The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Album Reviews

03

Psychonavigation Records Y9Review Snapshot: Keith Downey’s Ireland based brain child Psychonavigation Records celebrates its 33rd release since setting up nine years ago. It's testament that, in an industry where labels - like acts - come and go,  that Psychonavigation Records is not only still going, but growing too.

Cluas Verdict? 7/10

Full Review:
Psychonavigation Records was born out of the frustration of a DJ who wanted to get unsigned music out there. It joyfully heralds various acts and DJs alike and gives them a platform to release their music. It’s an admirable as well as a very successful venture and some of the fruits are in this Y9 (ninth year) anniversary compilation.

The first thing to note is that there is a broad spectrum covered in the record label. The opening track is a quiet atmospheric number from Buckminster Fuzeboard. It’s a nice opener. Nice percussion with a flute hook as an overtone. “Your Day in the Sun” by GEL-SOL follows. The sound of waves coming in act as a backdrop, unfortunately other than that it’s a monotone lazy affair. “What a Wonderful Life” from Roddy Monks raises the bar. It has a nice lick and a catchy beat drawing the listener. There’s a lot going on and it’s interesting. Three tracks in and I can honestly say it’s difficult to imagine this stuff being played in a club. It’s mood music. “What a Wonderful Life” would find a nice home on a soundtrack for Spa Treatment/Massages.

The record rolls on and the variation of the artists becomes evident on “Spinning” from Tiny Magnetic Pets. A nice delicate vocal hangs over a constant melody. It’s a pleasant track. “Miles and Miles” by Aza and Eoin is less eventful and plods along with little or no direction. Like most compilations, the highs are high and the lows are, well dull.

More highs that need checking out include Matthew Devereux represented here with “I Love You Like A Robot”. There is a tasty acoustic strings intro accompanied with an atmospheric backdrop melody. It’s one of the finest tracks on the record. Other highlights include the wonderful “Soulsearch” by Brawdcast, & R.S.A.G with “Talk Back Crawl Back”. These tracks really demonstrate the variety of the label, mixing electronica with soul and hip hop. Excellent stuff.

Much of the music on the compilation is carefully put together and testament to a guy who wanted to showcase what he saw as talent without a voice. Psychonavigation Records on this representation is a growing prospering label, rich with talent from all musical styles. Not just electronica and dance, but soul and a little hip hop too. Well worth checking out.

Kevin Coleman


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
01

A review of the album 'Against Karate' by Let Our Enemies Beware

Let Our Enemies Beware - Against Karate

Review Snapshot:
Chatham (UK) based group Let Our Enemies Beware have been labelled a “Post Punk/ Rock Band” and have admirers with credentials, Zane Lowe among them. They describe themselves as “Noise Terrorists”. As an album “Against Karate” is as intriguing as it is tedious to listen to at times.

Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10

Full Review:
“I am Lono” kicks the record off. It's a brash thumping affair with chunky bass lines and screeching vocals. They make no bones about they are about early on. It’s not bad. It becomes clear after the short scream that is “Pow Right in the Kisser” (a reference to the old WWF commentator Gorilla Monsoon), that LOEB are not a punk band. If anything there is more of a heavy metal feel. The visceral rhythm section coupled with the meticulously delivered lead guitar drive this home on “Personal Space Invaders”, perhaps the best song on the album. The screeching vocals throughout the album can eventually grate the listener a little. However there are some fine tracks on offer regardless.

“Between Us and the Sun” is an example of the band's merits and how all forces can pull together. A thunderous penetrative rhythm section powers as the undertone to clean guitar picking, with a haunting vocal overtone. Musically it goes from meek to outright aggression in an instance and personifies the band's visceral approach to their music. This is where the album becomes a little long in that the familiar sound of the songs catches up.

With only nine tracks on the record it’s snappy but the songs begin to repeat each other. This is the biggest drawback of the album. Perhaps LOEB should have considered an EP with choice tracks from this collection as many of the songs sound like variations of the other. “Momento Mori”, the final track on the album runs at 8 minutes 14 second. It’s a long, long way to end the record.

All in all, LOEB show signs of promise and are very competent musically. More time should be spent crafting the songs and perhaps a taste of different sounds and influences may help them on their way. “Against Karate” is as intriguing as it is tedious to listen to at times. Try for yourself.

Kevin Coleman


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
26
Owl City 'Ocean Eyes'
A review of the album 'Ocean Eyes' by Owl City Review Snapshot: The third album by the Minnesotan whiz kid Adam Young is a shining example of unashamed synth-pop. From euphoric rhythms to ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
18
James Yorkston and the Big Eyes Family Players 'Folk Songs'
A review of the album Folk Songs by James Yorkston and the Big Eye Family Players Review Snapshot: An almost ideal combination of ye olde tunes with contemporary musical sensibilities, Yorkst...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
18
Tommy Reilly 'Words On the Floor'
A review of the album Words On The Floor by Tommy Reilly Review Snapshot: The debut album from Orange Unsigned Act Winner Tommy Reilly adequately shows his tremendous songwriting maturity, cleverl...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
17
David Gray 'Draw the line'
A review of David Gray's album 'Draw the line' Review Snapshot: David Gray's "Draw the line" - new songs, new band, new outlook. Same old same old. The CLUAS ver...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
15
VV Brown 'Travelling Like The Light'
A review of the album "Travelling Like The Light" by VV Brown Review Snapshot: A continually interesting album using older influences in a modern manner, placing VV Brown head-...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
07

Imogen Heap Cluas Snapshot:

Often beautiful with delicate vocals yet at times infected by cretinism lyrically, Ellipse is a mixed affair. The album is littered with whispy harmonies with keyboards, cellos, clarinets and whatever chopped up cuts and beats were left in the studio, Heap doesn’t make it easy for the listener and the album takes at least 3 listens to get any sort of feeling from it. The drivel that served up as lyrics doesn’t help either.

The Cluas Verdict?: 4.5/10

Full Review:

“First Train Home” opens with cool velvet vocals. It has immediate appeal with its snappy verse and catchy chorus. It’s a winner and casts no doubt over the decision to have the track as lead single. However there was more than a sniff of a mid - nineties Donna Lewis hit in the chorus melody. “Wait it Out” follows, a track dominated by keyboards and a combination of different instruments, the layered vocals help to make it a catchy number. The hopping "hmms" and “do dos” and soft keys however make the song sound like it’s been deliberately written for a shampoo advert. It’s not bad. “Earth” is next, and it’s a jab at a conceited house guest, lover or whatever…..lyrically it’s a bit pretentious given the subject matter and the high-low keys and harmonies give more than a hint of that castle bound billionaire Enya. That’s a straight red card in this reviewer’s eyes.

It gets worse. Lyrically “Little bird” is like a first year English students one page essay describing various imagery in different rooms in a house as seen by a (you’ve guessed it) Little Bird. It’s over the top, and deliberate attempts at ambiguity based on a clear and simple situation just make Heap sound like a fresher eager to please the lecturer.

“Little bird, little bird, little bird,
Where are they now?
Day time tv lounge
A carriage clock, a mantle piece
A family wiped up, j cloth cleaned
Unsaid, festers in the throws of the sofa”

It’s turgid. Maybe I don’t get it but at this point I am thinking Heap should do an Elton John. Find a decent lyricist and concentrate fully on the musical aspects. It would serve her well as the next track “Swoon” illustrates the other end of the scale.
“Your name in lights vibrating to your ring tone, my world begins to dance”. The bouncing dated sounding sampled beats make it a tired affair. The repeated verse through out goes as follows:

“Let me be the great Scott
Tip top pit stop in your ocean
I could be the shipmate's wife
Got you down and dirty with the lotion!”

Enough said on this. It is with open arms this reviewer welcomes the opening sound of “Tidal”. The song opens with grand strings before quickly retreating behind a quiet gentle voice. Alas, it’s more of the same whimsical boring melody and bland keyboard backing track. “Between Sheets” depicts the blissful careless scene of two lovers. Lyrically it’s an improvement however the tune is forgettable and passes without incident.

“2-1” comes next. The song apparently is named after the ratio of water to pollyfilla in the making of pollyfilla. Absolute genius. Dylan is sh*tting himself. The thing about Heap is, lyrics seem to mean a lot to her and each track tries to tell a story of sorts. However, she is a rubbish lyricist in this reviewer’s opinion. The lyrics come across as basic and there is nothing wrong with basic. If basic is what you are going for. Two minute pop songs are fine with short basic easy lyrics. However it is all out of shape with Heap. The lyrics are sung with purpose but not since Oasis' second record has this reviewer heard such ridiculously rubbish lyrics sang over a half decent tune with such purpose.

“Aha” and the awful “Bad Body Double” (which is like a Phoebe from Friend’s effort) depicting a “fun” look at self loathing drag this record on. A surprisingly bright instrumental “Fire” and “Canvas”, perhaps the finest song on the album lead the album to the forgettable “Half Life” and it’s all over. Heap may think she is a poetic tuneful revelation but on this offering she appears nothing more than a pretentious Dido Armstrong sound alike. And with Grammy nominations and 12 years in the business under her belt she should be doing a lot better. No doubt the masses will love it. It’ll sell like cheap loo roll in a recession but this record for my money is lazy, unimaginative and dated already.

Kevin Coleman


More ...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
05
Calvin Harris 'Ready for the weekend'
A review of the album 'Ready for the weekend' by Calvin Harris Review Snapshot: "Ready for the weekend" is a disco pop sugar rush. Set a late noughties  badly lit overcrow...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
05
Prefab Sprout 'Let's Change the World with Music'
A review of the album 'Let's Change the World with Music' by Prefab Sprout Review Snapshot: Just like Brian Wilson's long-lost 'Smile' album, 'Let's Change the Worl...

[Read more...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
Page 9 of 22First   Previous   4  5  6  7  8  [9]  10  11  12  13  Next   Last   

Search Articles

Nuggets from our archive

2005Michael Jackson: demon or demonised? Or both?, written by Aidan Curran. Four years on this is still a great read, especially in the light of his recent death. Indeed the day after Michael Jackson died the CLUAS website saw an immediate surge of traffic as thousands visited CLUAS.com to read this very article.