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Product Reviews

9 (67% helpful)

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  1.  Wilder than Wild Young Hearts


    Anyone who has enjoyed anything from the history of British Rock will get much from this album. It is as fresh and exciting a recording as I have heard in many years and as knowing and cultured as it is stomping and roaring. The playing is superb, the singing only the over used "pure genius" can come close to describing. By contrast "Wild Young Hearts" is supremely accomplished but not nearly so entrancing.

  2.  Masterwork


    The altogether excellent "Sound of Silver" was a debut album of great quality, great fun and real originality. Spiky, cynical, comedic and very funky. An absolute must.
    This is bigger, more knowing, with some weird moments that might appall some listeners but it all makes sense. It is still right in that irresistible groove.
    Murphy is a David Byrne character for a younger generation. Hungry for knowledge and experience, his songs are full of psychological insight and incisive wit. This is dance music with a reward for the listener for repeated listening, Without doubt my album of the year so far.

  3.  A Powerful Introduction


    This band comes fully developed, with a wide range of familiar timbres that somehow, together, make a punchy, original whole.
    It's power pop, it's hard rock, it's clever and sensitive and from their video for the wonderful cover of "Let it snow", not included in this set, it can be funny too.
    Pleasing that Scottish rockers choose not to soak their voices in Mid-Atlantic drawl, though their sound is distinctly tinged with North American Alt.Rock (ill Nino (get your act together with accents in your permissible character set please play) comes frequently to mind in the listening). The playing is sharp and snappy, the drums, and bass, tight precise and simply stated. Vocals are not over complex and are, I'm sure, reproduced well in the live set which I will try to see ASAP. Their myspace has a good taster selection. Buy this! It's a blast!

  4.  Slightly flawed masterpiece for sale


    When these artists keep to the exotic mix of electronics and Near Eastern spices it is, in my experience, unsurpassed in its originality and sheer groove power.
    Where they veer away towards the more conventional rock idioms and a kind of hip hop meets "Tin Machine" it is much less successful.
    The Oud is a wonderful instrument, leading here much of the time and magnificently; treated or not, but much of the grunge guitar is so familiar as to be cliché ridden. Where vocal is mainly used as texture and rhythm, it is fine but where they begin to become songs they are not resolved and sound like poor lyrics made up in the studio. Even if it is "Real World".
    By and large the instrumental tracks are gorgeous, reminding me of the amazingly prescient 1975 Album "Shamal" by Gong (look it up!)

  5.  Young Grown Ups


    No-one wants to get old after 21! Here's happening music from a young band that is big enough for anyone. Spangly guitars, cheeky, poignant vocals, dancing beats. This album is ripe with references to great music of the past but it's all so carefully assimilated and re-presented in their own punchy yet pretty way.
    Rhythmically and harmonically daring, this is beautifully crafted Pop that invites repeated listening yet keeps coming back fresh. It's light footed and accessible. I feel like I'm in at the start of something huge. This is their summer.

  6.  Follow That!


    Their 1981 collaboration "My life in the bush of ghosts", is such a ground breaking, benchmark set, that this was always likely to be a disappointment.
    Out of the strange sleeve, with its computer images of some "perfect" suburban lifestyle package, you get from a CD which depicts a perfectly manicured lawn, an equivalent sound of niceness. I cannot tell you that I was not disappointed but in knowing the previous work of these two great artists as individuals it seemed impossible that the work could be bland and lacking in content as might first appear. To say this is a grower is extreme understatement.
    As a great fan of both Eno's textural and spatial masterpieces in sound and Byrne's quirky brand of arch lyricism, I expected an open, experimental sound scape. There is some of that but it is not the patchwork of extremes that burst into the ear in their earlier work. Here the cards are held close to the chest and it is up to the listener to find out what the 11 songs are really saying.
    My Byrne is most exciting to my mind when he is character acting and I find him hard to take as Mr.Nice. It takes a lot of listening to understand the relevance of the Cover, Sleeve images and CD Label which are also "nice". It's a brand of "nice" that is deeply thought provoking and uncomfortable, even stifling. The kind of "nice" that politicians and preachers sell.

  7.  Who He?


    Somehow, he retains his identity even though I hear Lou Reed, David Byrne, Mark E Smith, Leonard Cohen and even Neil Diamond(Jesus of the Moon)and of course Bob Dylan among others in his intonation. Furthermore, there are no musical styles that remain un-plundered, making a fruitful landscape that relieves the generally dark nature of the songs. A landmark album which I think people will mark as a beacon in their musical experiences.

  8.  Keep it angry!


    If what you were looking for in music was shallow, personality cult, trash, you might already know that Sheryl Crow is the wrong musician to listen to.
    What you get here is a supremely crafted set of songs, none of which pull any punches. There are no barriers between musical genres and careful listeners can hear the influence of many great musicians and tunes from all avenues of popular music. The result is poignant and rich but demanding.
    Her direct expression of political commitment to peace, justice and freedom are more "Lennon" and certainly not "Lenin" inspired. As such they are tempered with inspiration and constructed with compassion to nurture not preach.

  9. Shine


    Joni Mitchell - CD

    14 New from  £5.94  Free delivery

    Available  used  from  £2.23

     Us & Them


    Just as "Blue" had the faithful questioning her sanity and the big productions of the 1980s threw many followers aside with their superstar associations, "Shine" is a challenge to those expecting conventional balladeering or even the directness of protest bombast which she does so well. The tunes are poignant, the words, as ever, witheringly astute, the structures and arrangements often odd. The opener, for example, a song without words and stuttering digital clipping that made me think at first the CD was flawed. Endings sometimes sudden and unsettling.
    There is preaching, however, few preachers have earned her right to protest "Your" impending self destruction, or "Our" fate, in just those terms. Blame is, directed as it was in the 1960's at the international capitalist conspiracy. Praise is aimed, similarly, at small personal endeavour and the voice of nature. This is intensly angry music dressed in blue cool and I for one am glad the anger is back. Her "cover" of "Big Yellow Taxi", once issues as a 7" with "Woodstock" on the reverse, is a reminder of this, all be it lacking in the insulted intelligence of the orignal. As with "A Case of You", on "Both Sides Now"(2000), I find my intense feeling for the original clouds my view of their updating and rephrasing, and I question their necessity as they are both utterly timeless songs.
    I believe the bitterness she once expressed towards the music industry, that bred success for the likes of Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morrisette, Tori Amos and hundreds more, has subsided and what is coming through in these new expressions is a kinship with her craft; that of writer.
    Her quicksilver adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's "If" which concludes the set is almost prayer-like in this context and set against her own questions about the purpose of God and critique of political power in "Strong and Wrong" ups the stakes on the pouting of young singer songwriters of the current generation and their view of the state of human kind.
    My only reservation is that arranging and instrumentation are not always assured, though she is, by and large, frugal, tasteful and painterly with her use of natural and synthetic sounds. After indulging in the work of Wayne Shorter's soprano sax warbling for many years, in my view sometimes to excess, one of her few instrumental collaborators here is a Shorter copycat.
    There are hints here of a move away from conventional song forms into abstraction with words and music more akin to the work of Steve Reich or Lamont Young. Whatever her style, if the emphasis is on the words and music, not hung up on how it is dressed, it will always be welcomed.