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R.Cooper

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FROOT [VINYL]
FROOT [VINYL]
Price: £17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Marina back in top form & a contender for the album of 2015, 24 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: FROOT [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Marina's 3rd album successfully combines pop, indie, disco, electronica & rock. It's a neat 12 track affair with no duds and opens with 'Happy' which is a reflective sad number (contradicts the title) & even if not exceptional makes for an interesting moment. 'Froot' is a catchy 80s disco affair with the vocals & lyrics "don't you give me a reason that it is not". What lifts the album though is 3rd track 'I'm A Ruin' which is different again & reminds of Haley Mary & The Jezabels "yeah yeah...ah hah" sounding quite beautiful telling us about Marina's recent split & complications of love. 'Blue' & 'Forget' are each similar & in their own ways melodic & chirpy with both being possible singles "yeah I've been dancing with the devil". 'Gold' a gentle little rocking ballad...one of the best & for a moment the fave "don't think I see what I used to see"...another potential single. 'Can't Pin Me Down' keeps the high going & combats the mentality of pigeonholing (branding) everything. 'Solitaire' is gentle almost chill though one of the weaker ones. 'Better Than That' "like all the boys before" is a biting ode to female rivalry & another possible single. 'Weeds' likens an ex-lover to a weed she thought she’d cut off "at the root" & is more excellence. 'Savages' sees Marina's frustration with humanity "we are all just savages" and is perhaps the top track here. 'Immortal' "I don't want to be afraid, afraid to die" is gentle but makes for a slightly flat ending. Even if diverse & cohesive, there is a slight sameness, but generally each track rolls out in excellent fashion. The lyrics are strong & clearly sung (her lyrical prowess first evident on 'I Am Not A Robot'). In summary, coupled with a great cover artwork & lovely white vinyl, this has Marina back in top form & a contender for the album of 2015.


Too True
Too True
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent sprightly melodic indie pop, 12 Sept. 2015
This review is from: Too True (Audio CD)
A short work but one that you can put on replay & never tire off. Drums & bass are prominent with a lead vocal that is wonderful floating amongst the catchy melodies. 'Cult Of Love' kicks off in excellent fashion & immediately grabs. 'Evil Blooms' is slightly darker but with the same urgency. 'Rimbaud Eyes' is as catchy as anything (inspired by the surrealist French poet Arthur Rimbaud who apparently also had arresting eyes :o). 'Are You Okay' is a slower but a contagious sound. Each track flows into the other well as per 'Too True To Be Good', 'In The Wake Of You' & 'Lost Boys & Girls Club' all splashing out in a similar fashion. 'Little Minx' has fine guitar strums over the incessant drugged rhythm. 'Under These Hands' is another cool example of what sets them apart from 100s of other "similar" outfits with some catchy lyrics "under these hands I hold my heart". Ends with the heartfelt troubled 'Trouble Is My Name' which is quite different. Excellent sprightly melodic indie pop.


Birth of Stars
Birth of Stars
Price: £15.90

5.0 out of 5 stars excellence which merits far more recognition, 8 Sept. 2015
This review is from: Birth of Stars (Audio CD)
This is country folk indie pop with a cutting edge & fine vocals of the highest order....perhaps being Anna's best so far. What is different here is that the backing is more edgy than Anna's previous releases. Starts off with the riveting 'Silver Claw' which grabs & 3rd in 'Paper Sails' is a pretty voyage & another highlight. Title track 'The Birth Of The Stars' is also a slab of brilliance & here Anna goes falsetto...with JD Foster singing/speaking a prominent passage...a nice injection of variation. Even though it's a shared name Anna does most of the vocals & so it's basically her showcase. All 9 numbers are excellent & it has to be said that this lass merits far more recognition.


Milk For Your Motors
Milk For Your Motors
Price: £10.19

4.0 out of 5 stars even if not Gemma's best proved to be another fine affair, 7 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: Milk For Your Motors (Audio CD)
Fairly typical & what we've come to expect from Gemma and opens like a Tarantino film via 'The Wheel' followed by 'Shake Baby Shake' both of which are pleasant enough! Tracks roll out in much the same way with some fine orchestral & guitar flourishes. 5th the exuberant 'The Right Thing Did Me Wrong' is a star track. Pieces are quite desultory as per 'Long Live This Life', 'Out In The Rain' & 'Desoto' which is an emotional tour de force "you ain't ever going to hold her in your arms again". Created via a huge range of backing instrumentation this 13 track offering, even if not Gemma's best, proved to be another fine affair....oh & yes 'Rubbing Out Your Name' is a brilliant number.


My Love Is Cool [VINYL]
My Love Is Cool [VINYL]
Price: £21.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars variety never boring always surprising....and which feels fresh youthful & cool, 15 July 2015
This review is from: My Love Is Cool [VINYL] (Vinyl)
It's a cool title with some brave/bold gatefold cover artwork & so let's give it a listen. A bit of an unexpected start via the French For Rabbits sounding folk pop 'Turn To Dust' followed by a brilliant indie pop revamped 'Bros' which actually works well fitting in even better to the album context than the original (even if preferring the original of 2 years before)....a great number & yes "jump that 43 Ellie". 'Your Love's Whore' with a grinding thick drum'n'bass plus tough sounding guitar & synth is different again reminding of the new sounding Swim Deep. 'You're A Germ' is a strident Salad type rocker....it certainly is an eclectic affair. 'Lisbon' is a bit Alvvays & Joy Formidable....still no possible single in sight but this is the closest so far. Another fine outing 'Silk' reminds vaguely of The Jezabels and keeps the album at a high "just looking for a protector, God never reached out in time". 'Freazy' has a cool groove with Ellie's voice nicely triple tracked "did you really wanna....with Alice?" Then back to a grinding Foo Fighters type rocker in 'Giant Peach'...a pretty good start to this with Ellie emerging in a Kylie Chvrches voice. The gentle 'Swallowtails' sung by Joel eventually swells up into a rocker & actually fits in well even if initially thought that it was one of the lesser tracks here. The sultry melancholic 'Soapy Water' is a star "go find something to eradicate these thoughts" though next the already released hard rocking 'Fluffy' doesn't do so much for me. Finally is the wonderful 'The Wonderwhy'..."don't leave me here". [There's a last rough demo minimalist song as a hidden track on the vinyl which is 'My Love Is Cool' itself] OK perhaps a weakness is the lack of any unique sound/identity with too much variation, but from the beginning Wolf Alice were like this as witnessed by the dreampop chill 'Every Cloud' the flip of their Summer of 2013 'Bros' 7" single. So this is what makes this LP special....variety never boring always surprising & which feels fresh youthful & cool. Could well be the album of 2015. [The LP comes with an mp3 download. On the USA LP there is an extra track 'Moaning Lisa Smile'. There are gold vinyl editions of both UK & USA LPs....the version reviewed here though is the black version]
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 7, 2015 5:03 PM BST


Places To Haunt EP [12" VINYL]
Places To Haunt EP [12" VINYL]
Price: £9.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful masterful dream power pop sounds, 5 July 2015
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Opener 'Different For Once' on this 4 track EP is a gentle urgent number with next up 'Wicked Dreams' shifting us up into a vibrant world of dream power pop....great guitar & vocals "you are just another name to me". As per Pale Seas wonderful 'Bodies' 7" single from September 2012 then B side 'Sleeping' has ethereal acoustic guitars, vocals & hand drums - then some soaring heavenly lead guitar. Final number 'Evil Is Always One Step Behind' begins slow & purposeful with full acoustic & quiet lead guitars before the attractive vocal of Jacob enters & then eventually lurches into a full blown slow psych guitar onslaught. More wonderful masterful sounds from Pale Seas & can't wait for their long awaited album. [P.S. it should be mentioned that this is actually a nice 10" vinyl rather than the 12" vinyl which is mentioned in the purchasing title/info.]


The road is long: THE HOLLIES STORY
The road is long: THE HOLLIES STORY
by Brian Southall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an absorbing reflective enjoyable read on what has obviously been an enormous task, 26 Jun. 2015
Brian Southall first saw & met The Hollies as a 17 year-old reporter for The Essex Chronicle newspaper in March 1965 at the Southend Odeon and therefore someone who knows the group and who can tell this story. Surprisingly this is the first major book (or even the very first book not counting the German 'Write On' which was primarily a discography) about this major group...which is really surprising. Excepting Graham Nash & Eric Haydock then Brian didn't receive much co-operation from former band members but nevertheless there is an impressive list of people that helped out (presented at the beginning of the book). Brian gets a lot of help & recollections from their former manager Michael Cohen. Highlights described/discussed within are: The early days of Nash & Clarke & their meeting & their mutual love of The Everlys, then as Ricky & Dane Young performing November 1958 on the Carroll Levis Star Search Show, later evolving into Ricky & Dane Young & The Fourtones. How the name The Hollies came about is not so clear as each member has a slightly different story....and this is all explained....it was around Xmas 1962 and as there was holly everywhere...or was it because of Buddy? The origins of 'Just One Look' and their early days in London 1963/64....had not realised how early Clarke & Nash had each married...it did not affect their popularity though. 'I'm Alive' described thoroughly & L.Ransford songs & origins (though a little more about the many successful cover versions of their actual songs could have been presented like The Twilights 'What's Wrong With The Way I Live'). Imperial's failure to really break the group in the USA.....the George Harrison 'If I Needed Someone' cover controversy....'Bus Stop' delved into but somehow missing is any mention of Herman Hermit's original....likewise for 'He Ain't Heavy' with Kelly Gordon's original soulful version. The interesting belly dancing beginnings of 'Stop Stop Stop' described....their "good behaviour" and "nice boys image" explained/discussed & problems with that plus their label change in USA from Imperial to Epic. Nash's departure is delicately described in great detail (well done). Like the way the reflections & thoughts on their continuous battle to maintain their popularity as fashions changed and that they managed to somehow succeed. Interesting about '20 Golden Greats' and Charles Shaar Murray's comments plus the final or latter years with eventually some short summaries from famous folk. There are periods of their career where would have preferred more information & discussion, but then to cover virtually 60 years of The Hollies is not an easy task and has nicely reminded of many things that I'd personally forgotten about. In summary an absorbing reflective enjoyable read on what has obviously been an enormous task.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 20, 2015 3:12 PM BST


In The Wind /Are You Ready For This? / New Image / What The World Needs Now
In The Wind /Are You Ready For This? / New Image / What The World Needs Now
Price: £13.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime & magical - so many gems included here, 17 May 2015
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A short review of the 48 tracks (originally from 4 of Jackie's 60s LPs)...
'IN THE WIND': most here had actually originally been previously released on Jackie's 1963 LP 'JACKIE DESHANNON' and highlights are the aptly titled 'Blowin In The Wind', 'Walking Down The Line' (outstanding), 'Don't Think Twice', 'If I Had A Hammer' (brilliant), 'Needles & Pins', '500 Miles' (highlight), & 'Puff (The Magic Dragon)' (magical), 'Don't Turn Your Back On Me' (excellent) i.e. most of them (are highlights that is) (9/10);
ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?: highlights are 'Music & Memories' (reminds of Supremes), 'Windows & Doors' (a slow start but then soars), 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' (not as good as Dusty but still good), 'To Wait For Love' (pretty), 'Call Me' (Petula did it slightly better though)...generally though this LP is a little too much like The Supremes style & does not really suit Jackie's folk voice. (8/10)
'NEW IMAGE': this one is a little too MOR sophisticated jazz cocktail pop but it does contain three fine numbers in 'I'll Be Seeing You', 'Time' & 'Where Does The Sun Go' (8/10).
'WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE': this was in fact a compilation from the 60s and of the 12 songs then 2 are from 'THIS IS' including 'What The World Needs Now Is Love' itself? 1 is from 'IN THE WIND'; 5 from 'ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?'; 1 from 'NEW IMAGE'; 3 from 'FOR YOU'. Of the 12 tracks included on this 2CD then 8 are sublime including 'It's All In The Game' & 'Changin' My Mind' from 'FOR YOU'. (strange though to include the same 7 tracks twice on this 2CD compilation) (8/10)

Overall a 5 because there are just so many gems included here.


Bodies / My Own Mind [7" VINYL]
Bodies / My Own Mind [7" VINYL]
Price: £9.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful natural vibes, 17 May 2015
'Bodies' is a really beautiful effort "and life sets in motion what you wanted most". A natural vibe with no signs of being contrived. 'My Own Mind' is just as good with sharp guitar and plenty of harmonies "something had to break us up"...a brilliant 60s inspired track which sounds like the 31st Of February. Great vinyl & cover.


Ancient Tales
Ancient Tales
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars an amazing medieval pop folk hard rock journey full of enchanting & beautiful moments, 15 May 2015
This review is from: Ancient Tales (MP3 Download)
This is a medieval pop folk rock fairy tale of sorts with some cheeky narrative throughout which describes an epic journey through a certain kingdom of Haddon in a tale of love under difficult circumstances...and so we are going to be going to a medieval enchanted folk land where Rick Wakeman's 'The Myths & Legends Of King Arthur...' meets Sandy Denny meets the brothers Grimm. The Fludes are seemingly a trio and have created a 24 track effort with 12 being short intersecting narrative pieces. Female vocalist Dawn has a powerful & beautiful vocal style as exemplified on tracks 'Touch Me (Farewell)' & 'We Are Soldiers'. Vocals drop on opening quasi-traditional Irish jig 'Heroes Live For Ever After'....but with a fine guitar percussion backdrop lifts things up. It straddles quite a number of musical styles as demonstrated by 'Burn Witch Burn' which is another blazing affair. Producer & vocalist Peter is obviously talented & his eloquent vocals impress on 'Rolling Fields'....plus also one of the star pieces here 'She's Your Woman'. Nice acoustic guitar on 17th track 'The Act' which is both a relaxing & riveting piece. 'Barricade' ignites with some brilliant guitar "can you hear me calling". Appreciate the cover image & the vinyl replica CD...also it is a fine clear production with some really nice moments. Haven't even mentioned 13th 'Rats & Ravens' with its brilliance of vocals, guitar, various percussion (really effective) & keyboards being perhaps the star track here "oh God your choir is dying". Going to play this one again. An amazing medieval pop folk hard rock journey full of enchanting & beautiful moments.


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