Entries for 'Aidan Curran'

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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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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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08
Review Snapshot: Atmospheric chillout electronica that's chilled out to the point of being boring, and which also sounds like no more than the sum of its influences (Sigur Ros, David Sylvian). Gemma Hayes pops in to sing a track. The CLUAS Verdict: 5 out of 10 Full Review: Chris Hufford, the man behind Anti-Atlas, is Radiohead's manager. He is also part of the management team of that other famous (and, for this reviewer at least, more enjoyable) Oxford band, Supergrass. 'Between Voices' sounds nothing like either band. It's a chillout album of lush strings, ambient layers and easy-on-the-ear female singers - including Lady Marmalade-Voice of Ballyporeen herself, Gemma Hayes (also managed by Hufford), on 'It's A Shame'. To add a Sigur Ros-style chilly atmosphere (as Radiohead sometimes do) there are plenty of Scandinavian and Icelandic contributions: for instance, Norwegian singer-songer Kristin Fjellse... [Read on]
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05
Review Snapshot: A band living off an old song and a stale image, Alabama 3 hit the photocopy button one more time. Bland songs plastered in cliched sounds; the only refreshing thing is the unintentional honesty of the album title. Someone, put a cap in their ass. The CLUAS Verdict? 2 out of 10 Full Review: After eight years, Alabama 3 are still trading on their debut album, 'Exile On Coldharbour Lane'. That 'Sopranos' theme, 'Woke Up This Morning', was its best-known song and on the basis of their tired new album they'll be depending on that old track for a long time yet. The album's name is meant to be ironic but, as usually happens when a band jokes about sounding uncool, is completely accurate. The title track of sorts, 'Middle Of The Road', pays tribute to The Eagles. By this we mean that the lyrics are about The Eagles and the music sounds like The Eagles too (to be specific, 'Take It Easy'). Hardly the stuff of th... [Read on]
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02
Review Snapshot: An ambitious 'organic dance' album that lets itself down with bad production, outdated dancefloor sounds and a basic misunderstanding of what an eclectic record should sound like.  The CLUAS Verdict: 4 out of 10 Full Review: Straight outta Cornwall, Rairbirds have been active in the UK for most of the last decade with their brand of organic dance - no samples, just live instrumentation. Unfortunately, this long-time-coming first album has all the hallmarks of being sat on and fiddled with for too long. Fair play to them, it must be said, for their ambition in gathering a variety of sounds and influences: dancefloor-fillers, jazz-style workouts and late sixties rock (including a cover of Dylan's 'It's Alright Ma I'm Only Bleeding') are all thrown in there. However, there's a basic conceptual flaw with this record: as can be clearly heard on 'Unknown', these different sounds are just stuck together like ... [Read on]
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23
Review Snapshot: The new White Stripes album shows off its blues and folk influences the way a pre-pubescent boy wears a fake moustache. An uninspired and uninspiring rock trudge that's not half as odd or interesting as it seems to think it is. The CLUAS Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Reviews: In the sleevenotes to 'Icky Thump', Jack White admits to being an impressionist. Fair play to him for his honesty; this record sounds like one long Led Zeppelin homage - blues-rock guitars and little else. White's songs are as flat and unremarkable as ever but this time around there's no 'Seven Nation Army' killer riff to carry them off. Like with Morrissey, his titles are more interesting than the songs themselves - 'You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do What Your Told)' and 'A Martyr For My Love For You' are unmemorable plod-rock. Only the mariachi-style 'Conquest' is quirky and appealing - but that's a cover ve... [Read on]
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23
Review Snapshot: A fine work of Cohen- and Reed-influenced lo-fi folk-pop from a globetrotting chanteuse. One to put alongside Feist as this year's coffee-table albums of choice, perhaps? The CLUAS Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Born in Israel, raised in the Netherlands, matured in Paris and domicile in New York, Keren Ann Zeidel is a successful chanson francaise singer in France. This, her fifth album, is in English and it's good enough to get attention as international as its recording (in studios in Paris, Tel Aviv, New York, Rekjavik and Los Angeles). Keren Ann's music is not as eclectic as her globetrotting - she sticks mainly to intimate folk-pop, a lo-fi Feist, if you will. For the most part, most noticably on 'The Harder Ships Of The World', she seems heavily influenced by Leonard Cohen's world-weary writing style and murmuring delivery. Other times, as with many Paris-based female singers these days, Keren Ann also draws heav... [Read on]
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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 ... [Read on]
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17
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 rea... [Read on]
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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 as much an event as the movies themselves, and for 'Death Proof' he's once again found some lost/ignored crackers. The overall sound is late '60s/early '70s boogie rock from the likes of Willy deVille, Pacific Gas & Electric and T-Rex (who are unknown in the States, shockingly enough). There's also some evocative soundtrack pieces from the likes of Jack Nitzsche and Ennio Morricone. There's a soulful cut from the wonderful voice of Joe Tex. And the dialogue excerpts are mercifully few and short. Pick of the bunch is US Francophile chanteuse April March's 'Chick Habit', her hip-swinging version of 'Laisse Tomber Les Filles' by Serge Gainsbourg - one man who's in no need of Tarantino's king-making patronage. But... [Read on]
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