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Reviews Written by
Peter Hill ""yoghurtknitter"" (Waterville Ireland)
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Red Red Skies
Red Red Skies
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Red sky in the morning, 5 July 2015
This review is from: Red Red Skies (Audio CD)
I've loved Amelia's voice since her Talulah Gosh days and this admiration has continued through all her subsequent incarnations and she's still delivering fine albums as evidenced by the last couple of excellent Tender Trap albums.
In view of the above i was really looking forward to this release but having previously heard 'intravenous' on-line i was also somewhat apprehensive as i wasn't sure about Rob's voice.
I've subsequently been playing this album non-stop in the hope that his voice would grow on me but alas it hasn't. He doesn't have a bad voice but it's very deep and has an unusual tone, something akin to Stephen Merritt, and i think the problem i'm having is that the two voices just don't mix/gel together and seem incompatible/at odds with each other.
This (for me at least) is made worse by the fact that the songs are fairly minimal musically (just acoustic guitars) and are also downbeat & sombre so the songs almost totally rely on the vocals.
As you can guess from the above my favourite songs are ones where Amelia gets the lead vocal and 'when you walk away' and 'things i love' are just gorgeous.
If you like Rob's vocal you'll probably be more positive than i'm being but i think i just selfishly wanted to hear more of Amelia....Sorry Rob!!


Sand & Sea
Sand & Sea

3.0 out of 5 stars Coasting, 2 July 2015
This review is from: Sand & Sea (Audio CD)
The fact this album was released on the K record label and was also produced by Calvin Johnson gives you some indication of the type of music on offer i.e indie pop/rock with plenty of keyboards along the lines of similar label bands such as Built to Spill, Beat Happening or The Softies.
The vocals are shared between male and female members although Jonn gets the bulk of them, however to be honest i did generally prefer the female leads especially on the lovely ballad 'bricks of gold'.
Most of the songs are upbeat and enjoyable except for the very short 40 second 'ladies choice reprise' (in fact just a reprise from the previous song and hardly warranting an entry of it's own) and the good but overlong (running to 5 minutes) instrumental 'sand and sea'.
6 out of 10.


It's Rag Time!
It's Rag Time!
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £24.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Pop music, 29 Jun. 2015
This review is from: It's Rag Time! (Audio CD)
14 short songs from this Norwegian band described by Jigsaw Records as "Bedroom synth-filled indie pop with a strong Italo-disco pop influence". I don't know what Italo-disco is but the description seems fairly apt.
It is in fact quite synth heavy but there are also guitars and brass too and the majority of the songs are very catchy. Female vocals throughout but somewhat at odds when she sings "i grew up as the saddest boy in town"?. The lyrics are often quite dark e.g on the track 'GO!' when you get "everyone i know hopes you die alone" but the track itself is also excellent, repetitive and very catchy too.
The sound for comparison purposes is difficult to pin down (they get quite fairground(y) on 'Angry girl') but electro-indie-pop seems adequate.
7.5 out of 10


Dear Eskimo
Dear Eskimo
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £10.59

4.0 out of 5 stars A work of art, 28 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Dear Eskimo (Audio CD)
I missed this one on it's release back in 2009 but have finally rectified my oversight.
I imagine some people when describing this album might use the word "twee" in a derogatory fashion but i would happily use the same description but used in a most delightful way.
They sound similar to Cub or The All Girl Summer Fun Band. They adorably rhyme kitten with smitten and mitten. They leave in the mistake (?) at the end of the opening track which is also charming. Apart from a couple of tracks that didn't work, especially the instrumental closer 'according to the accordian' it's a beautifully sung collection of poignant songs and highly recommended.


This Is Our Nowhere
This Is Our Nowhere
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just do it, 8 Jun. 2015
This review is from: This Is Our Nowhere (Audio CD)
Another new album from The Lovely Eggs is something that should be heralded in large print on the front of all the music mags but as usual it will probably appear without much of a fanfare at all.
This, their fourth album, opens with a guitar riff that Black Sabbath in their heyday would have been proud of and the album as a whole is probably one of their heaviest.
I was worried that perhaps some of their adorable whimsy would be lost amongst the noise but it's still there, albeit more obtuse. Only The Lovely Eggs could get away with the line "He's a magic onion, he runs rings around me" and can pen a track about almost seeing a stabbing but missing out due to inclement weather!!
The opening track (Ordinary People Unite) is i presume a dig at the expense of the majority of sensible/responsible/reasonable people although maybe they are in fact just maturing themselves and this is something they aspire to, i hopefully doubt it?. There are also some psychedelic flourishes throughout and the final track (Forest of Memories) has Holly singing in a fairly deadpan voice over an almost folky/medieval style song. As often with their albums not all the tracks are great and some of the other songs in-between the aforementioned opener & closer are hit and miss but also as usual they can never be accused of being ordinary and should be required listening for the masses.
8 out of 10


The Race For Space
The Race For Space
Price: £7.67

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blinded by the light, 5 Jun. 2015
This review is from: The Race For Space (Audio CD)
Having loved the 'War Room' EP and although a logical conceptual piece to follow that EP, i must admit i didn't find this album as interesting/stirring as that earlier piece.
Although excellent in parts e.g 'Go!' is great, the archive samples seem to have taken over the music or perhaps the music is just more ambient, but either way the album doesn't work as well as earlier material. I loved the liner notes from J.Willgoose Esq and understand his desire to include such pieces as 'fire in the cockpit' but as a music(?) track it just doesn't work for me.
It's an interesting piece of art but ultimately disappointing
6 out of 10


Valentina
Valentina
Price: £8.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lounging around, 4 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Valentina (Audio CD)
Oh my, oh my.....what has David gone and done now? He's always been a bit of a contrary sort, but that was part of his charm, but this is an experiment too far.
I've adored The Wedding Present from 'George Best' through their Ukranians stage into Cinerama and back to the re-incarnated Wedding Present.
This album is a re-working of The Wedding Present's 'Valentina' album which i thought was one of their better later albums and although this is now issued under the Cinerama moniker it is for all intense and purposes (barring the one lead vocal from Terry De Castro) a David Gedge solo album albeit with old songs.
During my first spin of the CD my wife remarked "Is this The Wedding Present Lite" to which i joked "No, it's David Gedge doing Bossa Nova" but by the end of the CD neither of us were laughing!!
Although lyrically it's David Gedge at his best, musically for me it just doesn't work. It's way over-orchestrated and the music & lyrics don't gel. In the middle of 'The girl from the DDR' there's an orchestral musical interlude (?) that seems totally out of place and this is repeated at the end of the song and similarly 'Deer caught in the headlights' has the same problem.
The album is rescued towards the end with the lovely 'mystery date' where David sings plaintively over a simple piano and it's a shame the rest of the album wasn't more in this style. The final nail in the coffin is the awful instrumental 'cita a ciegues' which reminded me of an episode from The Big Bang Theory where Howard takes his friends to a dancing club to pick up elderly ladies!!
Is David turning into Tom Jones or even worse doing a Robbie Williams? I hope not and that he soon reverts to more enjoyable territory.
I presume he's aiming for a new set of fans as i can't see how this will appeal to Wedding Present fans or even for that matter Cinerama fans.


All the Elefant Recordings 1999-2003
All the Elefant Recordings 1999-2003
Offered by samurai media
Price: £28.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Holidays in the sun, 4 Jun. 2015
I've been quite interested in Spanish indie-pop lately and have come across some great bands e.g Nosotrash, Los Bonsais, Band a Part, Papa Topo & Guatafan (all highly recommended) and Vacaciones were my latest 'discovery'.
This is a mammoth double CD of all their recordings for Elefant records between 1993 & 2003 plus demos and live tracks. It amounts to 66 tracks in total spread incredibly over only 2 CDs as most of the tracks are less than 3 minutes long.
It is housed in a lovely fold out digipack with the artwork of previous releases and many band photos but the track information is quite tiny and difficult to read and it would have been nice to have had a booklet detailing the history of the band.
It's all sung in their native Spanish except for a (good) cover of The Primitives 'crash' which is sung in English. They also cover Heavenly's 'Cool Guitar Boy' (this time in Spanish) and these two covers are a good indication of the style of music they play.
As with anything on this scale there are many hits to enjoy but also a few misses and the vocals on some of the demo/live tracks do get a bit ropey at times although the live recording of them playing in Madrid is actually very good. A lot of the main tracks on CD1 are repeated on the second CD as demos/different versions or live tracks.
As an artefact of the band it's an amazing object but as a musical experience it's not something you would necessary listen to at one sitting (it becomes overwhelming) but would more sensibly be dipped into in smaller chunks. Notwithstanding the nature of the beast i.e 'warts & all' it probably equates to 3 excellent albums worth of material hence 8 out of 10.


6 6 6
6 6 6
Price: £6.90

4.0 out of 5 stars The work of the devil, 1 Jun. 2015
This review is from: 6 6 6 (Audio CD)
This is a review of the 1989 issue on the Vertigo label.
I first came across Aphrodite's Child on a Vertigo sampler album back in the early 1970s which had the track 'the four horseman' included. I remember being amazed at the time as it was like nothing i'd ever heard before. I intended to buy the album but never did, probably because it was a double album and my pocket money didn't stretch that far!! I recently decided to rectify this oversight hence this review.
I didn't really know what to expect but i'm pleasantly surprised.
It's certainly a product of it's time and parts of it have not aged well but there are sufficiently brilliant tracks on here to make it a worthwhile purchase.
The opener (ignoring the very short intro) is a fine track with strident guitars and complimentary brass plus apparent crowd noise (is it a live track? a background booklet would have been a nice addition). 'Loud,loud,loud' is a spoken piece (again, who is the female narrator?) before the remarkable 'four horseman' kicks in. Demis Roussos's vocals still sound incredible to this day. It then gets quite Eastern sounding for a couple of tracks before 'Aegian Sea' pops up with Pink Floyd sounding guitars but a vocal i didn't really like.
The album loses focus for a few tracks with a combination of less interesting spoken & instrumental pieces but recovers with some frenzied guitar & drum work on 'the battle of the locusts' & 'do it'.
I didn't enjoy the 2nd CD quite as much. The 'orgasmic' (if that's what it was?) 5th untitled (or at least my keyboard can't type it!) track is a very silly 5 minute diversion and the epic, albeit meandering, 19 minute 'all the seats were occupied' including snippets of earlier songs floating in & out was too long but did include some excellent guitar work. The album ends with the rather beautiful ballad 'break' which also includes some fine fret work.
I'm very glad i've finally heard it all but it's more of an interesting artefact, with a few brilliant tracks, rather than an essential purchase. 7 out of 10.
They'll probably be remembered just for having Demis & Vangelis in their ranks rather than their music, which is a shame.
This particular issue comes in one of those massive double jewel case pieces of packaging suggesting it might have a thick booklet enclosed but all you get is a small lyric booklet and it seems a wasted opportunity in not including some background detail of this piece of art?


Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
Price: £6.33

5.0 out of 5 stars Saints & sinners, 24 May 2015
An interesting band name and 19 musicians listed as playing on the album!
Overall it's musically very upbeat but lyrically has quite a sad feel running throughout the songs.
It opens with the very catchy 'aspidistra' all about youthful drug taking & run-ins with the police and having the line "when something went wrong it was always my fault, if something went right i was never involved". I guess we've all felt that at sometime in our lives?
It's followed by 'this world has no place for me' (the title says it all) but this is soon eclipsed by the incredibly poignant 'in hospital'. There's also some catchy brass included on 'then and not a moment before'.
6 of the 9 tracks have very good male vocals and the remaining 3 (2 of which are ballads) have lovely female vocals over mainly scant musical backing and the final track of the three 'everything you paid for' has a very creepy/eerie coda.
It's difficult to pigeonhole them but indie-pop is probably as near as anything but whatever you call 'em they've released a beautiful albeit melancholic album.


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