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Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
Price: £4.07

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No 'difficult' second album problems here..., 14 July 2004
B00025ETIW - Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge - My Chemical Romance
Geoff Rickly, frontman of Thursday, mixed My Chemical Romance's debut LP, and without wanting to sound overtly cynical, their almost instant recognition was perhaps attributable to Rickly. Nevertheless 'I Bought you my Bullets...' was a fine album in its own right: raw, angry and energetic.
Thursday's last release, 'War All the Time', exhibited many of the flaws endemic to the whole post-hardcore genre, there were certainly some excellent tracks such as 'Steps Ascending', 'Marches and Manoeuvres' and 'Asleep In the Chapel', but on the whole, the album was too-refined: a somewhat diluted version of the masterpiece that was 'Full Collapse'. However with their sophomore effort, My Chemical Romance have managed to avoid the trap that Thursday fell-into: the production on 'Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge' is brilliantly, and quite deliberately crude, the songs still brim with persistent energy and the lyrics are sinister and engaging.
It is to their great credit that My Chemical Romance manage to sound effervescent without sounding 'poppy' enough to alienate hardcore fans. There are as many screams as sing-along choruses, and they even manage some impressive axe-work too on 'Thank You For The Venom'. Sitting on the fence can be a dangerous tactic, but here it works nicely, the more accessible moments mitigate the cathartic riffs, the frenetic tempos and Gerard Way's semi-screaming.
Despite the seemingly mandatory inclusion of a slower song ('The Ghost Of You'), and a short interlude song, (imaginatively titled 'Interlude'), the album maintains a high quality throughout. 'I'm Not Okay (I Promise)' tears along at a crazy pace, which becomes almost metaphoric for the borderline-insane lyrical content. Like Thursday, the lyrics are a non-stop barrage of vivid poetic images (despite Way's protestation "Sister, I'm not much a poet, but a criminal"): 'Cemetery Drive' is at once morbid and compelling, 'You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison' conjures dark sketches of crime scenes and album opener 'Helena' is a tear-stained obituary. It's all very stylised and, for want of a better word, rather arty. But brushing aside album sleeves and words, My Chemical Romance have produced a blistering post-hardcore record.
'Three Cheers...' breathes life into what is rapidly becoming a tiresome and bromidic genre. My Chemical Romance's coarseness and dynamism will help to ensure they are not labelled as pretenders to the Emo throne, and at least on a vocal level they sound more like a good old fashioned hardcore-punk band rather than would-be bandwagoneers. Any fears of a bigger label pacifying their sound have clearly been allayed, and we can only hope that their future output is of comparable quality.


The Ugly Organ
The Ugly Organ
Offered by westworld-
Price: £12.98

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite their best, but still fantastic..., 12 July 2004
This review is from: The Ugly Organ (Audio CD)
B00007KVNS Cursive - The Ugly Organ
The best post-hardcore music was undoubtedly made in the early 1990s, before the word "Emo" became bandied about like some contagious disease. Bands like Quicksand, Fugazi and Drive Like Jehu were far too busy making incendiary rock music with pained, howling lyrics to worry about which genre they fitted into. The music was certainly emotional, but barely-tempered rage was prevalent, rather than the melancholic dirge selling millions at the moment. People complained when the music scene was swamped by Nu-Metal, then Garage Rock. Now Emo is clearly the fashionable musical styling. Frustratingly Cursive are categorised as Emo - but the difference between them and their contemporaries is stark. How many bands feature a Cellist as a permanent member?
Cursive are a class apart from the current crop of Emo bands, indeed it is a travesty to compare them. Tim Kasher's raw, but passionate vocals are reminiscent of legends such as Cedric Bixler Zavala (ex-At The Drive-In) from post-Hardcore's halcyon days, and the often scintillating accompaniment, from what is surely one of the best rhythm sections in Rock music today, completes a perfect line-up. Thankfully Cursive manage not to sound derivative at any point. Song length varies greatly from the short, edgy 'Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand', to the spiralling, ten-minute-epic that is 'Staying Alive'. The final track is comfortably the finest on the album, building up to a chiming, pulsing crescendo before it lapses into a gospel refrain. Unabashedly bombastic, but nonetheless brilliant.
If 'Domestica' documented the demise of Kasher's marriage, 'The Ugly Organ' is the soundtrack to the aftermath. Self-consolation is a theme running through many of the songs, with Kasher assuring himself that "The worst is over" in more than one instance. The lush timbre of the cello adds an otherwise unattainable sophistication to Kasher's confessionals. Make no mistake though; 'The Ugly Organ' has a dark side too, and again the cellist must take the plaudits. 'Harold Weathervein' could so easily be the backing music to a horror movie with its schizophrenic strings; 'Butcher the Song' and 'Bloody Murderer' overflow with latent frustration. It is so refreshing to see a band reinvent their style by the addition of a rather unusual instrument, especially when the result is as good as this.
In fairness 'The Ugly Organ' is probably not Cursive's finest LP. In places the quality matches the standard set on 'The Storms of Early Summer: Semantics of Song': songs such as 'Sierra', 'Art Is Hard' and the songs I mentioned above all shine. However there are weaker songs and some unnecessary interludes detract from the album as a whole. 'A Gentleman Caller' misses the mark despite its highbrow Tennessee Williams referencing, and urgent rhythms, and the short instrumentals: 'The Ugly Organist' and 'Herald! Frankenstein' serve only to aggravate. However there are six or seven songs here that alone warrant the asking price, so dare to listen to something mildly diverting for a change.


Els Quatre Gats
Els Quatre Gats
Offered by Music-Finder
Price: £34.89

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Less Like A Spark..., 11 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Els Quatre Gats (Audio CD)
ASIN: B00006RSNT Jetplane Landing: Els Quatre Gats [SINGLE] [LIMITED EDITION]
Jetplane Landing's DIY ethic has kept them rooted in the underground, however a recently completed 70-date tour and widespread critical acclaim of their most recent album, 'Once Like A Spark', look set to propel JL into the spotlight. Their frantic, raw, post-hardcore is infectious and often contains pretty cerebral lyrical topics (just read the pretentious 'word list' in the CD sleeve).
This four-track EP is something of a stopgap release between JL's full-length albums. Although there are no bad songs on 'Els Quatre Gats', there is nothing here to rival the brilliance of 'Tiny Bombs' or 'What The Argument Has Changed' from their first album. Vocalist Andrew Ferris is perhaps JL's biggest weakness. His strangulated yelps certainly suit the urgent, post-Fugazi rhythms, but it is impossible to take him seriously. I imagine it would sound wondrously original, but only if you had never heard anything by At The Drive-In; Ferris' shameless attempts to emulate Cedric Bixler Zavala's legendary howl sound rather conceited and weak. It all seems hideously ironic especially when he sings: "...and all but one of my ideas were stolen..." on 'My Fundamental Flaw'.
Despite much of their sound being borrowed from At The Drive-In, Jetplane Landing are hard to fault, and besides they couldn't have chosen a better band to imitate. 'Lights Out' is built on the dirtiest riff imaginable and although their sound sometimes veers towards garage rock not post-hardcore, it is intense and still retains the political intelligence that makes hardcore music credible. The excellent 'Acrimony' and 'An Upheaval' are grin-inducing slabs of homegrown rock, and sound just as good on tape as they do live. Either of JL's full length albums are to be recommended, but 'Els Quatre Gats' does not compare, however it remains a worthy release for completists and fans interested in seeing how their sound has developed and matured.


Squirrel Ep
Squirrel Ep
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emerges with claws (and furry tail) flying..., 1 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Squirrel Ep (Audio CD)
B00008COQG THE SQUIRREL EP
Fierce Panda have been going for a nearly a decade now and their reputation as one of the UK's finest underground indie labels has been earned by the discovery of bands like Keane, Coldplay and Hundred Reasons to name but a few. Anyone familiar with the label will know their rather immature (but totally loveable) habit of putting out six track EPs with mad names: 'Cutting Hedge' or 'Clooney Tunes' for instance. However for this release, a breakneck tour of British post-hardcore as they proclaim, they've ditched the daft pun and concentrated on getting six tracks of pure quality, something in which they have succeeded.
Funeral For A Friend, have already made it big. Backed by a major-label and following in the trail blazed by Lostprophets, they've managed a top 40 hit (not cool) and have even gone on to make a release stateside. Despite selling-out then, Funeral For A Friend display a remarkable talent for penning a rousing post-hardcore anthem. 'Juno' (rewritten 'Juneau' for the album) was initially released on their brilliant four track EP 'Between Order And Model'. Emotive and powerful 'Juno' is pure class and far better than the dumbed-down single version on the album.
Million Dead are probably the best band in the UK rock scene at the moment. Their polemic sound is infectious, intelligent and totally uncompromising. Frank Turner's politicised tirades set to music were what made 2003's 'A Song To Ruin' the perfect album; the fact he can sing well made their songs so much more meaningful than the impotent barking employed by some bands. However their earlier material doesn't stand up to much scrutiny and the rather tired refrain "...just find another way of saying no..." on 'Reformulating the Challenge to Archism' may have a deep meaning, but it lacks energy.
The Copperpot Journals are another fantastic band, and 'Coronary,' probably the best song on their album 'Pilots', is the best song on 'The Squirrel' by a country mile. Heavy but subtle and undoubtedly British, 'Coronary' is a faultless piece of emotional post-hardcore. Their album is brilliant and also well worth a look.
thisGIRL are a brilliant live act, they are more emo than hardcore, but are capable of cranking out big riffs on songs like 'Stop Making Sense' and '3 Minute Spanish Film'. 'Ocean of Thanks', just like Million Dead's offering here is somewhat below par and although catchy. Welsh curio-core band Jarcrew are an interesting proposition. Somehow their twisted blend of jazz, hardcore and emo works and 'Destructor/Creator' is a great song. Engerica's offering is the weakest track on the EP, their frantic sound verges dangerously on jock-core and is incomparable to the other tracks on this release.
Fierce Panda aimed to get a decent cross-section of the post-hardcore scene with this release, and in fairness it is a tricky task given their budget (bands aren't paid), and the changeable nature of the scene. However 'The Squirrel' is an excellent, if brief, introduction to some of the best bands in the UK at the moment. Watch out for Million Dead and the Copperpot Journals, expect big things...


Pilots
Pilots
Offered by rsc-media
Price: £9.50

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future is an attractive thought following this..., 28 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Pilots (Audio CD)
ASIN: B0000DJEOW
In their short history The Copperpot Journals have not only displayed a knack for breaking the mould, but seemingly an insistence upon doing so. This, their first proper full-length, has earned them comparisons with UK high-flyers Hundred Reasons (whom they earlier toured with, and far surpass) and even Tool. Their style is somewhat difficult to define, blending subtle picked guitar melodies and often very quiet dynamics, with more straight-forward crushing post-hardcore.
Their last release, the 7-track EP ļ¿½Plotting To Kill Your Friendsļ¿½ was much vaunted by the press. However with ļ¿½Pilotsļ¿½ their sound has significantly matured and thanks to their Indie label Firefly, itļ¿½s still fantastically original. The British music scene has been completely submerged by below-par Post-Hardcore bands of late, Forever Until October and Lostprophets to name but two. Thankfully The Copperpots have refused to conform to the vogue sounds selling records, and whilst they still remain an toilet-circuit band, if their output remains this good, that canļ¿½t last long.
A truly complete album, Pilots has no bad tracks, and only the bravely experimental 'Black Snow' seems strangely out of place. 'We Are Black Box Recorders' and the title track ļ¿½Pilotsļ¿½ stand out from the rest. The former for its length: a single riff grows and evolves over almost ten minutes in jam-session style, a resplendent end to a fine album. The latter for its intensely catchy chorus and brilliant chromatic guitar refrain, providing a subtle heaviness. And that perhaps is the best way to describe the Copperpot Journals, heavy but indirectly so. The music is intensely-layered and although they never adopt the mile-a-minute pace of some post-hardcore bands, they donļ¿½t need to, to achieve the same effect.
Frontman Gareth Owen's voice is a delight in itself. From the beautiful and mellow 'Glass & Chrome' to the heavier but no less emotive 'Coronary,ļ¿½ his vocals are honey-soft and steadfastly English-sounding. Best of all though, the thrilling climax to 'Start The Ice Age'; his wails (in the best possible way) atop a brilliant riff. Think Chris Martin only with post-hardcore instrumentation behind him. The quieter tracks on the album are reminiscent of Coldplay, certainly the acoustic, melody-ridden ļ¿½Harbourļ¿½ and the slow burning ļ¿½The Future Is A Dareļ¿½. Unfortunately, the raw screaming featured on ļ¿½Plotting...ļ¿½ doesnļ¿½t appear on ļ¿½Pilotsļ¿½, however this sacrifice detracts very little from energy of their sound.
A pulsating live act, The Copperpot Journals lose nothing in the studio. ļ¿½Pilotsļ¿½ is endlessly playable, inventive and displays a maturity both in lyrics and style, more befitting of a band twice their age. A sublime release, this is seriously worth looking into.


Orange Rhyming Dictionary
Orange Rhyming Dictionary

4.0 out of 5 stars If you want intelligent punk that isn't Fugazi, look here..., 11 Feb. 2003
The first Jets to Brazil album i bought was 'Perfecting Lonliness,' the band's third release. Previously i had been listening to most of the mainstream punk around, like The Offspring and, dare i say it now, Greenday. The album blew me away, with 12 songs lasting over an hour, all were instantly listenable and a pleasure to come back to again and again.
Encouraged by the excellence of 'Perfecting Lonliness,' I went for their first album, 'Orange Rhyming Dictionary', released to critical acclaim in 1998. I prefer the melancholic piano based punk of 'Perfecting Lonliness' but this album still has quality melodies which are nothing short of grin-inducing. Jets to Brazil are at their finest in the latter stages of their songs, where they often change rhythm and chords to great effect. Most of the songs on 'Orange Rhyming Dictionary' are around 5 minutes long, with superb instrumental sections that really distance the band from the rather banal mainstream punk music.
In my opinion the stand out tracks are: album-opener 'Crown of the Valley' with its maddeningly catchy riff, 'Starry Configurations' and 'I Typed For Miles' featuring the best ending to a Jets to Brazil song, except for maybe 'Autumn Walker' on 'Perfecting Lonliness'.
'Perfecting Lonliness' is still my favourite Jets Album ('Four Cornered Night' disappointed me) but nevertheless 'Orange Rhyming Dictionary' is an essential purchase and a good album to buy if you ae growing weary of mainstream bands churning out albums that sound identical to the previous one.


Orange Rhyming Dictionary
Orange Rhyming Dictionary

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you want intelligent punk that isn't Fugazi, look here..., 11 Feb. 2003
The first Jets to Brazil album i bought was 'Perfecting Lonliness,' the band's third release. Previously i had been listening to most of the mainstream punk around, like The Offspring and, dare i say it now, Greenday. The album blew me away, with 12 songs lasting over an hour, all were instantly listenable and a pleasure to come back to again and again.
Encouraged by the excellence of 'Perfecting Lonliness,' I went for their first album, 'Orange Rhyming Dictionary', released to critical acclaim in 1998. I prefer the melancholic piano based punk of 'Perfecting Lonliness' but this album still has quality melodies which are nothing short of grin-inducing. Jets to Brazil are at their finest in the latter stages of their songs, where they often change rhythm and chords to great effect. Most of the songs on 'Orange Rhyming Dictionary' are around 5 minutes long, with superb instrumental sections that really distance the band from the rather banal mainstream punk music.
In my opinion the stand out tracks are: album-opener 'Crown of the Valley' with its maddeningly catchy riff, 'Starry Configurations' and 'I Typed For Miles' featuring the best ending to a Jets to Brazil song, except for maybe 'Autumn Walker' on 'Perfecting Lonliness'.
'Perfecting Lonliness' is still my favourite Jets Album ('Four Cornered Night' disappointed me) but nevertheless 'Orange Rhyming Dictionary' is an essential purchase and a good album to buy if you ae growing weary of mainstream bands churning out albums that sound identical to the previous one.


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