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4.4 out of 5 stars
Do You Imagine Things?
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 8 January 2018
A lost classic. I don't know anyone who's heard of Alfie, which is a great shame as they were very good at their best. This is my favourite album of theirs. Indie/folk crossbreed, catchy and edgy in alternate places. love it.
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on 16 November 2003
Okay, okay, all the signs are there. Quiet first album, a little mroe exploration of styles on the second album...we were bound to synthesisers, complex pop sounds and a few stabs at Queen-style harmonies on the third, weren't we?
Maybe not. Alfie sure have come a long way from their appalling, joyless debut collection of EPs to a surprisingly good second to this, and Do You Imagine Things is a stoned, relaxed, slightly hallucinating rambling walk through what can only be described as mad dreams. It starts with two very slightly and dream-like tracks, People is like lying on your bed doing nothing, whereas Stuntman has the weird edges to it that a dream does.
There's still acoustic moments, in Winding Roads and Mollusc in particular, but there's a greater fullness of sound and impressive use of technology to create some lush sounds, especially on Protracted and No Need. No Need in particular is a superbly bouncy piece when it lets itself get going.
Moving into the second half of the album, and ignoring the clumsy hit-and-miss Indoor League, Isobel is a wonderous 60's-style french horn based ballad with more than just a passing nod to the Beatles. Chop Chop is like The Reverse Midas Touch Part 2, only with 70s strolling key changes and what canonly be described as a stab at Gregorian monk chant to start us off. The closer of this album, Hey Mole, is a beautifully affectionate plea for a mole to "Get out into the Universe", one of the undelying themes of the album - to do your own thing. It has a superb sprawling guitar riff to take the place of any chorus, and as the vocal harmonies unfold themselves in this last song, Alfie have achieved what we never expected them too - vis. something not incidental and slight.
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on 16 September 2003
We're having an unusually warm September this year - as though Summer itself was waiting for Alfie's new album to come out. Released from the shackles of Twisted Nerve records, the boys have had the studio time, resources and freedom to make the album exactly the way they wanted.
And what a result!
The guitars are in places heavier than previous works, but the album still retains the familiar mellow daydream lullaby qualities of the Alfie sound. There's no other band around today that sounds like Alfie; they're not chasing chart position, they're doing their own thing, and thank god for that! They're musicians' musicians, using every available instrument to wrap intricate musical layers around complex rhythms; there's so much going on it can keep you interested time after time after time. Lots of bands are experimental, but end up so 'out there' as to be unlistenable; Alfie have found the perfect balance of being unusual and unorthodox but still irresistably catchy. Stuntman, Chop Chop and Hey Mole are absolutely sublime.
If you get the opportunity to see Alfie live, you have to take it. They're emerging as one of the best bands in Britain today, and the future looks very, very bright.
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on 6 May 2004
On first hearing, this album is a mess. The tracks don't seem to go together at all. Nothing seems to work and there seems to be a huge bland gap in the middle.
But listen to it again, and again, and again, and you find a classic. You find that every single song is perfect. "People" makes a great opener, introducing Alfie's new "Up tempo" movement. This is retained in the bizzarre "Stuntman", which is easily their heaviest song yet. Then we're treated to some classic Alfie with "Winding Roads", before a whole host of beautiful melodies and strange landscapes are painted for the discerning listener.
The last three tracks are possibly the best three songs of 2003. "The Indoor League" is my personal favourite, probably because when live, you don't want it to end. Also because it tells the story of a magical pair of shoes. "Chop Chop" is almost exactly the same as ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky," which may well be the highest praise avaliable. The album closes with a rock mini-epic "Hey Mole".
Like Radiohead's Kid A, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. For anyone who wants something a bit different and is prepared to stomach a disapointing first listen, I would reccommend this.
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on 8 July 2009
When you first listen this it seems a mess, but by the third time through you get into it; then you never want it to end. Not a weak track on the album.
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on 21 September 2003
Good album, however i feel that being their third album it loses what was so great about them in the first place: the whole acoustic dominated approach(everything always sounded so natural)and i think that on this album they have focused to much on vocals (often sounds like choirs). However saying this it is still a good album but not as good as "a word in your ear" and "if you happy with you need do nothing" tops them all off. So start from the beggining of Alfie's discog..and hear some very unique work.
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