Articles: Album reviews

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Ten Kens 'For Posterity'
A review of the album 'For Posterity' by Ten Kens Review Snapshot: 'For Prosperity' is the second album from Toronto Four-piece Ten Kens. The album is a heady mix of psychedelic rock and meditative melodies.  If Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace’ and Metallica’s ‘Black Album’ had a baby, this would be its offspring.  The Cluas Verdict? 4 out of 10 Full Review: ‘Johnny Ventura’, the first track from ‘From Posterity’  opens with sunny guitars and cymbals but quickly takes a turn down a darker path, something which becomes familiar throughout the album. The album is drenched in heavy guitar riffs that help establish the intensity of the record and, throughout, the foursome’s musical talent is apparent.  ‘Summer Camp’ opens on 15 seconds of silence followed by the acapella voice of Workman. His voice is so high and smooth that without backing, this song could... [Read on]
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The Courtyard Hounds' debut album
A review of the The Courtyard Hounds debut album Review Snapshot: Emily Robison and Martie Maguire – formerly of the Dixie Chicks are now recording new music under the moniker ‘Courtyard Hounds’. A few nuggets of brilliance here in this new album but overall it's watered down Chicks so expect to be a tad disappointed if you’ve been a loyal fan all these years. The Cluas Verdict? 4 out of 10 Full Review: If it were not for the effeminate portraits on the album sleeve you mightwonder what a female group called ‘Hounds’ were doing in the Country/Pop section of your local music outlet. Emily Robison and Martie Maguire, long recognized as the supporting duo behind powerful lead vocalist Natalie Maines in the Dixie Chicks, have embarked on their own separate grouping: The Courtyard Hounds. Robison’s marriage breakup from singer/songwriter Charlie Robison heavily influences the album. Divorce metaphors are abound in ... [Read on]
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Jack Johnson 'To The Sea'
A review of Jack Johnson's album 'To the Sea' Review Snapshot: Jack Johnson - famous for his soft, laid back sound and how he’s the perfect accompanist for a holiday - has released his fifth studio album. With it comes nothing particularly new or unexpected, but not particularly unpleasant either. The Cluas Verdict? 6/10 Full review: The opening track “You and Your Heart” will be familiar to almost all Johnson fans, as it open with an upbeat acoustic sound. My first thought is that it could comfortably be heard in the ad for a new orange juice. Turn it on when you’re packing for a summer holiday. Nothing new there. The title track fits perfectly with Johnson’s own explanation of the album title. "I guess it's a reference to a father leading his son to the sea, with the water representing the subconscious. So it's about trying to go beneath the surface and understand yourself". The most prominent ... [Read on]
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21
 Sarah Blasko 'As Day Follows Night'
A review of the album 'As Day Follows Night' by Sarah Blasko Review Snapshot: Aussie songstress Sarah Blasko's third album, but her first to be released in Europe. An album entirely worth repeated listens and will no doubt serve to make Blasko’s excursion northward a worthwhile one. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: The past year has been the reign of the female artist, between the Florences, the Marinas and the Marlings; in the realm of the alternative scene it has been a year where ‘the bands’ have been put on the back burner. Another addition to these ranks is Aussie songstress Sarah Blasko; with numerous ARIA awards under her belt, and after a recent deal this side of the world, Blasko’s been forced to start from scratch on her third album, her first to be released here. Blasko’s silky vocals ring similar to those of Norah Jones and the like, occasionally to her detriment, it is however Blasko&rsquo... [Read on]
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Ann Scott 'Flo'
A review of the album 'Flo' by Ann Scott Review Snapshot: Ann Scott returns with her remarkable new album 'Flo', a collection of songs that will enthrall and disquiet in equal measure. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: It’s been quite a while since Ann Scott’s impressive second album 'We’re Smiling' was released, an accomplished album that stood up to repeated listens while her debut 'Poor Horse' was equally as arresting. Despite this, the Dublin-born singer has always remained under the radar as an artist in this country, never quite achieving the kudos she deserves. With third album 'Flo' it is surely time for Scott to step out from the shadows, as it is her most complete work to date and heralds her as a major talent. This significant creative progression is evident from the ominous opening bars of first track 'Love is in him'. Built around a simple, minimal acoustic guitar figure a... [Read on]
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12
Villagers 'Becoming A Jackal'
A review of the album Becoming A Jackal by Villagers Review Snapshot: Despite the huge weight of expectation, Conor O'Brien delivers possibly the finest Irish record you'll hear this year in the shape of Becoming A Jackal. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: It's difficult not to feel sorry for Conor O'Brien. Dude's only a slip of a thing and yet he has to deal with me putting the entire weight of my musical expectations for 2010 on his shoulders.  That said, with Becoming A Jackal, O'Brien has set himself apart from the pack. There's a tenderness and a craftsmanship at play here that is as rare as it is beautiful and for that reason alone O'Brien and his Villagers should be considered a national treasure. Opening with 'I Saw the Dead', Villagers set the scene for an album whose veins are coursing with isolation and fear and yet whose mind is set on hope and regeneration.  Such is the epic nature of 'I S... [Read on]
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12
Craig Walker 'Siamese'
A review of the album 'Siamese' by Craig Walker Review Snapshot: Fifteen years after the demise of his former band - the brilliant Power Of Dreams - frontman Craig Walker returns with his debut solo-album. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Earlier this year, legendary Irish indie-rockers Power Of Dreams reformed for a series of ecstatically-received gigs in the UK and Ireland. It was to celebrate the 20th - anniversary of their magnificent debut album ‘Immigrants, Emigrants and Me’ which still sounds as vibrant and emotionally-engaging now as it did in the early Nineties, testament to the quality of the songs on it (written when the band’s songwriter and frontman Craig Walker was just 17 years-old). The fact that it’s taken almost fifteen years since the band split amicably in 1995 for his solo debut album to appear can’t be blamed on any sort of creative stagnation on his part. Instead of going on the obligatory so... [Read on]
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A review of the album 'High Violet' by The National Review Snapshot: High Violet is the fifth album from the National and the group's most eagerly anticipated record yet. This time around the Brooklyn based band have the added burdens of worldwide exposure and greater critical scrutiny to deal with, though it appears that such pressures have either been openly embraced or actively ignored, such is the confidence with which this record is approached and realised. The result, a poignant exploration of 21st century anxieties, carefully crafted and delivered with an admirable sincerity. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Article: Few bands it seems take the long road to success anymore. What with the information super highway and the like, an outrageous hairstyle, an investment in treadmills, or even a spirited Paul Weller impression (yes, that’s a swipe at The Enemy), might just get you where you want to be. The National however, adopt a more ... [Read on]
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A review of the album 'Go' by Jonsi Review Snapshot: The falsetto flaunting front man of Sigur Rós embarks on a solo career with ‘Go’, an inspired nine track record swelling with more enthusiasm and optimistic sentiment than a Christian choir on Prozac. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: It is hard to believe, but it will be thirteen years this August since Sigur Rós released their debut album Von. And it is even harder to believe just how successful the Icelandic group have become over that time, given their tendencies towards long, drawn out musical progressions and vocals sung either in Icelandic or, more commonly, a made up jargon. And yet there was something in Agaetis Byrjun (1999) and in particular Takk (2005) that seemed to strike a chord with music followers of various tastes, leading to impressive album sales and well attended tours. But with the news earlier this year that the band were on hiatus, it seeme... [Read on]
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A review of the album 'WHB' by We Have Band Review Snapshot: Three ex record label employees band together to produce an album with the dancefloor firmly in mind… The debut offering from two-boy, one-girl London-based trio We Have Band draws on an impressive array of influences, the result being an 80s-infused brand of modern day mix n’ match pop. Slick production and catchy melodies mean that WHB is an album which will command attention. With killer singles and a strong supporting cast of tracks, We Have Band are definitely ones to watch as we approach the summer festival season. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Winners of the Emerging Talent Competition at 2009’s Glastonbury Festival, disco-rockers We Have Band have gradually garnered a lot of attention in the run-up to their debut release. The back story alone is enough to intrigue – three ex-employees of EMI, with little experience between them, decide to get to... [Read on]
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