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Garrarar "Garrarar" (UK)

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Helplessness Blues
Helplessness Blues
Price: £7.99

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic? Time Will Tell., 6 May 2011
This review is from: Helplessness Blues (Audio CD)
The albums of old, the great classics have an advantage over newly released albums.
Their advantage? Time. Albums you've grown up or grown old with will be forever intertwined with events in your life.
However, occasionally an album comes along that from the first note, you realise you will revisit it time and time again.

With their second LP, Fleet Foxes have created a fantastic record.
By taking the signature sound of their first album, running it through Roy Harper, Free Jazz, many "lost" 60/70's classics and a multitude of instruments,
they have created something that while it may not be totally original, breaths a fresh breath of life into an apparently dying music scene.

The addition of a new member and an increased sense of confidence with musical arrangements has contributed to a shift in sound.
The harmonic angelic vocals not longer "prop" songs up, but instead highlight cadences and add counter melodies.
There is also less of a reliance on reverb, which personally I feel most musicians use sometimes to cloak vocal weaknesses. However, vocally Robin is on top form,
between shredding his vocal chords with shiver inducing cries in the epic "The Shrine/An Argument" or the bittersweet musings of ones place in the world in "Helplessness Blues".

Lyrically, the band has changed gear from the more abstract and Tolkein-esque lyrics of their self titled debut and Sun Giant EP, to more specific, more emotionally charged lyrics, giving a fresh take on the pains of a relationship gone wrong. Robin ended a five year relationship as a result of stressful and occasionally unfruitful process of making the album.

"Montezuma" is particularly noteworthy : "And now I am older than my mother and father/when they had their daughter/now what does that say about me?" or the beautiful reverb-less astro-ballad "Blue Spotted Tail", "Floating in the vacuum with no purpose not a one/why in the night sky are the lights on?".
The single "Grown Ocean" retains the immediacy of the debut with a runaway train of melody and momentum, harking back to their more ecological lyrical roots. Written as a result of a nicotine patch induced dream, it's sure to be a live favourite.

However, "Loreali" is my personal favourite. Recalling Dylan's "Fourth Time Around" from Blonde on Blonde, the band generate an amazing sound with ascending vocal flourishes whilst Pecknold delivers a tale of love and loss.

Arguably, it's less "instant", there aren't many songs on this album that jump out as "singles" and some songs such as "Someone You'd Admire" or "The Plains/Bitter Dancer" would suffer if listened to in isolation of the other tracks. As if to exemplify the point, this is truly an album in it's most classic sense. Everytime I listen to it, I feel compelled to visit the rest of the tracks and always in sequence. A truly rare feat given disposable nature of music that is produced these days.

"Helplessness Blues" is a fantastic record. A record of growth and rediscovering confidence. I look forward to being along for the ride that Pecknold and co will take for future albums.

--Gareth Hughes

Is It Any Wonder
Is It Any Wonder
Offered by cd_lp
Price: £4.70

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Evolution Of Sound, 30 May 2006
This review is from: Is It Any Wonder (Audio CD)
After Hopes and Fears I wondered where Keane could go next. Would they retain their mellow and melloncollie sound,

sticking to the basic piano sounds or would they expand their sonic pallette with synths and guitars?

Well. Thankfully, they chose the latter option. Is It Any Wonder? explodes with a synth emulating a guitar riff.

t is delay and phaser ridden and sounds euphoric and explosive, the comparisons to U2 however are quite true. It does sound a lot like Achtung Baby era U2 but is much louder.

The rest of the song is sung excellently with some intresting lyrics eg: "Nothing left inside this lonely cathedrial, only side lonely spires".

The B-Sides are also excellent and could be good album tracks. "Let It Slide" begins with an intresting piano + violin introdution and then proceeds into the typical Keane verses. The chorus is however brilliant and very uplifiting. Tom Chaplin's voice reaching a pitch unheard of this side of puberty.

"He Used To Be A Lovely Boy", with a slightly camp title, the song is a subdued and un-produced affair. Simply some piano and remorseful singing from Chaplin.

In all. A good effort from Keane, it's a bright future for them and as long as they continue in being consistantly good then they will survive.

Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Colossal Feat Of Gaming Excellence, 27 Feb. 2006
Describing this game is no easy feat and it is like a work of art. Open to interpetation from everybody.
Some people will love it and other's wont understand what's so special about it.
I brought this game and was awe struck by it's simplicity and the beautifiul graphics. I wont go into details about the story as it may ruin the experience for you, but basically you have to kill 16 colosi and each one has a weakness which you must exploit and then climb up them and stab them in certain points without falling off.
The premisis is simple but finding out the weaknesses of these Colosi is no easy feat. Towards the end of the game it is a real challenge to defeat these colossi as you spend more time figuring out how to get on to them, rather than actually doing damage.
The only other character you interact with throught the game is your horse, Agro, who becomes your friend on this adventure. Agro is one of most brilliantly animated animals I have ever seen in a game. His mane blows in the wind and he reacts to fear of the colossi when you leave him alone, but he is loyal responding to your call.
Despite Agro being your only companion or interaction in this world, you never really feel the need to interact with anybody else. Whilst other games really rely on other characters to drive the story this game is simply focused on your character and your struggle to defeat these beasts that roam the land. What drives you is the questions that arent answered the beginning, who are you? Who's the girl your trying to save? Why are these beasts here? Simply. These questions are answered in the ending sequence. One of the greatest ending sequences throught gaming history.
Whilst some will not apprieciate the game for it's simplicity, it is a work of art and those who can understand it and apprieciate it's beauty are in for a treat of the highest order with this game. Perhaps the best game on PS2? Possible.

Time Is My Everything [CD 1]
Time Is My Everything [CD 1]
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £22.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ian Brown-Time-A trimphant single, 30 Jan. 2005
Ian Browns T.I.M.E is a brilliant track and in my opinion is one of his best. Ever since The Stone Roses I thought he was in decline but with his new single it has changed my mind.
Time is excellent with it's dream like singing and the arabian-esque trumpets making it seems completely diffrent to everything else on the charts. It's definatly worth getting.
The B-Side Where Angels Play is exactly worth buying the single for but it great for completeists. The Remix isnt half bad either.

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