Entries for 'Anthony Morrissey'
Originally published by Anthony Morrissey on September 17, 2009
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 verdict? 5 out of 10
Full Review: Nothing screams late nineties quite like David Gray’s “White ladder”, a “classic” album that worked basically because its lo fi songs captured a moment and because Gray himself consciously, or unconsciously, lightened his own musical mood. Gray has trod so much water since “White ladder” that he has developed webbed feet. Noughties follow ups, “A New Day at Midnight “ and “Life in Slow Motion” are as workmanlike and well intentioned as they are forgettable but his “Lost Songs” collection of outtakes was a peak. His own wife said ”Lost Songs” should be accompanied by a government health warning but it worked because he submerged himself so totally in his own mis... [Read on]
Originally published by Anthony Morrissey on September 05, 2009
A review of the album 'Ready for the weekend' by Calvin Harris
"Ready for the weekend" is a disco pop sugar rush. Set a late noughties badly lit overcrowded nightclub to music and you get the picture. "Kid A" it ain't. But that's not a bad thing.
The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10
If you're on the top deck on the bus home on a Friday evening and if you're sitting near the back of the bus where the cool kids sit and if you're distracted by two mid teen shop girls with fingerless gloves and if they're simultaneously gossiping, checking text messages, and chewing gum and if they're listening to an MP3 player on a mobile phone with one girl jiggling one earphone wedged in her shell like and the other girl fiddling with the other earphone and if they're la-la-ing and saying "this one is f**kin' great" there's a strong possibility they're both listening to Calvin ... [Read on]
Originally published by Anthony Morrissey on June 11, 2009
A review of the album 'Junior' by Royksopp
Review Snapshot: After an uninspiring and uneven second studio album Royksopp get their groove together with "Junior", their summer collection. If you listen to this album and don't smile at least once you don't have a pulse.
The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10
The frankly brilliant "Junior", Royksopp's third studio album, puts a lie to one of the great musical clichés: disposable pop. Pop is pop. If it's good it's good. If it's bad it's bad. If it's "Junior" it's an indisposable treasure.
"Junior" is one of the best pop albums this year by a mile, it's varied in tone, it's skewed in its sounds and its sentiments, but best of all it's pure fun. Take the opener, "Happy up here". When asked about JFK Angie Dickinson said he was "the best two and a half minutes I ever had". Alter the context slightly... [Read on]
Originally published by Anthony Morrissey on December 12, 2008
A review of Tony Christie's album 'Made in Sheffield'
Review Snapshot: Medallion man steps out of comfort zone, and covers the Arctic Monkeys. "Made in Sheffield " is uneasy listening but it should be heard.
The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10
Early noughties there was a vogue for people recycling American songs from the 40s. Rod Stewart, Boz Scaggs and Bryan Ferry all dipped their toes in the American songbook pool with wildly varying results. More recently there's been a move towards a kind of musical last will and testament – artistes in their twilight years striving to leave some sort of credible musical legacy. Johnny Cash's last work with Rick Rubin was a very extreme case in point – his vocals on Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" were to all intents and purposes a musical death rattle, you could hear the air fall from his lungs and his heartbeat receding as he shivered through to the last chords. Latter... [Read on]
Originally published by Anthony Morrissey on November 09, 2008
A review of the album 'To Survive' by Joan as Police Woman
Review Snapshot: Joan Wasser has musical smarts to die for but they're not that evident on "To survive". Never was the phrase "difficult second album" more appropriate.
The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10
Joan as Policewoman – she’s got impeccable credentials. Joan Wasser’s top of the table material. She’s in with the In Crowd, she goes where the In Crowd go. She has the look too, the kooky side of well groomed, the hooded noughties eye and a vague sense of mystery. She’s multi instrumental – as my departed old man would say, she plays everything but the linoleum. God’s sakes, BBC even asked her to contribute to a radio documentary about Shostakovich.
The artwork on “To survive”, her second solo album, sees Joan in monochrome, staring into some self absorbed middle distance. She’s bare shouldered and myst... [Read on]
Originally published by Anthony Morrissey on September 19, 2008
A review of the album 'Pacific Ocean Blue' by Dennis Wilson
Review Snapshot: Dennis Wilson was the handsome Beach Boy - he had the musical smarts but they were sidelined till 1977 with the release of "Pacific Ocean Blue", his debut album. It's hit and miss but the hits really hit.
The Cluas Verdict? 6.5 out of 10
1977 - the worst thing about being 17 back then was hearing Janis Ian’s “at 17”. I hated this little whinge of a song but I suffered it because every girl I met loved it. What a musical time though – mid May, it seemed John Peel was playing Barclay John Harvest and Hatfield and the North - by July of 1977 he was bona fide punk. One Friday night in August he played “Pretty Vacant”- a real grassy-knoll / where-were-you-when-you-it heard moment.
It was around that time Dennis Wilson’s debut “Pacific Ocean Blue” was released. Up to that point Dennis was to the Beac... [Read on]
Originally published by Anthony Morrissey on September 05, 2008
A review of the album 'Sinatra at The Sands' by Frank Sinatra
Review Snapshot: 'Sinatra at the Sands': the world's most famous performer recorded at his peak.
The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10
It’s an approximation of a Sinatra story I heard but it’s still worth telling. Glen Campbell was a much sought after session guitarist in the sixties, and he even played on the incomparable “Pet Sounds”. He was engaged to play guitar on “Strangers in the night”, a song Frankie did not particularly like. In the studio Campbell was sat at the front of the orchestra, completely and utterly transfixed. He spent the whole session staring at Sinatra as he shooby dooby dooed his way to another million. At the end of the final take Sinatra thanked the conductor, pointed to Campbell, and said, “who’s the fag??”
Sinatra – so many words have been written about this man, from the fawning extremes to th... [Read on]
Originally published by Anthony Morrissey on June 05, 2008
Spiritualized (live in Tripod, Dublin)
Review Snapshot: Saints or stoners - you decide- a rejuvinated Spiritualized storm the Tripod with a set of old, rather obscure, favourites and tasters from their new album. With Jason Pierce looking merely heavily tubercular rather than close to death, the band in its current state is working a minor storm and its back catologue gets better and better with time.
The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10
A Wednesday in early May and I’m talking to a neighbour. "I’m going to a gig." "Who?" "Spiritualized – Jason Pierce, the singer, has nearly died, like loads of times, he never made a penny from any of his records but he’s a genius, he does this atonal drone thing, there’s feedback, and one minute he’s all gospel, the next he’s a screaming junkie, you should see him, he looks like death warmed up. Like, literally."
"Great-... [Read on]
Originally published by Anthony Morrissey on April 25, 2008
A review of the album 'Seldom Seen Kid' by Elbow
Review Snapshot: Top class intelligent rock pop – Elbow could never make you happy but they could afford you a better class of misery. That’s all changed – Guy Garvey buys a "Choose Life!" teeshirt and drinks from the well of contentment.
The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10
I spent a miserable weekend in 2001 listening to "Asleep at the back", the Elbow debut. It did not float my boat – too claustrophobic, too twitchy, too forbidding, too foreboding. Elbow were trading unashamedly in unhappiness and over an entire album their blackness faded into an uneasy and unlovable grey.
I bought into "Seldom seen kid", their latest, because of Richard Hawley’s involvement. He duets with Elbow’s Guy Garvey, the band’s frontman, in the jaunty "the fix", where, get this, Elbow do Funny, and - even better - Sinfully Funny. The filter ti... [Read on]
Originally published by Anthony Morrissey on November 03, 2007
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
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]