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March 11, 2007

Arcade Fire: Neon Bible

3 out of 5 stars

This is the follow up to Arcade Fire’s debut album, Funeral (2005). The critics on Newsnight Review came to verbal blows two weeks ago, producing amounts of pompous bluster even this viewer thought impossible on that particular programme.

Whereas in Funeral the atmosphere was sombre (inevitable given the subject material) yet somehow uplifting at the same time, Neon Bible has an ominous, portentous tone from the opening Black Mirror. Perhaps it’s a little bit too wrapped up in the politics and fears of the moment, but there are still 5 or 6 outstanding tracks on it. Sadly, 3 or 4 are far from outstanding (including the truly dismal title track) which is in contrast to the first album.

That said, it’s probably the only album you’ll ever own that has a church organ on it; to very great effect in Intervention (a wall of noise) but less so in the last track, My Body Is A Cage which is basically House of The Rising Sun

I can’t give it 3-and-a-half stars, so I’ll stick to 3. Too many duff tracks for 4 stars.
Download: Black Mirror, Intervention, Ocean of Noise, No Cars Go

November 09, 2006

Yet another music review

3 out of 5 stars

This album is a collection of the best bits from five separate internet-only releases, Super D, Sunny 16, Speed Graphic, The Bens and the 2005 iTunes cover of Dr. Dre’s [censored] ain’t [censored]. It seems to be a theme of Folds’ record company that two studio albums can’t follow one another and must be interspersed with live performance/oddity albums.

Several tracks are remastered, and to be honest, some of it doesn’t work, particularly the new version of Songs of Love (to the Father Ted theme tune, the old one was much better), and some of the shiny bells and whistles on There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You are there for the sake of it.

On the plus side, the aforementioned Dr. Dre cover is quite something, along with the cover of Get Your Hands Off My Woman by The Darkness. In addition, Rent A Cop does remind you of a former Scott group member in a new life in law enforcement…

October 07, 2006

This Is More Like It

4 out of 5 stars

And from a tale of woe in a follow up to a hit 2004 album, here’s something to gladden the heart. I suppose when following up a 4-million selling hit album such as 2004’s Hot Fuss the temptation would be to go for more of the same.

Not so for The Killers. Instead, there’s a much grander, stadium scale to the music on offer, from the already released single When You Were Young to other standout tracks including the U2-esque Bling (Confession of a King) and Read My Mind and others including Sam’s Town, This River Is Wild and Why Do I Keep Counting? to the quite bizarre (in a gaudy, end-of-the-pier sort of way) Bones

It’s different to Hot Fuss. But that’s no bad thing.

The Morning After…

1 out of 5 stars

...Up All Night a.k.a. “After The Lord Mayor’s Show”

Razorlight’s debut album Up All Night was so well received that the second, eponymous album was hotly anticipated and was described by Q Magazine as “the best guitar-based album since Definitely Maybe”. I’m not a prolific buyer of albums but as I liked the first offering, and given the first track on the second album In The Morning was (I thought) up to the standard I would hopefully bag me another good addition to the collection.

How spectacularly wrong can you be? I have tried to give it a chance, but that’s 134 minutes of my life I’m not getting back. The other 9 tracks could only be described as flaccid, transparent guff, including America, a paean to anyone American to buy it. Last week they promoted this album on Parkinson. On Parkinson. Sharing the bill with Dame Edna Everage and Trinny + Susannah. You’d give those three a wide berth. Give this album the same wide berth. Download In The Morning and save yourself 10 quid.

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