Articles: Album reviews

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White Lies 'Ritual'
A review of the album 'Ritual' by White Lies  Review Snapshot: Has the second album curse taken its next victim? White Lies' new release promises big with some of the biggest names in indie lending a hand along the way. But can the champions of nu-shoe gaze really deliver on the follow up to ‘To Lose My Life’?. The Cluas Verdict? 3 out of 10 Full Review: White Lies' new release ‘Rituals’ appear to be just that, a ritual. It's as if they took their previous effort ‘To Lose My Life’ - songs about love, songs about death - changed the wording around a bit, a dash more synths and, voila, album number two is born. Songs about love and death mean nothing if no feelings are involved. It could be said that their style of expressionless vocals explains the lack of emotion in these songs and those in previous recordings. That is until you compare them with lead vocalists of bands in a similar vein, such a... [Read on]
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27
Tubelord 'Our First American Friends'
A review of the album 'Our First American Friends' by Tubelord Review Snapshot: The debut album by Cockney math rockers Tubelord and is somewhat of a gem amongst a genre in which bands often find it difficult to stand out from the crowd. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Tubelord are already well known on the Irish alternative scene having gigged in a number of Irish cities. It's good to see they manage to capture the same energy on 'Our First American Friends, their debut album, as they do live. In the UK the band has also been gaining quite a reputation where their first single 'Feed Me A Box of Words' was very well received by critics. 'Our First American Friends'  was also well recieved in Rock Sound magazine, amongst others. Mixing a blend of cracking harmonies, upbeat melodies and seemingly endless time changes, the album keeps forever you on your toes. Often single songs include... [Read on]
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27
The Cast of Cheers 'Chariot'
A review of the album 'Chariot' by The Cast of Cheers Review Snapshot: A band that’s made many Top of 2010 lists (including my own) and now has been shortlisted for the Choice Music Prize. It’s a wonder The Cast of Cheers have come so far with little or no promotion. After all many people are still wondering where this Irish four-piece came from? And where can they get a hold of the album? The Cluas Verdict? 10 out of 10 Full Review: You’ll be hard pushed to find a negative review of this album or of these guys live, they just steal your music players and the stage leaving you crave more of their addictive math rock tinged with indie-pop influences. It is a cross-over few would dare to try and even fewer would succeed in achieving. The Cast of Cheers have proven time and again that they are set for big things with their catchy choruses and irresistible guitar melodies. Host to such a dynamic range of sound, you’re... [Read on]
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13
The Decemberists 'The King is Dead'
A review of the album 'The King is Dead' by The Decemberists Review Snapshot: Casual listeners to the Decemberists will be glad to learn that the group's sixth album, ‘The King is Dead’, is a return to their folksy beginnings, combining the group's not inconsiderable musical talents and country rock sensibilities with the inimitable voice and witticisms of front man Colin Meloy. And without an enchanted forest or pantomime villain in sight, perhaps we can all get back to liking them again.  The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: It required a decidedly hardcore Decemberists fan to remain loyal to the Portland outfit following the inexplicable 2009 album ‘Hazards of Love’. A concept album about a forbidden relationship in a forest of the lead singer’s imagination, 'Hazards of Love' was an unremittingly self-indulgent project by the group that only served to repel the occasional listener and furthermore... [Read on]
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16
Hipster Youth 'Teenage Elders'
A review of the album 'Teenage Elders' by Hipster Youth Review Snapshot: Teenage Elders captures the chaos of a Castlevania soundtrack without ever considering the likely effect upon its audience. A bad Nintendo acid trip of an album, lost in the one-dimensional platforms that inspired its inception. The Cluas Verdict? 3 out of 10 Full Review: In a business overrun with insipid intertextual references, artists should really exercise caution when they wander into the realms of retro. The advent of postmodernism opened up the floodgates of creative recycling, with the old and the new intermingling in an array of previously inconceivable combinations. At best, the trend presented the possibility of redefining the cultural relics of the past through novel hybrid forms. At worst, the market merely capitalised on the success of a few innovators, producing a litany of carbon copies in their wake.  Dublin-based artist Hipster Youth unfortun... [Read on]
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09
Bruce Springsteen 'The Promise'
A review of the album 'The Promise' by Bruce Springsteen Review Snapshot: An album of lost sessions from Darkness On The Edge Of Town that any of today’s pretenders to the throne would die-for. A collection of songs that ‘The Boss’ couldn’t find album space for now sees the light of day, over three decades later. It has certainly been well worth the wait. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: After being proclaimed “the future of rock‘n’roll” in 1975 following the commercial success of Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen went back to the drawing board to dream it all up again. However due to legal disputes he was unable to release any new material until 1978’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town. What you’ve got here are 22 songs that chronologically belong between those two albums. Described by The Boss himself as “a great lost work recovered”, this album opens with ... [Read on]
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08
Les Shelleys 'Les Shelleys'
A review of the debut album from Les Shelleys Review Snapshot: This is the debut album from the duo of Tom Brosseau and Angela Correa otherwise known as Les Shelleys. What you get here is a simple stripped down and very raw album full of impressive harmonies and some very high points. It does seem to lose its way towards the end but its still well worth a listen and I'm sure the live act would be very interesting to see. The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: The album starts with the simplistic minimalist "The world is waiting for sunrise" (listen to the track below) which not only sets the tone for the rest of the album but is one of the strongest tracks here. The core of Les Shelleys sound is how the voices of Brosseau and Correa compliment each other. The is no chance of any over production here; the album was recorded on a mini-disk player on a kitchen table in a Los Angeles home with a battery powered microphone. "Green Door... [Read on]
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07
Ayoe Angelica 'Dandelion'
A review of the album 'Dandelion' by Ayoe Angelica  Review Snapshot:  A wise academic once professed that true art should be recognised for its aesthetic value rather than any contrite notion of commercial viability. Ayoe Angelica personifies this perspective, producing an enchanting collection of songs that captures the spontaneity and experimental side of the artistic process. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: In a consumer-driven industry, the artistic quest for originality seems to have taken a backseat to the marketable value of music. Many virtuous acts venture into the depths of big business determined to preserve their integrity only to bow to the burden of systematic sales targets and creative constraints. Our hopes lie with the treasured few who flee from the arid mainstream in favour of the road less travelled. Genre-defying Danish singer Ayoe Angelica is one such individual.  Joining forces with multi-inst... [Read on]
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06
Elliot Smith 'An Introduction to...'
A review of the album 'An Introduction to' by Elliot Smith Review Snapshot: A number of seminal musicians emerged in the early 90s and died prematurely and where many of those musicians pushed the dynamics of their genres, Elliot Smith’s legacy was achieved via a house style that’s about as common as it gets: one man and his guitar. It’s now been seven years since the world lost something quietly elegant: a singer-songwriter gone before his time. This release is strongly recommended for those who have yet to pick at the surface of Elliot Smith. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Elliot Smith was one of the greatest songwriters of our era and for his dedicated fan-base, every album was the soundtrack to a new chapter in the singer's always troubled life. However this album offers nothing new for existing fans - nothing unreleased, nothing live and thought to be lost to the sound desk. Yet... [Read on]
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03
Silje Nes 'Opticks'
A review of the album 'Opticks' by Silje Nes Review Snapshot: The Norwegian singer’s second album, Opticks, is a triumph in delicacy. The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: Alongside flat packed furniture and, eh, I don’t know, fish, Scandinavia has also been exporting its fair share of singer songwriters over the last decade. And despite my blatant ignorance of the region, I do at least know that they tend to follow something of a formula. Scandinavian music, with notable exceptions of course, is often characterised by distant, dreamy voices and meandering musical pieces, usually involving minimal guitar riffs. And a fair amount of these folks have been classically trained. Ólöf Arnalds sophomore album received a glowing review on Cluas earlier in the year and she was classically trained in violin and singing. Silje Nes was classically trained in piano. The point is that these are talented and well educated artists... [Read on]
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