Entries for November 2007

Articles

16
Land Of Talk 'Applause Cheer Boo Hiss'
A review of the album 'Applause Cheer Boo Hiss' by Land Of Talk Review Snapshot: Land Of Talk waste their bountiful talent on formulaic Indie rock - only some moments save it from the faceless obscurity it could have unfairly consigned the band to. Call this a missed opportunity rather than a disaster, a mere pit stop on the road to greater things, but Applause Cheer Boo Hiss simply isn't an interesting or engaging record. The Cluas Verdict? 4 out of 10 Full Review: The Canadian indie scene has been in full swing over the past few years, with legions of bands emerging from the country and onto bigger things. The Dears, The New Pornographers, The Stills and of course, the Arcade Fire have made an impact all over the world, suggesting a vibrant underground thriving with talent coolly beckoning the music press toward them. Land Of Talk are the latest band poised to break through to mainstream attention. The question isn’t so much if they w... [Read on]
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16
Day One 'Probably Art'
A review of the album 'Probably Art' by Day One Review Snapshot: Day One could have taken two paths: one was interesting, based in the trip hop Bristol sound, the other bland acoustic almost-indie-folk. They decided to take both. The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review:  “Probably Art.” The title itself captures some of the internal contradictions of this long-awaited album. As a reflection of the world around us, is art ultimately the expression of life experiences through the mouths of those who live them? Or should it be about moving away from the daily grind, and into the realm of escapism? Day One confront these somewhat hefty questions in “Probably Art” - strange for an album defined by its tales of money, pubs, growing old, relationships, etc – but Phelim Byrne and Matthew Hardwidge see the wider importance of every day life. Does any of this make for a good record? Yes, and no. The... [Read on]
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14
A review of the album 'Kill The Messenger' by Home Star Runner Review Snapshot: This debut album will certainly please Home Star Runner’s loyal army of fans, but whether they can use this release to broaden their fanbase and enjoy mainstream success, remains to be seen.   . The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: ‘Homestar runner’ are a four piece pop punk band, based in Dunboyne, Co. Meath. Following on from their well received ‘Close to Home’ EP comes their debut album, released on Blastspace records.  They’ve built up a loyal fanbase, over the past couple of years, by playing Blastspace all ages gigs with legendarily energetic live performances. The energy of those live performances certainly sounds as though it’s been harnessed into the album, along with the influence of Jimmy eat World and ‘Greenday’.  In particular, Stephen Arkins lead vocals are reminiscent of Billie Joe... [Read on]
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14
A review of the album 'Live' by R.E.M. Review Snapshot: I’ve never been a R.E.M. fan, and, after listening to this I don’t think anything is going to change. It’s a solid performance for the fans, and a lively best-of for the Christmas stocking and that, I’m afraid, is about it. The Cluas Verdict? 5.5 out of 10 Full Review: R.E.M. and I don’t really have a history. A long time ago, back when I was young and impressionable, and hormones were doing crazy things to my face, “Everybody Hurts” seemed to be a beautiful tune. But that was a long time ago and, like I said, strange things were happening. I am not really a fan of live albums - Dylan and The Band being obvious exceptions - I usually prefer to watch the show. R.E.M. have their merits, though creativity and an infectious live pulse are hardly two of them, and so the prospect of a live album of theirs (and a double CD at that) didn’t really instil a sense... [Read on]
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13
A review of the album 'All The Lost Souls' by James Blunt Review Snapshot: Alright. At least let's give this album a fair listen, okay? (A fair listen later) Ummm... it's conservative, unimaginative and over-polished M.O.R. soft-rock that takes strange pride in sounding 'classic' (i.e. old). We'll just have to accept that this is how the vast majority of people like their music. Good luck to them. The Cluas Verdict? 1 out of 10 Full Review: If we are to go by the evidence by record-sales, the majority of music fans like their tunes to be reassuring, uncomplicated and familiar. They listen to music in order to unwind after a stressful day at work, a frustrating traffic-jam coming home, a final notice from the building society through the letterbox. Which is fair enough. (And before indie fans start getting all superior, this is also why alternative radio stations have to fill their daytime schedules with endless... [Read on]
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10
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street band (Sports Arena, Los Angeles) Review Snapshot: Springsteen and the E Street band are full of rage and despair and hope and faith. Their tour is a call to meeting for people who aren't ready to give up yet. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 (10 being reserved for the 4 hour Springsteen shows of yesteryear) Full Review: The night after Ronald Reagan was elected, in 1980, Bruce Springsteen opened his show with an especially roaring, impassioned performance of Badlands. He saw it coming: the rape and pillage that would be the Reagan years. Springsteen's still at it, though with a new group of pillagers to confront. His defense against the Reactionary tide in America has long been to shout about where we are going wrong, but also to present an alternative view of what "America" means. It's not support of Salvadoran death squads and Nicaraguan contras, nor Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and torture. His "America&... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews
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09
Review Snapshot: The balladeering Dubliner distinguishes himself from the singer-songer crowd with a second fine album of charming melodies, intriguing lyrics and a sincere, likeable approach to songwriting that's worthy of the Salmon Of Knowledge (ask your primary school teacher). The CLUAS Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Ronan Hession's nom de rock suggests that he's some sort of gnarled old Delta bluesman, when in actual fact Mumblin' Deaf Ro writes acoustic pop tunes. "So far, so what?" says you - Ireland is fairly well stocked with singer-songers; no fear of a sudden shortage. And if you should lose one, well... the next one will do just as well; they tend to be interchangeable. Can Hession be any different to the mass of Tanglewood-bashers in Eire? "Yes" is the answer to that, thank God. Mumblin' Deaf Ro's 2003 debut, 'Senor My Friend...', received enthusiastic notices (the CLUAS review prominent among them) for... [Read on]
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09
A review of the album La Radiolina by Manu Chao Review Snapshot: A stonking new album from the multi-million selling music revolutionary, Manu Chao. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: 'La Radiolina' is Manu Chao's first studio album in 6 years (and is my first experience of this French-Spanish performer). The record is the follow-up to Chao's three million-selling 'Roxima Estacion: Esperenza'. Chao grew up in Paris but now lives in Barcelona. Fronting anarchic genre-bending Mano Negra (Black Hand) until the band split in 1995, Chao has been travelling the world releasing the odd album to support his travel bug. Over the course of 21 songs (stuffed into 52 minutes of solidly infectious music), Chao sings in (to my ears) four different languages and numerous styles. Of course, the flamenco styling of Latin music is to the fore, but 'Rainin in Paradize' is a full-on rock song with a lovely fluid guitar motif an... [Read on]
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04
Neil Young 'Live At Massey Hall'
Review Snapshot: The second disc to be released from his Archives file, this live set, captured in front of an adoring crowd in Toronto in 1971, shows Neil Young on top of his game. With a set containing material from his first two albums, as well as songs from the (at the time) upcoming 'Harvest', Young proves that he's unrivalled in his ability to engage with an audience in an acoustic setting. A magical live album.  The CLUAS Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: The release last year of 'Live At The Fillmore East' provided the first tangible evidence that Neil Young might just follow through on his long held promise to release his mammoth Archives project. Now further proof has arrived in the shape of 'Live At Massey Hall 1971'. This live set captures Young in what may well be the most creatively fertile period of his long career. The past year had seen him take massive strides with 'After The Goldrush', as well as a diverti... [Read on]
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03
Animal Collective 'Strawberry Jam'
A review of the album 'Strawberry Jam' by Animal Collective Review Snapshot: The Animal Collective- they'll always call a spade a frog. "Strawberry Jam" is a collection of left field quirky pop songs that drag you kicking and screaming into their world. The Cluas Verdict? 6.99 out of 10 Full Review: John Lennon famously dissed Avant-Garde as the French for b**sh*t. He dissed it in one breath and then he foisted the truly ugly "Revolution 9" on to the world, in the process nearly shipwrecking the White Album, the Beatles' best. I take a kinder view - Avant Garde represents a licence to make noise. Some bands yak about it, some wear the teeshirt, some bands just do it. It's a rare boast but in these dull times the Animal Collective are about as avant-garde and leftfield as you can get. To coin a phrase of James Joyce, this band put their collective hats on with a shoehorn. "Strawberry Jam", their latest, is a musical ti... [Read on]
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