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J. Pearce (UK)

Page: 1
Price: £4.24

8 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Caveat emptor yet again for Keane, 28 May 2012
This review is from: Strangeland (Audio CD)
I'm not sure I've listened to the same album as other reviewers. This album is simply appalling.

Where do I start? Well, there are absolutely no standout tracks on this album at all. Previews reviews talk about "melody" and sure, there are melodies - but they are so dull, bland, vacuous and hollow that they are instantly forgotten. They make Coldplay sound like Slipknot.

The production doesn't help either - its been digitised into mushy oblivion. The vocals are so inoffensive that they have absolutely robbed the music of any soul or emotion whatsoever. Sure, he hits all the right notes on the aforementioned sacharrine melodies, but it actually sounds like he's been auto-tuned, its that robotically perfect.

It doesn't help that Tim Rice-Oxleys lyrics are frighteningly drab, either. The forgotten south coast seafronts he writes about have the potential to inspire some pretty dark, scarbarous and grim lyrics (I'm thinking of Morriseys "Every Day Is Like Sunday" as a benchmark). But no, T R-O just writes like a small town journalist, blandly describing the scenes with barely a hint of ennui. No wonder the singer couldn't muster the appropriate emotion - there is nothing worth emoting.

Its a shame, because after the similarly rubbish diversion of "Perfect Symmetry" (which does at least contain one glorious track) I was hoping Keane would go back to the template forged on "Under The Iron Sea", which really did contain a number of excellent songs and sounded brooding, spiky and foreboding. Instead, they've disappeared into bland MOR hell.

Clearly, mine will not likely be a popular opinion, but there is absolutely nothing to recommend this album for me. Keane appear to have gone backwards and frankly, need a radical rethink or need to retire.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 25, 2015 4:51 AM GMT

Dark Avengers Volume 1: Assemble Premiere HC (Marvel Premiere Editions)
Dark Avengers Volume 1: Assemble Premiere HC (Marvel Premiere Editions)
by Brian Bendis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bendis pulls one out of the hat, 29 Aug. 2009
It would be quite easy to dislike Brian Michael Bendis. He's omnipresent at Marvel right now...they should rename it the Bendis Universe and be done with it. Almost every major Marvel story arc of the past few years has evolved from his plotlines and he seems to writing everything to do with now multi-franchised Avengers.

However, it helps that his storylines and dailogue are very good indeed. And I have to say that on this particular Avengers offshoot, he really goes to town. Even compared to his work on New Avengers, this is a blast. It seems like writing the bad guys (who are also the good guys...ish) has really brought out the best in Bendis. You can almost sense the enjoyment he gets from penning the interplay between various shades of psychopath. Positively Tarantino-esque, some of it.

Complemented by Mike Deodato's superb artwork, for anyone who feels like dipping a toe into the current Marvel universe, this is as good a place to start as any. For the seasoned Marvel reader, I'm probably preaching to the converted.

Perfect Symmetry
Perfect Symmetry
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £3.75

3 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Worst 80's Album...Ever, 14 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Perfect Symmetry (Audio CD)
Do not buy this album. It is really not very good. The reviwer who mentions it being a Bowie-rip off is spot on.

The problem is that its sooo 80's - anodyne, flossy melodies, godawful retro 80's synth stylings, tinny beats - even the cover art! It would have been average/good if released in 1984...but today, there's no excuse for this (unless Tim Rice-Oxley is craftily going for the middle aged CD buyer who was young in the 80's, in which case, its a brilliant career move!).

Where are the killer tunes? If they had written an album with tracks that compared, say, to Aha's "The Sun Always Shines on TV", or Bowies "Lets Dance", or even the Pet Shop Boys early efforts, then maybe you could forgive Keane. They really should have moved on from the immensely promising Under The Iron Sea.

But they have signally failed to better any of the standout tracks from their previous album (Crystal Ball and A Bad Dream spring to mind) and the whole album just meanders by in an uninspiring fashion.

This album is really disappointing, when I was hoping that Keane were going to make a big artistic leap forward. Instead, they've gone backwards.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2009 11:58 PM GMT

Copper Blue
Copper Blue
Price: £5.02

3 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Err..NOT the best album released by Creation, actually, 4 Jan. 2007
This review is from: Copper Blue (Audio CD)
I wanted to listen to this album for years, since it was rated "Best Album 1992" by the NME on the year of its release - only now (a bit late)have I had the chance - but the NME couldn't have got it more wrong. Obviously, it surfed to Grunge zeitgeist to get its kudos at the time, but the bottom line is that its really not as good as previous reviews have raved about. I'm not saying that its abysmal, just that it doesn't deserve 5 stars.

Why? Its too one-dimensional, the production does it no favours (too much treble) and Bob Moulds voice is archetypal whiny/nasal WASP american (actually, I can hear the legacy of this album in some of the more recent american alt-rock & emo stuff thats come out, so I suppose thats a tribute to it in one respect).

The plus points - there are some decent melodies on it, although they are stretched a bit thinly over the whole of the record. Where the production does the songs good is on the more jingly-jangly tracks; unfortunately, these are the tracks where the melody/hook quotient is a bit low! And there a couple of decent riffs on the album. The first and last tracks are definitely very good.

But taken as a whole, its not a 5 star album. There are a couple of obvious fillers, the production gets on yer tits over the whole length of the record (especially considering that the overall tempo and sound of the album doesn't vary too much) and I think only real aficionados of this genre of music would rate this so highly.

The more eclectic music fan would probably do well to approach with a bit more caution. As for the best album Creation ever released - get Screamadelica.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2017 12:31 PM GMT

Frolic Through the Park
Frolic Through the Park
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £19.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Death Angel's transitional album - still worth having, 7 Dec. 2004
This review is from: Frolic Through the Park (Audio CD)
Death Angel emerged in the late 80's "second wave" of thrash metal (alongside the other Bay Area giants Testament) and unfortuantely never quite achieved the recognition they deserved at the time. Their first album ("The Ultraviolence") was a brutal affair of thrash riffs, myriad tempo changes and rather basic lyrical concerns. Although there were a few standout tracks on it to rival their more illustious contemporaries, it was, at best, fair-to-middling.
However, this, their second album, displayed a growing confidence with their own technical abilities and contains more varied and interesting material. It also contains "Bored", possibly one of the best individual tracks of the era produced by any metal band and the main reason the rating is 4 stars - you really need to own this album for this track alone. It eschewed the (then) traditional acoustic/crash/bang approach to thrash; instead, it is propelled by a hypnotic repeating guitar motif, building slowly but steadily with a distinct menace, but never totally exploding into a faster tempo - instead, it just kind of peters out without going anywhere, in a warped, almost jazz sounding fade out.
On paper, it sounds crap - but it works beautifully. And unlike most other bands at the time, it does it all in under 4 minutes - no ten minute guitar marathon necessary here. "Frolic" came out the same year as Metallica's good-but-interminably-long "And Justice For All" and Anthrax's crap-and-still-interminably-long "State Of Euphoria". "Bored" showed that great metal music didn't necessarily have to play by the rules of the era.
This song - and about half of the others on this album - shows Death Angel approaching the maturity and grasp of songwriting dynamics that would be shown on the follow-up (and much better produced) album "Act 3". "Frolic" is not a perfect album and the production lets it down somewhat, but it is one of those albums that contains just enough excellent tracks to ensure it is worth adding to your collection.

Fear Of A Black Planet
Fear Of A Black Planet
Price: £5.49

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An all-time classic in any genre, 13 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Fear Of A Black Planet (Audio CD)
I was never really into hip-hop/rap during the late 80's and early 90's...I was more of a metal/indie kid at the time. But then one day in mid-1990 I heard a tape of this album in a friend's car and its no understatement to say that it changed my life (or at least, my musical habits, which pretty well was my life at the time). Admittedly, it took alot of listening to get into it, but it was the sheer dynamism of the music that blew me away. Other reviewers have talked about the production, the samples, the lyrics, intelligence, attitude and invention - and they are all absolutely right. What also needs to be emphasised are the hooks - there are tracks on this album that, given time, will sink into your memory and stay there forever. It is, frankly, a staggering piece of work which makes the hackneyed posturing of punk (i.e. the Clash, to which PE get compared to alot in terms of "revolutionary" content) look sad, limp and reactionary in comparison.
If I had not heard this, I would never have been turned onto techno, soul, funk, rave (and of course, rap)...all the glorious genre's that a sad, white indie kid tended to avoid at that time. I suppose to listeners today, it might sound dated (in production terms) but then, so do The Beatles. Its one of my favourite albums ever and in my humble opinion, one of the all time classics. Put it this way, when I played it to a thrash metal-fixated friend of mine at the time and raved on about how it was the "rap equivalent of heavy metal", he just gave me a funny look and said "you've changed". I never saw him again. But he was right - I had changed. "Fear Of A Black Planet" was (and still is) that powerful.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 24, 2014 1:03 PM BST

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