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Braquo: Series 1 & 2 Box Set (4 Discs)
3 New from
After the big names, and all the interest in foreign language cop series, especially Nordic Noir, this comes along with very little fanfare.Series like The Killing and Spiral and The Bridge all had a heavy political presence, which is fine and dandy. Unless you want something that kicks like a mule, but minus the cheese factor. So The (original) Sweeney, The Professionals, with no tongue in cheek. Then amp it up one hundred fold, strip out any waffle or side stories, and lingering arty camera shots, and you start to get to Braquo.A series of french special branch types, all with issues - raging drug habits, cheap shags, gambling problems, who hover several miles outside of legal.Really really stylish, the whole team look shattered most of the time, women are skinny and all look alike- in need of a kip and a good meal. And the blokes seem to live on whisky, fags and the occasional toe to toe tear up. 10% Spiral, 90% all their own, I loved this, and it is rare that something stands out above the rest. You reach a real high (or low) point and just as the punchline or money shot is delivered............ the episode ends and you wind up jumping straight to the next one, it's a liberty at times to see credits between them.Fast paced, character driven, Backstreet France filmed in washed out colour, with a great cast of characters, this feels more like film quality, and paced like Point Blank and Tell No One or the Russian Pusher trilogy.ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT, YOU WON'T WANT TO TURN IT OFF. Very gritty very cool and very different to just about anything else.
The Phoenix Foundation - CD
15 New from
How the F the band went from Buffalo to this is beyond me, although Buffalo was a cracking album, this seems like a whole different band, such is their growth spurt. I can't think of another more complete album, and the second CD is a cherry on a cherry on a cake. There appeal is so broad reaching, for just about anyone who likes Tame Impala, Beachhouse, Besnard Lakes, Lambchop etc. And at times they have a similar type of sound, but the band they most remind me of is Talking Heads. I don't think there is anything specific but that is who I think of, maybe it is the musical arrangement, or the style that they play in, but make no mistake TPF are very much their own band with their own sound. If this isn't them at the peak of their powers then I can't imagine improving and delivering a better album. It is unbelievable, no filler, no duff notes, and sounds as accomplished as anything I have heard from any band at any time. I found myself grinning and shaking my head at how ridiculously good this album is.If this isn't at the year end best albums of the year there is something very very wrong. Faultless, timeless brilliance, this could have come from any decade since music began, and still have the same impact.Buy and add it to your soundtracks of summer.
State (Deluxe Edition)
Todd Rundgren - CD
19 New from
Having only known of TR from 'Can we still be friends' and the track 'in my mouth' from the Uncut compilation CD I thought this would be as good. Err no. This is the deluxe edition which includes a live CD which is ok, at times like Maze due to a whole orchestra behind him. And that seems to be the problem for me. The live CD benefits hugely from an orchestra, whereas the new studio album doesn't have it. Only an outstanding track - In My Mouth- which was the reason for buying the album. The rest seems like he thought, I know lets give this a try, and here he is a bit like Moby following 18 and Play albums - they both run out of steam and so release a lot of stuff that is largely padding.Not sure if regular fans will love this album, I had no previous to compare so can only take it on its own merits, but I honestly wouldn't bother. I brought the Anthology in the same week, and that is a great collection, whereas this feels like TG is trying too hard to be "down with the kids", which works about as well as Madonna engaging the talents of William Orbit. It doesn't!Weak, nothing remotely moving, but it does have the most infectious dance track I have heard this year (in my mouth). And that is worth the price of an album all day long. Not much else going on to speak of though.
Yeah Yeah Yeah's - CD
28 New from
Not sure if I was expecting too much, but after It's Blitz this lacks its infectiousness and drive, and doesn't have the bite or energy of their earlier albums. This seems written with the charts in mind, rather than making what they want and like.That said YYY at their weakest still makes for an above average album, but only compared to who else is out there making music, but in their own history this is their weakest album. Karen O's voice seems to have been dialed down, as has the force of nature that has been the band at their previous best. Still catchy but that isn't a word I ever wanted to use describing them. Hence the 3 stars. Lacklustre too. If you are new to YYY then start at the beginning and work through their albums, if you have been away for a while then It's Blitz is a better return, and my favorite. NOT BAD BUT DEFINITELY NOT GREAT.
Sandinista! (Remastered) (2CD)
The Clash - CD
7 New from
Would have given this 5 stars but there are a few filler tracks, but it is to be expected over 36 tracks. I can't believe I have never heard this. The band fell out with their record label over wanting to release a triple LP at a single LP price. Strummers love of reggae and world music is clear throughout. Pure alchemy - Clash add Dub Reggae. This is as good as Combat Rock and their first album. 8 quid for what is for me a perfect swansong. Remastered has helped too, avoid sub standard productions like Black Market Clash and get this. Really moving having just watched The Future Is Unwritten documentary. There is also a sweet snippet of one of the bands daughters singing Guns of Brixton, aged about 5! THIS ALBUM WILL BE MY SOUNDTRACK OF THE SUMMER. Genius.
Regions Of Light And Sound Of God
Jim James - CD
11 New from
Another album that will stay on your CD player. The lead singer of My Morning Jacket goes it alone. The vocal range he has is a given if you have heard MMJ, at times he sounds like Sebastien Tellier and at times he is ranting like a firebrand preacher. And it is all gorgeous, incredible that JJ has played all the instruments himself. An asolute gem and a very assured debut. Buy it! Not a duff track on it.
Pale Green Ghosts (2CD)
John Grant - CD
12 New from
Following from his previous masterpiece Queen of Denmark, Grant's new album had me almost forget to drive when on the M25 last weeek. He has the most bewitching voice I have ever heard, and you will never had heard a more personal life expressed in song than this. So the paring with Sinead OC makes perfect sense. There will also be a whole new audience that will find John Grant now he has made an almost danceable toned album. On first hearing I didn't even realise I was playing Pale Green Ghosts (multichanger CD!).There are glimpses of Kraftwork or the darker Depeche Mode stuff, and it really works. Never have I heard anything that consumes me completely, this is like Valium for the mind. Driving on a motorway is probably the next best thing to lying in a dark soundproofed room for where to hear this.For someone so honest and expressive this eclipses his first album, which is also fantastic. Then the pairing of JG and Midlake worked perfectly. But, sorry to sound naff but JG has grown in everyway, and the production is incredible. And the remix CD is the cherry on the cake. This will remain on my stereo for ever.I have 6 CD's on rotation in my car at the moment- The Golden Filter, Ed Harcourt, Arab Strap, Saint Ettiene, Lana Del Ray. And each playing of Pale Green Ghosts gets better if anything. That for me is rare. ABSOLUTE GENIUS and incredible that this is his second solo album. About as good as it gets. Should attract lots of new fans, while surprising those who already know JG work. I continue to be blown away by how perfect this album is, and it is probably the best first listen of anything I have ever heard.ALBUM OF THE YEAR AND I THINK I WILL FEEL THE SAME ON LAST DAY OF DECEMBER. Haunting and startling and all the other accolades.
The Cranberries - CD
16 New from
After several plays there are no immediate stand out tracks unlike previous albums. Roses the title track gives a reminder of Dolores' past greats. Despite the fire and rage from their earlier albums missing, this is a mellow and overall beautiful album and it is great to have them back.After the recent reissue of their back catalogue that includes outtakes and cover versions from each original recording this would benefit from the same.That said if anyone needs a reminder of the band at their best then the recent live album included does exactly that, making this an essential buy.