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This Is Our Punk-Rock"" Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing
This Is Our Punk-Rock"" Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing
Price: £13.52

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The emphasis in the title is on "Sing", 28 Aug. 2003
Upon hearing this album, you initially might be rather surprised that this is Silver Mt Zion, if you've heard either of their two previous releases. If it wasn't for the distinctive, plaintative voice of Efrim that unforgettably graces Movie (Never Made), you'd never guess this was the same band who did "He Has Left Us Alone...". And, this album doesn't sound much like "Born Into Trouble.." either. So what does it sound like? Well firstly, the track lengths are different, they've been lengthened and the number of tracks is down to 4. Also, there is much more vivacity in this release, they seem rather to be moving more towards a Godpseed sound, with some fairly intense drum work on track 3, "American Motor Over Smoldered Field", definite dynamical and climactic changes here. So, have SMZ just become a pseudonym for Godspeed? Well, there's one change on this album which moves decidedly away from Godspeed, and that is the addition of vocals. The 10+ minutes of each track aren't saturated in vocals, but they are there in all four tracks. Efrim still hasn't learn to sing "properly", but I find his voice captivating and I do enjoy listening to it. However if you were put off Movie (Never Made) and The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes by his vocals, you might not really enjoy this album to its fullest. There is also a choir thrown in for good measure, whose presence I took a little time to appreciate, but I think they're a good addition now. There are still instrumental parts,however, and they are still as good as before. But, as I previously mentioned, the haunting, piano-led beauty of "He Has Left Us Alone...", which was less present in "Born.." is now pretty much eliminated, and the instrumental sections feature more guitar-led work, which is still beautiful but in a less downbeat way. Whether that's good or bad, you'll have to decide. Personally, this is my least favourite SMZ release. But that's not to say it's not a damn good album, because it certainly is, probably my favourite release of 2003 so far. (A year which is of very high quality release-wise, Radiohead being the obvious example.) Also, bear in mind that their previous two albums are probably both in my Top 10 albums of all-time, so third best is still extremely good, I don't give out five stars lightly. If you like anything by SMZ or Godspeed, you should already have this really. But if you haven't, for God's sake stop reading and get it. And if you've got nothing on the Constellation label, hit yourself, and then go and buy "Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward" by this band ,as it is the best thing on the Constellation label, as far as I'm concerned. But then buy everything else by Godspeed, as well as this band, including, of course, this marvellous album.

Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward
Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward
Price: £11.16

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST of the Constellation label's releases, 2 Aug. 2003
Yep, I believe this to be the best release on the label that include's Godspeed You Black Emperor (mostly members of this band anyway), Do Make Say Think etc. This is just an utterly captivating album. From the opening "Sisters! Brothers!.." which weaves beautiful piano and violin melodies, to the REAL album highlight, "Could've Moved Mountains" (one of the best songs ever written), this album is relentless in its waves of power. Not bombastic forcefulness, but gentle, persistent power, drawing you into the richness of the album. Every track is brilliant, the closing "Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes" is gorgeous, with evocative phrases and echoing guitar, with beautiful violin counterpoint, and some gentle pizzicato.
If you enjoyed their first release, or any Godspeed (especially the less frenetic bits) you really HAVE to own this album. It's that simple. In my all-time Top 10.

Sanctus Ignis
Sanctus Ignis
Price: £19.28

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sanctus Ignis: I believe it means "Holy Fire", 2 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Sanctus Ignis (Audio CD)
Well first I'm not a "proper" metal fan, I have a lot of time for neoclassical/symphonic/operatic metal though, bands such as Therion, Nightwish and Symphony X. As a reference point these bands are quite a good idea of where this album is pitched. There are metal drums and guitars prominent in the songs, but there is a real melodic emphasis on them.
The vocalist is talented and unlike some in this genre, has a reasonably well-textured voice, it doesn't make you cringe. The guitarist, Stephan Forté who is the leader of the band is exceptionally talented, think Yngwie Malmsteen and you'll get some diea of the talent and the type of music to expect. His solos are impressive. The keyboard parts are also quite complex and technically excellent.
A highly unusual cover of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song is one of the tracks which deserves mention. Calling it a cover is a bit unfair as it has enough originality to be a distinct song, yet it is instrumental, and has a solo violin part as well. The Stringless Violin is probably my favourite track, starting with an organ part that is "inspired" by JS Bach's Toccata And Fugue in D minor and then opens into a great song. There are a couple of weaker tracks where nothing seems to really get going, but overall the songs are interesting and sustaining. Technical excellence, mature composition and above all pleasant to listen to.

Burn And Shiver
Burn And Shiver

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shiver with pleasure, 2 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Burn And Shiver (Audio CD)
If ever an album could be described as wistful, it is this one. If ever an album could be described as fragile, it's this one. The voice of Maria Taylor is one of the most beautiful in music. It is delicate, it is sumptuous, and it is harowing. Despite the omnipresent melancholy of this album, it is always done tenderly, it doesn't become wallowing depression. As I said before, it is wistful, and understated, listen to the album and you will not hear many drums, the only ones present are an unobtrusive machine. The beautiful refrains of the vocals are accompanied largely by discreet acoustic guitar and keyboards.
Sometimes the album seems wide-eyed and expansive, as if it could just float into the air and merge with the atmosphere, and others it feels intimate and personal, particularly on the more melancholy tracks such as my favourite, Raining in Athens.
If you are looking for a soft, gentle album that soothes and comforts you, or you want something for a rainy afternoon when you don't feel miserable but slightly sombre, you can do far far worse than this gem. I'd advise you to check out their other releases, particular November, the title track of this EP is outrageously gorgeous.

Holes In The Wall
Holes In The Wall
Price: £2.97

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible debut, they might be the future of UK music, 17 Oct. 2002
This review is from: Holes In The Wall (Audio CD)
Along with many others, I must register my surprise at the maturity and quality of this labum, bearing in mind it is written by two guys who are teenagers and recorded the album on their Mac.
The album is fairly varied, with different styles, sometimes juxtaposed in the same song, a good example would be Silent To The Dark, my favourite song from the album. It starts off as an acoustic strummer, before moving into up-tempo rock "chorus", and after this progresses, it suddenly screeches to a halt and segues into a keyboard driven phase, with humming synths and a beautiful, but slightly chilling piano line, all with odd snatches of lyrics from the previous section. A superb song.
The variation also shows itself over the album as a whole, with the only common thing to the songs is the quality. There are up-tempo songs with insanely catchy vocal lines, like There's A Silence and Why Do You Try So Hard To Hate Me?, and although catchy, I still really like them now, so though they are accesible, are by no means ephemeral.
There are also slower, more ponderous songs, such as It's Wasting Me Away and the title track, Holes In The Wall, which also features a solo violin part that adds to the texture nicely.
If you are familiar with, and like (earlier) Radiohead, Starsailor, Coldplay, you will almost certainly like this album. ESP sound like all those, but have their own unique sound also, and I for one, see a bright future ahead for us, the happy public, if these two continue to release albums which are of this standard, or of even a higher one.

Atom Heart Mother
Atom Heart Mother
Offered by the_record_factory
Price: £14.74

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely under-rated masterpiece, 15 Oct. 2002
This review is from: Atom Heart Mother (Audio CD)
Yes, it is a masterpiece, I believe. and under-rated, criminally under-rated. The title tracks is one of the most diverse, eclectic, fantastic pieces of sound written ever. The sttutering, seemingly random brass that start it, the gorgeous "main theme" (which they nicknamed Theme From An Imaginary Western) which is nearly as poignant as that from SoYCD, I think, and then the cello solo, which is gorgeous, and the choir part is excpetional. Weird semi-vocalisations, bizarre wordless noises, still very melodic, it's superb stuff. And then the "Mind Your Throats Please" electrnoic weird section is utterly great too. It all adds up to a superb piece which is supremely avant-garde, but also (and maybe partly due to being) very symphonically minded. The title track is, to me, better than Echoes, maybe it's nearest comparison, due to length and style.
Following it is hard, but the three next songs make a very worthy attempt, and are also pleasant songs. If is beautiful in its simplicity, a complete contrast to the lavish, complex web that is the title track, proving why Pink Floyd are my favourite band, the immense diversity of them. If, in particular is an acoustic gem. Summer '68 is also a good song, the keyboard part in particular (though as it was written by Rick Wright, that's not surprising). A lot more wistful than it might at first seem. And then, there is Fat Old Sun. Totally beautifully divine, better than even If. Fat Old Sun is the sort of song that can make you feel deliriously happy and cosy, and also poignantly melancholy. The pleasant stummy guitars and then the moving lines: "And if you see, don't make a sound, pick your feet up off the ground, and if you hear as the warm night flows, the silver sound of a tongue so strange, sing to me, sing to me." It's not so much the words (though they are beautiful) but the musical genius that gets me, the melody in particular. Joy and beauty, but melancholy, and spine-tingling.
And then, Alans' Psychedelic Breakdast. Just don't lsiten to it, it really is dire. After such immense quality, this is shocking and spoils it entirely. I basically disregard it as being on the album, and count it as over after Fat Old Sun. My worst Floyd song, and the only one I will not listen to. Butm please, do NOT let this song put you off the rest of this beautiful album.

I to Sky
I to Sky
Offered by hessleoldbooks
Price: £7.37

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who said second albums were difficult to do?, 15 Oct. 2002
This review is from: I to Sky (Audio CD)
Well it seems to have been several aeons since their debut, but at last JJ72 are back. And it's not bad at all. There's no radical departure from style, as a whole the album is easily recognisable as JJ72. As a whole the album is of a similar quality to the eponymous debut, though I think at the moment I prefer the first album. (But bear in mind I've only owned I To Sky for two days.) I think the songs are a shade more polished on this album, though perhaps at the expense of a slightly rawer, more fragile, emotional side. There's nothing with quite the emotions of October Swimmer, or my favourite song of JJ72's, Improv. But I think this is a more mature album, certainly. The sound of a piano is present as well, opening an avenue which adds another dimension which I think could have been more exploited. Hopefully there will be lots of time to do that, however. Another comment is that the artwork is enjoyable, not over the top, but noticeable enough to be attractive.
Here's a fairly brief song-by-song run-down of my opinions after two days of owning it, and a couple of listens:
Nameless - A nice gentle start, just voice and piano, not a song that's going to revolutionise the music world, but I don't think anyone could seriously find fault with it, it's charming. A new style for JJ72, and one I think should have been developed far far more on this album, and hopefully will do on future ones.
Formulae - Chances are you've heard it before, a much heavier, rockier song, not the best on the album by any means, but a good song nonetheless, all the JJ72 trademarks are here.
I Saw A Prayer - A weird distorted vocal intro gives way to a more traditional song, a good melody, strong guitar.
Serpent Sky - This is a really good song; syncopated, distorted guitar leads the way in a heavy, but not especially loud manner, lyrically a bit more abstract, but in a good way. Percussion gets a bigger role, in this song which I think should last a bit longer - though I'd rather a song went on for too little than went on too long and flogged a dead horse.
Always And Forever - More subdued, still a steady beat, but guitars aren't as prominent. This is one is a bit dull for me, it doesn't seem to do much. Not intrinsically bad, just mediocre.
Brother Sleep - Pleasant acoustic strummings start the song off, a better effort than the previous song, in my opinion. Lyrically one of the strongest songs on the album, a nice touc of imagery, and abstract vagueness that I like, for example "The eyes of the toys are moving, it's here everything that never lived is alive." There are some great harmonies in here as well.
Sinking - Some interesting bass noises give way to a medium-tempo soft song, which I like a lot, the melody line is strong, the lyrics are again quite poetic, and are a strong point, in my view. A nice instrumental ends the song, which passes the 7 minute mark, and one of the gentler, and certianly one of my favourite songs.
7th Wave - An average song really, again it wasn't really bad, it just didn't inspire me to feel for it greatly.
Half Three - Uptempo, jangly and merry guitar riff, though not to the point of being farcical, quite smooth actually, and the guitar part is probably the best part of the song
Glimmer - another more up-tempo one, and again a sort of classic JJ72 one, although I couldn't point to a specific song from their debut, it sounds very much like it could easily come from it. Another of my personal favourites at the moment.
City - Similiar in style to Glimmer, though in my opinion not nearly as good. The bouncy guitar and piano riff gets a bit tedious after a while, however, it is still a good song
Oiche Mhaith - No idea on the title, perhaps something Gaelic? Anyhow, this is a lovely song, nice fragile acoustic number, I sat throughm ost of the album the first time fearing there would be no acoustic one, luckily Oiche Mhaith didn't let me down.
To summarise: If you like the first album, it's a fairly certain bet you'll like this one. If you didn't, you probably won't. If you're new to JJ72, perhaps just for chronolgy's sake, you should get the debut first, but this wouldn't be a bad place to start either.

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