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Craig Taylor (Scuthorpe, UK)

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Can't Touch Us Now
Can't Touch Us Now
Price: £9.19

10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where Did All The Good Times Go?, 29 Oct. 2016
This review is from: Can't Touch Us Now (MP3 Download)
I love Madness and have done for many years, and was looking forward to this latest offering with very high expectations. Oui Oui was a cracking album with a grand mixture of upbeat, up tempo ‘classic’ Madness tunes. My favourites been How Can I Tell You, Misery, My Girl II, So Alive, Death of a Rude Boy and the tragic love song Never Knew Your Name, the album also had it fair share of slower tracks, such as Kitchen Floor, Leon, Powder Blue and Small World which paced the album out nicely but didn’t really do anything for me musically and unfortunately after listening the new album, Madness seem to taken a step away from the upbeat, up tempo songs that I love so much and have taken a more steady approach.
Can’t Touch Us Now – Perhaps not the best album opener in the world, it’s a tune that has grown on me over the summer after hearing it live a few times but I can’t help feel that it isn’t really suited to Suggs vocals.
Good Times – This is the first of a few songs written by the Woodgate brothers on the album. I thought it sounded great on the Grandslam Tour last year, but it doesn’t really do it for my now. Perhaps too soulful and dare I say it a tad dreary uninspired lyrics.
Mr Apples – By far the stand out track on the album and a great choice for the first single. It’s a classic Madness character tale. It’s upbeat, clever and catchy.
I Believe – This is a song that gets better over its 3 minutes duration. The song starts like something out of a Disney film, and then it has unnecessary vocals over a megaphone in the song. The second half isn’t bad at all. It’s a song of two parts.
Grandslam – Sounds more western than I remember it from the Grandslam Tour last year, with cartoon gun effects. Reminds me of one of their old b-sides ‘A Town With No Name’, and perhaps it would sound less out of place on a Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra record.
Blackbird – The much talked about homage to Amy Winehouse. A great tale of the last time Suggs saw her passing by in a Soho Street. A fantastic chorus, but the verses are ruined by the fact they are spoken by Suggs. I like to be able to sing along to Madness, not talk along.
You are My Everything – Perhaps the low point on the album, which is a surprise as it was penned by Mike Barson who’s behind the classic Madness love stories My Girl, Never Knew Your Name and the neglected Sugar and Spice. It’s been compared to the Suggs solo track She’s Gone from The Lone Ranger, which was probably the low point on that album too.
Another Version of Me – The 2nd Woodgate brothers’ contribution to the album, and one of my favourites on the album. Reminds me of the style of another Madness song from the early days ‘Never Ask Twice’.
Mumbo Jumbo – Lee Thompson takes lead vocals on a Madness studio album for the first time in a long while. It’s a very upbeat number, and reminds me of the style of ‘Crying’, ‘Big Time Sister’, ‘My Obsession’ and ‘You Can’t Keep a Good Thing Down’ from the deluxe version of Oui Oui, also all co-wrote by Lee Thompson.
Herbert – The sounds and style of this song remind me of the earlier Madness stuff. Herbert is a grower as I was unsure when I first listened, but I think it’s one of the better songs on the album.
Don’t Leave the Past Behind You – Another soul influenced track from the Woodgate Brothers. It contains a great message, but I’m not all that fussed. Maybe it’ll mean more to me the older I get.
Don’t Let Them Catch You Crying – This is a very different sounding Madness track with an electronic into something which I like. I don’t think it would sound out of place on the ‘The Madness’ album from 1988. Chrissy Boy has stated that the song was written years ago and not intended for Madness.
Pam the Hawk – A very dreary character story. I don’t particularly care about this Pam the Hawk. It’s a sad story, but I thought Madness were Kings at disguising sad songs as upbeat jolly numbers. This is no Mrs Hutchinson or Johnny The Horse. Another low point of the record.
Given the Opportunity – An old Crunch song, given a new lease of life by Madness. A favourite of mine on the album.
Soul Denying – Another old song from the early 80s that was never finished. Very interesting, hard to describe it’s certainly Madness. I do like it. Should have been the final song on the album.
Whistle in the Dark - A dark cousin to the song ‘Waltz into Mischief’. Awful.
It’s fair to say that I appear to be in the minority. The album appears to be universally loved by critics and fans alike. I really wanted to like this album, and I’m not giving up on it yet. I do think the album is a grower, and not as easily accessible as Wonderful, Oui, Oui, The Dangermen and even Liberty of Norton Folegate.
It’s great to hear new songs and it’s great that we have 16 new Madness Tracks. I do think some of these songs should have been left off the record (Grandslam, Good Times, Whistle in the Dark, Pam the Hawk) as I do feel that they weaken the album, they would have been ideal as b-sides back in the day or even bonus tracks in a deluxe package (as madness have done with Liberty and Oui Oui). It’s also worth noting that the band seems to be giving a kiss of life to lot of old material. If it wasn’t good enough back then why is it good enough for a release now? As it happens these old songs aren’t the weak point of this record.
I will forever wonder what the album would have sound like if Chas Smash was still a member. He would have at least contributed 3 of 4 songs to the record and some of the weaker numbers included on ‘Can’t Touch us Now’ would have had to make way. After all he was responsible for 4 of my favourite tracks on the last album Oui Oui and co wrote other Madness Classics ‘Our House’, ‘Wings of a Dove’, ‘Michael Caine’, ‘Johnny the Horse’, ‘The Wizard’, ‘We are London’ and ‘Tomorrows Just Another Day’ to name a few. His backing vocals are also missed. I hope the band and Chas settle their differences in time for another record. In the mean time I’ll have another listen of his solo record.
It will be interesting to see how well this album is regarded in years to come. I never thought I’d be giving a Madness album an average review. It may be a slow grower, but I do think it’s the worst Madness album since their reunion. A Crying Shame.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 1, 2016 8:05 AM GMT

Stay Together [Exclusive Amazon Signed Edition]
Stay Together [Exclusive Amazon Signed Edition]

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Sound, 13 Oct. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Stay Together is the 6th studio album from one of my favourite bands Kaiser Chiefs. Like many fans it’s fair to say that I was a tad sceptical in the change of musical direction for this release, especially after the band had re-found their mojo on the UK number 1 album Education, Education, Education and War. The many examples of bands changing their style throughout the history of music and I am a great believer that bands do have to evolve to keep themselves motivated and relevant. Sometimes it works as Coldplay, Maroon 5, Depeche Mode, Keane have proved, and after having listened to Stay Together for a week now I truly believe that the Kaiser Chiefs have found a great new sound.
Stay Together is a brilliantly crafted album and there or more songs that I like on it than I don’t. The 2 singles Parachute and Hole in my Sole are brilliant tracks and will hopefully go down brilliantly live. My other favourites are Stay Together with Ricky’s vocals sounding very David Bowie like in places, Indoor Firework which plays out like a classic Smiths tune and Press Rewind which brilliant bassline and synths. The other high point is High Society, which always reminds me of Marc Bolan and T-Rex each time I listen.. This track is so unique and should be the next single in my opinion. It would have certainly been a hit 10 years ago. Happen in a Heartbeat is another great upeat track. Sunday Morning isn’t too bad either, but sounds like it could have easily been a Lily Allen song.
‘Why do you do it to me’ and ‘Still Waiting’ are probably the closest you are going to get to a classic Kaiser Chiefs sounding album track.
My only grumbles is the fact that the opening track appears to start ‘2 seconds’ too late and that there is a poor hidden bonus track attached to the last song on the album, something that I think is a rubbish gimmick in the modern world where consumers like to listen to play lists.
I think this is a fantastic album, even if it is more poppy than their previous output. It will be however, interesting to see what direction the band choose to go next, and whether any songs from ‘Stay Together’ remain on set lists in years to come. It would also be interesting to hear what founding member Nick Hodgson thinks of his former bands new sound.
One final thought, the artwork is absolutely brilliant.

Worms WMD (PS4)
Worms WMD (PS4)
Price: £16.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where can I start? Amazing, 16 Sept. 2016
This review is from: Worms WMD (PS4) (Video Game)
Worms WMD has to be the best '2D' worms game since at least Worms World Party. The last few Worms games haven't offered anything new in terms of game play. The last 'different' worms game was Space Oddity back on the Wii, and prior to that you had the surprisingly decent 3D games on the PS2. Since then every worms game released has relied on the same classic worms formula with barely any new features. I was beginning to fear that the series was becoming stagnant and unappealing to new gamers, but fortunately Worms WMD changes all that!
Firstly the visuals are great from the scenery through to the new 'cartoony' Worm animation. This is the best looking worms game so far. All the classic weapons are here, along with variations of each weapon which can be crafted using ingredients found during gameplay. In addition to this you can, hide inside buildings, use mounted guns and vehicles during gameplay. These new features add a fantastic new depth to the game, and is the first decent new feature in a worms game for a long time.
Worms WMD is certainly the best worms game in 10 years and it is quickly becoming my all time favourite worms game.

Medal of Honor Warfighter (PS3)
Medal of Honor Warfighter (PS3)
Offered by Blackburn Merchandise
Price: £12.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid shooter, 17 Jun. 2016
A solid FPS, made a refreshing change to the yearly onslaught of Call of Duty games. The campaign was excellent, and the gameplay is an improvement on the previous Medal of Honor game. It's a crying shame this game was slated upon release by gamers expecting a COD multiplayer experience. The Medal of Honor franchise has been laid to rest after the poor sales of this game. Hopefully it will return to the frontier of FPS games, maybe when gamers are wanting a return to WW2. In the meantime give this a decent shooter a go. Especially since it is now a bargain.

Summer Rental
Summer Rental
Price: £2.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Candy Great, 17 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Summer Rental (Amazon Video)
Brilliant film, very rare too! It's one of the last Candy films that I hadn't seen and it doesn't fail to disappoint. It has that great 80's feel to it and the usual brilliant Candy humour. I prefer this to 'The Great Outdoors'.

Ratchet and Clank (PS4)
Ratchet and Clank (PS4)
Offered by Base
Price: £19.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They're back!, 17 Jun. 2016
I missed out when Ratchet and Clank first came out on PS2. My brother was a fan of the original trilogy, and whilst I appreciated the quirkiness of Ratchet and Clank, I spent my time playing the other great platformer of the PS2 era Jak and Daxter, a series of games that I always felt had more depth, grit and humour than Ratchet and Clank. Looking back though, I fear I may have been to hasty to judge.
This re-telling of the original game is brilliant, with the essence of what made it so great present and correct. The graphics and visuals during game play are amazing, as are the multiple weapons that you have to choose from. I'd forgotten how great the weapons are; for every brutal one there's a wacky one, such as the 'groovatron' which releases a disco ball which prevents you enemies from doing anything else but dance. Okay you could argue that this game is childish, but isn't that what all traditional platformers were? Some sections of the game will test the most seasoned of gamers.
It's great to have a brilliant platformer back on the PS4 and although the bulk of the game can be completed in a few sittings there's plenty of bit to collect and a challenge mode to add to the replay-ability, for £20 though (current amazon price) you can't go wrong. I feel that this was the game Knack was trying to be. Can't wait to see what the future holds for the Ratchet and Clank series.

The Lone Ranger: Deluxe 2CD Edition (Jewel Case)
The Lone Ranger: Deluxe 2CD Edition (Jewel Case)
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.29

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lone Ranger, A Forgotten Treasure, 23 May 2016
This re-issue has been a long time coming for all Suggs and Madness fans. The album hasn't really been in print since it was last re-released back in 1996 and thanks to Cherry Red Records new fans can listen to this much over looked album in its entirety, and for us guys that are lucky enough to have the original album, this deluxe 2 disc edition comes with the original album plus all of the extra tracks that featured as remixes and b-sides to the singles back in the mid 90's.
The original album is worth it alone. Aside from the famous cover of Cecilia, and his cover of The Beatle's 'I'm Only Sleeping', much of the album was co-written by Suggs and Madness keyboard player Mike Barson, and although the Madness DNA is very evident throughout, the . album has very much a different flavour to any Madness album, with heavier (i want to say...) Caribbean influences which are evident on the tracks 'Haunted', hit single single 'Camden Town' and 'Holiday'. In addition to those influences there are several contemporary 'pop' songs on their including 'The Tune', 'Fortunes FIsh' and 'Green Eyes' which was also co-written with Cathal Smyth from Madness too. Then there's the song '4am' which became a Madness song in it's own right when it was re-recorded by the band for their album Wonderful in 1999.
The b-sides 'Animal', 'Bedazzled' and 'When you came' sound like very much like the output of 'The Madness', the band that 4 members Madness created after 1986 when Madness originally split. I'd even go as far to say that 'Animal' sounds as though it could have been recorded during the same sessions. In addition to these original b-sides you have a great cover of 'Alright' by Supergrass and a terrible cover of I feel good. These b-sides aren't going to become your new favourite tune but they are worthwhile all the same.
CD 2 is made of the original remixs that accompanied the single releases. The 7 Cecilia remixes on this disc are what they are, not essential listening but they are very nostalgic of those mid-late 90's club tracks.
The booklet is made up of most of the original artwork, lyrics for the original album tracks and a Suggs Discography.
This is an essential album to buy if you are a Madness fan or if you appreciate good music. A great album for summer too! I hope the forgotten follow up album 'The Three Pyramids Club' gets a reissue soon too.

Nothing Has Changed
Nothing Has Changed
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £14.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Collection, 23 Feb. 2016
This review is from: Nothing Has Changed (Audio CD)
Great collection of all his hits and more, this is the first Bowie release I've ever bought and based on this collection of songs it won't be the last. Great sound quality and the packaging is neat too.

Cast In Steel
Cast In Steel
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £3.70

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aha, 7 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Cast In Steel (Audio CD)
Foot of the Mountain was always going to be a tough album to follow, and whilst Cast in Steel is a great album it doesn't match the highs of it's predecessor. That aside Cast in Steel is a welcome return for Aha, and it fits nicely alongside the bands previous out put. It's fantastically refreshing, and I for one, am not disappointed. I hope this isn't the end for the band, they have so much more to give.

F1 2015 (PS4)
F1 2015 (PS4)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £28.95

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great F1 fun!, 13 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: F1 2015 (PS4) (Video Game)
F1 2015 is probably one of the better F1 games ever made. Couldn't wait to get it and give it a go, and I've not looked back since.

The actual racing is second to none. The AI are mostly brilliant when it comes to racing you, they are fully aware of your presence, and will give you just enough space to get by, only for them to use there DRS to retake the position on the next straight.

Crashes are spectacular. The last few F1 game entries suffered from poor dodgem like crash effects, where the cars would simply bounce around. In F1 2015 it's different, crashes are violent and can easily be caused by clipping an opponent and before you know it you're tangled with a Lotus, sliding backwards along the armco at Montreal with carbon fibre everywhere. Interestingly the AI also get penalties for causing accidents, rather than it just been you getting punished.

The graphics are the best I've seen for an F1 game. The tracks and cars have never looked so good. The detail is fantastic. I've seen many complaints about the animation of the mechanics, but I think they are great. It's the racing that counts.

The interactive pit wall engineer communication is a great new feature and really immerses you in the action, giving you up dates on the car, the competition and the weather. Another great new feature is the TV style presentation at the beginning of the sessions. Sky TV's David Croft and Anthony Davidson provide an introduction to the venues and share interesting facts and trivia about the races and the drivers.

The most controversial bit about this latest Codemasters release the fact that Career mode has been left out. For me this is no big deal, it was great when it was introduced back on the PS2 games, but I for one find it boring starting at a back of the grid team each year when in reality I'd probably be in my 10th season of F1 with multiple world championships under my belt therefore hopefully deserving a top drive.

As with the other Codemaster's F1 entries there's a few criticisms. The safety car has gone, the track marshalls no longer wave flags and the AI respond terribly to blue flags. Penalties are also unrealistic, where's the drive throughs, or the 5 second stop and go? Formation laps still aren't an option. I still have to pause the game to find out the positions for the entire field, why can't there be TV style position list on the screen every now and again during the race? I still also miss the fact that there is no commentary in the race, even with the engineer it can get lonely out there. And I'd love a few more random reliability issues to make it even more realistic. I was also expecting Kevin Magnussen to appear at the Australian GP, just as he did this year in place of Alonso, little details like this would make a massive difference to the game. Oh and one more thing, why no more split screen.

Apart from the above, I think this game is a great step in the right direction. Codemasters is a great small studio, I hope that now the time consuming process of building a new engine is over they can start to address the bugs and build on these strong foundations to release a better game next year!

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