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coca-ebola (United Kingdom)

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Love And Hate
Love And Hate
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what it should've been, 17 May 2011
This review is from: Love And Hate (Audio CD)
The trouble with this is that it doesn't reissue either the "love" or "hate" albums in their entirety - instead we get much of the love album, some of the hate album, plus remixes/alternate versions.
A proper reissue that contained the contents of both, plus the bonus material, would have been far more useful.

Original Album Classics
Original Album Classics

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's got Nite Flights in it - enough said!, 11 May 2011
This review is from: Original Album Classics (Audio CD)
No need to give background information - for that, see the previous review!

Most important point to make is that this is the easiest way to acquire the Nite Flights album - which essentially marks the point where Scott Walker started to become what he is now, a progressive composer who transcends boundaries.

His contributions to this album aren't on the level of The Drift, to be sure - they're Bowie-influenced art-rock with hints of avant-garde electronica/jazz-rock, but you can't disrespect that! And remember how far removed they were from what was expected of him musically at the time.

But it isn't an EP disguised as an album: it's a shame the six songs contributed by the other two Walkers have been undervalued. It's true they're not on the same page as Scott - my favorite description (and I can't remember who said it first) is that Scott's been listening to Heroes and Lodger, while John and Gary are still stuck on Young Americans and Station to Station. But, again - nothing's wrong with that. They succeed in making thoroughly modern (for the time) pop-rock, and these songs too may have come as a revelation to long-time Walker watchers (the lyrics are quite extraordinary).

The "filler" here is to be found on the other two albums - No Regrets and Lines are just...rather ordinary '70s adult-contemporary pop. And it's not just song selection that's the problem. What's most frustrating about them is the way the Walkers manage to diminish several great songs (like the Jimmy Cliff and Randy Newman choices) - with feeble arrangements that not even these great vocal stylists can breathe life into.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2012 6:36 PM BST

The Garden Of Jane Delawney
The Garden Of Jane Delawney

4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the masterpiece you may have heard, 3 May 2011
Deja vu: that's the problem I have with this record. It's a total Fairport clone.

They cover the same songs - though they're clever enough to use variant versions. Their originals sound like 1968-vintage Denny or Thompson discards. And every bandmember seems to imitate their 1967/8 Fairport counterpart - Celia's voice is sort of inbetween Judy and Sandy, the drum patterns are Lamblesque and the lead guitar recalls the immature young Thompson, when he was still getting the rock god business out of his system.

All of which means - once you've accepted its unoriginality, it's a "pleasant" listen, but no more.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 6, 2015 4:29 PM BST

100 Hits: 80s Rewind
100 Hits: 80s Rewind

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is what the '80s charts were actually like, 9 April 2011
This review is from: 100 Hits: 80s Rewind (Audio CD)
Much less tasteful than the "Electric Eighties" album in the same series, with plenty of cheese added to the recipe - this compilation can however be recommended as an accurate portrayal of the 1980s singles charts.

Whilst "quality music" - ranging from the Jesus & Mary Chain to Martin Stephenson to Gillan to 808 State - was creeping into the Top 40 (or Top 60); the top end of the listing often seemed to be dominated by fad-chasing throwaway pop (Modern Romance), shallow dance-pop (Taffy), middle of the road (Elaine Paige), novelties (Chas & Dave) and not-too-talented veterans of the last decade (Leo Sayer).

So, this set is an opportunity to scoop up a few genuine classics you might have missed - and a lot of "guilty pleasures" that hit the nostalgia button whether you want them to or not...and some things you can't even be bothered to play once.

Fortunately, a lot of thought has been put into the sequencing and track selection. As with the "electric" album, every disc is full to the brim. There are a few nice curios that just scraped into the charts (remember Jesse Rae? or the Screaming Blue Messiahs?) and a few not-so-obvious choices, in both the period-piece (Toyah, Strawberry Switchblade) and serious (Billy Bragg, Echo & The Bunnymen) categories.

And, once again, a few alternative versions have been snuck in - we might expect non-standard mixes/edits from Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Art Of Noise (ZTT remixed all their artists to death!), but we didn't expect an alternate take of Blancmanghe's Abba cover (different vocal, extra trumpet) and even an extended mix of "Candy Girl" (why, I'll never know?!)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 2, 2013 8:09 PM GMT

Fortune His Sleep
Fortune His Sleep
Price: £24.64

3.0 out of 5 stars Generic doesn't always mean "bad", 21 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Fortune His Sleep (Audio CD)
"Unoriginal" this may be, but as mellow verging-on-ethereal female goth records go, you could certainly do worse.

It outclasses most of the Projekt Records set simply because it never gets stuck in an ambient music rut. Where bands as different as Lycia and Black Tape For A Blue Girl hexed themselves by relying on drones and loops - inviting the world not to listen to them - Faith & Disease not only write actual songs, but take care to present them as songs, rather than soundscapes.

They don't restrict themselves to a limited set of timbres and textures. Nor do they neglect to vary the tempo - several songs (mainly in the album's second half) are eminently danceable. Except possibly for the opener, none of the songs outstay their welcome. And there's no shortage of memorable riffs and hooks.

But there's the rub. It's possible to call this a not-very-good record - because it's derivative.

Obviously the band owes its existence to the likes of the Cocteau Twins and the Cure [hence the clever, subtly-reharmonised cover of "All Cats Are Grey"], and can be more specifically compared to the likes of This Ascension and Love Spirals Downwards. But they pilfer their riffs and hooks from less likely sources: Mike Oldfield, Renaissance [and I don't mean their cover of the last part of "Ashes Are Burning"], 10000 Maniacs, even Paul McCartney (what does "Amelius Unhappy" remind you of?)

I guess they get away with it through musicianship - and in particular Dara Rosenwasser's vocals. Her voice may not be powerful like Dru from This Ascension (for instance), but it's sweet-like-blueberries throughout.

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (30th Anniversary 2CD Edition)
The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (30th Anniversary 2CD Edition)
Offered by Smaller World Future
Price: £137.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive edition of era-defining classic, 28 Jan. 2011
It's all been said before about the importance of this album.

I just want to point out that this is the best way to acquire it - because the bonus disc isn't just for completists, it contains at least one essential song that doesn't turn up anywhere else: "Sweet Head", a piece of the "Ziggy" mythology which couldn't be included because it was either too rude (the title gives you a clue) or too similar in tone to "Hang On To Yourself".

What with that and "Velvet Goldmine" and "John I'm..." - this is the essential edition of an essential album.


4.0 out of 5 stars A minor treasure, 21 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Prophecies (Audio CD)
Prophecies isn't one of the best remembered CD albums, but it does contain some of the highlights of their later period. Ostensibly a tribute to Nostradamus, the actual concept of the album is "possible endings of the human race". Some of these are credible (nuclear war against rogue states and/or terrorists; climate change), and others not so credible (attack of the killer bees? invasion of the pig from outer space?)

We'll deal with the weaker tracks first - and it's the not-so-serious lyrics that get the least interesting musical settings. "Great Swarm of Bees" has some substance to it, in the chord progression and instrumentation (falsetto vocals, chime bars), but "Pig Half Man" is an "irritatingly memorable" gang-shout rocker. To a degree the same is true of "Into the Shitworld" - it does however have a middle-eight/coda which wanders off in another direction altogether, but then again it doesn't fit the album's concept: it's a sexist putdown song, no more no less.

The serious songs are the real keepers though: "Thunderstorm" turns out to be one of the most beautiful latter-day CD songs. Slow-paced, sharing the ambience of a certain Doors song, but with symphonic keyboards, it also features acoustic lead guitar and one of Valor's most emotive vocals. "Black Empire", on the other hand, is the album's great lost stadium anthem/dancefloor filler. 1999 may have come and gone but it still works as an anthem for would-be dictators everywhere!
Speaking of which, "Alone" is arguably the absolute highlight of the album. Not only does it use apocalyptic imagery to make a serious point about self-proclaimed "outsiders" of all kinds, it's also a feat of production. It couldn't be performed live, because found sounds and changes of ambience are as important to it as changes of tempo and guitar timbre.
And another song which doesn't fit the concept, "Without" (which has an appendix, "Is This The Will Of God") is one of the more unusual and pleasantly surprising tracks from CD's later era. A long-overdue return to the symphonic synthesizer style of the Past Present & Forever era, except this is more like a song than a soundscape - it even has a refrain, consisting of three chords and as few words.

Finally, the token collage piece at the end, "1999". Like most of their collage pieces, it's a little bit surplus to requirement: it doesn't advance a narrative or resolve any unfinished business. But it's more interesting as music than most, mainly because its medley of found sounds is eventually resolved with a grinding-riff ending. I guess it's as near as they wanted to get to writing their own particular "Waiting Room"!

More Live at The Showboat 1963
More Live at The Showboat 1963
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £7.41

3.0 out of 5 stars Actually it's very good, 21 Jan. 2011
You will have read reviews hysterically damning the sound quality. I do not understand them, at all! The sound is similar to the previous Live At The Showboat album - in fact, superior, as there was some slight speed slippage on that album. I don't hear any phase-shifting either - there are tiny moments of "digital distortion", but tiny is the operative word. No scholarly fan of Coltrane - or jazz in general - will be troubled by the sound of this disc (certainly there are well-known airshots of Parker and Gillespie with far worse sound).

As for the performance: there's nothing as crushingly intense as the half-hour-plus "Impressions" on the previous volume, but Coltrane and Haynes still raise the temperature during the trio set [the bass is barely audible], with 'Trane largely avoiding the trap of rhythmically-monotonous phrasing that he was prone to. It's similar in tone to the performances on the "Afro Blue Impressions" album - and, like that album, it has a couple of surprises in the repertoire department: "Up 'Gainst The Wall" and "It's Easy To Remember" have almost never been heard live before (the latter is a real change of pace: Coltrane working off a "lomg-winded" chord sequence, as late as 1963!)

Coltrane's tentative solo piano improvisation beginning with "After The Rain" will have garnered the most attention, but it's the other pianist (when he finally arrives) who steals the show (in a way). This "Impressions" is obviously incomplete - just the beginning and end of what must have been another 30-minuter - but it allows us to hear an amazing solo from Tyner. I don't think I've ever heard him play such a long solo (11 minutes) - I certainly didn't expect him to be pushing the harmonic boundaries so much at this stage of his Coltrane career. For this solo alone, the disc is a must-hear!

Sound of Jazz
Sound of Jazz
Offered by Smaller World Future
Price: £45.54

3.0 out of 5 stars The "Lionel Hampton Presents" Session, 13 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Sound of Jazz (Audio CD)
...not that Hamp actually performs on the record, it was just issued as part of a series curated by Hampton on the short-lived Kingdom label, whose contents have been passed around all the budget price labels since the '80s.

Recorded in 1978, with Kai's then regular rhythm section of Frank Strazzeri (very '70s-sounding electric piano), Kevin Brandon (electric bass) and Ted Hawke (normal drums), it seems to be an attenpt to condense a typical club performance to LP-length. Only two original tunes are included (Kai's "Mono Bone" and Strazzeri's "Lazy Moments") - to his credit, Kai chose some not-so-familiar standards for this (few people remembered "Lonely Town" or Kurt Weill's "That's Him" even then).

I bought this out of curiosity - I knew Kai from his collaborations with JJ Johnson and Mingus. I never found Kai that fascinating as a soloist. Clearly by now his technique was in decline but - how shall I put this - he always sounded like a watered-down version of his old buddy JJ. Less harmonically adventurous, but also less likely to resort to quotations.

PS: I wonder why no-one has yet issued an anthology combining this with Kai's previous Kingdom sessions (scattered across various albums, including one track that's infamously become confused with a contemporaneous Mingus recording).

sunset and other beginnings LP
sunset and other beginnings LP

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The most problematic of the middle-period albums, 1 Dec. 2010
In its way, this album sums up Melanie's post-hippie-years/pre-AOR period. Long on cover versions - because she was stockpiling material for the planned comeback "Photograph" - and short on excitement, especially compared to past landmark albums like "Affectionately" and "Stoneground Words". There's no discernible concept underpinning this collection of songs - but that doesn't explain why this is less successful as an Album than even "Madrugada".
The arrangements are rather dull and generic - despite the presence of stalwarts Kellaway and Frangipane - and the chanteuse sounds disconnected or tired at times.
Half the album works pretty well. In the cover version category, there's a brilliant, funky and fiery, take on "Got My Mojo Workin'", an unlikely blues-tinged revision of "Almost Like Being In Love", and "What Do I Keep" which turns out to be the best-performed ballad on the album.
A few originals stand out: in the philosophical category, "Perceive It" (a "be here now" type of lyric) and "Where's The Band" (another plea for unity and peace, and almost the only moment on the album where she really exercises her larynx, using her voice as an instrument just a little); and in the introspective category, "The Sun And The Moon".
Unfortunately the other originals never seem to get started, certainly the lyrics struggle to make their point. "Sandman", "Lovin' My Children" and especially "People Are Just Gettin' Ready" are over-repetitive and saddled with dull vocals. And there's another instantly forgettable epilogue song at the end of the album.
A couple of covers also fail to work. It's hard to see the point of the bluegrass arrangement of "Ol' Man River": she drops the middle-eight as if admitting that the song doesn't mean much to her. She tries to be subtly subversive, changing and rearranging lyrics, in the "You Can't Hurry Love/Mama Said".
There are certainly worse albums in her catalogue, but, from the vintage years, this is the least consequential and easiest to overlook.

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