The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Album Reviews

23

CLUAS Rating: 3 out of 10

Spidey finds his inner dark side: cue rather predictable 'alt'-'rock' mixum-gatherum. Of the new songs, only Yeah Yeah Yeahs sound vaguely motivated. Snow Patrol parody themselves; The Killers photocopy U2. Apart from YYYs and 'The Twist', not worth the listen.

Plot summary of 'Spiderman 3' (as deduced from the soundtrack):

He can save the world (U2-soundalikes The Killers) but Spiderman just can't tell his feisty girl (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the only interesting new track here) his real feelings (Snow Patrol, sounding like a 'Gift Grub' version of themselves). Instead, he spends his evenings spurting out icky white gunk (Jet, The Walkmen).

Suddenly he's faced with a mutant villain who irritates innocent victims to death with his nuclear-powered smug wackiness (Flaming Lips, irritatingly 'wacky' as ever). There's a surprise plot development ('The Twist' by Chubby Checker, sounding as fresh as tomorrow's bread), a tearful hospital bed death (Snow Patrol; see above) before Spidey finally prevails and saves the world to the sound of cheering from citizens/random nobodies (Simon Dawes, Rogue Wave, The Wyo's, and lots more)

Meanwhile, the real heroes (Jason Falkner plays keyboards on two tracks here)go about their daily grind with no fanfare...

Aidan Curran


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17

Cornelius 'Sensuous'Review Snapshot:
Anyone coming to Cornelius' new record in the hope of hearing 'Fantasma'-esque spaced-out pop thrills will be sorely disappointed. 'Sensuous' is an album of sonic experimentation and 'harmonic dissonance' which is every bit as pretentious and unlistenable as that suggests.

The CLUAS Verdict?  3 out of 10

Full Review:
Japanese indie-tronic artist Cornelius is a big pop star in his native country. Here in Europe he's a cult figure best known for his 1997 album 'Fantasma', a wonderful blend of Beach Boys-worshipping  psychedelic pop and spaced-out electronica. Irish music fans will also remember a now-legendary double-bill with The Flaming Lips at the Olympia in 1999.

His new album, however, will not live as long in our memories. As far removed from pop songs as possible, 'Sensuous' is a self-indulgent album of experimental noodling with aspirations of being a cutting-edge work of sonic art. In reality, it's no such thing.

For all its liner-note claims of being 'la musique du 21eme siecle', this album sounds horribly dated. In fact, most of the tracks sounds like turgid new-style jazz from the 1980s - 'Fit Song, 'Breezing' and 'Toner' stink with supper-club guitars and slapped funk-bass. You might find these tracks fresh and challenging if your favourite piece of music is the theme from 'Seinfeld'.

Elsewhere, in the title track and 'Like A Rolling Stone' there are ambient atmospherics - in other words, the sort of electronic elevator music that commonly passes for art-house movie soundtracks where an existential anti-hero are lost in some futuristic Asian metropolis.

The only interesting parts are those which sound like other records. 'Beep It' starts off with Kraftwerk-style electronica before Cornelius gives in to those funk-jazz cravings and almost ruins the whole thing.

As for album-closers 'Music' and 'Sleep Warm' (the latter a cover of a tune made famous by Dean Martin), they are gentle acoustic pop songs with electronic flourishes - all reminiscent of Cornelius' own 'Fantasma'. Such is that album's difference to this one that it may well have been made by a different artist.

Aidan Curran

 To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.


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16

The Cluas verdict? 1 out of 10

Egotistical, soulless rubbish.

Musiq Soulchild 'Luvanmusiq'

Described as soul, though clearly devoid of any, Musiq Soulchild's fourth album sees our hero address subjects that affect each and every one of us. On album opener B.U.D.D.Y for example, Musiq tries to persuade some random woman to become his 'f*@k buddy' by singing ‘sorry if I come off disrespectful but my convo is a little bit 2 sexual but damn it's incredible be a more flexible 'cause the context some text is a lil special’   Complete rubbish and yet it’s the ‘highlight’ of the album. What follows is an uninspiring mix of R & B and neo-soul, throughout which time the man born Talib Johnson laments the fact that he's having lots of sex, but has no one to love. It’s hard not to feel moved by his plight.

Forget Paris Hilton; forget the incompetent presidential incumbent; Luvanmusiq, the work of a narcissist completely lacking in talent, topping the Billboard 200 upon its release tells you everything you need to know about what’s wrong with American culture. It’s not even well produced, and for an R & B album that is unforgivable.   

Steven O'Rourke


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06

Cluas Verdict: 3 out of 10

Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo and Raphael star in : The Postman always brings shite.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Original SoundtrackThere comes a time in the life of every music hack when, if he’s doing his job correctly, an outraged punter will be provoked into making the observation that they wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that the writer of the offending piece was not at the gig at all. I am reminded of this when the envelope containing "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Music From The Motion Picture", lands on the mat, and spend much of the next week wondering if it would be possible to do the review without having it defile my CD player.

But my responsibility to Cluas readers weighs heavily upon me, so listen to it I do, and, to be fair, I am pleasantly surprised. But only in the sense that it could have been worse. Of the 14 tracks, 10 sound like Sum 41 doing Green Day covers – In other words perfectly suited to the job of accompanying Leonardo and chums on their pizza fuelled adventures but not necessarily the kind of stuff you’ll find yourself revisiting. The odd ones out are two instrumental pieces, a cover of Ram Jam’s Black Betty and a tune by some one or thing called Pepper which sounds like something that Elvis Costello could knock out in less time than it takes to play.

Not turtle crap then, but I wouldn’t advise you shell out for it all the same.

Michael O'Hara


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27

CLUAS Verdict: 6.5 out of 10

An inconsistent, genre-hopping debut, from the band that gave us one of the finest singles in recent years.

Johnny Boy 'Johnny Boy'Johnny Boy, a Liverpudlian duo, open their eponymous debut with ‘You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve’. This mouthful is a slice of pop perfection and was released as a single in 2004 to critical acclaim but sadly passed the general public by.

The album that we had to wait this long for is a frustrating listen as JB jump between genres with varying success. At times the listener is rewarded with gems which, other than ‘Generation’, include the electro-infused indie of ‘15 minutes’, the punk rock of ‘Formaldehyde’ and the Spector-esque splendidness of closing track, and debut single, ‘Johnny Boy Theme’. However the gaps between these songs are filled with tiresome choruses, strained vocals and over-the-top rants about modern day consumerism and other such socio-political hot topics.

If they are not careful, Johnny Boy might just fall into the dreaded trap of becoming a ‘singles band’, and an obscure one at that.

Garret Cleland

 


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27

Cluas Verdict: 1 out of 10

First there was "The Best Of". Now there is "The Very Best Of". I'd hate to hear the outtakes.

 

The Doors In this review we shall attempt to disprove the theory that everyone who writes about music is a failed musician. Not me, mister. No sirree. Unless beating out a semi rhythmical tattoo on the steering wheel or playing Satisfaction (I Can't Get No) on the top string of my brother's guitar counts, I have never strummed, plucked, shaken, hit at, tinkled or blown into anything. This is primarily because I am concerned that, were I to attempt to, the result might end up sounding like The Doors. I hate The Doors.

That they continue to be so highly thought of, half a lifetime after they last inflicted an original tune on the world has, in my view, absolutely everything to do with the fact that their singer stiffed the leg at a ridiculously young age. Surely be to all that's holy, it can't be because of the music. Light my Fire, Riders on the Storm, Hello I Love You and People are Strange are all here in all their dirgelike glory, each of them more aimless and tuneless and filled with Jimbo Morrison's bad poetry than the last. Truly, this is the kind of stuff that would have the "You're a Star" judges rushing to the nearest internet cafe, yelling "Google me a recruitment website, hold the coffee" quicker than you can say "There's a killer on the road - His brain is squirming like a toad"

For the cloth eared and the drug addled only.

Michael O'Hara

 To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.

 


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26

Steer Clear 'No You Hang Up'

Not a perfect album, but not a bad one within the strict quality confines of uneventful teenage punk.

CLUAS Verdict: 6 out of 10

A band of the new generation, N. Irish pop-punks Steer Clear have topped Bebo music streams with thousands of online fans. But so have a lot of bands: is that a genuine reflection of a good album? Yes in some ways, no in others. A triumph of marketing and good production over musical content, No…You Hang Up is filled with angsty pop-punk of a breed common across the generational band of age 12-15. For all that, there’s some undeniably catchy choruses, clever guitar work, erudite references to classical and classic rock, punk, metal and even pop. Despite the difficulties inherent in telling any songs apart, each of them are some good tunes with decent, if not ground-breaking or even naff-free, lyrical content. 

Anna Murray

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26

CLUAS verdict: 7 out of 10

Ghosts 'The World is Outside'Reincarnations of electronic outfit Polanski, Ghosts show with this album that they're a band of warm intentions and clever songwriting.

This new record from the band has one of the best opening tracks to grace an album in quite some time, despite sounding suspiciously akin to Jet's bass intro to Are You Gonna Be My Girl. However, the song itself (new single, Stay the Night) is a jazzy piece of crossing instruments, brass, walking basslines and a singable melody. Unfortunately, the majority of the remaining songs have a tendency to fade into the background no matter how much you try to concentrate on them, while the band themselves seem unable to settle on a sound of their own, instead borrowing from a others. Still, Ghosts are a band with a collective head for melody, and this album will inexplicably grow on you, no matter how much you resist it.

 Anna Murray


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26
Tarantino soundtrack = quirky, eclectic and interesting vintage pop. Listen and enjoy it now before it all gets played to death. CLUAS Verdict: 8.5 out of 10 Quentin Tarantino soundtracks are ...

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Nuggets from our archive

2001 - Early career profile of Damien Rice, written by Sinead Ward. This insightful profile was written before Damien broke internationally with the release of his debut album 'O'. This profile continues to attract hundreds of visits every month, it being linked to from Damien Rice's Wikipedia page.