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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 18 July 2017
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on 28 October 2010
After the disappointing 'Matachin', most of whose songs I didn't like live either, Bellowhead go straight back into overdrive with 'Hedonism'. Nearly every track is a winner - 'Sally Ratchet' being a bit below par for a studio album, but a great live song - and the album has the all the best Bellowhead multi-instrument and varied musical styles trademarks. In fact, it is closer to a live gig than a studio album (perhaps that's why 'Sally Ratchet' is included), and if you want a true taste of what the band is about then this album far outstrips the others. Yes, 'EPOnymous' and 'Burlesque' are very good and worth getting, but 'Hedonism' takes the biscuit. This album shows just how far they have progressed. Let's hope that the next is just as good - in the meantime there'll be some cracking live gigs to go to. Pure enjoyment!
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on 7 October 2010
Without question, a complete belter of an album. If you have seen them live then it's _that_ good. If you haven't seen them live yet then this will encourage you to do so at the first possible opportunity (Now would be good as they are on tour October / November in the UK). Musically accomplished and polished with just the right amount of tongue in cheek humour. Spectacularly recorded by John Leckie (Stone Roses, Muse, Radiohead, XTC etc.. etc) in Studio 2 of Abbey Road. The packaging is beautiful and the 'making of' DVD in this 'extended' edition is a charming 70 minute addition. Have no qualms, just buy it. Prepare your apologies for the neigbours. Set the volume to 11 and dance your socks off. You know they did when they recorded it... ;-)
11 Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
There is something special about Bellowhead. And there is something special about this album too. It is modern folk music. And it is a really good fun album. Some reviewers seem uncertain if this is a folk album or not. I suppose it doesn't really matter. But in the true sense of the word it is a folk album since folk music is a living tradition that is always changing, finding new expression and taking on new influences.
And what you get here is an interesting mix of musical influences interpreting folk songs. There are influences such as Brass, jazz, funk and rock to name just a few elements. Other reviewers think of this as contempory folk, which it is in the sense it was created in the present era, but in fact it has all been done before. (folk rock, folk pop, blues folk, Steeleye, Fairport or Brass Monkey). However this is worthy of a very special place as an exciting development of classic recodings.
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on 7 October 2010
Every bit as theatrical as their live performances, Hedonism is immaculately arranged, beautifully produced and gloriously anarchic. This album shows how diverse Bellowhead can be; from the delicate intricacy of Captain Wedderburn to the wanton abandon of Yarmouth Town. I love every second of Hedonism, and the packaging of the deluxe edition makes it a beautiful thing to own. The DVD that comes with it gives a really enjoyable insight into the making of the album and footage from behind the scenes and onstage at various festivals throughout the year. If you've seen Bellowhead live, this album brings that experience to you at home, if you haven't, it'll make you want to. Do!
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on 7 October 2010
This is the third album from Bellowhead. For anyone who hasn't got their earlier albums this is a great album to start with, being more accesible than Matachin.
It has a really good balance of highly danceable instrumentals and songs you can't help singing along to in the car with some beautiful slower tracks. Jaque Brel's Amsterdam works really well as a Bellowhead track.
The production by the great John Leckie works really well, giving a crisp lively sound that is as close as they could get to the fun of their live performaces in the studio. The arrangements make the most of their wide range of instruments and the talents of all eleven members of the band. A special mention has to be made of Pete Flood's wonderful percussion which drives the music along and is always interesting and often unusual, but always effective.

For those who have got the earlier albums and EP, you will know what to expect, but it is not just more of the same or Burlesque vol 2. The band have continued to develop amd have put together a top class album with no weak tracks or fillers, but plenty of variety and most importantly lot's of fun. You can't help but wish you were at the recordings as not many albums put across such a strong sense of the fun of making music.

They year may not be over yet, but this must be a contender for album of the year.
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on 12 January 2011
For the last few years Bellowhead have been the most fantastic live act which the majority of people won't even have heard of, but with 'Hedonism' that is clearly already changing. Previous releases -EPonymous, Burlesque and Matachin could give you some idea of what they were about but it's always been so different live. With 11 of them on stage not only playing but dancing and fooling around you will be wondering where to watch next, while getting swept up in a tide of pogoing and trying to drink your 'Hedonism' beer all at the same time!

With Hedonism you can start to feel a little of the live experience, and it's full of exciting arrangements of traditional songs and original material often arranged in extraordinary ways. Although they love a good party tune, Bellowhead also love to explore other genres and even to shock or at least surpirse their audiences, while slipping in wonderful quiet ballads. Listen out for the musical saw, frying pan and some wonderful high concertina.

If I had a criticism, it would be that the wonderful rhythmic melodeon which has been such a feature of previous albums, is a bit lacking on Hedonism. But this doesn't really detract from what is a fantastic collection. Go on - buy your first folk album - you won't be disappointed!
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on 8 December 2010
Bought the download for my wife as she had heard this group on some TV show (Jools Holland ?).
I then played it on my PC as I have always liked Folk music and was interested in what she was raving about.
Since then I play the album nearly every night. Its brilliant - some tracks very Folky, some sound like they are from a theatre musical , the tracks are interesting at so many levels, the stories, the instruments, just the whole package.
I never heard of them before this, but am now a big big fan.
To top it all the Amazon download was quick and easy, and a good price.
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on 4 October 2010
One of the minor complaints of Matachin, Bellowhead's otherwise excellent 2nd Album, was that there were no great instrumentals of the Slow Gin, Frogs Legs and Dragons Teeth, "Lets jump up and down and see if we can break another dance floor" type. Well that's put right in spades with this album, not least with the gloriously named "Cross-Eyed and Chinless" and the songs two are full of energy and revel in receiving the Bellowhead treatment. However, this is not just a case of "We liked Burlesque - more of the same, please" the Bellowhead phenomenon grows, develops and matures not least because the whole band are contributing arrangements and ideas much more than in the very early days.

The album has been produced at Abbey Road by John Leckie whose approach was to try to capture some of the excitement of live performance, recognising as we all do that this band is all about performance, and it's an approach that has worked superbly. Buy it, love it and let it sustain you until you can next get to see them.
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on 3 November 2010
This is the closest the band have got to creating the exuberance and excitement of their live shows (which is where they excel) in the studio. The John Leckie effect is there to be heard and it enhances the sound considerably. Enjoy this, but still see them live if you can!
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