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MT (UK)

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Atlas
Atlas
Price: £7.89

4.0 out of 5 stars The future of synthwave, 9 Jun. 2016
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This review is from: Atlas (MP3 Download)
This is a great album with a perfect summer vibe. It's less 'retro' sounding than many other Synthwave albums and clearly is trying to cross over into the mainstream, something this 'genre' really needs and I'm surprised it hasn't as yet. All tracks are really good with Jupiter being the only one that sounds slightly different (being more 'spacey' than the rest). My personal favourites are Wild Ones, Everything and Running In The Night.

Production is fantastic and has a great 'bottom end' running through it. As I said above, it's less retro sounding and this is down to the fuller sound more than anything.

The Synthwave genre started out on such a high with Miami Nights 1984 and Mitch Murder that it is very hard to find anything that can eclipse those releases from 2010-2012 but this comes close. FM-84 is my new favourite synthwave artist.

One gripe. The album artwork is the same as Gunship (another good album similar to this).


American Gigolo
American Gigolo
Price: £8.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Great OST, 28 April 2016
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This review is from: American Gigolo (Audio CD)
A good soundtrack. Feels a bit dated in places, but if you appreciate 80's soundtracks as I do, then get this. Giorgio Moroder did some great soundtracks around this time, Scarface, Flashdance, The NeverEnding Story.
Also get this for the near 10 minute version of Call Me by Blondie.


You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation
You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation
by Susannah Gora
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Some Kind Of Wonderful!, 28 April 2016
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This is a great read, I made it last as long as I could! This really goes into detail about the making of these films (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Some Kind Of Wonderful, Pretty In Pink, Say Anything & St. Elmos Fire) and puts the movies into the context of the time they were made. Much is discussed regarding the negative impact of being referred to as the 'Brat Pack' but ultimately all the actors and filmmakers went on to great things, but not always greater. These are classic timeless films and this book honours them well.

Most of the leading players are interviewed with only a few exceptions. I would recommend reading each part while listening to that particular films soundtrack and then watching the film before you move onto the next chapter. This way, the book lasts longer and gives you the opportunity to really appreciate each movies merits.


Fly -Songs Inspired by the film Eddie The Eagle
Fly -Songs Inspired by the film Eddie The Eagle
Price: £6.53

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic!, 6 April 2016
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I have already reviewed the official soundtrack score by Matthew Margeson which successfully captures the essence of many past 80’s soundtracks and gives the film a real uplifting feeling. The main Eddie The Eagle theme is also included here.

I am normally very dubious of soundtracks which state they are ‘inspired by’ the movie they derive from. Many, while containing good songs, have very little connection to the actual movie they state they are inspired by. More often than not, these are collections put together to make a record company which has an association with a film studio plenty of extra cash.

This one is no different per se, but comes at the ‘inspired by’ bit from a different angle. With a wonderful idea, Gary Barlow took it upon himself to gather many of the British pop stars/groups of the time period the film was set and create a batch of contemporary songs that sound modern while retaining each artists characteristics. So what we have here is a wonderful collection of songs that sound modern, by artists many under 30 will never have heard of and utilised the synths and drum machines present on their respective songs and albums back in the day.

The nice thing about this is rediscovering some of these artists still sounding like they are having a great time. This may sound like a complaint (it’s not) but in many cases some songs sound like they were written by an 80’s star in the 80’s but given a 21st century sheen by Gary Barlow and other producers listed in the sleeve notes. No bad thing!

I won’t discuss individual songs as the fun of this album derives from hearing these for the first time yourself, but highlights to me include Howard Jones, Andy Bell, Kim Wilde, ABC and Heaven 17 (the latter two sound distinctly like Progress era Take That, with Martin Fry sounding very much like Robbie Williams in his phrasing). Perhaps the best song on the album is Thrill Me written by Gary Barlow and OMD (apparently featuring the two stars of the film, but you wouldn’t know it).

So a great exercise in nostalgia but with a modern twist. Linking this project to a feel good 80’s themed film is the inspired bit! And like many 80’s films, let’s hope this album gets itself a sequel!


Eddie The Eagle - The Original Motion Picture Score
Eddie The Eagle - The Original Motion Picture Score
Price: £12.74

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fly Like An Eagle!, 5 April 2016
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I went to see Eddie The Eagle with some trepidation. I recall the 1988 winter Olympics as a 12 year old and remember Eddie The Eagle as a a bit of a joke. As an adult, I now recognise him as a an athlete of some skill despite his results 28 years ago. Having met the man, he is a down to earth nice chap. Worried that the film version of his life would go for laughs over fact did worry me somewhat, however I was pleasantly surprised. I came out of the cinema with a wide grin. A feelgood movie that captured the spirit of the subject.

But a big part of that was down to the wonderful music. This soundtrack is slight, every track only lasts a few minutes however the overall feel captures the 80’s perfectly. I’m a big fan of 80’s music and the recent popularity in synthwave music (artists who recreate 80’s melodic music often without vocals such as Mitch Murder, Timecop 1983 and Miami Nights 1984). This soundtrack could have scored countless movies back in the day and in its quieter moments recalls St. Elmos Fire, certainly picking up motifs laid down 30+ years ago by the likes of David Foster and Ira Newborn.

I loved the movie and the music played a huge part in my enjoyment, so much so that I purchased both the score CD and ‘Fly’, the ‘inspired by…’ album produced by Gary Barlow the next day.

Great stuff!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 7, 2016 9:19 AM BST


The Boy From Space [2 - Disc DVD Set]
The Boy From Space [2 - Disc DVD Set]
Dvd ~ Sylvestra Le Touzel
Price: £18.26

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space goes on Forever..............., 16 Feb. 2016
The Boy From Space scared me to death when I was 6 in 1982. I will never forget the sense of dread I felt sitting down to watch this every week. The first episode was eerie but enjoyable. The second was fine until THAT scene in the quarry. After that, I was petrified. So much so that my mum asked the school to exclude me from watching the later episodes as I was having terrible nightmares at home. Still, I managed to watch the whole thing eventually and for nearly 30 years it occasionally came up in conversation, usually in the “Do you remember….” variety. Then it was finally shown again on CBBC around 2002 which I recorded on video.

To now finally have this on DVD is amazing. It’s still scary to me. That sense of dread has never left. My own children have watched it and found it laughably outdated, but for me the sense of otherworldliness, the eerie synth soundtrack and slow acting (on purpose as it was an educational drama) still make it a captivating watch for anyone between 35 and 50 who watched it first time around.

For those who are unfamiliar or who vaguely remember it, the programme was originally made in 1971 for BBC School’s Look And Read (and was actually made using many of the same crew as the Jon Pertwee era Doctor Who stories).

This original version was shown in Black & White with a different and very basic score. It was in fact filmed in colour as it was hoped this would improve overseas sales via the growing BBC Childrens Education output of the time. However it was transmitted in B&W (and most UK schools would have only had B&W televisions). As the drama had proved popular and was already in colour, the Look and Read producers decided to update The Boy From Space and began a series of transmissions of the drama in 1980.

This latter version (and the version included on this DVD, no version of the B&W episodes now exist) had the ‘Wordy’ inserts added and also the voiceover by Sylvestra la Touzal who played the young girl (both kids also appear slightly more grown up at the beginning of episode one as they filmed new scenes to interlink the story).

You may recognise her as the star of the ‘water from Majorca’ adverts from the 80’s. She still crops up now and again on TV and in British films.
Her brother is played by Stephen Garlick who is now a local radio DJ in Wales (Radio Big L).
Colin Mayes played Peep-Peep, the young alien. He was also in the original TV version of Scum.

Now to the scary bit! The Thin Man, Peep-Peeps alien uncle, was played by John Woodnutt (who passed away in 2008). He always played posh types in various TV shows over the years. He was the butler in Jeeves & Woocester, he was in the Doctor Who stories Spearhead From Space & Terror Of The Zygons. He is also a member of the political meeting in the Lewis Collins movie Who Dares Wins.

Gabriel Woolf played Peep-Peeps father. He has also appeared in various episodes of Doctor Who including the voice of Sutekh in Pyramids Of Mars.

As you may have guessed, this programme has had a lasting impact on me so I have looked into it as much as possible. Incidentally, the show was written by Richard Carpenter who created the excellent Catweazle and Robin Of Sherwood.

A good deal of the programme was set at Mill Hill Observatory in Hendon in London. This looks the same now as it did in 1980. Other locations used include a place which points to Rabbit Hill (when the Thin Man stops Mr. Buntings car). This appears to be Wokingham as Heckfield is also on the signpost. This is south of Reading. If you look at a map of this area, you can see Bramshill Road, which was the location for the sandpit/quarry and lake used. However as it was made 45 years ago, this is very hard to find the exact spots used.

One other thing worth a mention is the music used in the 80’s version. This was composed by Paddy Kingsland who again did a lot of Doctor Who in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Although the serial was scary enough, the eerie music using modulated synths of the time gave it that extra chill factor. I contacted Paddy in 2005 (way before this DVD was planned) to find out if this music still existed. Luckily he replied straight away saying that the soundtracks do still exist however they are owned by the BBC Archive Centre and have no plan for a release. It would be great to get this as some form of TV for Schools CD release or download.

The scripts, filming details and other info is held by the BBC Written Archive centre.

Lastly, I saw John Woodnutt while in a shop at a UK seaside resort in 2004. He was obviously older and white haired but still looked like the Thin Man. As soon as I crossed paths with him, those eyes gave him away!

This story is something that traumatised me as a child but has ensured it remains special to me in my adult life. I was certainly spooked by some episodes of Doctor Who around the same time, but The Boy From Space was so well made and memorable that it very rarely strays far from my thoughts!

Out here in space,
Shall we find friends?
Is there a place, where the universe ends?
When shall we find it? Never, Never
Space goes on forever………forever………


Creed: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Explicit]
Creed: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Explicit]
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor!, 22 Jan. 2016
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If you want the soundtrack to the excellent Creed, then get the score by Ludwig Goransson. Whilst being modern and gritty, it also harkens back to the 70's style soundtrack as featured in the original Rocky, touching on Bill Conti's themes and style whilst bringing the Rocky saga up to date, much like the film.

This 'soundtrack' however is 75% filler. You hardly hear any of these 'songs' in the movie and thus doesn't conjure up images from the film.

The following tracks are worthy of purchase as they feature prominently in the film;

The Fire by The Roots. Best song on the album.
Breathe, Grip & Shed You by Tessa Thompson (the actress from the film)
Waiting For My Moment - by Childish Gambino, Jhené Aiko, Vince Staples & Ludwig Göransson
Wake Up Everybody by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (the only 'old' song on the soundtrack and is featured in the funniest moment in Creed).

The rest is utter rubbish unless tuneless rap with an almost tourette's like need to use the 'N' word every other syllable is your thing. Personally I find this kind of music should have keeled over years ago as it's dated, offensive and unimaginative.

As I'm a huge fan of the Rocky series and loved Creed, I am a completist in terms of soundtracks therefore I purchased the mp3 version of this album and the CD of the score (which is a 5 Star). But I regret the £10 on this.

Luckily most of this can't be heard in the film!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 26, 2016 2:25 PM GMT


Classic Rock Presents Def Leppard
Classic Rock Presents Def Leppard

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can honestly say that DL are my all time favourite band. I’ve seen them live on numerous occasions, 13 Nov. 2015
I first heard Def Leppard when I was 12 years old. That was 1989 just before my 13th birthday. The album was Hysteria. Within 2 months (relying on pocket money) I had their (then) 4 albums purchased in reverse order (and all on vinyl). I can honestly say that DL are my all time favourite band. I’ve seen them live on numerous occasions, purchased all their videos, DVD’s and various singles. I’ve purchased books and magazines. I have any solo or side-project albums associated with them and can honestly say I believe them to be one of the most honest and hard working bands ever, refusing to put out bad albums and ensuring that their quality control is to the highest standard. They have never flooded the market with second rate live albums or countless live DVD’s. They are the genuine article.
I have reviewed all Def Leppards studio albums on Amazon as I feel that having been an avid fan for a long time, I can look at their work subjectively. Whilst I love every album, I have been critical in places. 2002’s ‘X’ lacked the rockier edge of earlier albums and probably relied on too many outside writers. YEAH! was enjoyable and gets regular listens but feel the band were perhaps having more fun than the audience (not always a bad thing). Songs From The Sparkle Lounge was filled with good songs but felt slightly lacking in energy in places.

After a lot of touring over recent years and some good new songs added to Mirrorball, the band seem full of energy and firing on all cylinders. Every member steps up to the plate and delivers on this new album (which I purchased in The Classic Rock Fan Pack).

I’ve had this album now for two weeks. I wanted it to settle in before I hastily wrote my review. I’m glad I did because different things have come to the fore in that time. It doesn’t completely hit you straight away. Slang had the same effect on me. First, I’d like to mention the production which is amazing. It really comes alive when played loud. The clarity is amazing. With so much layered harmonies and guitars etc (what we all love DL for) you can hear everything in the tracks. Amazing work from the band and Ronan McHugh. Over the 14 tracks, they have managed to sound like Def Leppard from almost every era of the band whilst sounding new and fresh.

Part of the fun of listening to a new album is having no foreknowledge of the songs (other than singles or advanced tracks you may have heard already). But I will say that like the production it covers elements of all previous albums.

My preferences are the faster rock tracks like Dangerous and All Time High both of which are real highlights. Let’s Go is getting a bit of negative press as it sounds a bit One Direction. I personally love the track, coming across as the descendent of Pour Some Sugar On Me and Let’s Get Rocked but it is very poppy so understand the comparison. What an opener though! It is secretly what every Def Leppard fan wanted to hear.

Man Enough is another homage to Queen (and the band don’t hide their love of Queen) but it’s very funky and unlike anything DL have done before (apart from maybe All Night from Euphoria).

The last two songs on the album are more in the mould of old school Def Leppard. Joe Elliott has stated that if Blind Faith (which ends the album) was the last song they write then this is how they would like to go out. It is an amazing, epic track. However Wings Of An Angel is as close to Pyromania as they will get at this point in their career.

Battle Of My Own has a kind of Led Zeppelin vibe and wouldn’t be out of place on Phil Collen’s Delta Deep album. Last Dance is very slow but improves with every listen.

The only track I feel slightly lacking is Forever Young. It does sound ‘different’ but it’s not particularly memorable. Likewise, Broke n’ Brokenhearted is a bit ‘by the numbers’ but hardly takes anything away from the experience.

However, I have to say I think one of the best songs on the album is We Belong. It’s a ballad, it’s poppy but it’s amazing. If this could be playlisted on Radio 2 this winter this could be the biggest hit the band have had in years. With the verses sung by each band member it feels very poignant and reflective.

As I like my Def Leppard to rock, you can’t beat Let’s Go, Dangerous and All Time High. Combined, these bring back memories of Photograph, Pour Some Sugar On Me, Animal, Run Riot, Let’s Get Rocked, Tear It Down and Promises.

The band state that this is not the last record by Def Leppard, but if it is then it’s a good way to bow out to an amazing recording career. I certainly hope not but if you did need to leave with a last LP on a high, this is it. A quality, varied record from a truly amazing band. Give these guys credit. They are all in their fifties, yet sound youthful and full of vitality on these tracks. There are other, older bands still out their going strong, but not producing records as good as this and sounding as ‘current’. They won’t record another Pyromania or Hysteria, but why should they? They have already done that. That was then, this is now…………………………………and you couldn’t ask for anything more.


Time to Fly - Easy..
Time to Fly - Easy..
Price: £14.54

4.0 out of 5 stars Charmingly wonderful!, 27 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: Time to Fly - Easy.. (Audio CD)
As I lay here, charmingly draped across my vintage chaise lounge in my favoured attire of burgundy smoking jacket, last seen in that wonderful 1944 moving picture Gaslight and my tried and tested black velvet slippers with my initials embroidered in gold appliques, sipping a wonderful Armagnac, I cannot help but be transported to another time whilst listening to this groovy record.

I don't have the time or energy to review each composition here, such a waste of valuable listening time. Instead, purchase this and immerse yourself in the wonderful music within.

Chin Chin!


Songs From The Sparkle Lounge
Songs From The Sparkle Lounge
Price: £11.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars C'mon C'mon!, 27 Oct. 2015
I eagerly anticipated the release of Songs From The Sparkle Lounge. It had been far too long without a new studio album. Whilst seven years on I look on it as a good solid but not great album, when it came out to these ears it was the best record since Euphoria.

Nine Lives was a good first single, again another great pre chorus and chorus. Not quite sure what Tim McGraw added to the song as he doesn’t sound that dissimilar to Joe Elliott. Good song.

Likewise, Go was a great album opener. Def Leppard like their mid-paced rockers to open albums and this is better than Now back in 2002.

C’Mon C’mon was the second and last single. It took what they loved about the Yeah! album and made one of their own. This is Def Leppard doing glam rock and it works well. Shame it didn’t get more exposure, particularly radio.

The rest of the album is solid stuff; Tomorrow, Only The Good Die Young, Hallucinate, Come Undone, Gotta Let It Go.

Bad Actress is ok, trying to recall their High N’ Dry style and pace. Cruise Control is heavy on the subject matter and is also good and different from the rest of the album.

The one let down for me was the ballad Love. It’s Def Leppard trying to be Queen. It’s well written, well performed and very well produced but it just doesn’t sit that well with the rest of this album. And there’s two versions of the same song.

So, a good album and certainly a welcome one. Played it to death when it was released and quite a bit since. My biggest gripes are the photo-shopped booklet (poor), the high end production (I’m sure aimed at the ipod generation. Listen to Nine Lives. It’s mastered way too loud), lack of bass guitar which is hidden too far down in the mix (apart from opener Go and Cruise Control) and the aforementioned two versions of Love.

Am I being too harsh? Possibly. At this juncture, Def Leppard didn’t have anything to prove. They had and still have a very loyal fanbase. I am a huge Def Leppard fan and I don’t like being critical because I love everything they do but SFTSL doesn’t sound quite as fresh as the day it came out. One thing that strikes me about this album is it’s been written and recorded separately. Any band I feel, especially Def Leppard sound better when they get together in a recording studio to make an album. This one was done bit by bit and it kinda sounds that way.

The biggest problem Def Leppard have (and it’s not a bad problem to have), is that everything they do is compared to the heights of Pyromania and Hysteria (even Adrenalize to a lesser degree). Most bands get one major triumph that they struggle to either repeat or move away from. Def Leppard have at least three. No matter what they do, it’s either nowhere near as good as their ‘heyday’ or trying too hard to replicate their heyday.

Songs From The Sparkle Lounge took the basic framework of the Hysteria and Adrenalize albums, with the 5 guys which made Euphoria and made a modern Def Leppard record. For me a very solid 4 out of 5.


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