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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's hear it for the band
It is time for the nature of music reviews - at least for popular music - to change. There's no need any longer to read a review to help you decide if you want to buy an album. All of these tracks can be heard on various places online - either in part or in full, often in different arrangements, sometimes in video - and the lyrics too are freely available. So you can...
Published on 3 Aug 2008 by Peter Reeve

versus
7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why change your best songs?
I don't understand why artists do this - they write such beautiful songs like 'The Box', 'Eyeless in Holloway' and 'Tickle Me Pink' and then go and ruin them when they put them on the album. He sings them differently, and made them complex. I don't know, maybe he's trying to make them more appealing and mainstream? If so, shame on your Mr Flynn.

Please note -...
Published on 28 May 2008 by Mr. S. Galloway


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's hear it for the band, 3 Aug 2008
By 
Peter Reeve (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Larum (Audio CD)
It is time for the nature of music reviews - at least for popular music - to change. There's no need any longer to read a review to help you decide if you want to buy an album. All of these tracks can be heard on various places online - either in part or in full, often in different arrangements, sometimes in video - and the lyrics too are freely available. So you can listen, and read, before you decide whether to buy. The traditional reviewer role of helping you decide whether or not this music will be for you, is redundant. It's time for 'reviewers' of popular music to become critics and commentators, to promote discussion rather than offer guidance. With that in mind, here's Johnny...

Very much part of the current British Folk scene, albeit South African by birth, Flynn is a 25-year old actor, poet and songwriter. He went to Bedales, one of the most expensive independent schools in the UK, and has acted in some very prestigious Shakespeare productions. His voice is expressive rather than melodic. He may not quite hit the notes, but he feels them.

The CD insert that is devoted to Flynn (the other insert is devoted to his backing group, The Sussex Wit) rather alarmingly (or a larumingly) cites Shakespeare and Chaucer as his storytelling forebears. Flynn himself says that he has always been interested in "...storytelling as an art form. Real epic storytelling. You hear that in Chaucer, and it's mirrored in traditional folk and in the blues." Quite so, but it's not mirrored in Flynn's own songs. They are not sustained narratives, do not tell a story. They are word pictures -- fragmentary, evocative and sometimes enigmatic. Nothing wrong with that, of course. In fact, they are for the most part fine lyrics, it's just that they are not the stories he seems to think they are, and not of the tradition to which he aspires.

The versions of 'The Box' and 'Tickle Me Pink' (and I think others) are different from the single and EP versions. If you already have those versions, you might welcome the changes, as you are getting something new, some added value. Or, if you have not heard the singles versions, you might feel short-changed, as you are not getting the versions that attracted attention originally.

The musical backing is innovative and very satisfying, with wonderful use of discordant strings and prominent drum rolls, and indeed some excellent guitar work from Flynn himself, especially on 'Tunnels'. The album's coda, a brief instrumental (organ) reprise of Shore to Shore, is a nice touch, and a fine way to end the set.

I think it's a shame that The Sussex Wit doesn't get billed on the album cover. Flynn is of course the front man and songwriter, but the band is still a big part of the overall sound. They get their own separate insert, but it would have been nice if they had been given equal billing.
[PeterReeve]
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Talented Mr Flynn, 14 Oct 2009
By 
Mr. B. A. Sorrill (S.W. Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: A Larum (Audio CD)
I found Johnny Flynn and the Sussex wit by accident... if only all accidents were as lucky.

This music is the Levellers of the naughties (and I mean that as the highest compliment) not in any copycat sense but in the sense of a beautifully crafted album written with humour, sensitivity, intelligence and (above all) musicality. The playing and writing are perfectly balanced.

Although there is no chance A Larum will get 1% of the airtime it deserves this is music that will survive the decades and will charm music lovers long after the commercial rubbish that dominates the contempory charts has been relegated to cheesey retro club nights.

The very best album I've heard in years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars dont say in a letter what you can't in my ear.., 17 Feb 2009
By 
Ms. S. Davies (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Larum (Audio CD)
this really is a truly amazing album, johnny flynn & the sussex wit as a band are unsurpassable, in my opinion & his lyrics are magical.
buuut as much as i love a larum, i do have some criticisms..
as mentioned in other reviews, some of the songs have been altered ever so slightly for the album. 'the box' for instance, has a'longer introduction & has been slowed down with a minorly changed rhythm compared to the single version (which i prefer). i downloaded a live version of 'the wrote & the writ' which i also prefer to the album version, but mainly just because i prefer the simplicity of it (less violins & orchestration).
'tickle me pink' is unchanged & still wonderful, & 'leftovers' stands out as a definite highlight.
as a bit of a nerd,i think the arrangement of songs is important in creating the mood of an album & letting the songs sound their best, & i really like the order of the songs in this.
'eyeless in holloway' & 'shore to shore' are veery good, & i really recommend this album,
but i also recommend you try to source the single version of 'the box' & other versions of 'the wrote & the writ' so you may make up your own mind.
happy listening :)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 18 Mar 2010
This review is from: A Larum (Audio CD)
I'm not usually into folk, but this really is brilliant. I've never heard the single versions of these tracks, but I think the album versions are of the highest calibre. The lyrics are thoughtful and witty, and the musical accompaniment is tangled, catchy, and perfectly paced. Although folk-ey in style, the album avoids being twee and ponderous like so much other folk music. Probably the best album I've bought this year.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 29 May 2008
By 
C. Wyer (Hobbiton, The Shire, GB) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Larum (Audio CD)
An amazing album, with a great array of songs - it flows brilliantly and could quite possibly be the most perfect album of the year.
The single versions of some original songs have been brilliantly reworked, and every track is as fresh and well-written as the next. Lyrically, as one would expect from Flynn, the words are thought provoking and interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How did I miss it?, 23 April 2014
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This review is from: A Larum (Audio CD)
I spotted this on a photographed music shelf of another favourite performer. Now I know why it was there. Simply an amazing record - and probably an inspiration to many others who have followed alongside him in this genre since its release. I can't recommend it enough, brilliant.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Folkin' Good, 10 Jan 2010
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This review is from: A Larum (Audio CD)
Brilliant album, a couple of tracks towards the end that seem a little less accessible to anyone who isn't really into the scene but otherwise a great debut. If you like your blues or folk definitely worth checking out.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Folk with modern twist, 23 Mar 2010
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This review is from: A Larum (Comm CD) (MP3 Download)
As I had tested this out on Spotify, I knew what to expect when purchasing. Since getting it on to my iPod though, I have hardly stopped listening to this album. Brilliant, understated melodies and unexpected lyrics. If you like indie folk, and artists such as Fleet Foxes, Roy Harper or Beth Orton, I think you'll appreciate this fine album.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy!, 27 July 2008
By 
Jamie O. Kirkpatrick "O.KP" (Tetbury, Gloucestershire UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Larum (Audio CD)
This is a CD on which every song is a masterpiece! The Lyrics are superb and the Vocals are brilliant! This simply must be a part of your collection, I gaurantee that (if you are of sound mind) you will not regret this purchase as the catchy tunes will get you singing along and the highly original sound will fill a genre gap in your collection, which perhaps you didn't even realise was there. You will find yourself listening to these future classics over and over again.

A fantastic opoutunity to discover a CD from a rising artist, which is undoubtedly the best release to date this year!

A must buy for anyone who likes good music.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Folk without the cringe factor, 17 Nov 2009
This review is from: A Larum (Audio CD)
I'm not into Folk. There, I said it. I find it irritating and twee and it makes me violent. I do however enjoy roots style music and music with heart and soul.
This album by Mr Flynn is truly exceptional. Each song is well constructed and played with gusto and feeling. You can tell they enjoyed making it.
The lyrics are not about a lost albion or other twaddle and are amazingly well written. It still makes me chuckle thinking about what happens to the voices in your head after death...indeed.
Anyway, who am I to say what's worth listening to. Buy it and listen to it yourself. You will not be disapointed.
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