Profile for Red on Black > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Red on Black
Top Reviewer Ranking: 40
Helpful Votes: 13354

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Red on Black
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Officially Licensed Twin Docking Station - Black (PS4)
Officially Licensed Twin Docking Station - Black (PS4)
Price: £34.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Officially Licensed Twin Docking Station - Black (PS4) - Tidy!, 5 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This review is written in pure ignorance. The games equipment in this "des rez" is the property of a sprog, namely my son. If said individual could spend as much time dedicating himself to literature as he does on X-Box and PS's ranging from 2 to 4 he would be a modern day Tolstoy. Unfortunately, this is wishful thinking and as this review is written a battle is raging in another room led by someone called the Witcher who appears adept at hacking and slashing his way through entire civilisations.

Having sort detailed comments from my son on this product and its effectiveness on charging wireless controllers I am reliably informed that the product is "dench" and really "tidy". To interpret he is very pleased with docking station that charges 2 x DUALSHOCK4 wireless controllers simultaneously. This may mean something to a person thinking of purchasing this product so hopefully this review is helpful. Alternatively for your reviewer, ignorance is bliss,


The Monsanto Years [CD+DVD]
The Monsanto Years [CD+DVD]
Price: £12.99

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Neil Young + The Promise of the Real - The Sloganising Years, 29 Jun. 2015
Neil Young has "form" when it comes to rallying against the growth of agribusiness in the US and especially arguing that the big corporations that peddle pesticides and chemicals are untouchable. His involvement in "Farm-aid" goes back to 1985 and you could, therefore, argue that this album is a logical destination travelled on a long journey. You could also argue that once again Young has released another poor album in what is increasingly becoming a prolonged bad run which matches his awful 1980s output. Let's for once dispense with how admirable the cause is and concentrate on the lyrics and the music. The tendency to employ slogans has been evident in his music since "Living with War" and was again repeated on "Storytone". The problem is that they are increasingly the type of woolly rhyming couplets that young children construct for school poetry competitions. "Wolf Moon" for example is truly awful. It's an attempt at "Harvest Moon" era balladry riddled with cliche after cliche. Honestly, you will wince at lines like "big sky I'm grateful for your parting clouds". Others like "People want to hear about love" is a poor bar room rock. It is the sort of stuff that Young could write in his sleep. In it he warns "Don't talk about the corporations hijacking all your rights/People want to hear about love/Don't mention world poverty talk about global love/People want to hear about love". It really is hard to believe that this is the same man who wrote "Cortez the Killer", "Powderfinger" and "Revolution Blues".

Some tracks have redeeming features not least "Workin Man" which reminds the listener of "White Line", while the slow burn of the hard-hitting "If I don't know" is probably the best song present. Sadly these are limited exceptions. When taken as a whole the overall vibe of this album is that of a sub-Crazy Horse-esque guitar workout that could almost be a parody of Young's music. Even the most fanatical disciple of Young's music must admit that he has gone preachy to the extreme and it is dramatically affecting the quality barometer. Worse still is the bludgeoning nature of the attack on "The Monsanto Years" that is completely weakened by its "carpet bombing" approach. It fails to conjure up the type of restrained fury and nuance that truly great political songs can muster. Think "Shipbuilding" by Robert Wyatt, John Fogerty's "Fortunate Son" and especially Young's own "Ohio".

There is no doubting Young's focused anger. Indeed, the finger could also be pointed at other big companies like Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, and Syngenta. Similarly, the debate on the pros and cons of GM crops needs the widest possible airing and should rage throughout our culture. This is especially pronounced as population projections suggest that the food industry, will have to cope with two billion more consumers over the next 40 years, the vast majority of whom will be born in Africa and Asia. Thus it is a vital issue that Young raises, unfortunately, it does not make for good music.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 4, 2015 1:06 PM BST


My Love Is Cool
My Love Is Cool
Price: £9.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wolf Alice - The Contenders, 23 Jun. 2015
This review is from: My Love Is Cool (Audio CD)
Something appears to be stirring in north London with the release of "My love is cool". It could at last see a British band emerge destined for the greatest heights and sustaining a sound which is still developing. Those of you who have heard and endlessly played the single "Bros" will know that Wolf Alice bring sweetness and melody wrapped in a powerful grunge pop exterior. They are a band that have been subject to hype though most of it is confirmed by the promise contained within this album's grooves.

Wolf Alice are not afraid to launch a curveball. The stirring power-pop of "You're a Germ" echoes the Pixies and could be a rallying anthem for a new generation of indie supporters. Ellie Roswell's vocals can range from sounding like the missing link between Harriet Wheeler of the Sundays crossed with Kim Deal. On the wonderful "Lisbon" the band throw in the kitchen sink into a song that builds up a tremendous cacophony but maintains it's discipline throughout. Others like the pivotal track on the album "Silk" echo the best of bands like Broken Social Scene in its triumphant build up until Roswell comes in with a superb spoken lyric that cements the inherent tension in the song. It is tracks like this that will make them the hottest ticket in town over the next period. Granted, there are elements of this album that any connoisseur of shoegaze music will be able to construct an argument that it cut and pastes key elements of the music of MBV, Ride and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Your reviewer is a sucker nevertheless for songs like the last track "The Wonder why" (hiding a hidden track) which is pure pop gold packed into nearly seven minutes of aching vocals from Roswell and a powerful swirling band backdrop.

Claims have been made for "My Love is Cool" to be one of the greatest debut albums? Wolf Alice are not quite original enough to deserve that plaudit. The album is certainly not as impactful as the Stone Roses, as magnificent as "Unknown Pleasures" or as much fun as the Arctic Monkeys. Still the fact that you can mention these records in the same breath as Wolf Alice shows that they are real contenders and very welcome ones at that.


Coming Home
Coming Home
Price: £7.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leon Bridges - Retro Soul, 23 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Coming Home (Audio CD)
They say there is nothing new under the sun. Thus, if you are looking for originality Leon Bridges "Coming home" is not going to push many buttons. It makes more sense when you treat it as a concise album of retro soul sardine packed with sounds that recall Smokey Robinson ("Coming Home"), Sam Cooke ("River") and Otis Redding ("Shine"). The market for this music is a constant and when executed with the sort of precision that Bridges brings to these 10 originals it has real merit. The cover also clearly seeks a Stax authenticity and could have comfortably' sat in Amercian record stores in the soul heyday without looking out of place.

He undoubtedly has a great soul voice and a good ear for a tune with the aforementioned "Shine" beautifully paced and packed with restrained emotion. Best of all is dreamy ballad "Lisa Sawyer" a song about Bridges mother which deserves the widest possible airing. The problem with soul revivalists is that the bar was set so high in the first place by the great names above and a host of others. In this context while this Texan troubadour successfully lands an excellent upbeat soul album on the listener another outing in this format will probably be viewed in a harsher light despite the enviable talent on display.


Game of Thrones: Season 5
Game of Thrones: Season 5
Price: £16.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Game of Thrones Series 5 - Life is nasty, brutish and short, 21 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Contains some possible spoilers.

It is arguable that Game of Thrones Series 5 has not been the best installment of this remarkable programme. Indeed, was it not for the shocks and surprises of the last three brilliant episodes "Hard home", "The Dance of Dragons" and "Mothers Mercy" this may have been viewed as a relative disappointment. This was a very slow burn at the outset and some of the plots have been messy and convoluted. It triumphed with precision however as the series drew to a genuinely thrilling conclusion setting it up perfectly for the next round.

Issues include the Dorne story. In George R.R. Martin's book, this hardly screams off the page. Unfortunately, it had the same impact on the screen with Jamie and Bronn trying to form a sort of comedy double act, whilst his final scene with Myrcella had a predictable inevitability about it. The loose ends in the plots are also becoming a problem. What has happened to the Tyrell’s for example? We knew that Series Five would be a Bran Stark free zone, but it is difficult to explain why bearing in mind the sheer amount of energy that was invested in that storyline in previous services. Finally, it has been a relatively disappointing series in relation to Ayra with the "the Many Faced God" plot often drowning in too much mysticism and a slow apprenticeship.

This has been a brutal series not least Ramsey Bolton’s horrific treatment of Sansa Stark. It generated pages of controversy and comment. It could be argued that this was handled with care since the impact came from the terrible look on the face of her childhood friend Theon, who had been made to watch. However, it split the audience with the online reaction ranging from the recognition of a new super villain in Bolton (played by the superbly cast Welsh actor Iwan Rheon) or an unnecessary gratuitous scene which debased the show. This was a series of rape, murder, and burning, often crossing the line between fantasy and horror. It was brilliantly rounded off in the last 3 episodes leaving the viewer gasping with surprise and crying out for more. Throughout the acting has been first class. Tyrian Lannister (Peter Dinklage) continues to be the great scene- stealer although it was a relatively quiet series for his character. The emergence of Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow, the religious fundamentalist leader bent on ruling Kings Landing as a faith-based state has deep echoes with the news on our screens. The storyline of Stannis Baratheon and his family dominated by the increasingly wrathful and demented Lady Melisandre has had the quality of a Shakespearian tragedy and been brilliantly executed. Finally, the Battle of Hard-home had more genuine excitement in 20 minutes than the ponderous "The Hobbit - Five Armies" had in three hours

Game of Thrones is by a country mile the best series on TV. It is a testimony to the greatness of the show that Series 5, which has seen a number of missteps still stands head and shoulders above any competition. It is a series well worth re-watching immediately since it is full of clues for series 6 and plays better on a second visit. Great television.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 24, 2015 8:13 AM BST


Taylors of Harrogate Espresso Coffee Capsules Nespresso Compatible Brazilian Yellow Bourbon (Pack of 6, Total 60 Capsules)
Taylors of Harrogate Espresso Coffee Capsules Nespresso Compatible Brazilian Yellow Bourbon (Pack of 6, Total 60 Capsules)
Price: £17.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Taylors of Harrogate Espresso - The Nissan Micra of the Capsule Trade, 15 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Sadly after sticking with these for a few days your reviewer returned with relief to the light blue Nespresso Vivalto Lungo capsules, the height of coffee perfection. It's not that these Taylor Expresso capsules are stinkers or lower than a snakes belly in the quality stakes. They are generally well constructed, work functionally in your Nespresso machine and not to be sniffed at when received free through Vine. The packaging is all gold and posh plus with 60 capsules for under £20 quid they are competitive.

The problem is the description on the box of them as an "Espresso, that offers notes of toasted walnut, toffee fudge and a smoky touch of darkness". Quite where these features are to be located is a bit of a mystery since to use the Valleys vernacular they are essentially as "weak as pXXx". One will search in vain for the smokey touch of darkness offered, indeed it's a bit like a decaf with a bad cold. Consequently, while you have to pay extra for the Nespresso brand they remain the Executive Vehicle of the capsule trade while Taylors Expresso is a bit like a Nissen Micra. Perfectly functional, reliable, cheap to run but rather dull.


Red Kite
Red Kite
Price: £9.99

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sarah Cracknell - Dreamy Summer Anthems, 15 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Red Kite (Audio CD)
"Red Kite", is Sarah Cracknell's first major solo project in 15 years. But who is Sarah Cracknell? For those with longish memories the band Saint Etienne will be fondly remembered for their pure pop sensibility and also proving that Neil Young's music does lend itself to dance covers in their version of "Only love can break your heart". The dream pop approach of the band extended into other genres and on 1993's dark "So Tough" they covered to good effect both Teenage Fanclub (Everything Flows) and Bob Dylan (Rainy Day Women #12 & 35).

On "Red Kite" Cracknell's voice remains essentially as sweet and endearing as it was all those years ago and she has recorded an album designed for lazy summer days and hazy evenings. It has Nicky Wire from the Manic Street Preachers partnering her on "Nothing left to talk about" a breezy slice of inspired melody which could trouble the charts. It is bettered, however. by the lovely nostalgic opener "On the Swings" where Cracknell does her best Dusty Springfield impression on a wistful anthem. Curse the Guardian who have accurately argued that it "sounds like the soundtrack to a film set on Paris's Left Bank circa 1965" and managed to say this without a misspelling. Other standout tracks like the pounding "Underneath the stars" again sits in this sixties vibe with Cracknell's vocal beautifully understated. Saint Etienne were never afraid to dabble with folk music and on this album the gorgeous "In the dark" has a melancholy which sits in this tradition yet is combined with a luster that separates it from more average fare. The later track "The Mutineer" is even more stripped back and revels in its acoustic simplicity. Finally, you can imagine Jack White doing a cover of the tough "I am not your enemy" a punchy penultimate track, although the closer "Favourite Chair" stands in contrast with its almost Disney-like simplicity.

This is top rate pop album designed for the summer months by an artist whose experience is able to carry through to a finely executed piece of work. "Red Kite" is a largely light Flotsam and Jetsam that gently floats over the listener. That is until the songs creep up on you and melodies invade your consciousness without invite or warning. This is a sultry and elegant album from an artist who should perhaps ​seek to close the duration of the gaps between her solo outings. Musically Sarah Cracknell has much to say and it would be nice if she spoke more regularly
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 18, 2015 2:19 PM BST


Fates and Furies
Fates and Furies
by Lauren Groff
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lauren Groff - Fakes and Fatheads, 10 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Fates and Furies (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
One reviewer on Amazon has compared this book to the "Great Gatsby" an alternative view has been expressed that it is little more than "Gone Girl with slightly nicer people". That may be doing it too much of a service.

If you like to curl up with a lengthy tale of two really unlikeable American narcissists this is the book of your dreams. Throughout Groff's prose is so flowery it should be on display at Chelsea. It is written in a style which is so pretentious it's hilarious. It sounds like a recording of a posh party in TriBeCa with a pile of people who have drunk too much vintage porto, read "Culture made Simple" and feel the need to show off. The lines are often excruciatingly toe curling, not least "Sallie edged nearer. she handed Antoinette a flyer for Disney's new park in Orlando. "You're Cinderella" she whispered. Antoinette had never felt so understood in her life "I am" she said". There are numerous examples of this type of writing and it becomes as wearing as the main characters in this book namely Lancelot (I kid you not!) and Mathilde.

It starts off with the two them on a beach in Maine in a Chapter which is a shoe in for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award. It ends god knows where since this reviewer gave up at Chapter Five greatly annoyed that the couple of hours wasted on this smug ostentatious bilge were lost forever. Quite how much the reviewer on the dustjacket was paid to describe this as a "literary masterpiece that defies expectation" is a matter for conjuncture. Indeed, it makes the whole book even less worthy. Apologies if this review sounds bored, but that is precisely the impact that this tedious trek through a marriage "destined for greatness" had on this reader.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2015 5:29 AM BST


APOCALYPSE, GIRL
APOCALYPSE, GIRL
Price: £10.93

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jenny Hval - Apocalypse, Now, 8 Jun. 2015
This review is from: APOCALYPSE, GIRL (Audio CD)
When you download the music of Norwegian artist Jenny Hval into your music library it pops up in the genre of "avant garde". This is a shame, not because there is not merit in this music, but in broad terms Hval appears to be the missing link between Bjork and FKA Twigs. "Apocalypse, girl" does have its more challenging moments of free jazz and trippy improvisation. Similarly, Hval can effectively record a thing of outright beauty like "Sabbath" yet derail any radio airplay by the use of the C Bomb. In the brilliant "That Battle is Over," she records one of the best songs this reviewer has heard in 2015. It is not often you hear an artist declare within the confines of a single song that "Feminism is over/ and socialism is over" and observe that "Statistics and newspapers tell me I am unhappy and dying/That I need man and child to fulfill me / That I'm more likely to get breast cancer. And it's biology, it's my own fault, it's divine punishment of the unruly." Hval happily looks down from high and pronounces on consumerism, culture, religion and much more besides. She imbues this with a wicked sense of humour not least "the urge to shout rude things." If you are easily offended or a paid up member of the Blessed Order of St Mary of the Meek stay clear. This album is populated with a healthy quota of rude words.

Sometimes you think a song is about to fall flat like "Heaven" which starts off tuneless but then it morphs into a wonderfully wordy slice of electronica. Others like "Take care of yourself" verge on Joanna Newsom territory and like the latter's music is utterly compelling as Hval questions whether the answer to the question posed in the song title is "Getting laid? Getting paid? Getting married? Getting pregnant?". Her voice can be in turns sweet, overlaid with samples as she merrily pronounces on the State of the West. Perhaps the 10-minute dreamy ambience of "Apocalypse, girl's" final track "Holy Land" does overstay its welcome, though it does show her willingness to venture in territory which are no-go areas for more conventional artists.

In the final determination, this is bold, provocative and sweeping statement by Jenny Hval who is searching for a sound beyond the confines of everyday pop banality. She is to be congratulated for on "Apocalypse, girl" she has succeeded in every respect. Love the album cover by the way.


Epson WorkForce WF-2530WF Ultra compact and reliable 4-in-1 for the small office printer with Wifi and AirPrint
Epson WorkForce WF-2530WF Ultra compact and reliable 4-in-1 for the small office printer with Wifi and AirPrint
Offered by TODO! TODO!
Price: £74.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Epson Doesn't Workforce WF -2530WF - Languishing in a skip, 5 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This printer is sent from the bowels of hades to torture you. Having had a very bad experience with a Hewlett Packard, it felt for a time that printing heaven had been achieved with Epson. But this wretched black plastic devil is worse. It constantly shows cartridges are empty when they have barely been used. It refuses to recognise bona fide Epson cartridges and you have to constantly turn it on and off again to get it to work. When it finally achieves the remarkable task of accepting its own brand cartridges it goes through some strange checking process that takes a lifetime. The print cartridges are so expensive you weep when you waste a page of printing. Don't get me started on the wireless facility laughably called AirPrint. There must be fog on the runaway since the damn thing constantly disconnects and it has to be connected by a lead.

Luckily there is a skip outside the house today. The printer is now located firmly at the centre of this wonderful receptacle. It is difficult to put into words the sheer joy felt by your reviewer as this pile of Epson garbage sailed through the air and landed with a smash. Members of the local community are being urged by yours truly to throw a brick at it or pour last night's left-over spaghetti into its workings. It was the most enjoyment achieved from this monstrosity since it was purchased and revenge is sweet.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20