latham for equally talented Tony Visconti, 'Beyond Elysian Fields' is a tuneful and subtle collection of acoustic-edged coolness. While it doesn't deviate too far from Hugh's last two solo offerings of 'Guilty' and 'Hi-fi,' the laid back and refined air brings a refreshing detour to the proceedings.
Crafted and catchy, the simple warmth of Hugh's Godin acoustic guitar frames his measured atonal voice with ease, a combination that is sorely missed in today's maelstrom of music and hype, as well as The Stranglers themselves. He can be forgiven for his occasional American-style drawl. Thoughtful melodies and hooks still sway towards the mid to late 60s, with hints in the direction of psychedelic beatnick folk in Bob Dylan, The Kinks, Manfred Mann, Booker T and the MGs and The Beatles. Backing is ably handled by seasoned professional Steve Lawrence on bass and young pup prodigy Windsor McGilvray on drums,

While some songs had previously been aired during last years tour, the ones with the biggest impact, such as the moody Strangleresque 'Land of a Thousand Kisses,' and the bosanova 'Beauty on the Beach,' sound even better. However, the plodding 'Story of Harry Power' and the paean to Dylan, '24/7' still grate on me like screwed-up newspaper scraping a blackboard. Although I fear these might grow on me in time. Further testimony to Hugh's clever songsmithery are 'Picked Up By The Wind' and 'Under Her Spell,' along with the Lennon-styled rocker 'I Don't Mind', and the slick, soothing flute-riffed album closer, 'Henry Moore' which is lyrically and musically,"COOL".
Gary
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugh matures into something of a crooner, 1 Jun 2008
By 
Simon Pennington (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beyond Elysian Fields (Audio CD)
Saw Hugh in a solo unplugged show playing most of this album before I heard it; I was amazed how I could not get some of the tunes out of my head, especially Cadiz and Henry Moore.

There are a couple of filler tracks as with any album but for the most part there are some superbly crafted, catchy great songs. I play this over and over again. As usual with Hugh some intelligent and sometimes humourous lyrics, and his voice has matured into a real crooner.

I won't even go into whether this sounds like the Stranglers, of course it doesn't, but plenty of people ask me who it is, who would not dream of listening to them.

I am a big fan of most of Hugh's solo stuff, this is probably the one I play the most; like the other reviewers said there is something cool about this album, and I find Cadiz especially beautiful. It grows and grows on you; highly recommended
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From a stateside Cornwell fan, 6 Nov 2004
By 
rsolonche (New Hampshire, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beyond Elysian Fields (Audio CD)
Well,I've been waiting for 'Beyond...' for a some time. As a long time Stranglers and Cornwell fan (got to get a plug in for XTC, by the way)....here's how I see it upon a second listening.
It's very, very good...if not great. Starting off strong with Land of a Thousand Kisses and Cadiz,it is
consistant in its cleverness and maturity. (Hugh and I were born in the same year by the way).
The only disappointment seems to be Under Her Spell, which sounds like Robyn Hitchcock, which isn't bad, but what the hell, why not sound like yourself?
24/7 is a great homage to the master.........and Hugh is a prize pupil.
With all the dreck flooding the airwaves, Beyond...is a welcome addition to modern culture. Too bad only a select few will hear it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great release from Hugh, 18 Dec 2008
This review is from: Beyond Elysian Fields (Audio CD)
Another solid album from Hugh. Cadiz and Henry Moore are the stand out tracks but it's all good stuff. If you find this too mellow check out his new album Hooverdam which has a harder edge.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After this..., 21 Aug 2005
By 
Paul Greer (Gothenburg, Sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beyond Elysian Fields (Audio CD)
.. anything else would feel like a disappointment! HAC finally demonstrates what he's always aspired to be: an (criminally underrated) songwriter of rank, an acoustic guitarist playing within his considerable limitations, an arranger and composer who has never shied away from his own ideals. A performer - no sorry, entertainer - who embraces every venue totally, gives his all, and never fails to deliver. This latest delivery in the form of "Beyond Elysian Fields" combines the significant potential of "Hi-FI" and "Guilty", combines them, then raises the result to a power of ten. I've followed the Stranglers in general and HAC in particular at fairly close quarters since schooldays in Surrey from the halcyon new-wave summer of 1976, and I've yet to find any work from either camp that even puts a light to this album. Buy it. Feel it. Let it grow with you.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A backwards step?, 11 Oct 2004
By 
P. Burch "paul_burch" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beyond Elysian Fields (Audio CD)
This album is a bit disappointing after the last two. There is no doubting that 'Guilty' was a classic and'Hi-Fi', although not matching up to this, had more winners than losers. That said, there are some truly great tracks here - Land of a Thousand Kisses, The Story of Harry Power and Henry Moore - the latter living up to the early promise it showed in a solo show a couple of years ago. The main problem I perceive is that Hugh seems to have become too interested in simplyfing the songs to make them easy to play in his Solo live show and, as a result, a lot of them are very similar. 'Harry Power' and 'Henry Moore' stand out because he has done something different with the musical arrangements on them.
Do I regret buying the album? Certainly not as these three tracks make it worth the purchase price alone. Had I expected more? Yes, especially after the last two and because Hugh has mentioned this work in the the same sentence as 'Rattus Norvegicus'.
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