5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Hour Of Bewilderbeast (Audio CD)
I used to have an art teacher who sported a magnificent mustache and extremely long "luxurious" hair. In order to create a stimulating working environment in his art classes, he used to put this album on. After two or three lessons I was hooked. I had to get my own copy. The rest, as they sometimes say, is history. That was seven years ago, when I was twelve or thirteen, and I think all of the music I've since took an interest in can in some way be traced back to this album. This was the "Big Bang" of my obsession with music. If it weren't for Ok Computer, I'd refer to it as my "favourite album of all time".
Listening to it now the amount of absolutely essential tracks is staggering. I could write essays on every single song here...but I won't. Instead I'll just mention that Stone on the Water was THE song that made me want to play guitar (I've since learnt that it's the easiest song on the album to play. Hooray!) and that the sheer scope of sounds, moods, emotions and ideas on offer here is devastating. I love the bit in Fall in a River in which the entire song really does appear to fall in a river, complete with bubbles and a distant muffled drowning sound befor the song is "saved" by a Mediterranean sounding guitar tremolo. I also love the point at which Cause a Landslide seems to lose its mind, descending into a nightmare of organs, electronic sounds, disconcerting samples and a theremin solo, before sanity is resumed by way of a quirky little folkish coda.
Then there's the searing art-rock of Everybody's Stalking. Only recently has it occurred to me just how downwright JAZZY those guitar sounds are. See? Subliminally, Badly Drawn Boy got me into jazz, and so so so much more...I'm so glad that this song can still be found in his setlists.
And I haven't even mentioned the "singles" yet, those songs familiar to everyone, like The Shining, Another Pearl, Once Around the Block and Disillusion which alone serve to justify the album purchase.
I'll end by saying that it's quite hard to find a pair of songs more beautiful and moving than Magic in the Air and Epitaph outside of Iceland. Here the emotions on display are so raw and fragile that upon listening I feel guilty for having disturbed something so deeply personal!
The lo-fi production values, sheer magnitude of memorable songs and the countless "quirks" make for an album (and yes, this IS an album in the purest sense of the word in that it's a full and complete listening experience rather than a collection of songs) which should appeal to anyone, even if they're not as biased by personal reasons as I am.
Essential purchase. Any music collection lacking it seems vacuous in comparison.