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Reviews Written by
Mr. S. Bennett (london)

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Price: £5.17

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a great album, but easily solved, 31 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Velociraptor! (Audio CD)
Overall rating: 6.5/10

I've had this album on CD for quite a few weeks now. Unlike most, i prefer to really give albums a chance to get under my skin, and either soar or sink. Even the 'professional' crictics take a couple of quick listens before passing judgement, which is totally unfair and pretty darn stupid.

This album is actually alright. It's got some really strong songs (the first 2 and 'I hear voices' spring to mind). The reasons why it doesn't quite hang together as a flowing listen is down to poor sequencing of the songs (starting off too boldly), being a tad too long, and having a poor title track (and poor title for an album, come to mention it).

Cut out 'Velociraptor!' and 'Acid Turkish Bath' from your music library and behold a far more agreeable listen. Both of these songs are really poor. The former is silly and irritating (at least short), followed up with the opposite - a stodgy, slow, boring, overly long song. That combination really kills the album off. What were they thinking of having such a poor song as the title track? That instantly loses them the credibility that the previous album had built up. For a band like Kasabian, credibility hangs in the balance and it's sloppy having the album centered around a theme that should have been discarded instantly.

It's a shame because there's quite a bit to enjoy here. Thanks to mp3 players we can at least have these songs pop-up on shuffle or listen to the 9 tracks that do work.

Making Mirrors (Deluxe Edition)
Making Mirrors (Deluxe Edition)
Offered by SEDIVA UK
Price: £5.80

10 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Musical equivalent of recycled toilet tissue, 17 Oct. 2011
AND NOW 'RE-RELEASED' TO MAKE MORE MONEY! originally released in the UK in Dec 2011, and now re-promoted/re-launched with, bizarrely, a new release date (?) - the record companies will try any trick these days, won't they? - except sign anything 'too risky' (i.e. interesting)

Rating: 3.5 out of 10

Ok, so individually, some of the songs get the 'job done' - entertaining, radio friendly fodder. The elements of real music are there, catchy moments, ok voice, mostly authentic sounding instruments, solid song writing. So why does it sound sooo, soooo, soooo, unoriginal? The answer is a real lack of an identity...some kind of recognizable character in the music.

The album sounds like a random collection of 'new' songs from a load of M.O.R pop acts from the 80s and 90s. I hear Mike & The Mechanics & George Michael in 'In Your Light', Fleetwood Mac in 'Eyes Wide Open'. Deacon Blue, The Waterboys and a few others pop into my mind throughout. Plus, the 'baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?' xylophone bit on 'somebody that i used to know' is a bit much.
The fact that Gotye sounds so homogeneous is a real turn-off. Has everything in music already been done before? Is there no imagination in music anymore? Are we destined to listen to a load of artists with no distinguishable musical characteristics? I really hope not.
Comment Comments (42) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 4, 2012 4:04 PM BST

Price: £12.29

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good start..., 17 Aug. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dedication (Audio CD)
Score: 7/10

I've been listening to this album a lot in recent weeks, lived with it you could say. I have to say that this album starts off very well and for the first 5 tracks it's right up there with Zomby's best output to date, but then 'Vortex' starts and the whole vibe changes and the energy ebbs away and it never gets it back. It actually becomes a little annoying in places, or just a bit dull, or even depressing (maybe it's supposed to be a bit depressing?). 'Things fall apart' and 'Mozaik' are pretty good, and 'A devil lay here' is ok, but the rest is quite insubstantial and doesn't really hang together or inspire. Is 'Witch hunt', 'Natalia's song', 'Alothea', 'Black orchid', 'Riding with death' and the 3 tracks mentioned above enough for you to part with your cash? I'll let you decide. Personally speaking it wasn't quite enough to make my 'albums worth owning' list.

Offered by westworld-
Price: £7.08

9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another XL Artist Slips Into Overproduced Mode, 18 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Skying (Audio CD)
Rating: 4.5/10

A pattern seems to be emerging at XL recordings - artists make edgy, interesting earlier albums, then have all the elements that made them fascinating 'rounded off' to create something that's easier to listen to. It's like they get people interested in their artists, then expect to widen the fan base and simultaneously make the music sound more, for want of a better word, 'palatable' using more studio resource. Certainly that's how i view recent output from the label anyway.

So, onto this album. I instantly knew this album maybe more about image and promotion than engaging music just from the opening track. It faded into the background after a minute or so, a theme which continued for much of the album. For this album, the approach appears to have been an electronic wall of sound style, which either works and appeals to you, or doesn't. Largely one-paced songs follow each other (with the exception of Endless Blue & Monica Gems), with not a lot to really hang your hat on, in terms of memorable moments, instead a kind of faux anthemic feel permeates across large swathes of the record. Similar to the friendly fires latest effort - the music seems overproduced, at the expense of, or instead of, real songs. This album is very much a shoegazing album (the sound and structure of the music plus the less abrassive vocals than last time out make it so), and therefore has far less energy and attitude than 'Primary Colours' - gone are the Joy Division comparisons with this latest effort. If you enjoyed the darkness and raw vocals of the last album, then let me warn you, you may not like this. Because of the absence of proper songs, i was left wondering if the title should have been skyving rather than skying.

Like someone else mentioned, it's a little too Simple Minds for comfort. In some respects it reminds me of Ulrich Schnauss, but with vocals, and without the delicate beauty of Ulrich's work. The second track sounds very much like a track by Dreadzone with vocal & wall of sound elements added. 'Dive In' seemed promising but certain vocal parts sounded like, and made me actually sing, (well, in my head) another Horrors track from the previous album.

Some tracks are alright, but, for these ears, a lot of it was quite unremarkable stuff that didn't really capture my imagination or make me think, 'oh yeah! i really like this!', or even, 'that's interesting, i'll listen to that again' I just can't imagine me coming back to this album very often, if at all. This is music for a particular mood, but even then i can't imagine it ever being more than background texture. After a lot more listens perhaps some interesting nuances in the music will come to the fore, but only time will tell - it's certainly true to say that over time some albums soar while others wither. Perhaps better to borrow off a friend and see whether it's worthy of a purchase later. It certainly left me non-plussed, to the extent that i can't even say which of the tracks are highlights :(
I could perhaps say that Primary Colours didn't contain highlights for me either, but somehow that album worked - sadly, this didn't.

Update: Tried to give this space to grow on me, but it hasn't really. I think the first 3 songs (Changing the rain, You said, I can see through you) are a reasonable opening to an album, and 'Dive In' is decent but the rest is overblown and not worth listening to.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 22, 2011 1:29 PM BST

Diamond Hoo Ha
Diamond Hoo Ha
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £6.33

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant, 22 Jun. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Diamond Hoo Ha (Audio CD)
Score: 9/10

Wow! With this album Supergrass really came home. After giving this album a lot of listens, i can say that it's standing the test of time better than any of their other albums, perhaps with the exception of I Should Coco. It brings together all the best elements of Supergrass perfectly: the riffs, melodies, energy, Gaz's voice - superb. No filler on this album, nope, none at all.

Things open with 'Diamond Hoo Haa Man', one that gets better with every listen and makes clear what this album is all about. Next is my favourite 'Bad Blood' - explosive! The pace settles for 'Rebel in you' and the harmonies are turned up. 'When i needed you' sees Supergrass slip into a reflective mood. The heat is turned up for '345', and clever songwriting comes to the fore on 'The Return Of...'. 'Rough Knuckles' is vintage Supergrass. 'Ghost of a friend' shows Supergrass's more mature side, but then they flip into youthfull Supergrass on 'Whisky & Green Tea', a very distinctive & memorable song. 'Outside' reminds me of the self titled Supergrass era, and 'Butterfly', which sounds quite In It For The Money-esque, closes the album very well.

If you found 'In It For..' a bit dull, the self titled album and 'life on other..' a bit variable in quality, and thought 'road to rouen' was dull as ditch water, and had been waiting for Supergrass to produce a quality album that has the same sensiblities as 'I Should coco' but showcasing the band's greater maturity then look no further.

The music press should really remember that good songwriting never goes out of fashion before ham-fistedly critisizing albums such as this, as this album is right ON the money. Thank you Supergrass!

Leisure Seizure
Leisure Seizure
Offered by westworld-
Price: £6.98

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A more creative offering, 21 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Leisure Seizure (Audio CD)
Score: 9/10

On first listen this album can pass you buy, but given repeated spins it really starts to unveil it's creativity, craft and downright cleverness. Many who are familiar with his debut 'We Have Sound' will need to show some patience to appreciate this album as Tom has spent the time away developing his sound, creating more complex melodies and bizarre sounds (like on 'Aroused' - one of my current favourites).

The music can appear lazy and has a certain languid quality - evident on the first single 'A Chore'. It took me about 5 listens to really 'get' this album, but it's worth the effort.

Tom's voice has been critisized by some music journos, but Tom Vek is not about a voice - it's an attitude, a type of music that can accompany everyday life like few others. This makes listening to the slower tracks like 'Hold Your Hand', 'We Do Nothing' 'Seizemic' on Leisure Seizure more and more pleasurable, and that's a rare quality. Tom's second album shows far more depth than his debut, which at times, sounded musically amateurish like on 'A Word In Your Ear', but there are no such moments here, even though some tracks don't feel as tight as others - but then we don't want overproduced, do we? The album cleverly picks up the pace on 'Someone Loves You', a track that needs to be played loud for maximum pleasure. A more claustrophobic feel continues on 'Close Mic'ed'. Some of the tracks really mix up styles, such as 'You Need To Work Your Heart Out' and 'A.P.O.L.O.G.Y.' which helps to keep your ears open when listening to the album in it's entirety.

This is an understated masterpiece that is actually too clever and cool for even the cool kids. A contender for album of the year.

Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £6.99

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but not what I was expecting (or hoping for), 9 Jun. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pala (Audio CD)
Score 5.5/10

I really liked the self titled first album. It was all dance indie done with aplomb, and had a real indie dance band feel to it, with plenty of off kilter moments - confident, but not silly. This is precisely why this album falls down - it is a bit silly, a bit throwaway, and makes me wonder if i'd completely misread, from the first album, what this band was about. It's not rubbish though, don't get me wrong, there is some stuff on here that is credible and still sounds a bit like their debut stuff. The tracks i've kept on my ipod (for the time being at least) are 1,2,3,6,8,10. The album starts promisingly with 'live those days tonight', but then i was slightly taken aback by the tone, and vocal stuff on the next 2 tracks... a bit soft, and too polished. I've listened to 'blue cassette' and 'running away' a few more times and they're alright.

The album really lost me though on the next 2. 'Hawaiian Air' was a step too far and the lyrics were damn awful (talking dog? please). 'Hurting' was just nonsense and meandered aimlessly for the most part - poor. Next is 'pala' the title track. It's slow one, a real departure from previous songs but ok to listen to, but not engaging in the slightest. Track 7 'show me lights' is the real crime. Boyband-esque springs to mind... what were they thinking?!?! YUK!
'True love' isn't bad - a bit like something you'd expect from FF. 'Pull me back to earth' reminded me of bands like duran duran (I was hoping the fad of 80's pop style music had passed, apparently not)...not good. 'Chimes' stands out for me - it's still a bit on the soft side but it's a decent enough dance influenced track. The album closer 'helpless' should be titled 'clueless' as by this point it was clear they'd run out of ideas.

The album really doesn't sound like the debut. It doesn't sound like a proper band anymore, and sounds like they're trying to be pop, and fill stadiums with young kids and adults approaching middle age who listen to the radio. All gloss and high pitched vocals (why?), really slick pop. Friendly Fires, what happened to you?
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2011 9:17 AM BST

Price: £10.67

5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air, 27 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Terminal (Audio CD)
If you're looking for a description of the music then you're advised to read the first review posted for this album.

I put this on during a cold winter evening when i was going through a stack of promo albums and was blown away. At first i was reluctant to admit that this was amazing, especially as some stuff was slightly 'stage musical' in style, and i hate musicals! The best album i've listened to in a long time. It has that special something that all classic albums have that you can't quite put your finger on.

It's a far better album than the rather disjointed and variable effort that was their debut album 'Sleepdrunk Seasons'. If you love great songwriting and are bored of humdrum stuff that's been overhyped for the last few years then do yourself a favour and buy this. Sounds great on a decent sound system, sounds great on headphones, because it is great, and gets better with every listen.

How this was overlooked by the important people in music is unbelievable. Journos and heads of radio, hang your heads in shame!!

Inception (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2010]
Inception (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £3.58

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I found it a little tedious in places, and long, 20 April 2011
I didn't find the storyline confusing, it was quite simple, and i actually think it tried too hard to explain everything - i got it at the first time of asking, and would have liked a message to come up on screen 'if you got it the first time, they is no need to watch the next 10 minutes, go and get yourself refreshments'. There were certain other parts in the film that laboured the point so much that i could well have popped out for 5 minutes and still known what was going on. I've got nothing more to add as it left me non-plussed. I can't give a film that didn't bowl me over more than 5.5/10.

Offered by westworld-
Price: £6.63

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a Massive Attack album...one that i rather like (8.5/10), 31 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Heligoland (Audio CD)
To be honest, I overlooked this album when it first came out. The main reason was that the previous album, 100th Window, was incredibly one-paced, and, for want of a better word, dreary. The tracks on that album had poor lyrics, and one dimensional vocalists Del Naja (ok for a track or so) & Sinead O'Connor (?), and the tracks had no hooks, no progression, no definition, no edge, and for me, held no interest, sounding slightly muzaky.

Heligoland is what i call vintage Massive Attack. The variation is there, and a decent array of guest vocalists are present. So, in some respects this is like Blue Lines, but has more in common with Mezzanine, sounding quite dark and dense. 'Flat of the blade' does give the listener some restbite from that heavy atmosphere though, but even this track evolves and brings the listener back in by it's conclusion - it serves as a puncuation for the album (a good thing in my opinion). Whether Heligoland will hold my interest like Blue Lines (which, incidently, is starting to sound a little dated) and Mezzanine, or will suffer the same fate as Protection (which was accomplished but a little 'safe'), remains to be seen. I suspect it won't lose my interest because it has that slightly haunting quality and distinctive enough tracks. It will take quite a few listens to understand this album - more than the usual 4 or 5, i'm talking 10+ listens.

This has gone under the radar a bit, with people having unrealistic expectations of it, but trust me, there is some real quality here. A lot of the tracks ebb and flow with real aplomb, changing continually, most of which is subtly engaging in different ways, never stagnating, never repeating the same vocalists or patterns across the course of the album. No real standout tracks, but then why should there be? This is an album in the true sense of the word. It's going to be spending quite a lot of time in my CD player over the next few months.

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