Articles: Album reviews

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Frightened Rabbit 'The Winter of Mixed Drinks'
A review of the album 'The Winter of Mixed Drinks' by Frightened Rabbit Review Snapshot: The Scottish five piece have returned with their much third anticipated album. The record sees them depart from the alt folk genre, currently saturated with bands like Mumford & Sons and Noah & the Whale. It was a potentially dicey move on their part, one that could have easily backfired. Frightened Rabbit doing shoe-gaze is not something that should have worked, but it ha. And it's far better than anyone could have thought. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: 'The Winter of Mixed Drinks' is Frightened Rabbits third outing, and definitely a worthwhile one. The Scottish natives' notable departure from the Alternative/Folk genre, perfected on their previous album 'The Midnight Organ Fight', was a risk that has definitely paid off. The band that started out as a solo project has since swelled to five members... [Read on]
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Laura Marling 'I Speak Because I Can'
A review of the album 'I Speak Because I Can' by Laura Marling Review Snapshot: The second album from folksy songstress Laura Marling highlights why I fell in love with her music in the first place and why you should too. With a staggering lyrical and vocal ability and it’s near impossible to fault this album. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The first thing that strikes me about ‘I Speak Because I Can’ in comparison to Laura Marling’s debut ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ is that her voice seems to have gained a new strength and confidence. While ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ is nothing short of excellent, a lot of her vocals were quieter and much more timid. Now, it appears that 20-year-old Marling is more aware of her awe-inspiring talent, and has no qualms about using it to her full ability. The opening track on the album, and first single ‘Devil’s Spoke’ displays Marling’s incredible tal... [Read on]
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Ellie Goulding 'Lights'
A review of the album 'Lights' by Ellie Goulding Review Snapshot: Bland production, innocuous songs, unimaginative reheating of last year's mainstream breakthrough album - if this is the Sound of 2010, roll on 2011. The Cluas Verdict? 3 out of 10 Full Review: Critics Choice at the Brit Awards, BBC's Sound of 2010 winner - Ellie Goulding has a lot to justify with her debut album. What do you do if you're the next big thing? Sound as much as possible like the last big thing, it seems. From first note to last, 'Lights' is a blatant and relentless pitch at mainstreaming the anthemic electronic-folk-pop of Florence And The Machine. The production is coffee-table electronica from a catalogue - beats scurry brainlessly out of a box like lobotomised lab mice and all instrumentation is as unobstrusive as the sessioners playing it. The songwriting follows suit, adhering to what we can call the ... [Read on]
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Duke Special 'The Stage, A Book & The Silver Screen'
A review of the album 'The Stage, A Book & The Silver Screen' by Duke Special Review Snapshot: Ireland’s most versatile and underrated musician excels with a trilogy of albums influenced by books, stage, and screen, covering a wide range of music genres that he masters with aplomb.  The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The opening album, Mother Courage and her Children is based on the 1930s anti-war play by Bertold Brecht, which Duke has added music to, and the violin on the opening Prelude sets the tone for this disc with haunting orchestral arrangements throughout ensuring that this is no comedy. From the title track, Duke manages to tell the story of the soldiers, and carries this track to a crescendo, a 21st Century 'A Day in the Life' perhaps. The beautiful ballad 'Yvette (song of fraternization)' is as good as anything Duke has written, while 'Soldier’s Song' is the most upbeat number ... [Read on]
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12
Pet Shop Boys 'Pandemonium'
A review of the live album/DVD 'Pandemonium' by Pet Shop Boys Review Snapshot: Over 100 minutes of pure bubble-gum pop, absorbed in a rainbow of multi-coloured lighting, with a combination of clever choreography, making this CD and DVD an aural and visual spectacle from the start. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Love them or loathe them, you can’t help but have admiration for the Pet Shop Boys. Over 25 years in the music business and they still continue to come up with fresh ideas, both in their music and their presentation. Last year they released their 10th studio album, had another no. 1 on the Billboard Dance Charts, were awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Music at the Brits, and now they’ve released a CD/DVD of their Pandemonium Tour at London’s O2 Arena, barely six weeks after it was recorded. Wearing coloured boxes on their heads for the opener ‘Heart’, it’s a bowler hat and shades fo... [Read on]
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12
Norah Jones 'The Fall'
A review of the album 'The Fall' by Norah Jones Review Snapshot: A lot has changed about Norah. There is a real notion that she has grown up, and she wanted this to be heard in album number four. Produced by Jacquire King, who produced Tom Waits' 'Mule Variations', this album has a sound entirely new and long overdue. It may even reach some new followers who had previously ignored the presence of the docile piano and abundance of love ditties. The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: Followers of Norah Jones usually say it’s her velvet voice that started their love affair with her. Her voice may well be the only thing people will recognise on Norah’s latest release. Gone are the love tunes tinkled on piano, welcome is a much rockier, guitar-heavy mix of angry, bitter tunes. This, of course could be contributed to her split from long-time partner (and band mate) 18 months ago. This absence is sincerely felt in the ly... [Read on]
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09
David Bowie 'A Reality Tour Live in Dublin'
A review of the album 'A Reality Tour Live in Dublin' by David Bowie Review Snapshot: Possible the last ever Bowie Concert to be captured live, before an Irish audience who play their part in helping him deliver an outstanding performance of greatest hits and album classics.  The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Just over six months after this live concert was recorded, Bowie suffered a heart attack and has since been taking it easy, so what we’ve got here could be one of his last official live recordings, and if it is, what a way to bow out. Recorded over two nights at Dublin’s Point Depot in November 2003 during his Reality Tour, Bowie gives a thumping performance consisting of his greatest hits and tracks from his recent Heathen and Reality albums.   The DVD edition of this concert was released a few years ago, but now for the first time we get a double cd of 33 tracks, three of which didn’t make ... [Read on]
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09
Marina & the Diamonds 'The Family Jewels'
A review of the album The Family Jewels by Marina & the Diamonds Review Snapshot: Put a striking Greek girl in Wales who grows up to have a London accent and you get Marina Diamandis, better known as Marina & the Diamonds. Her long awaited debut ‘The Family Jewels’ is a shameless pop album, mixed with a hint of indie and sprinkled with some eccentricity. This, it turns out, is a winning combination. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Having recently been put on almost every ‘One to Watch for 2010’ list Marina & the Diamonds had a lot to live up to with ‘The Family Jewels’. Detailing the world around her and the apparent perils of being a woman in the 21st Century (“Girls are not meant to fight dirty/Never look a day past thirty”) makes for an interesting listen. The second track on the album, ‘Shampain’, has an 80s glam feel and slight similarities to Ladyhawke’s sound. S... [Read on]
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08
A review of the album 'It's Blitz!' by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Review Snapshot: Have Karen O’s NY art-rock knuckleheads sold their guitars and bought turntables? The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: “It’s Sh*t!” It’s not quite actually. It might have been a title worth a (mild) chortle if that were the case. However if you’re already a fan it could be your initial reaction. Those familiar with their brash and rattling sound, roughly cut between the dusty granite canyons of New York and inspired by the “avant-punk” of sultry lead singer Karen O’s Ohio, may feel this lightning bolt of an album singe their senses and offend their rock sensibilities.   It is an alien discomfort, the reverse to seeing your beloved nerdy bestest-friend you used to play war-games with come home from college recast as a woman-melting Don Juan. In "It’s Blitz!" the band pump voltage into their previous experimentation with studio sorcery.   TV On The Radio magi Dave Site... [Read on]
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A review of the album 'Two Suns' by Bat for Lashes Review Snapshot: ‘Two Suns’, released by Bat for Lashes in April 2009, was recently nominated for a Brit award. From the first song a haunting sound, almost hymnal at times, is created. It's not an initial jaw dropper of an album however it will grow on you. Soon enough you’ll find yourself wandering around humming the songs off this album unknowingly. Lyrically beautiful and musically underrated, it is deserving of much more praise than it has received. An album that rightly propels this songstress into the limelight.  The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Bat for Lashes is a one woman show; Natasha Khan is the singer/ songwriter and multi instrumentalist behind the name and she recently received a much deserved nomination for Best British Female Solo Act at the 2010 Brit awards. ‘Two Suns’ - her second album - was released back in April 2009 and slowly, but surely, has been rising in popularity. I’ve grown to love i... [Read on]
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