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Reviews Written by
J. Lachno "thepopscener" (London)
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Of the Blue Colour of the Sky
Of the Blue Colour of the Sky

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Here they go again, 20 May 2010
Clearly realising they can't dine out on "you-tube sensation" (shudder) `Here It Goes Again' forever, and perhaps keen to show they're not just treadmill-worryers in Weezer-wear, Ok Go finally return with their first record since 2005. After the first half hour you'll wish they had stayed away, but just when I thought this was going to be a fuzz-bassed, poorly worded, sub-Prince floater, the band almost redeem themselves with a run of good songs late in the day. The off-kilter, cross-eyed pop of `Before the Earth Was Round' is so well crafted I'll forgive the irksome Kraftwerk vocals, dainty acoustic ballad `Last Leaf' is sweetly realised, and the meditative swoon of `While You Were Asleep' gains them half a point for sounding like Vampire Weekend with Africa subtracted. Naturally, closer `In the Glass' is hopeless, but you can't have it all. Keep an eye out for a snappy video or two.

Choice Cuts: `Before the Earth Was Round', `While You Were Asleep'


Minor Love
Minor Love
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £5.24

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anti-folk troubadour makes successful return, 20 May 2010
This review is from: Minor Love (Audio CD)
The former Mouldy Peach returns with another collection of weirdy Americana-tinged indie which remains more Beck than the Eels (less melody, more scratchiness), but is less arch and more bored than his flaxen-haired contemporary. And so, the blocked-nose delivery provides a certain sardonic romance to two-minute vignettes such as `You Blacken My Stay'. Meanwhile, Minor Love is still pleasingly committed anti-folk in terms of lyrical miserablism ("she punched me in the face like a goblin" is a personal favourite), and tracks such as the spitting lo-fi junk of `Oh Shucks' also show a willingness to change the sonic scenery - and avoid falling asleep at the musical wheel.

Choice Cuts: `Goblin', `Buddy Bradley', `You Blacken My Stay'


The Betrayed
The Betrayed
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £2.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Neither here nor there, 20 May 2010
This review is from: The Betrayed (Audio CD)
Lostprophets' flirtation with the mainstream means they're perpetually doomed to suffer from a self-inflicted damned-if-they-do/damned-if-they-don't syndrome. Accordingly, here they can't decide whether they want to play the puffed up nu-metal (`DYSTRYR') of their debut, or the studio-softened emo-pop (`Darkest Blue') of their more recent efforts. They'll get over-criticised for both, but more worrying is that the band thought it wise to sneak the pomp-rock power-balladry of `Where We Belong' and `Dirty Little Heart' on - I can almost taste Steve Perry, and it tastes like 1981. And all the while my dream of a full album of new wave rockers like Start Something's `Last Summer' seems ever more distant. Sigh...

Choice Cuts: `Darkest Blue', `Streets of Nowhere'


Hidden
Hidden
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £14.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterclass in genre-hopping orginality, 20 May 2010
This review is from: Hidden (Audio CD)
At the very least a startling achievement in genre dynamics, asserting that 'Hidden' successfully melds Hot Chip glitchery with drum `n' bass aggression and schizophrenic world-rhythms damns it with the faintest of praise. True, it does all of the above, but offers a far richer aural tapestry - namely funereal organs, forlorn horns and chillingly sinister operatic backing vocals. Indeed, songs like `Attack Music' and `We Want War' are not alone in harbouring a kind of unrelenting dystopian menace, while the incomprehensible, juvenile closing chant of `Orion' should bestow the shivers on anyone with a pulse. As intelligent and progressive as it is unsettling: demands to be heard.

Choice Cuts: `We Want War', `Orion', `Hologram', `Drum Courts - Where Corals Lie'


Transference
Transference
Price: £8.82

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hindered by smooth edges, 20 May 2010
This review is from: Transference (Audio CD)
Whilst by no means fully conversant with these highly acclaimed indie-rockers' back catalogue, I'd nonetheless hazard a guess that this effort lies strictly in the middle of their creative road. Whilst Britt Daniel's vocals are as pleasing whether he's quietly composed (`Who Makes You're Money') or carefully straining (`Trouble Comes Running'), only the attendant clatter of the latter song type threatens to raise the excitement bar beyond a solid `B'. In short - half a dozen spoonfuls of sugar where one or two would have sufficed.

Choice Cuts: `Got Nuffin', `Trouble Comes Running'


Falling Down A Mountain
Falling Down A Mountain
Offered by Fast Fulfilment
Price: £8.90

3.0 out of 5 stars Slumberous, 20 May 2010
This review is from: Falling Down A Mountain (Audio CD)
If love is a drug, Stuart Staples doesn't half make it sound like heroin - and I'm not just talking about `Black Smoke'. Unfortunately, his seemingly impending descent into comatose arrest is the only thing which threatens to enliven the instantly forgettable lounge-jazz-cum-elevator-music which backs his mumbling inertia for the first half of this record. Having said that, I'm genuinely enthralled by the vocal-less `Hubbard Hill', part of a better second half that goes some way to explaining why these nouvelle vag(ue)abonds still seem to retain the rub of the critical green.

Choice Cuts: `Harmony Around My Table', `Hubbard Hill'


No Hope, No Future
No Hope, No Future
Offered by westworld-
Price: £10.48

4.0 out of 5 stars A grower not a shower, 20 May 2010
This review is from: No Hope, No Future (Audio CD)
Where 'Think Before You Speak' was a study in laissez-faire arrogance and relationship insouciance, 'No Hope No Future's' humbler themes of longing and relative heartache necessarily require a darker tone. Nonetheless, the hooks, whilst fewer and farther between, still can't help but jostle their way to the forefront. And so, whilst clumsily politicised rumblers like `I Know' are missteps, tracks like `The Way My Heart Beats' and `City by the Sea' are up there with the best from their excellent debut. Meanwhile, `Do You Remember' shows off hitherto unseen guitar-smarts, with licks wound tight enough to befit obvious musical forebears XTC.

Choice Cuts: `The Way My Heart Beats', `City by the Sea', `Do You Remember'


Fool's Gold
Fool's Gold
Offered by westworld-
Price: £14.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Astutely crafted world-influenced pop, 20 May 2010
This review is from: Fool's Gold (Audio CD)
As unconcerned with geographical legitimacy as Vampire Weekend, but far more faithful to source material, Fool's Gold's energised debut traverses Kingston, Istanbul and Rio before settling somewhere between Fela Kuti's Africa 70 and the house band on a week's cruise down the Nile. Despite the scattered approach, the musical voyage seldom hits rocky waters, and the surf-tastic guitar tones provide breezily welcome reminders of home at regular intervals - sublime.

Choice Cuts: `Surprise Hotel', `The World Is All There Is', `Nadine'


Realism
Realism
Price: £14.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, 20 May 2010
This review is from: Realism (Audio CD)
Whilst a healthy portion of the music on offer here makes me yawn with indifference and yearn for creative thrust Stephin Merritt to plug in as with previous efforts, thankfully enough quality exists elsewhere to redeem Realism. For instance, rib-tickling lyrics such as "seduced and abandoned and what can I do, I think I might drink a few" recall Neil Hannon at his most childishly subversive, and Merritt's voice remains the measure of dry indifference. Sufficient for now.

Choice Cuts: `You Must Be Out', `Seduced and Abandoned'


Irm (Limited Edition)
Irm (Limited Edition)
Offered by Edealcity
Price: £11.58

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully crafted, 20 May 2010
This review is from: Irm (Limited Edition) (Audio CD)
Sacre bleu! The brain haemorrhage debacle around which this concept-ish effort is based not only makes IRM a remarkable achievement in itself, but also provides a complimentary sub-plot to the songs, without ever becoming intrusive. Musically, writer/producer/arranger extraordinaire Beck leaves his indelible mark - notably dry beats and squirming sound effects - across songs such as `IRM', whilst Gainsbourg does her Francoise Hardy bit on couple tracks (`Le Chat du Cafes des Artistes'), and the slightly unlikely collaborators even manage to enliven honky blues run throughs such as `Dandelion'. Bon.

Choice Cuts: `Master's Hands', `Le Chat Du Cafe Des Artistes', `Time of the Assassins'


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