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Juz Man "Juz" (Hobart, Australia)

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Last Of Our Kind
Last Of Our Kind
Price: £5.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keep 'em coming, boys, 2 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Last Of Our Kind (Audio CD)
I’ll never love a Darkness album as much as One Way Ticket so I won’t be comparing this album to that. Permission to land is their other classic but it’s 12 years ago so that’s not a fair comparison either – even though this album is the closest thing to PTL they’ve done since.

So comparing Last Of Our Kind (LOOK) to the previous album, Hot Cakes seem appropriate. For all of the “good” tracks on Hot Cakes, it really only had one A grade track – Concrete. Some B pluses – Nothings Gonna Stop Us and Keep Me Hanging on. The rest were solid B’s with the one dud – She Just A Girl, Eddie.

Last Of Our Kind is more solid and consistent, while still retaining a good variety of tunes. It’s rockier in parts than they’ve been in a while, some of it would class as hard rock. They’ve thrown in some fun, of course, but are a tad more serious than they’ve been in the past. More mature as many have called it.

At first listen, I thought ‘Oh Dear….’ There wasn’t a lot to like on first run through but I had faith the songs would improve on me.
Barbarians has been out for a long time now and it’s a fun, catchy and rocking song. Pure TD tongue in cheek and a great track.
Open Fire (the lead single) took me a while to get into and it doesn’t rank high in my list of favourite TD songs. It’s as un-TD as TD does…. A good track but certainly not classic.
Last Of Our Kind is one of the new tracks that stands out on first listen and only improves from there. It’s hard not to get the chorus stuck in your head and after a couple of early run throughs of the album it was the track that stuck with me the most. It remains the stand out track.
Roaring Waters is a good mid-tempo rocker. Is perhaps the track that sounds the most like something from Permission To Land. Again, very likeable, but no classic. Some interesting tempo changes at the end.
Wheels Of The Machine is a slower track. Kind of a Love Is Only A Feeling feel about it. Another “nice” track without hitting any great heights.
Mighty Wings had me thinking of a Cheap Trick cover perhaps but not to be. It’s epic to say the least. The start had me thinking of Queen’s Flash Gordon soundtrack. Then you hit a Megadeth-like guitar intro and verse that progresses into a Def Leppard Adrenalize inspired over the top falsetto chorus. It perfectly fits the track 5-6 space that rock epics often occupy on an album.
Mudslide comes and goes pretty quickly. An OK track and though it brought a smile to my face on first listen, I could do without the Mrs Brown(‘s Boys) bookend speaking.
Sarah, O’Sarah has a Friday Night sound about it. The album needed a ballad like this and it’s something The Darkness do very well. A fun and catchy tune.
Hammer & Tongs is the third “official” pre-release track and perhaps the catchiest track here. A familiar opening riff and likeable chorus make for a solid track. It’s perhaps a bit lightweight and hangs around too long.
Conquerors, let’s face it, is a B Side – if B Sides existed any more. It’s not album worthy and not how an album should be closed. Sure it’s an OK song but Justin should sing it. It wouldn’t have made it onto any previous album.

So without comparing it to Permission To Land it seems that where the majority of individual track comparisons come from!!

All in all, some of the tracks don’t hit the heights of those before them. There aren’t too many stand out awesomely classic songs but as a complete album, it all works very well. The future looks bright for the boys - welcome Rufus


Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra
Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra
Price: £10.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 star without being 5 star, 15 Oct. 2012
First up, the songs on here are 5 star, that's why my review is 5 star.
The songs here, however, are not improvements on their originals - would that make the originals 6 star? maybe

When you replace orchestra (WHAT YOU"RE KNOWN FOR) with synths it doesn't improve a thing. Maybe Jeff should have called this project Electric Light Syntheziser.

I get what he's doing. He's funding his retirement.
I don't dislike re-recordings provided they don't replace originals. Really you get the bonus of being able to listen to the original whenever you want and also have the option of the new stuff. I'm all for it

I don't think the songs here are updated for today though. They are straight re-recordings of the old material. What's lacking here is 30-40 years of touring experience and growth in the songs. Other bands that have toured constantly would bring a live sound into re-records. Taking the evolved song and putting it on tape for a new feel. These songs haven't changed.

No song here sounds better or even on par with it's original.
Mr Blue Sky is pretty good though. Nice and bouncey and perhaps the highlight
Evil Woman sounds OK. Pretty close in sound to the original
Strange Magic is pretty close in sound to the original also
Don't Bring Me Down (original)is my all time fave ELO song and here it just loses something. It needed to be rocked up. The Don't Bring Me Down - Grossss! just doesn't cut it here.
Turn To Stone again, is pretty close to the original. No surprises here. My wife's fave ELO track
Showdown was never a favorite for me. Sounds pretty good here. Again, close to the original
Telephone Line is a bit of a let down. The song have lost its heart. The chorus is so uninspired now. Sad.
Livin' Thing was always top 3 fave (the other Calling America)is a bit of let down. The chorus has lost most of it's feeling.
Do Ya, sure I've always liked it but I think Jeff rates it a bit too highly. The version here is no improvment.
Can't Get It Out Of My Head is perhaps the biggest let down here. It's lost its soul and gained a heap of synth. I'm glad I fell in love with the original before hearing this one. I don't even really like listening to this one as it makes me sad and not in a good way.
10538 Overture is perhaps the only song that has a better 'sound' but it still isn't a supieror recording. The 'sound' of the oiginal was part of it's charm.
Point Of No Return is very mid 80's ELO sounding. I'm not sure where this one comes from but it's a nice enough track.

Opportunity missed here I think. Each song should have been refreshed, redone, not just re-recorded karaoke style.


iUNO!
iUNO!
Price: £5.99

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing earth (or ear) shattering but solid, 24 Sept. 2012
This review is from: iUNO! (Audio CD)
After the recent disappointment of The Killers Battle Born and to a lesser extent The Darkness' Hot Cakes I was set for another let down with Green Day's Uno. Well, I tried to convince myself not to get my hopes up, anyway.....
Would releasing three albums mean there'd be too much filler?
First impressions when listening through Uno is there there's nothing bad on here. No duds. If on first listen there's nothing to turn me off then on each listen the songs can only get better!! Right? However, is there anything here truly A grade memorable? Time will tell.
I don't think I'll ever love Kill The DJ but that seems to be the only slight blemish on what's a very agreeable album. It sounds like a mesh of Nimrod and Warning to me but with less variation in sounds.
I shall now repeat repeat repeat and come back......

I'm back after a weekend of heavy listening and all I can say is I'm quite pleased!! 2012 isn't the write-off it was turning out to be!!
Highlights for me are:
Nuclear Family is a great opener
Let Yourself Go - classic GD
Fell For You is maybe the highlight for me
Troublemaker feels like a track from Warning
Oh Love - not the most original creation but catchy.

The other tracks are all great tunes as well:
Stay The Night though is perhaps a bit overlong
Carpe Diem is like how Jesus of Suburbia would sound if it were from Warning
Kill The DJ is catchy - I admit it.
Loss Of Control is more classic GD
Angel Blue could be a lost Dookie track
Sweet 16 is as the title suggests: sweet.
As for filler, there's none really. Maybe Rusty James (or is it Gloria?) is the only lesser track. It's nice but not in the class of the other tracks - perhaps it's too familiar sounding.

Uno isn't 5 star like American Idiot or 21st Century (maybe too heavy on a verse/chorus format and there's nothing really innovative here) but it's still a quality release. It's an album of singles but not `smash hit' singles and has elements of all previous Green Day albums.
Can't wait for the next two albums......
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 2, 2012 8:26 AM BST


Battle Born
Battle Born
Offered by Great Price Media EU
Price: £7.21

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One star for The Killers, one for Runaways, one for the rest, 17 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Battle Born (Audio CD)
3 and a 1/2 stars if I could give it that.
Battle Born has had 6 days of heavy playing at my home, work and car and each day has seen my review become slightly more favourable. Which is good as it was going to be a `killer' at first.

On the first few listens to Battle Born my impressions were:
Disappointment
Not what I was expecting or hoping for
Synths for synths sake?
Where are the guitars?
Where's the power? What's up with these ballads? THE KILLERS DON'T DO BALLADS!!!
Where are the hooks and melodies?
Where's this `ace' that Brandon Flowers said he saved from his solo album?
Who let U2 in the room?
The first positive I picked up on is how good BF's voice sounds here. He's certainly improved since his Sam's Town delusions of grandeur.

So it's fair to say that I WAS NOT IMPRESSED with Battle Born on its early listenings. My opinion has improved somewhat but I'm still not happy. It's not an album of hooks and melodies as was Day and Age. The power of Sam's Town is missing and the edge of Hot Fuss is non-existent.

I absolutely love Runaways. I think it's one of the best songs they've done. It's the only standout here though. I was hoping The K's would take everything they've done in the past and create their own identity but all they've done here is made themselves sound like other bands.

When you get a new album you have a listen. Then another one and a track (other than the single(s) you know) stands out for you. You give that one track some extra listening. You feel good and then another track will standout and so forth and the rest of the album builds around those stand outs. On listening to this one though, that didn't happen for me.

On past albums, synths have played a big part but here, they've overdone, generic and pointless. They don't add to most songs but are present in almost all of them.

On a plus, there's nothing really bad here. It's perhaps their most consistent album to date. That's also its problem. Each song blends with the next and nothing grabs you. No one song lets the rest down but other than Runaways, nothing else truly rises to the challenge.

It's an album of interesting sounding verses but in many cases, the chorus lets the song down by being clichéd or generic. An album that perhaps belongs in the 80's where many of these sounds seem to be from.

As for the songs:
4/5 - Flesh And Bone is one of the stronger tracks. Catchy and a good mix of synth and rock. My kids love this one too.
5/5 - Runaways is brilliant, one of their best ever.
3.5/5 - The Way It Was is OK. It's pretty lightweight though. It lies between rock and power ballad and is left lacking.
3/5 - Here With me reminds me of the REO Speedwagon song of the same name. The first of three ballads. Not fussed on this 80's sounding power ballad. I skip this track more than any other.
3/5 - A Matter Of Time is a reasonable song with a bad chorus.
3.5/5 - Deadlines And Commitments at first sounded like bad 80's movie soundtrack song to me but has grown on me and is one of my favourite tracks. Reminds me a bit Robert Palmer.
3.5/5 - Miss Atomic Bomb is U2 - and not the good U2. It's an OK song and one of the better ones (though a bit messy at the end) but it just sounds like them trying to sound like U2. And the line: "You're gonna miss me when I'm gone". C'mon!! be original!!
3/5 - The Rising Tide borders on annoying. It's OK and I'm not really sure why I feel this way about it but I skip this one often. I hope, in time, I can like this one more. More mid-tempo over-synthed fare.
3/5 - Heart Of A Girl is more U2. The second ballad. It's OK I guess but would be better if, again, it wasn't a plain U2 rip off - and maybe released in the 90's. And "a ripple in the water" makes me cringe.
4/5 - From Here On Out is finally some fun. Perhaps better suited on BF's solo but a nice track. At leasts it's up-tempo!!
3/5 - Be Still features a... a.... a.. DRUM MACHINE!!! What? You have a drummer!! Use him. You don't use a drum machine!!! On the plus side, this one is sung very well. Maybe the pick of the ballads - the ballads that don't belong on a Killers album. "Is this real or just a dream?" - more original writing.
4/5 Battle Born hooray!! Finally some power. Good track this one and finally some semblance of the previous Killer sound. It's what the rest of the album should be like. Something to get excited about here but, oh dear, the albums over.....

The bonus tracks are OK - there are five on my copy. Carry Me Home sounds like a Day & Age throwaway. Prize Fighter is a good, fun song and could probably find its way onto the album in lieu of one of the ballads. The remixes: (Flesh and Bone and Runaways) are what rock remixes are - pointless exercises that retract from the original. The Be Still alternative cut is an interesting one. It loses the drum machine and allows Ronnie to participate. It won't go as far to say it's better (because I think both versions could do with some stripping down) but at least there's no drum machine.

My favourite Killers album to date has been Day & Age. This new album ranks last in their four albums and also rates behind Brandon Flowers' solo effort - which I also love. At a stretch you could make a case for Sawdust to be ranked above this also but I won't go that far - just yet.

I will go as far to say that Battle Born is my biggest musical disappointment for over a decade. Perhaps the hiatus has seen the boys use their best material for their solo stuff and what's presented here has been left a little thin?

I still love The Killers. this one 'slight' mis-step doens't erase the countless hours of enjoyment they've brought me over the past 8 years. Here's hoping in time I'll be able to come back, admit I was wrong, retract this review and rewrite a positive one......
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 20, 2012 5:59 PM BST


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