Articles: Album reviews

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La Roux 'La Roux'
A review of La Roux's debut album Review Snapshot: Electro-pop duo La Roux’s debut album is filled with the haunting vocals of Elly Jackson and the synthesized beats of Ben Laingmaid.  Though catchy and quick, the album fails to hold the intensive energy of their singles and becomes disappointingly lacklustre. A record that lacks real staying power over its full length - it slowly begins to wilt from about the half way point The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: When electro-pop band La Roux first appeared on the scene with the single "Quicksand" in December 2008, it seemed to miss its mark entirely.  However, when "In the Kill" blasted over the airwaves, they finally found their audience.   The band's principle interests are drawn from the 80s; bands such as Depeche Mode and Yazoo, while the androgynous appearance of lead singer Elly Jackson emulates that of Annie Lennox or even Ziggy Stardust. They could be lik... [Read on]
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13
Biffy Clyro 'Only Revolutions'
A review of the album 'Only Revolutions' by Biffy Clyro Review Snapshot: The Ayrshire trio Biffy Clyro return with an album filled with explosive riffs and lyrical genius, featuring Josh Homme and a surprisingly suitable string section. It has all of the incredible hallmarks of a band headed for arenas, but still maintains some of the 'underdog' traits that originally made Biffy Clyro alluring in the first place. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: 'Only Revolutions' is... interesting. The album title was taken from a novel of the same name by Mark Danielewski, which requires you to flip the book upside down frequently to read two different narratives usually on the same page. Just from this detail it's easy to see why 'Only Revolutions' is a suitable title for Biffy Clyro's latest release, at times it feels as though you're cascading through a variety of unrelated songs which somehow have a consistency.     ... [Read on]
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Cluas Snapshot: The Antlers’ second album is different. It’s a concept. The theme is tragic and complicated. It’s also phenomenally engaging musically and while one of the most difficult it’s also one of the interesting albums you’re likely to hear this year. The Cluas Verdict? 8/10 Full Review: Hospice tells the story from Prologue to Epilogue of a couple’s journey through terminal illness, struggle, regret and grief amongst other things. It’s heavy. It’s very heavy in fact. The record opens with the grey overtone “Prologue” and even from this early stage, it’s clear the album could serve as a soundtrack for a movie. In fact a movie could be written using the story of the album. It slides gently into “Kettering”. The song describes one partner finding the other filled with tubes in a cancer ward. The “morphine alarms” sing and keep her sleeping. It narrates the anger felt by the patient t... [Read on]
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A review of the album 'Post Electric Blues' by Idlewild Review Snapshot: One could be forgiven for thinking that this latest offering portrays Idlewild growing old gracefully, but realistically this is the sound of a band who are trying to reinvent themselves. It doesn’t come close to the indie rock genius of the “The Remote Part” and the happy-go-lucky “Make Another World”, or the intrigue of the confused “Warnings/Promises”, but rather depends on several different influences to produce a fresh sound. Does it work? Yes, but only just.  The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: As the album opens with “Younger Than America”, you instantly notice this is truly & recognisably Idlewild, a vicariously riffed tune, and one that will once again accuse them of being, albeit in a good way, influenced by REM circa the Document era. Add to that, an effective backing vocal by our own Heidi Talbot (who aided and abetted Roddy Woomble’s 2006 solo country-ish effort “Secret Of My Silence” to ma... [Read on]
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20
Mumford & Sons 'Sigh No More'
A review of the album 'Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons Review Snapshot: This London folk foursome presented their first album, 'Sigh No More', at the beginning of this month, following in the footsteps of the contemporary Noah and the Whale, and echoing the forlorn vocals of Neil Young. Mumford & Sons' unique brand of indie-folk, with edgy lyrics and widely varied music, will not be everyone's favourite, but for the more eclectic, this is an absolutely brilliant debut from a promising band.  The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: I readily confess that I’m not a huge fan of folk music. I’ve never really considered the banjo as a serious instrument, and had someone asked me what I thought of the genre, I would have raised an eyebrow and said that I wasn’t that into it. I was surprised, then, by this album, which I immediately liked. It mixes traditional-sounding introductions with thunderous climaxes, replete with ro... [Read on]
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19
The Swell Season 'Strict Joy'
A review of the album Strict Joy by The Swell Season Review Snapshot:  At times underwhelming and familiar, 'Strict Joy' brings nothing new to the table and deals with much of the same subject matter as The Swell Season's previous albums. While people who were already fans will probably find this album enjoyable it did very little to grab the attention of this reviewer's ears. The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review:  Since the success of 2007's 'Once' Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, aka The Swell Season, who both starred in the film and composed the soundtrack, have become highly regarded members of the Irish music scene. Hansard, portraying a struggling busker on Dublin's Grafton Street, and Irglová his love interest and a fellow musician in 'Once', raised their profile considerably and garnered much international attention, particularly in America. Their Oscar winning track from the 'Onc... [Read on]
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16
Pearl Jam 'Backspacer'
A review of the album Backspacer by Pearl Jam Review Snapshot: If you want the smooth waves of the surf, some rocking little riffs and more fine songwriting from Eddie Vedder, then Backspacer is for you. Die-hard fans like myself ought not to be disappointed.  The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: What's not to like about Eddie Vedder? Surfer, writer, and a mysterious creature that puts forth his vision of the world with a voice that has only grown better with age. More importantly, Vedder is the iconic figure in Pearl Jam, the Seattle rock band that survived the 90s and have become enriched as the group continues to play to sold-out venues. Backspacer represents a mellowing of the group, with lyrics that reflect a more relaxed Vedder. As if to prove this, the album bursts forth not with the heady rushes of a track like 'Go' , but rather with a Johnny B. Goode style blues riff on 'Gonna See My Friend.' This slice of home-grown Amer... [Read on]
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16
Fnessnej 'Stay Fresh, Ey'
A review of the album Stay Fresh, Ey by Fnessnej Review Snapshot: A compelling collage of sounds from a German five-piece whose name is almost impossible to pronounce. Part chip-tune, part post-rock, Stay Fresh, Ey is a playful album that offers new delights on each listen. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: Some song titles aren't made for memory. '1360280' is a fine example of this. But then when the artist's name appears equally scrambled, it all starts to make sense. Whisking together seemingly incongruent flavours is a speciality of Fnessnej. The quintet's music is self-described on their website as 'instrumental postkutsche rocknroll elektroge frikkelballer post blahabblaha'. Quite the mouthful. Fnessnej are masters of blending bleeps and ticks, rock riffs, synth sounds and syncopated drumming on a rich palate of musical fervour. The album's first track 'Duplex Knaller' begins playfully, with four short clownlike... [Read on]
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14
AFI 'Crash Love'
A review of the album 'Crash Love' by AFI Review Snapshot: The Californian rock veterans make a triumphant return with their eight studio album, proving precisely why they've lasted so long and still have the awe-inspiring ability to always exceed expectations. The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: In 1991 in a high school in Ukiah, California, sat four teenagers eager to get involved in the punk rock and hardcore music scene. They decided to start a band and set about learning how to play instruments hoping to emulate their heroes such as the Misfits and The Cure. Now, several line-up changes and some genre-hopping later AFI have presented us with 'Crash Love.'   Their previous album, 'Decemberunderground', was by all accounts a success. It was well received by both critics and fans alike, their first single from the album, ‘Miss Murder’, garnered them some mainstream attention in the US (both ‘Decemberunderg... [Read on]
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09
Arctic Monkeys 'Humbug'
A review of the album 'Humbug' by Arctic Monkeys Review Snapshot: The Monkeys have certainly taken a step forward with this album. Unfortunately, they seem to have stepped into a world of random and/or drug induced songwriting, where coherence is frowned upon, and nonsense is king. Musically, the record is quite interesting, and they've honed their sound significantly, avoiding obvious riffs and uniformly aggressive drumming. Overall, it's a solid album for the band, but I think critics exaggerate when they say that it's momentous; it's well produced, it's darker than anything they've done before, but it isn't quite seminal. The Cluas Verdict? 6.5 out of 10 Full Review: This album is certainly trying for a dark, grotesque, looming feel, but I don't think they quite achieve that. The first track, 'My Propeller', exhibits Alex Turner's new random/drug induced/'deep' lyrics, introducing the first of many excessively... [Read on]
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