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Personality: One Was A Spider. One Was A Bird

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (15 Nov. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin Records
  • ASIN: B000FVQYKE
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,705 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

The Sleepy Jackson: David Symes (bass guitar); Julian Hamilton, Malcolm Clark, Felix Bloxsom, Kim Moyes, Luke Steele.Personnel: Luke Steele (vocals, guitar); Scott Horscroft (guitar, synthesizer); Jim Moginie (guitar); Veronique Serret, Gina Henery, Sophie Cole, Daniel Kelly (violin); Lauren Bridgen, Greg Ford, Rudolf Crivici (viola); Pierre Emery, Nikkie Dobasi, Claire Gill (cello); Ben Gurton (French horn); Anthony Kable (trombone); Julian Hamilton (piano, keyboards, synthesizer); Rob Woolf (keyboards); Kim Moyes (vibraphone, percussion); Malcolm Clark (marimba, drums, percussion); Felix Bloxsom (percussion); Juanita Tippins (background vocals).Audio Mixer: Scott Horscroft.Liner Note Author: Luke Steele.Recording information: Big Jesus Burger Studios, Sydney, Australia.Photographer: Simon Cowling.The Australian indie outfit the Sleepy Jackson introduced their eclectic, wildly creative aesthetic to the world on 2003's LOVERS. The band's sophomore release, PERSONALITY: ONE WAS A SPIDER ONE WAS A BIRD, continues their dedication to lush, symphonic pop with clear ties to the Beatles and the Beach Boys. The songs on PERSONALITY are dense and expansive, blending high-minded psychedelia, sweet, melody-based songwriting, and layered arrangements (which sometimes resemble lounge or easy-listening music). Fans of carefully constructed symphonic pop will find plenty to bask in here.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
OK, so debut album 'Lovers' was always going to be a hard act to follow but maverick songwriter Luke Steele has pretty much succeeded. `Personality...' is certainly no carbon copy of the first album and has very much its own sound so those expecting 'Lovers' Mark II may be disappointed. However, treat this album as a work in its own right and it is hard not to be impressed by the lush, multi layered hooks and melodies which never let up from start to finish. I have to admire Steele for what he has tried to achieve here, attempting to make the ultimate 'melodic' record bursting with harmonies, string sections, et al. It is an ambitious concept and sound that could easily have fallen flat on its face.

Admittedly, there are a couple of tracks which just do not work and the production is overdone. Also, lyrically the album is a bit below par in places and perhaps suffers for it. BUT despite these criticisms, `Personality...' is a collection of excellent songs which gel together to from one of the albums of the year.

Buy `Personality...' and give it several listens with open ears and you may be pleasantly surprised. Don't expect it to be an instantly easy listen, it definitely requires repeated plays to pick through the vast musical activity but the rewards are well worth it.
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Format: Audio CD
Even before you've heard the first glacial notes of The Sleepy Jackson's second album, it is clear they are no longer the quirky outfit of 2003's 'Lovers'. The ghastly cover art and cryptic name are already miles away from that album's messy sleeve scribbles and snappy title. In the actual music, though, this new-found indulgence helps create a few moments of utter brilliance (and, thankfully, there are no extreme delves into pretentiousness here). The album's opening clutch of songs are beautiful, string-laden gems which hit the perfect mark for a follow-up album: grander, denser, but also catchier. Gorgeous opener 'You Needed More' may occasionally hint of that dullest of second-album subject matter - life on tour ("we play the same songs in every town"), but they've taken the winning songwriting formula of 'Lovers' but turned it into an uplifting orchestral pop beauty: hushed strums give way to strings which sweep its chorus to new heights.

First single 'God Lead Your Soul' continues the good streak, its stop-start chorus fanfared by a grand brass section. It's adventurous, engaging and very, very pretty, with Beach Boys 'oohs' and 'aahs' everywhere. In fact, one of 'Personality''s main downfalls is that this overt influence can get tiring. Tracks like 'Higher Than Hell' and 'You Won't Bring People Down In My Town' seem to disguise their lack of ideas by being comprised solely of said ooh-ing. As the album detaches itself from the head-rush of the opening tracks, these more unmemorable songs seem to merge into one big blob of falsetto 'n' strings, only saved by the memorable choruses of 'Work Alone' and 'God Knows'. It's hard not to listen to in one go without getting bored, and though the new sound is a new step for the band, the album lacks the variety of its predecessor.
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Format: Audio CD
After watching them live in a small Bristol club in 2003, I fell in love with the Sleepy Jackson. The mini-album, released that same year, featured 8 of the most perfect songs and provided promise and excitement for the release of the full length album later that year. When 'Lovers' was released, it was a wonderful - if not confusing - album. But as any Luke Steele fan will know, this was totally in line with the bands state of mind. The varying styles of each song made it difficult to listen and love the entire album.

Now comes 'Personality...', and what an absolute stunner this is. 13 tracks, all going in the same direction but still never lacking in invention. 'You Needed More' kicks off the album perfectly and is followed by 5 near perfect tracks, 'Work Alone' being the album highlight. Everything right down to the artwork feels right, making this the ultimate summer/fall album for 2006.

Any other year it would go straight to my number 1 spot, but unfortunately for the Sleepys, Howe Gelb released the best album since 'The Queen Is Dead'.
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Format: Audio CD
Based upon the many reviews I've read , their previous album the excellent "Lovers" , and quite possibly my own warped dreams and perceptions I was expecting the new Sleepy Jackson album to be some sort of heavenly , halcyon inducing trip to aural nirvana. Dream pop if you like, a cross between "Pet Sounds", "Revolver" and Wins "Uh Tears Baby" (one of the greatest pop albums ever folks). Imagine my surprise to discover that "Personality " to give it an abridged name, is more like a wander through the "Magic Kingdom" at "Pleasure Island" than a heart skipping twirl at light speed round planet pop.

On the surface it's all gaudy colours and plump marshmallow facades but peel back that pristine eye catching epidermis and it's just spindly framework and frantic head less chicken activity effectively creating a mirage of opulent beauty and glistening Shangri La. Enough with the metaphors now, what I'm saying is that while "Personality "may boast a cast list as long as "Spartacus", including an orchestra, the end result is often disappointingly prosaic. Luke Steele may have had the tools at his mercurial disposal but far too often on the album there is nothing for then to get their collective teeth into. Too many songs drift by in a perplexing diaphanous haze of cloying strings, plucked notes on guitar, gauzy keyboard/piano. Backing vocals drift in and out and maybe back in again but fail to wrap a hook into the synapses. Too much of "Personality "fails to lodge itself in the brain, in short "Personality" lacks a significant personality.

On first listen absolutely nothing stands out. The whole album meanders by in a gossamer melange of cloying arrangements and Steele's acute high range vocals.
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