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34 Reviews
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Put simply, a GREAT album
One word: WOW. Dance-rock duo James Lavelle and Richard File have excelled themselves on this, UNKLE's latest opus. Dirty great guitar riffs... top-notch guest spots... even the odd dance-floor filler... you really couldn't ask for much more. Enlisting the likes of Masters of Reality man/stoner-rock uber-producer Chris Goss and recording tracks at the Rancho de la Luna...
Published on 7 Aug 2007 by Matt Pucci

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but a change in direction for UNKLE
I am a fan of Psyence Fiction and Never Never Land, not least because of their blend of hip hop, breakbeat and rock. War Stories is more of a straightforward guitar rock-based album vaguely reminiscent of Primal Scream, but it contains several memorable tracks so, whilst I don't rate this as highly as their previous work (because of the abandonment of beats and breaks), I...
Published on 6 Sep 2008 by DaveW


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unlike anything else, 3 July 2007
By 
Nikster (Southampton UK) - See all my reviews
Lavelle and co have done it again.

I know James is a big fan of rock but i couldn't have guessed this would have been their next offering.It's not Pysence Fiction or Never Never Land which is a good thing as its not predictable. The trademark Unkle production is still there- lush moody soundscapes and dark meaningful lyrics.This is a must for all Unkle fans. Only reason i gave it four stars was i just dont think they'll ever top Never Never Land (a masterpiece).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It has its moments but it's disappointing, 8 July 2007
By 
Mr. Stuart Bruce "DonQuibeats" (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: War Stories (Audio CD)
UNKLE have found a little niche for themselves as the 'real'-sounding band that dance music fans like myself can like. Partly that's due to the epic production values, partly that's due to UNKLE's ongoing fantastic selection of remixers and remixes to support their releases- their previous album "Never Never Land" spawned so many re-versions that they ended up getting released as a 4CD set in their own right.

With this album though they may have taken a step too far in the Radiohead direction that beats & breaks fans won't appreciate so much. The UNKLE sound is still there- rich orchestration, complex drums, melancholic melodies- but what one of the other reviewers has called "mature" I'd call "passionless". The whole thing just has a slight hint of resignedness that makes it, for me, not as good as "Never Never Land" was.

As I was particularly disappointed with the vocal guest appearances, then I was happy to get the limited edition 2CD version which includes a second disc containing all the instrumental versions of the songs on the first disc, in the same order. I have a feeling that disc two is the one I'll be going back to repeatedly.

I'm also looking forward to hearing some of these tracks being remixed.

However on the limited edition 2CD version, the packaging is TERRIBLE. Really, really poor. It is a chunky "what shelf will that go on?" box that is badly designed so that the inner part wedges awkwardly. The CDs don't sit properly in their 'slots'. The tracklist is printed onto the outer vacuum-plastic that you have to destroy in order to open it- why?! Music aside, UNKLE albums have had some awful packaging.

If you like this album, try also Rob Dougan's "Furious Angels" album.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a Unkle/Lavelle, Just 1 Louder, 4 July 2007
By 
Mr. G. Manuel (newcastle upon tyne, tyne & wear United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This albums feels like another James Lavelle/Unkle mix album, the production is as reconisable as ever, and the tunes hit home consistency throughout the album.

Imagine the intensity of kasabain, meets the rock/dance os say primal screams "exterminator" with the heart of soul of James Lavelle.

It is a good album, alot better than the weak "Never Never Land", guest vocals are diverse and work a treat, this is simply as good as anything else, they released either as Unkle or as a singular DJ (in Lavelle).
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bore Stories?, 13 Jun 2007
By 
M. J. Axtell "Jimmy Luxury" (Exeter) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War Stories (Audio CD)
Piggybacking on the success of Never, Never, Land, Lavelle, File and Gen return with a very stark, moody offering. Quelle surprise. A lot can happen in four years: new governments arise, wars can start and end, people get married, divorced and fight for custody, technological advances, etc. Its a good thing, then, that Unkle has decided to do the same. Their fans are getting a little older now: some have families, getting nice chunky guts, mortgages, perhaps have dramatic changes happen in their lives. Its nice to know that, although some things are different, they are still the same. This offering from Unkle retains so much of the attitude and mood that has made their work so popular, but has changed so very nicely to suit their now aging legion of fans.

I can happily say that I have been there since Psyence Fiction and, in my opinion, they have improved vastly and gained a maturity that I wish their contemporaries would consider. I am so very sick of The Chemical Brothers now. When will they learn? Having been staunchly anti-rock and pro-techno through most of my teens made me privy to the alternative sounds of Unkle in the first place, but it is now the abrasive rock sound that has drawn me back to them yet again. We seem to be maturing in parallel.

All of their albums had their place in time. They were very much of the moment. Very fashionable pieces of music made obvious by the ridiculous amount of merchandise that surrounded them. This album is no exception and i'm sure there will be silly plastic figures and 300 pairs of trainers to accompany this release. But I still like the music.

The album is very rock and, like I said, moody. Its probably got an agenda (its called War Stories for heaven's sake) but I don't care what it is. The sound is what i'm after and it sounds good. Lavelle makes a good vocal debut under heavily treated lyrics on track 3, and who would have thought that The Cult and Unkle would have made a record together circa Psyence Fiction? Unkle's power to surprise rings truer than ever with this album. The track with The Duke Spirit is inspired and made me want to check out their album Cuts Across The Land. Which is ace. 3D makes a brief appearance, but it doesn't have quite the same impact as Invasion. The Josh Homme collaboration on the other hand does and this one is one of my personal favourites, but all the way through the album I was left wanting something that I never got; a harmonica break, but I guess i've been listening to too much BRMC.

The tourability of this release will probably be a huge fantasy lived out by Lavelle. It seems he's finally made it to the stage after much arsing around with decks and toys. Yes there is a huge glut of guests on the album, but it wouldn't be Unkle if there weren't, would it? Its the effectiveness and the diversity of guests that makes the album come together as a nice melange of sound and vocal that makes the album work, as well as Ant Gen's superb production skills. It really is superbly produced. Mixed to perfection.

But it doesn't get five. Five would mean it can't get better, and I think with this record they could well have peaked. I thoroughly enjoyed the album, but it's partly to do with what other new stuff is available. There isn't an awful lot. The best one this year I think is the new Amon Tobin album, but again that one didn't quite reach the dizzying heights of his prior work. This new Unkle album seems brilliant in comparison to pretty much anything new out there at the moment. Another gripe is, and hopefully this will change, that there aren't that many catchy tracks. And it doesn't really have the peaks and troughs of their prior work. It kind of flatlines a little. I could even go on to say that it's too long. So I will.

But I still really like it. It wont mix with their other work on an Unkle compilation CD, but it should be listened to as an album anyway. If their albums were siblings, PF would be the young hip-hop, weed smoking adolescent, NNL would be the pretentious goth and WS would be the mature older brother that's got better things to do than think too hard about which music is fashionable to listen to. It probably has an office job and drives a Golf TDI. But with a big exhaust.

If you like rock, perhaps a little POST rock, then, why not? You wouldn't be reading this unless you checked out some of their prior work, and chances are, you will be a little older and wiser to appreciate it. And you probably have the money for it.

Still, the Hybrid and Force Mass Motion remixes will be good.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant, 12 Aug 2007
This review is from: War Stories (Audio CD)
This album just flat out Rocks....
Vocal contributions from a variety of artists shine amidst layers of fuzzy guitar riffs and catchy drum beats...

Almost every song on this album is superb, And the songs 'Burn my shadow'and 'restless' are worth the entire price of the album themselves...

Brilliant...Just Brilliant...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute quality, 4 July 2007
By 
T. Webb (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This album is absolute quality. The tracks are rich, deep, melodic and thoughtful. Once again Unkle have taken their music in another direction. Once again they have nailed it.

My only niggle is the over indulgent and excessive packaging (Limited Edition box). The packaging, does have a quality feel to it but a card board sleeve, a la Pscyence Fiction, would have sufficed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Album, 26 Nov 2013
By 
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This review is from: War Stories (Audio CD)
What can I write about an style of music other than if you've never heard them and like electric and rock then give it a go
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful CD, 21 April 2013
By 
Dee (Nottingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War Stories (Audio CD)
I absolutely love this CD, it has depth and style; a quality CD that I play a lot as there is much to discover in it. I highly recommend it. Interestingly track 14 is featured in Series1 of 'Person Of Interest' at the end of ep10.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 26 Jan 2013
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This review is from: War Stories (Audio CD)
As an on-mass buyer of general CDs I'm interested in around the Christmas period, I tend to find myself skimming through quite a few albums and picking out my favourite singles to utilise, while the rest of the album waits for a random resurgence, or to be called up by my ipod's shuffle. This, however, is one of those album that will take an honoured place amongst my collection's best and brightest, and for which, when I choose to listen to it, I take the time to go through the vast majority of the album.

It's powerful, gripping and alternative, with songs like 'May Day' and 'Burn My Shadow' always ending up stuck in my head for a good few hours. Initially a lot of it felt a little bit depressed, as it's undertone is quite alternative, but when you listen through the whole thing, it seems clear that this really is UNKLE's niche, and they do what they do fantastically. Definitely recommend it to anyone with a bit of a broader taste for some alternative rocky vibes, and am sure it will get significant use for me over the rest of my life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good stuff, 3 Nov 2010
This review is from: War Stories (Audio CD)
If you haven't heard their previous work you should buy this then buy the back catalogue,if you have bought their stuff previously you won't be dissappointed,pure atmosphere on some tracks and on others just kick ass rock and roll--effin marvelous mate!
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War Stories by U.N.K.L.E. (Audio CD - 2007)
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