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Helpful Votes: 27

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Andrew Brown

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Hidden Empire (Saga of Seven Suns 1)
Hidden Empire (Saga of Seven Suns 1)
by Kevin J. Anderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad, very bad., 4 July 2003
The idea here is fine - dead alien race, powerful technology which we don't understand, but use anyway, etc. - but the execution is woeful. The language grates, the 'characters' (and there are way too many) lie dead on the page as does any enjoyment you might have had as a reader.
If you think this book might be your thing then do your self a favour and read The Praxis, or Revelation Space or almost anything other than this.
It really is that bad.

Price: £44.17

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an Elephant's Foot, 24 July 2002
I used to listen a lot to John Peel's show on Radio 1 and in between all the skate punk, grunge and techno he sometimes played (and may still do for all I know) the occasional Roy Orbison or Lightin' Hopkins song. He also played "Too be Free" by Fontella Bass one evening, and at the end said something about having to be an Elephant's Foot not to appreciate the song, and he was spot on.
It is the standout track off the album; a song that can stay with you for a decade (without hearing it again) and then leaves you feeling the same way all that time ago. A loping bass line, strings and horns, and a great great vocal performance.
If this were the only decent tune on the album it would still be worth the price, but the rest of the album while not reaching the same heights is a solid mix of social conscience soul and cut a rug stuff.
If you are looking for comparisons then Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone are the names that come to mind.
Fontella Bass an undiscovered gem. "Too Be Free" a song of some genius.

Two Nuns and a Pack Mule
Two Nuns and a Pack Mule
Price: £17.32

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It makes me all nostalgic, 3 Jan. 2002
Friends of mine got me into Big Black at the end of the 80's and I loved the whole concept; drum machine, bowel loosening bass, and rocket guitars. With this album Steve Albini seemed to go further creating an era defining sound (at least for those of us who couldn't see the point of chart music).
Putting it on now it does seem to have stood the test of time and the killer tracks (Just Got Paid and Trouser Minnow) would still be in there with a chance at my desert island disks.
I'm glad that Albini has started making music again and really liked 1000 Hurts, but there is no doubt that this is him at the pinnacle.

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