Archive | Album Reviews

Rush ‘Clockwork Angels’ Review

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Rush ‘Clockwork Angels’ Review

Posted on 11 July 2012 by Chris Knight

Rush return with their latest epic album and the first in 5 years through Roadrunner records.  “Clockwork angels” is an intergalctic car crash hurtling large rocks of sound and beautifully crafted chaos towards our own immortal ears.  The production is beautiful and in Rush’s own unique style the songs are interwoven with delicious melodies, crushing riffs and soaring highs.  Rush - Clockwork Angels

The album seen by some as a concept album but denied by Guitarist Alex Lifeson has been championed by novelist Kevin J. Anderson who intends to write a sci fi novelization about “a young man’s quest to follow his dreams, he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. He travels across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy, with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life”

Concept or not and frankly who cares this album has a heartbeat.  Rush have a special way of knocking your ears off orbit; with precision time changes and trio interplay.  Tracks like ‘Halo Effect’ demonstrate some beautiful vocals and sublime string arrangements while tracks like ‘BU2B’ drag you into a vortex of immense power that remind you Rush cant be pinned down into a single genre because this track is heavy, doomy and sinister and one to look out for live.  The ‘Anarchist’ provides flashes of Geddy Lees famous vocal style often unmatched on this offering but still non the less superb and the bass line drives the song throughout.

This album is simply an old friend and one that you feel you have known for ages.  38 years after their conception, this trio pushing 60 are still the masters of their art and perhaps the time lords of Canada can make ‘time stand still’.

Chris Tells all – Psychedelic Pernambuco

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Chris Tells all – Psychedelic Pernambuco

Posted on 13 June 2011 by Mizzle

Various – Psychedelic Pernambuco (COMPILATION ALBUM)

Somewhere far far to the north east of Sao Paulo & Rio (Brazils musical Head Quarters), a strange yet beautiful and mystical sound was being woven. A twisted, wild & hedonistic sound created by a group of socially like minded individuals. A spine tingling cocktail of new world fusion shook up and served with overtones of India & Morocco and a generous serving of traditional pernambucan percussion.

A sip or two from this cocktail would soon have you doing a pixie dance around the daisies or better still po-going amongst the jungle lights of the Americana! Sound interesting? Well there may have just been something in that! So much so that the military at the height of its oppressive dictatorship (1964-1985) were determined to suppress the experimentalism and psychedelic sounds being created by the likes of musicians Lula Cortés, Geraldo Azevedo & Marconi Notaro’s, some of the material never making the light of day .

For what did eventually surface from the jungle rising like a plume of marijuana, is this delightful selection of crafted songs that were highly influenced by the Psychedelic music coming from America and Britain. It’s complicated, mutated and meandering; yet beautiful and soul warming, a fitting tribute to the passing in March of Lula Cortés and a two fingered salute to the new world order!

Berlin 13. F Aubele

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Berlin 13. F Aubele

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Glenn Tucker

Have you ever been to Berlin? I have been three times and only the first was an experience worth mentioning.

You are probably wondering what this has to do with a music review other than the obvious link in the album title “Berlin 13”, named from the personal transformation Frederico Aubele is said to have experienced in his time living there.

Well my first visit to Berlin was quite an experience too, absolute madness in fact. We ended up in a Psytrance club accessible only through a well guarded steel door, the scene you would expect to see in a movie. After 10 hours underground we broke out into the cold and quiet of a Sunday morning in Berlin.

Not more than 15 minutes later I was back in the hotel room staring blankly at the wall, the silence was deafening and thinking back, having something smooth and melodic playing in the background would have been music to my ears.

If “Berlin 13” had existed then it would have suited the mood, the monotonous beats do not inspire or evoke any emotion, there is nothing to get excited about when you listen to this album but that’s what I wanted. Perfect calm.

This album did not transform or move me. Track 1 “Bohemian Rhapsody in Blue” could be track 3, or 4 or 5 but this would have been perfect on that morning. The music is calming; the deep tones in the lyrics are reassuring and would have comforted me knowing that it was only a matter of time and a good sleep before I felt ready to brave Berlin furthermore.

In fact I could have had this playing continuously in the background on the long drive back to the airport or at any restaurant we ate in. This is no Thievery Corporation, no Quantic, no breakthrough but it is a personal journey for the artist and has its place on my playlist, after all there has to be something to fill the gaps between all the hits.

Lucky Elephant; Starsign Trampline

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Lucky Elephant; Starsign Trampline

Posted on 05 April 2011 by Mizzle

Lucky Elephant’s first album Starsign Trampoline is an excellent foray into the world of mellow Indie music; refreshing instrumentals and a philosophic lead vocalist combine to lift the spirits of listeners.

A healthy mix of bass and drum give this album character and put you in a festival mood.  The introduction of lilting guitars in the song ‘Modern Life, Changing people’ show the band has a diverse range of sound, pleasing to both the ears and the soul.

The tone of the album is strangely familiar although you won’t put your finger on where you have heard the sound before, it will conjure memories of those long ago parties and occasions you are trying to hold firm in your mind.

Arguably the best song of the album is ‘Edgar’ which appears in the second half, switching down to a sedate and reflective mood.  It is one of those songs which will get in your head and have you humming the lyrics for days – always a sign of a fantastically written piece.  It will get under your skin in the way that only the best things in life can.

For more info on Lucky Elephant visit their MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/luckyelephantmusic

Late Night Sessions

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Late Night Sessions

Posted on 25 March 2011 by Glenn Tucker

The pure nature of a late night sessions album suggests the perfect setting to take in their latest compilation, so, after spending over 8 hours in downtown Digbeth (Birmingham) with a mix of intense dub step and drum & bass pounding away at my eardrums I finally staggered home in the early hours and settled down with a cold pizza to see what all the fuss was about.

After a couple of restarts (once the ringing in my ears stopped), I was able to pay considerable attention to the music. I found the hypnotic lyrics of Melody Day by Caribou drew me into the perfect mood to hear out the rest of the album which continued along the expected lines of uber chill while even prompting a couple of tear jerkers like To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra.

To hope to listen to both CD’s in one sitting was wishful thinking and as the morning sun broke through the blinds it reminded me of Elbow’s – On a day like this, unfortunately this did not appear on the track listings, even though it would have fitted right in with the mood, but it did get me to stick on CD2 while I brought myself back to life.

While the Osborne Remix of Take it In by Hot Chip did nothing to ease my aching head I found myself thinking how easily this album played the morning after as well the night before and it was only after the final track Further Away (Maddslinky Feat. Tawlish) played out its final chords that I realised I was well enough to start the late night session all over again…. and perhaps this time I could pay a little bit more attention.