giovedì 30 dicembre 2010

Smash "Icon"



Ma guarda un pò chi si rivede dopo tanti anni! Tornano in pista gli Smash e lo fanno con l'iconografia di sempre, quella almeno è rimasta, anche se c'è da dire che musicalmente qualcosa è decisamente cambiato.
Rallentano un pò i toni e sembrano avere un pò le batterie scariche i nostri o magari è solo che "diventando grandi" non c'è più l'urgenza di un tempo, ma pare, ascoltando il disco, che non sia neanche più una priorità: ecco quindi un disco quasi pulito, prodotto discretamente e con melodie piacevoli, pure le voci femminili in un paio di pezzi, che scorre via senza problemi, ma ripeto, manca lo spirito del tempo che fu.
Chi si accontenta gode. (2007 Major League Productions)

- Scratch Until You Bleed
- Icon
- Beautiful Like Peace
- It's A Shame
- Morphine For The Pain
- It's Got Me Heavy
- All By Myself
- Cried At The Time
- Only The Lonely
- 15 Years


SMASH

The Jeevas "1234"







Tra i Kula Shaker parte uno e i Kula Shaker parte due (intendo prima e dopo la reunion), beh, in mezzo ci stanno i Jeevas.
Qui Cris da fiato alle trombe del buon rock, classico e con riferimenti 60/70. Non è il mio andazzo preferito, lo ammetto. Ma c'è davvero tanta onestà in questo disco che ce lo fa apprezzare. Da notare che la sezione ritmica è formata da due ex Straw! (2002 Cowboy)

Crispian Mills, the former Kula Shaker frontman, appears to have returned to his roots (musically, that is--he'll always be, and always was, a posh boy) with the Jeevas. 1-2-3-4 boasts good, snappy songs played by a tidy band, while Mills's underrated guitar playing sparkles throughout and rhythm section Andy Nixon and Dan McKinna have no trouble keeping up.
Opener "Virginia" owes everything to David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars, with a touch of Troggs thrown in, a cover of the Undertones's "You Got My Number" is straightforward and joyful, while "Once Upon a Time in America" is a lively folk-rock boogie.
The wobbly "Silver Apples" is presumably a nod to the 60s avant-garde New Yorkers of that name, while the concluding "Edge of the World" is wistfully memorable.
At least as good as John Squire's best solo efforts, and a hell of a lot more fun, this short (35 minutes) set is anything but grandiose and will come as a pleasant surprise to anyone expecting post-millennial cod-mysticism. (Steve Jelbert - http://www.amazon.co.uk/)


- Virginia
- Ghost Cowboys In The Movies
- You Got My Number
- What Is It For
- Once Upon A Time In America
- Don't Say The Good Times Are Over
- Scary Parents
- Teenage Breakdown
- Silver Apples
- Edge Of The World

THE JEEVAS

The Stands "All Years Leaving"




Il gruppo decisamente lodato da Noel Gallagher esordiva con questo discreto disco. Non mi strappo i capeli per questo suono sicuramente retrò, ma devo dire che è fatto con accortezza e discrete melodie.
Gruppo onesto. Niente di più. (2004 Echo)


Most music is not at all original; it's an observation that is common knowledge to any music fan.
But it's only after hearing certain records that you realize that most music is simply recycling "the classics," and that most bands don't have the talent, knowledge, or simply the gut to make something startling.
An example of such a record could be All Years Leaving by The (seemingly Noel-Gallagher-endorsed) Stands. There's no doubt about the craftsmanship and good intentions of these four young British lads, but the final product just doesn't stick out from the masses.
Let's start with the music: the typical mix of '60s folk and rock, which British bands like The Trills, The Coral, and the Turin Brakes have rediscovered, is a prominent force on All Years Leaving.
The Stands are mimicking that sound with good result, sounding like something that late-'60s bands such as The Byrds would have recorded if they had been kept in cryonic state for forty years. Then there are the lyrics; lead singer/songwriter Howie Payne writes simple and understandable lines.
That's fine, but his songs don't have that same unmistakable, in-your-face power as his examples. What made those "'60s legends" legendary is the genius of how they could compress an intricate feeling or story into a few lines, or a melody with utter simplicity.
Now, it's not very fair of me to compare the debut record from these guys with the best works of the Byrds, Beatles, or Beach Boys, but that is about the only comparison that is valid, because The Stands don't leave the roads paved by those bands.
Again, there is nothing wrong with recycling an old theme, but it would just seem to make sense to add, subtract, or change things to make the theme more interesting.
There are enough examples of bands that did exactly that (examples like Neutral Milk Hotel and Belle & Sebastian spring to mind) and made the best records of the '90s. Unfortunately, The Stands seem to be one of many in the abundant pond of bands with unimaginative music. (http://www.tinymixtapes.com)

Given the official Britpop seal of approval by no less than Oasis' Noel Gallagher, this album is essentially a showcase for the undoubted talents of singer-songwriter Howie Payne.
That the album is ultimately something of a mixed bag is not so much down to Payne's obvious abilities as a songwriter, but that the performances on this album simply do not do justice to the material.
Part of the problem is Payne's thin, reedy voice which, although occasionally sounding like John Lennon before he smothered his vocals in reverb and multi-tracking, most of the time just can't carry off the tunes... And there are some great ones dotted around this album.
One of the best is When This River Rolls Over You (one of several songs on the album that appear to owe more than a passing debt to one Neil Young), but then there's also the Beatles-like The Big Parade and Here She Comes Again, which could easily be mistaken for the Velvet Underground song of the same name.
I Need You and The Love You Give, both titles that also betray the influence of the Fab Four, evoke memories of the Byrds, circa Fifth Dimension, while it's easy to imagine the title track gracing one of the early Oasis albums, and, indeed, it would have been greatly enhanced by Liam's snarling delivery.
No problem then with the breadth of references to rock's golden age, but like any number of British bands of the past 15 years (Ride, Teenage Fanclub, Cosmic Rough Riders etc.) the size of the record collection doesn't always equal memorable pop songs, merely derivative ones.
For all the variety of songs on offer here, and the admirable brevity of the album (a shade over 41 minutes) there just isn't the contrast of setting and mood necessary to sustain the interest.
Payne's voice, too, really does start to grate after a few numbers, partly because sometimes he tries a little to hard to be expressive and, instead, comes over simply as over-mannered.
It's easy to see how, 10 years or so down the line, Payne will have carved himself out a cosy little niche as a jobbing songwriter while his fellow band members have disappeared back into obscurity. That's a pity because in many ways this is an impressive, ambitious album - it just seems to fall short in the final delivery. (Simon Evans - http://www.musicomh.com/)

- I've Waited So Long
- All Years Leaving
- Outside Your Door
- When This River Rolls Over You
- It's Only Everything
- Always Is The Same / Shine On
- Here She Comes Again
- The Big Parade
- The Love You Give
- I Need You
- Some Weekend Night
- The Way She Does


THE STANDS

domenica 26 dicembre 2010

The Stands "Horse Fabulous"



Un discreto secondo disco questo per gli Stands, che si muove su influenze sixties, rock dal sapore vagamente country, arrangiamenti attenti e un pizzico di psichedelia.
Certo, cose che magari avremo già sentito in mille altri gruppi, ma qui devo dire il tutto funziona bene.
Senza grosse pretese. (2005 Echo)

Secondo album per gli Stands, quartetto di Liverpool capitanato da Howie Payne, che in patria è riuscito ad attirare su di sé l’attenzione con l’esordio dello scorso anno, "All Years Living". L'album ha colpito in primis gli addetti ai lavori e gli Stands hanno finito per aprire i concerti di Oasis e Libertines.
Immaginerete dunque già in cosa consista la proposta della band: ma ad onor del vero il pop inglese non è la loro unica influenza, dato che spesso il gruppo guarda agli Stati Uniti, soprattutto ai Byrds (ma non soltanto a loro).
Questa opera seconda - "Horse Fabulous" - è inquadrabile come un breve sussidiario del pop, composto con classe e diligenza, pieno di belle canzoni.
"Turn the World Around" è cantata nel registro degli Oasis, ma dal punto di vista del sound guarda molto più poeticamente ai Love (pur non ponendosi neanche come obiettivo di coglierne la profondità): sul tappeto di acustiche e basso saltellante fanno la loro comparsa intrusioni di fiati, brevi momenti di violini, chitarre elettriche e pizzichi vagamente country. Se il brano può considerarsi già un piccolo un manifesto della band, i successivi fanno anche meglio rispetto a qualità.
A partire dal pop-rock pesantemente kinksiano "Soon Come", ben scandito su chitarre elettriche e battiti di mano, con grande impennata nel crescendo finale e solito soffio di Usa, portato da contrappunti di armonica; continuando attraverso la camminata di "Back to You", tenera e colorata, con cori beatlesiani e slide che flirtano; scivolando in territori rock con il vero e proprio inno "Do lt Like You Like".
Comunque, anche quando non vengono raggiunte le summenzionate vette, il revival del gruppo scorre molto piacevole e suadente, e il suo ampissimo respiro gli permette di tener sempre viva l'attenzione.
Capita così di ritrovarsi a incontrare i primi Pink Floyd, con l’attacco barrettiano del psych-rock "Nearer Than Green", che va improvvisamente a deragliare negli eterei arpeggi della beatlesiana "Because", ripassati con precisone; o Van Morrison nei fiati sbarazzini che cesellano la dolce e solare "Just Enough Love".
Capita poi di finire finanche su una spiaggia nel calypso di "When the Night Falls In", un vispo motivetto surf, mentre "I Will Journey Home" getta del tutto la maschera british e si lancia in un bozzetto country.
Sono tutti brani che presentano motivo di interesse.
Gli Stands mostrano varietà e anche talento pur se nascosto dietro modelli forse troppo ingombranti.
Manca solo un pizzico di emancipazione per far fare il salto di qualità al gruppo: ma una prova evidente di quanto ci sia di buono in questo "Horse Fabulous" è lo strumentale orchestrale di "Mountains Blue And the World Through My Window", per mandolini, note sofferte di pianoforte, pulsazioni di basso, violini e arpeggi di chitarra, brano davvero molto intenso, da "grandi", affresco poetico come dei Calexico intrisi di rugiada.
Un disco tutto da scoprire, anche a dispetto dell'impostazione calligrafica. (Ciro Frattini - http://www.ondarock.it/)

In the winter of 2004, Scouse four-piece The Stands eagerly released their debut album, All Years Leaving.
It was greeted with indifference, and ultimately criticised for sounding derivative, and lacking variation in mood and setting of the music. However, The Stands made sure they wedged their foot in the door before it slammed in their face, and won over the likes of Noel Gallagher, and fellow Liverpudlians, The Coral.
So with the release of their second album, Horse Fabulous, The Stands are looking to sway the polarised views of the people, in search of the recognition they perhaps feel they deserve.
It would seem that The Stands have heeded the criticism of their short-of-the-mark debut album, as Horse Fabulous exhibits many faces, and is brimming with character, but sadly, just like at the annual staff party, some characters just aren't worth listening to.
That, however, is definitely not to write off Horse Fabulous.
One of the moods Horse Fabulous exhibits is cheeky, happy go lucky pop. This is best manifested on songs such as Turn The World Around, When The Night Falls In, and Bluer Than Blue. This side of The Stands is completely and utterly lovable, and cheerily worms its way into your heart through perfect pop songcraft.
Along with this, The Stands also showcase their more musically morose tendencies, creating dark, epic songs such as the magnificent Nearer Than Green that stand in stark contrast to the cordiality that surround them.
Mountains Blue And The World Through My Window is the best example of the grandiose on Horse Fabulous, a blissed out instrumental that flits and lilts with beautiful string arrangement.
The album is tainted rather significantly however, by its ill attempts at anything relaxed, or down tempo (I Will Journey Home, and Back To You), and instead ends up sounding simply dull and uninteresting, inciting little enthusiasm and providing an unfortunate, and annoying stain on what is otherwise a good album.
An even bigger problem lies with the realisation that for all The Stands' effort of providing a diverse, and atmospherically varied album, like a sandwich of beans, banana, and broccoli, it just doesn't quite fit together properly, and sounds somewhat fractured, an issue that is only exacerbated by poor sequencing.
Frontman Howie Payne is hugely redeeming (and frankly brilliant), and bolsters The Stands sound five-fold.
His lovable Liverpudlian whining also provides one of two, much needed constants on Horse Fabulous, the other being a noticeably Beatles-esque feel to almost every bar.
Undoubtedly The Stands sound at by far their best and most natural when they're banging out an instantly likeable, no strings attached pop song.
Throughout Horse Fabulous their music is clever, often boasting unusual and interesting chord changes, testament to their quest to silence the critics with some newfound originality.
But if anything comes through on Horse Fabulous it is that The Stands need to find their sound, perhaps they paid to much attention to the criticism that met them after All Years Leaving, instead of simply getting on with what they wanted to do, opinion will remain polarised.
On the beautifully rhythmic Bluer Than Blue, Payne sings, "it's easy to see if you just care to look". Perhaps with this statement he has summed up as well as anyone can just what the Scouse rockers have to offer. Sadly though, once again The Stands fall just short of the mark. (Jamie Harper - http://www.musicomh.com/)


- Turn the World Around
- Soon Come
- Just Enough Love
- I Will Journey Home
- Back to You
- Mountains Blue and the World Through My Window
- Nearer Than Green
- When the Night Falls In
- Bluer Than Blue
- Do It Like You Like
- You Said


THE STANDS

SMASH "Another Love EP"



I simpatici Smash nel momento del loro "massimo splendore". Gustoso Ep che raccoglie anche il loro aspetto live. (1995 Virgin)

- Another Love (bobb it mix)
- Petal Buzz
- You've Got A Friend Who's A Friend Of Mine
- Reflections Of You (Remember Me) (live)
- Time (live)
- Self Abused (live)
- Another Love (uncut)


SMASH

giovedì 23 dicembre 2010

Geneva "Weather Underground"









Partiamo da una cosa scontata, la voce di Andrew Montgomery anche in questo secondo disco è da 10 e lode.
Poi purtroppo c'è il resto. Che a mio avviso è decisamente inferiore all'esordio. Non manca la malinconia, il lato umorale e qualche ritornello che come sempre colpisce nel segno, ma il tutto mi sembra molto più pesante e meno limpido rispetto al precedente disco.
Forse anche la non felice scelta di Howie B come produttore avrà influito, ma davvero faccio fatica ad arrivare in fondo a queso disco e lo dico con grande rammarico. (2000 Nude)

Dopo l'esordio di "Further" (ottimo a mio avviso) eccoci a parlare di "Weather underground" seconda prova alla distanza dei Geneva.
La band di casa Nude si inserisce nel filone pop malinconico e glamour tipico anche di altre band anni 90 (basta pensare ai primi splendidi Suede e ho già il cuore in gola!!).
La voce di Andrew Montgomery è sempre più suadente e si candida ad essere una delle più interessanti dell' attuale panorama pop inglese.
Quando i toni si alzano come nell'iniziale "Dollars in the heavens" si arrampica su vette altissime; nei lenti muta in falsetti da capogiro (pensate a "If you have to go").
Certo devo ammettere che la ritmica di brani come "Killing stars", "Cassie" e "A place in the sun" rischia di darmi alla testa come bere un Campari a digiuno :-)) ma a salvarmi vengono incontro episodi più soft e "miserabilmente" tristi come "Museum mile", "Amnesia valley" e "Guidance system" in cui non mancano impennate di improvviso vigore (questo è un atteggiamento comune a molte giovani band britanniche odierne).
L'omaggio al Maestro nella canzone "Morricone" fa piacere a prescindere….e poi la canzone è così intrigante… "Rockets over California" è una cantilena con note di pianoforte da far vibrare le corde dei nostri sentimenti.
Sicuramente in molti penseranno che questo tipo di sonorità rischia al giorno d'oggi di apparire stiloso e senza ormai più nulla da dire.
Il pop romantico oggi viene sempre più spesso visto fuori tempo massimo sommerso dal "nuovo" e dalle contaminazioni trai vari stili e generi musicali.
Ognuno è libero di pensarla come vuole, ma io non credo sia così, i Geneva per me rappresentano una delle ultime band sinceramente emozionali e la loro musica è ben lontana dall'essere un ordinato manierismo. (Giordano Forcina - http://www.music-on-tnt.com)

Whilst Geneva's 1997-released debut album 'Further' was an excellent exercise in euphoric British indie guitar music topped with Andrew Montgomery's choirboy vocals, this second effort is largely a more subdued affair.
The production is far more subtle and there's nothing on this record which could match the glorious choruses achieved on previous hits like 'Tranquilizer' or 'Into The Blue'. However, this album is still a definite step forward in maturity and depth.
Opener 'Dollars In The Heavens' is unrepresentative of the general feel of the record and could have featured on 'Further'.
The real interest lurks in the menacing feel of 'Amnesia Valley' and the quiet grace of 'Guidance System', 'Museum Mile' and 'Rockets Over California' whereas 'Cassie' and 'Killing Stars' are more pop-oriented.
It has to be said though, that despite the band sharing imaginative songwriting duties, the real star is Montgomery's voice which stands them apart from many of their contemporaries.
The only thing holding this album back is the lack of a killer song. (http://www.leonardslair.co.uk/)


- Dollars in the Heavens
- If You Have to Go
- Killing Stars
- Museum Mile
- Amnesia Valley
- Morricone
- Guidance System
- Cassie
- Rockets Over California
- A Place in the Sun
- Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?


GENEVA

lunedì 20 dicembre 2010





Ultima scaletta dell'anno per Melting Pop....e adesso un pò di meritate ferie!

L'ultima puntata della stagione va in onda giovedì 23 dicembre alle ore 21 su Radio Popolare Verona (104 FM per Verona e provincia), oppure in streaming su www.radiopopolareverona.it
Buon ascolto!

Ricky

Amusement Parks Of Fire..... Wave Of The Future
Ed Wood..... Miss Sunshine
Babybird...... Unloveable
Virginiana Miller..... Lunedi
Andrea Chimenti..... Delicato Guerriero
The Domino State..... Firefly
Kids In A Glass Houses..... Sunshine
Union Sound Set..... Hiding Places
Mao..... Parole Buone
General Fiasco...... Sinkin Ship
Mexican Elvis...... Drop Hawai
Isabel At Sunset..... Serve And Volley
Phinx..... The Gamer
Alibia..... L'estate che non c'è

domenica 19 dicembre 2010

Ride "Tarantula"



Praticamente un disco solista di Andy Bell questo ultimo lavoro dei Ride, che ci mostra un suono decisamente troppo invischiato con suoni anni 70.
Non che sia un lavoro così disastroso e disastrato, certo manca vitalità e melodie memorabili, quello si.
Scorre via piuttosto anonimo. Ahimè. (1996 Creation)

In the wake of the band's split, the new Ride album will no doubt show signs of the strain that must have been evident to the members long before they actually called it quits.
Unfortunately, rather than a brilliant nova to signify the band's implosion, Tarantula follows apathetically in the footsteps of the largely ignored Carnival of Light.
The lead single, "Black Nite Crash," sees Ride imitating Primal Scream imitating the Rolling Stones.
Andy Bell sings about a "rattlesnake handshake" and the like, lyrics that smack of the most contrived rockisms. The track "Sunshine/Nowhere to Run" borrows bongos from Primal Scream's "Loaded," which were in turn taken from the Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil." "Deep Inside My Pocket" adds a melodramatic spoken-word passage to organ tones and guitar solos that recall the Black Crowes.
Compared to the time when Ride virtually single-handedly defined the edge of new British music, the latest album represents a great disappointment: from such heights of creativity on albums like Smile, Nowhere, and Going Blank Again to the depths of imitating other bands, and bands who are themselves so derivitive.
Some songs work. "Dawn Patrol" successfully juxtaposes trademark Ride vocal harmonies with a hint of 70s funk derived from the syncopation and organ.
This track also hints at Ride's glory period: all the musicians are clearly represented and display nearly unsurpassed dexterity.
This is particularly true of the drums, hyperactive and creative but somehow not overdone or intrusive. "Starlight Motel" is a nice loping ballad with 12-string and the country-ish trappings of an accordian and a mandolin.
The problem with this album makes the break-up of Ride entirely understandable. Mark Gardner, whose vocals and sensibilities defined the first three Ride records, is almost completely absent from this one.
As the band has more and more become Andy Bell's, his sensibilities have proven rather unsavory, leaning with complete sincerity towards cheesy 70s rock and lacking the irony or flair of other bands who successfully tap into the energy and muscle of 70s rock.
The most sophomoric teenage metal band couldn't make up better titles for songs than Bell: "Burnin'," "Ride the Wind," etc. Unfortunately for him, the audience that Ride has gathered together over the years is looking for something different: something less American, something less contrived, something less corny, something less crap.
People who became Ride fans before the last record will have to wait for Mark Gardner's next project to get any notion of how Ride's fascinating early music will resolve itself; as more or less an Andy Bell solo project, the band on Tarantula bears very little resemblance to Ride. (http://www.westnet.com/)



- Black Nite Crash
- Sunshine/Nowhere to Run
- Dead Man
- Walk on Water
- Deep Inside My Pocket
- Mary Anne
- Castle on the Hill
- Gonna Be Alright
- The Dawn Patrol
- Ride the Wind
- Burnin'
- Starlight Motel


RIDE

Ride "Carnival Of Light"










L'inizio della fine? Mah, sicuramente qualcosa di nuovo e diverso nella storia dei Ride, che si accorgono di come il vento sta cambiando: Shoegazer che si sta esaurendo e Brit Pop che inizia a prendere quota.
Ecco quindi che bisogna cambiare decisamente qualcosa.
Intanto nel gruppo si verificano le prime crepe, non scrivono più insieme i due eroi Mark e Andy, ma si spartiscono i pezzi del disco. E la cosa si nota.
Più psichedelia per Mark e più classico/retrò per Andy. Ecco quindi che il suono dei Ride si mescola con altre influenze che cercano di aprire nuove strade al gruppo, ma forse sono strade decisamente in salita e non perfettamente a fuoco.
Sta di fatto che, come disse Rumore, la luce di cui si parla nel titolo, è decisamente sempre più fioca. (1994 Creation)


- Moonlight Medicine
- 1000 Miles
- From Time to Time
- Natural Grace
- Only Now
- Birdman
- Crown of Creation
- How Does It Feel to Feel
- Endless Road
- Magical Spring
- Rolling Thunder
- I Don't Know Where It Comes From

RIDE

venerdì 17 dicembre 2010

Mandalay "Empathy"




Devo essere sincero, ma questo tipo di musica, risentita oggi, mi pare piuttosto superata. Eppure a fine anni 90 andava via come il pane.
Certo la voce di Nicola è sempre incantevole, ma sono le costruzioni sonore che sentite adesso non mi dicono più nulla. Secondo e ultimo disco per questo gruppo.
Figli del loro tempo. (1998 V2)

- This Life
- Flowers Bloom
- Insensible
- Another
- Enough Love
- All My Sins
- Opposites
- This Time Last Year
- Kissing The Day
- Beautiful
- About You


MANDALAY

lunedì 13 dicembre 2010

Ride "Live Light"



Uscito senza il consenso del gruppo, questo live è diventato quasi ufficiale. Ma sottolineiamo il quasi.
Non possiamo certo strapparci i capelli per la qualità del suono, ma più che altro mi sono sempre chiesto...ma dove stava il pubblico in questo live? Al termine di ogni pezzo si sente un certo brusio lontanissimo: ma è come se fossero a cento chilometri dal palco. Concerto in Francia, pubblico in Italia praticamente. Surreale!
Scaletta discreta, chi si accontenta gode! (1995 Mutiny Records)

- Seagull
- Magical Spring
- From Time To Time
- Chelsea Girl
- Birdman
- Only Now
- Leave Them All Behind
- Lets Get Lost
- Close My Eyes
- End Of The Universe


RIDE

Ride "Cosmic Carnival"



In questo blog ero indeciso se mettere i grandiosi Ride.
Per cui ho deciso di metterli, ma non le loro prime cose che, a parer mio sono le più belle, ma sono anche quelle che si trovano più facilemnte anche in altri blog.
Ecco quindi che ho optato per le ultime cose, qualitativamente non eccelse, ma comunque sempre farina del sacco di un grande gruppo.
Questa è una gustosa raccolta uscita per il mercato giapponese di b sides e rarità e per i completisti è sempre cosa gradita! (1994 Sire)


- At The End Of The Universe
- I Don't Know Where It Comes From (Single Version)
- Let's Get Lost
- Don't Let It Die
- Walkabout
- Moonlight Medicine (Ride On The Wire Mix)
- Rolling Thunder #2
- I Don't Know Where It Comes From (Apollo 11 Mix)
- Journey To The End Of The Universe (Version)

RIDE

sabato 11 dicembre 2010

Aereogramme "My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go"



Niente da dire. Adoro questo gruppo e adoro uesto disco, anche se decisamente c'è meno tensione rispetto al secondo, splendido, disco. (2007 Chemikal Underground)

Gli scozzesi Aereogramme, nei quattro anni che hanno separato Sleep And Release da questo terzo capitolo discografico My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go, non sono rimasti inattivi ma hanno dato vita all’ep Seclusion e al mini In the Fishtank 14 in collaborazione con gli Isis: tanta era comunque l’attesa per il terzo parto della band capitanata da Craig B e si può dire con certezza che My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go non delude le aspettative, in quanto gli Aereogramme sono maturati e si sono finalmente addentrati in uno stile che li rappresenta nella loro totalità.
L’Indie dalle sapienti componenti Alternative e Progressive è un miscuglio capace di cullare l’ascoltatore, senza mai stancare e trovando sempre elementi innovativi che attirano l’attenzione.
Le undici tracce che formano l’album sono qualcosa di meraviglioso e di indescrivibile perché, a tratti sommesse e a tratti solenni, riescono a tessere atmosfere uniche e ricercate: le architetture di tastiere ed archi che costituiscono il tappeto sonoro sottostante le melodie delle chitarre sono parecchio curate, come dimostra l’opener Conscious Life For Coma Boy. Particolare attenzione viene poi fornita alla resa della voce che, delicata e morbida, circonda con un soffice abbraccio l’ascoltatore proiettato in una dimensione Indie colta e riflessiva.
Solo dall’analisi di pochi episodi si riesce a comprendere quale sia l’effettiva portata qualitativa del song-writing dei quattro di Glasgow: la loro versatilità stilistica è testimoniata dalla contrapposizione di un registro disteso e meditativo (Finding A Light o You’re Always Welcome) ed un altro più tenebroso e corposo (l’originale Nightmares), ma tutte le canzoni si riconducono ad un’unità strutturale che appare come il punto di forza del full-lenght.
Non mancano passaggi commoventi che permettono un accostamento emotivo ancora più forte, come la splendida Barriers, che fa correre lontana la mente verso destinazioni ignote dell’immaginario.
Sembra che gli Aereogramme abbiano conferito notevole importanza al sentimento in My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go, dando origine ad un Indie di classe che, rafforzato nella sua forma dalle sospese aperture Alternative, memori di Oceansize ed Amplifier o dal raffinato gusto progressivo che permea le sezioni meditative, trova responsi positivi per la sua eleganza ed efficacia.
Si consiglia pertanto il terzo lavoro del four-piece scozzese a tutti gli amati dell’Indie che scorre via senza troppi ostacoli, perché immagine di una musica vera e spontanea: in questo ambito gli Aereogramme sono maestri e My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go, continuando sulla scia di Sleep And Release, diventa il simbolo di quella che si preannuncia come un’evoluzione fuori dal comune. (Edoardo Baldini - http://www.rockline.it/)

Scotland's Aereogramme has always purported a metal/punk/emo identity crisis with flair, but on the follow-up to their beautiful EP Seclusion, the conviction behind their mood swings has itself gone diffident. This LP has its corseted moments of elegance totaling about two and a half tracks, but the verbosity of the title is a premonition of what's filling in the gaps. The majority of Heart is a sulky melting pot of all the elements we admire of this group. In between the whines and montages, they wedge themselves nicely into their own respectably mixed-up genre. But for the first time, there is an affectation for which there appears to be no balance of virtuosity.

The twinkling guitars and smoke-and-mirrors drum thumps of tracks like "Trenches" and "Nightmares" are paired with washes of lyrical melodrama that get lost in the tantrum. Long, repeated phrases like "I love you but I can't let you go" and "My head is caving in" are drowned by the lachrymose thunderstorm of drum, string, and bass raining down on pretty much the entire album.
There are too many special effects surrounding the messages-- Craig B's penchant for preadolescent vocals included.
Most of the time it's hard to feel anything but ornery, as a full-grown person being swaddled by an overbearing mother (or boyfriend).
There is a sense that even diehard fans will find something amiss here: loudest moments too depressive, quiet moments too timid.
The guitar and violin phrasing on opener "Conscious Life for Coma Boy" are uninspired, with a stifling range and underdeveloped melody. It's nothing like previous openers-- the abrasive punk of Sleep and Release's "Indiscretion #243" or Seclusion's triumphant "Inkwell". Scattered songs are increasingly opaque shades of the same: the percussive strings on "Finding A Light", or the stock piano round of "Barriers", both of which fail to lure.
The production here is cleaner, giving the soft instrumentation and happy major keys ample room to breathe. But it was the muddled, invasive and sinister quality of the band's last two releases that finessed a hodgepodge to such delightful effect.
What the band can still do with delicacy is, perhaps, all the more worth noting. "Exits" also refrains from the winding, explorative melodies of yore, but the descending three-note piano loop, its echo in the electric guitar, and the primer of a string section are something even great cynics will find inescapably lovely.
Late entry "The Running Man", with its dripping, urgent synth line and boundless, atmospheric bass, is original and highly addictive. Together with "Exits", it's the heart and soul of the album, the impervious voice in a crowd of pomp and fluff. (Liz Colville - http://pitchfork.com/)


- A Conscious Life for Coma Boy
- Barriers
- Exits
- A Life Worth Living
- Finding a Light
- Living Backwards
- Trenches
- Nightmares
- The Running Man
- You're Always Welcome

AEREOGRAMME

martedì 7 dicembre 2010

Delicatessen "Skin Touching Water"



Disco molto ricco e denso. Suoni umorali e scuri. Da prendere con le pinze. Un grande esordio. (1995 Starfish)


Delicatessen's attention -- gained via sections of the U.K. press -- may well have been one of contrast in the end, a band emerging in the triumphant days of mid-'90s Brit-pop that eschewed that approach for something rougher and angrier.
It wasn't grunge or anything, more a slashing grime that made sense when one considers that the band recorded its debut at Toerag Studios, haunt of such characters as Billy Childish and the Earls of Suave.
In terms of atmosphere, if not exact sound, Gallon Drunk and the Tindersticks both define some of the mindset of the quartet, as did American acts like Girls Against Boys. Certainly song titles like &"You Cut My Throat, I'll Cut Yours" -- actually one of the prettiest, if still creepy, songs on the album -- and &"Smiling You're Stupid" aren't &"I'm OK You're OK" by any stretch of the imagination.
However, bandleader Neil Carlill brought some of his own individual flair and charisma, with a sometimes-restrained and sometimes-creeped-out delivery bolstered by solid performances from the band as a whole.
Indeed, it's arrangement that really brings out the band's strengths, switching between unnervingly pretty string/percussion crawls on &"Red, Blue and Green" to wracked, intentionally boxy-sounding white noise overload that doesn't drown out everything so much as add to it.
Carlill's abilities with keyboards are in ways the foursome's secret weapon -- check out the rhythmic growl of the organ on the opening track, &"I'm Just Alive." There's an agreeable air of going beyond the obvious lyrically as well -- if bluntly naming one song &"Chomsky" is a touch clunky, the invocation of a legendary film character with &"C.F. Kane" is handled in an intriguing fashion.
Some of the best highlights are the unexpected numbers, like the beautiful loser epic &"Classic Adventure" with its aspirational air set against Carlill's heavily treated, almost drowning vocals, or the brief piano/vocal-only &"Advice." (Ned Raggett - All Music Guide)

- I'm Just Alive
- C.F.Kane
- Zebra/Monkey/Liar
- Red, Blue & Green
- Watercress
- Classic Adventure
- Appeased
- Chomsky
- You Cut My Throat, I'll Cut Yours
- Sick Of Flying Saucers
- Smiling You're Stupid
- Inviting Both Sisters To Dinner
- Advice
- Love's Liquid
- Froth
- If She Was Anybody Else

DELICATESSEN

Lush "Ciao! Best of Lush"



Paghiamo il giusto tributo con questa raccolta a un grande gruppo! (2001 4AD)

- Ladykillers
- Single Girl
- Ciao
- 500 (Shake Baby Shake)
- Light From A Dead Star
- Love At First Sight
- Hypocrite
- Desire Lines
- Lovelife
- When I Die
- Nothing Natural
- Untogether
- For Love
- Monochrome
- De-luxe
- Sweetness And Light
- Thoughtforms
- Etheriel


LUSH

sabato 4 dicembre 2010

The Nicotines "Planet x"



Dura la vita per i Nicotines, che già con un nome così danno l'idea di essere più fumo che arrosto.
Onesto guitar pop, senza pretese, diciamolo. (1997 London)


- Planet X
- Shivers Under The Moon
- Doctors Orders

THE NICOTINES

Me Me Me "Hanging Around"



Abbiamo già visto il "super gruppo" dei Lodger, che riuscì ad arrivare all'album d'esordio.
Tocca ora andare a ripescare questa "super" collaborazione tra Alex James dei Blur, Justin Welch degli Elastica, Stephen Duffy (semplicemnte un dio) e Charlie Bloor, amico di scuola di Alex James.
Il singolo in questione rimane l'unico esempio di questa simpatica collaborazione, che gronda brit pop da tutte le note. Diciamo che il punto di riferimento può essere il sound di Parklife.
Se stavate decidendo di fare una compilation Brit Pop per un vostro amico/a, beh, un pezzo così non può decisamente mancare! (1996 Indolent Records)


- Hanging Around
- Hollywood Wives
- Tabitha's Island

ME ME ME

Aereogramme "Sleep And Release"



Ci tenevo a mettere sul mio blog questo disco.
Ci spendo poche parole perchè gà qui soto avete due ottime recensioni che sono ecisamente molto ricche di spunti e riflessioni sul gruppo.
Posso dire solo una cosa: un disco colossale a mio avviso. Chiamatelo post rock, chiamatelo post punk..chiamatelo come volete...ma ascoltatatelo. Bene. (2003 Chemikal Underground)

Get ready, brothers and sisters and gender-assignees in the void, for a barrage of hyperbolic hypotheses: What if Radiohead got guitar-happy with U2-ish heft? What if The Flaming Lips stopped making nerd anthems for interplanetary Olympics? What if Mercury Rev included a post-Pixies scream-blast for every wince-worthy wuss-warble? What if Mogwai hired a vocalist who sounded like an imp cowering in an attic? What if Sigur Rós were a rock band already? What if Built to Spill were from Glasgow? What if Weezer and Björk hopped in the same teleporter and got blended into a grotesque, mood-disordered Brundlefly act?
Without an inkling of conscious mimicry, Aereogramme are almost the answer to these questions on their revelatory, if somehow pompous, sophomore release, a thunder-bunny of a long-player with ambition rivaling that of their fellow murderous Scot, Macbeth.
In fact, they so gracefully shift from lilt to conflagration that you wish they'd team up with certain fellow countrymen to form the ominous low-end supergroup Belle & The Bastards.
I don't want to contribute to the way Aereogramme got typecast as a two-trick pony based on A Story in White, because they cease to be quiet/loud dualists on Sleep and Release, despite the hibernation-and-catharsis connotations of its title.
In fact, the listener feels like a Jurassic Park lab technician unable to chronicle a wayward experiment's swift evolution; Aereogramme lurches spastically from dated electronica (cough, industrial) to rock to folk to symphony to--
The band purportedly was inspired by dark DVDs they watched on tour, resulting in what the press kit calls the album's "deeply cinematic structure." Whatever.
That sounds like the logic of the film Instinct (a pajamas-and-vodka classic if you haven't seen it), in which Anthony Hopkins watches apes and therefore takes on their attributes.
It's best if you avoid frontman Craig B's non-album musings; the didact tends to speak in manifestos that make his fans imagine Ian MacKaye wanting to change the world by starting Smashing Pumpkins.
All you need to know is that this disc is hugely impressive and brimming with old-fashioned passion so earnest it's embarrassing, though occasionally the serene moments feel a li'l ziplocked, like a staged public service announcement of undying love.
Don't be turned off by the radio-ready production: In less than four minutes, "Indiscretion #243" sprints from its introductory straight-outta-Doolittle bassline, into a jam that would inspire a Social Distortion air-guitar stance in a comatose nun, then it permutates into a R.E.M-Document/Green breakdown complete with Automatic for the People organ, then it goes choral (!), then metal again, then it becomes an ambient piece with the first of many fascinating spoken-word samples (the best of which are a hyperventilating evangelist and an answering machine message that begs, "Get in touch with me, please, please, I need your help").
Again, that's only the first song on a disc that intermittently sounds like four discs on shuffle, or a spliced talent/variety show at the coolest arena-themed bar in the world.
The optimism of the Fridmanniana can mask the despondent lyrics. At one point, Craig B sings, "It's time to follow the black path/ Come tomorrow, you won't laugh," and then he adds, arrhythmically and all muffled, as if it were a useless afterthought: "At love." Elsewhere he intones, "The reason we're all disfigured/ I'll say it again/ The reason we're all disappointed/ Is innocence lost."
These are the better moments on a record that at (orchestral) times can be cheesier than a mattress full of feta. But all is forgiven due to the sheer ass-kick that predominates the rest. This band can compete with collossae of the current heavy-vogue such as Isis or Queens of the Stone Age; cue up or download "No Really, Everything's Fine" right now and behold the guitars that reveal every cliched way that verbiage ("buzzsaw thud!") fails to convey the adrenal onslaught of expertly multitracked axe-abuse.
This song's chunky explosions are the holy mother of fuckscum scraped from the charred frame of the Ford Abomination, the SUV whipped up specially for Satan.
Okay, so I'm the first to confess that "Yes" is Everclear-esque. Okay, so the unfortunate major-label grunge font on the cover does not do justice to a band who have upstaged their whole discography, even their Fukd-series disc for Chemikal Underground. Okay, so "A Winter's Discord", in title and execution, is awful Queensrÿchian. Okay, so the untitled finale is Mogwai doing a Braveheart score before it ends in a moist sizzle that suggests electric rain.
Okay, so cynics will not get caught up in Aereogramme's sweep.
But the bold remainder of you, I envy. You're about to witness the aural equivalent of time-lapse tide changes. You're about to see where purgation and authenticity meet manipulation and spectacle. I wish I could be you, hearing this CD for the first time, hosting the inner battle: "Yo, this stuff's belabored." "Yo, this stuff's beautiful." "Yo, this stuff's pretentious." "Yo, this stuff's awesome." (William Bowers - http://pitchfork.com/reviews/)

Che bella sorpresa gli Aereogramme. Balzati prepotentemente all'attenzione delle cronache musicali con "A story In White" del 2001, rendono giustizia all' hype con questo "Sleep And Release".
Difficile etichettare la musica degli scozzesi, tante sono le influenze, a volte anche apparentemente contrastanti, che si possono riscontrare nei dieci pezzi del disco. Sicuramente la matrice sonica è quella prevalente; come non riconoscere i muri di suono alla Sonic Youth, riff acidi alla Pixies, e, ma anche una qualità melodrammatica e una pulizia di suono che ha sapore di progressive settantino.
Il rock dei 90 non poteva mancare all'appello, Smashing Pumpkins qua e là principalmente, ma il tutto è filtrato da una sensibilità post-punk, che elude l'elemento hard-rock ed evita al sound d'insieme di risolversi in una pallida imitazione del grunge.
La voce Di Craig B (ex Ganger), delicata, fragile, sempre sul punto di spezzarsi, a metà tra quella di Matthew Bellamy (Muse) e Som Wardner (My Vitriol), riesce altresì a essere psicotica quando le sciabolate metalliche dei compagni lo richiedono, mentre l'uso frequente di archi e la presenza di corpuscoli elettronici in diversi pezzi rende ulteriormente suggestivo il sound , oltre a dimostrare la cifra stilistica del gruppo.
La prima traccia "Indiscretion #243" è una macchina vomita-riff, con una linea di basso minacciosa ben in evidenza; il pezzo, melodico al punto giusto, dimostra cosa sarebbero potuti essere i Weezer se avessero deciso di comporre musica seria.
"Black Path" è la "Tonight Tonight" degli Aereogramme, maestosamente orchestrale, con tanto di cantato romantico. L'alternanza quasi metodica di brani soffici e tirati è il punto di forza del disco, per questo non troppo metallico né troppo stucchevole, così da non risultare noioso dopo svariati ascolti.
Ancora quiete in "A Simple Process Of Elimination", un'originale composizione elettro-ambientale, con tanto di archi e cantato sognante, non distantissima dalle aurore boreali evocate dai Sigur Rós.
Debordante, invece, "No Really Everything's Fine", con un muro di suono eretto su devastanti stratificazioni chitarristiche, passate attraverso le lenti deformanti dei Sonic Youth.
Nel prog-metal alla Tool si specchiano "Older" e "Wood", con cambi di ritmo e di umore, alternativamente calme, quindi scosse da sciabolate metalliche e dal cantato hardcore, sgolato e ossessivo di Craig B.
Se i Pixies più esagitati vengono omaggiati nell'assalto melodico di "Yes", l'album si chiude con un paio di composizioni di valore assoluto: splendida "In Gratitude", una romantica ballata dimessamente cantata, con la voce di Craig B cullata dagli archi e accompagnata da una batteria che risuona in lontananza, mai invasiva.
La traccia numero 10 , senza titolo, tenta invece di riproporre i crescendo emotivi dei Mogwai, dimostrando, in primis, come il suono degli Aereogramme si dipani in mille rivoli, e poi una quantità di idee che il formato canzone sembra quasi reprimere.
In conclusione, i nomi chiamati in causa sono molteplici, di certo importanti, ma i loro insegnamenti vengono miscelati in un impasto sonoro a volte disomogeneo, comunque altamente personale.
Gli Aereogramme dimostrano che nel 2003 ha ancora senso fare rock "energico", con chitarra basso e batteria, senza doversi necessariamente accodare al revival garage-blues-rock'n'roll in voga in questo periodo. (Antonio Ciarletta - http://www.ondarock.it/)

- Indiscretion #243
- Black Path
- A Simple Process of Elimination
- Older
- No Really, Everything Is Fine
- Wood
- Yes
- In Gratitude
- A Winter's Discord
- Untitled

AEREOGRAMME

martedì 30 novembre 2010

Fierce Panda Compilation "Shagging In The Streets"



Beata gioventù!
Compilation pazzesca della Fierce Panda, che iniziava allora a muovere i primi passi di una vita musicale che la vede tutt'ora sempre magnificamente in pista, che sprigiona vitalità e guitar pop da ogni nota.
Un tripudio che mette in vetrina sei gruppi di cui almeno due sono da 110 e lode (Mantaray e These Animal Man), ma gli altri sono comunque da voti altissimi.
Si, chiudete gli occhio e lasciatevi andare....This Is The Sound Of Youth!!! (1994 Fierce Panda)

S.M.A.S.H. - Bang Bang Bang
Blessed Ethel - Electro 1
Mantaray - Sad
Done Lying Down - Divorcee
These Animal Man - This Is The Sound Of Youth
Action Painting! - Mustard Gas

FIERCE PANDA - SHAGGING IN THE STREETS

Fierce Panda Compilation "Glowing Underground"



Piacevole compilation della Fierce Panda, che come sempre mantiene sempre alto il suo standard.
Tra le sei devo dire che le mie preferenze vanno a Dogs Die e Odeon Beat. (2004 Fierce Panda)

Dogs Die In Hot Cars - Pastimes & Lifestyles
Amateur Guitar Anti-Heroes - The Straight Instruct
X-Tigers- Elements
Multiplies - Megafist
Odon Beat Club - 1000 Arguments
This Familiar Smile - Plagiarism Is The New Theft


FIERCE PANDA - GLOWING UNDERGROUND

Unbelievable Truth "Sorrythankyou"



Secondo lavoro per questa formazione che ben presto vedrà la defezione proprio di Andy Yorke.
Se possibile ancora più malinconico del precedente. La qualità rimane ancora alta. Merita decisamente attenzione e concentrazione nel non facilissimo ascolto. (2000 Absolute Uk)

- Landslide
- A Name
- Disarm
- Pedestrian
- Home Again
- Daylight
- Shed Your Skin
- Advice To A Lover
- Agony To Covers
- Hypnotist
- I Can't Wait
- Let It Flow


UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH

Unbelievable Truth "Almost Here"








Immagino che molti si saranno accostati a questo gruppo per la parentela del cantante con il bruttone dei Radiohead.
Infatti Andy Yorke è fratello del più noto Thom.
I punti di contatto tra le due formazioni non sono così evidenti come la fratellanza magari potrebbe far pensare. Folk pop intenso ed evocativo quello degli UT, che sa toccare l'animo con una voce toccante e melodie importanti.
Esordio soffuso e decisamente incantevole. (1998 Virgin)


One thing's for certain: the Unbelievable Truth's lead singer, Andy Yorke, sure can sing his heart out. While this English trio's debut may receive attention solely because Yorke's brother is the acclaimed lead singer of Radiohead, Almost Here stands up quite well on its own musical merits.
A particularly evocative soft-rock ensemble, Yorke, Nigel Powell, and Jason Moulster have cobbled together a calm, moving collection of hauntingly melodic songs. Yorke's rich vocals practically glow with a seductive melancholy that gains much strength from the band's rich tapestry of guitars, keyboards, and percussion.
On "Higher Than Reason" his voice soars dramatically over a delicate arrangement of fanciful British pop. Gentle and hypnotic, this is one album of extremely sad songs that you shouldn't miss. (Mitch Meyers - http://www.amazon.com/)



- Solved
- Angel
- Stone
- Same Mistakes
- Forget About Me
- Settle Down
- Finest Little Space
- Building
- Almost Here
- Higher Than Reason
- Be Ready


UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH

lunedì 29 novembre 2010

James Iha "Let It Come Down"







Non ho nessun problema a definire questo disco come assolutamente sorprendente e magnifico.
Mettiamoci nei panni di questo ragazzo che tornava a casa dopo ogni concerto con le orecchie che fischiavano e il mal di testa e un pensiero nella testa: voglio un pò di tranquillità. Il pelatone martellava duro, ma lui aveva già manifestato, nei pezzi scritti per gli Smashing, una voglia di melodia e toni soffusi che però non mi sarei mai apsettato potesse sfociare in tanta meraviglia.
E così, nel 1998 esce il primo (e per ora unico) disco solista di James Iha. E fu amore al primo ascolto.
Come spesso accade si intrecciano tante cose parlando di questo disco.
C'è il lato prettamente musicale, quello fatto di ballate gentilissime, di canzoni d'amore che ti aprono il cuore, di voci sussurate e angelici arpeggi: il folk, il country, la tradizione americana che si dischiude in momenti sognanti, arrangiamenti d'archi per animi nobili, ma anche il pop più semplice e diretto, quello che ti entra in testa con un ritornello adorabile e non va più via.
Si, è un disco semplice, ma questo voleva James. Non c'era assolutamente l'intenzione di muoversi sui territori del capo branco Corgan. Niente rumori fastidiosi, niente chitarre distorte, niente sperimentalismi: solo 11 incantevoli canzoni di dolce e pastorale guitar pop.
E la copertina con lui semplice e "naturale" senza trucchi o vestiti assurdi ocme nei Pumpkins già la dice lunga!
La cosa vi fa incazzare? Ci siete rimasti male? No, io fin dal primo ascolto mi misi in ginocchio e piansi di gioia.
Parlavo di lato musicale, ma c'è anche quello emotivo.
Un disco che, come succede con i lavori che si amano veramente, porta alla mente persone, momenti, emozioni di una vita. L'università, le mie prime trasmissioni in radio, la prima dedica alla splendida Paola "Brit Pop", Le infinite chiacchierate con Gianni "Vanoli" su questo album, gli ascolti in coppia per trovare il passaggio più commovente, e poi uno dei momenti più belli della mia vita a Genova, in quella clamorosa spedizione per andare a vedere gli SP con Fabri, Vanoli e il Pepe che mai dimenticherò: James e Billy si guardano e parte 1 arpeggio di chitarra, io e Vanoli, che speravamo ovviamente in un pezzo da questo disco, ci guardiamo e all'unisono urliamo "Beautyyyyyyyy", si, era proprio l'inizio della nostra canzone preferita di James, un gioiello pop che solo nei nostri sogni avevamo immaginato live e li sembrava che quel sogno potesse diventare realtà. Iniziammo a saltare e a urlare come matti: il cuore batteva veramente forte.
In realtà poi quello fu l'inizio di "Tonight, Tonight", ma per quei pochi secondi fu davvero una delle emozioni più forti e più belle della mia adolescenza, vissuta con gli amici e gli eroi di sempre. La magia che solo una canzone può dare e può fare vivere.
Per questo e per tanti altri motivi che sarebbe lungo dire adesso ritengo questo lavoro come uno dei dischi fondamentali della mia vita, sicuramente in una mia personale TOP 5 non può mancare.
Grazie James. Grazie di cuore! (1998 Virgin)


While I admit to having strong feelings for the Smashing Pumpkins, upon listening to Let It Come Down, I'm not sure how much of a creative force James Iha is in the band. What I always expected a solo album from this guy to sound like was a big, loud ruckus with a 17-minute experimental noise epic at the end.
Instead, Let It Come Down is 12 tracks of sugary- sweet pop music for lovers with extra cheese.
I'm not sure if I have the patience to count, but I'm willing to bet that the word 'love' is mentioned on this disc well over 100 times.
Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, but if you do the math, that comes out to 8.3 times per song. That's a whole lotta love.
Let It Come Down really tried to appeal to that embarrassed side of me that secretly likes Toad The Wet Sprocket, but it's not even that good. It sounds like Freedy Johnston singing rejected Carly Simon songs.
It sounds like the Gin Blossoms and Matthew Sweet soundtracking an early '70s film about young hippies in love, minus the drugs. It sounds like a lot of things you probably don't want to listen to.
Despite a bunch of interesting musical guests (Nina Gordon, D'arcy, Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger and former Filter drummer Matt Walker), the instrumentation is less than interesting; probably 'cause the songs are so incredibly simple.
At any rate, it's probably a nice change of pace for the guy since his full time job is rocking out in the Pumpkins.
And in that respect, the guy's got some cute creations, but it doesn't provide total redemption. This is still pretty bland. Be prepared to feel 14 again. (Ryan Schreiber - http://pitchfork.com/)


Fans of the Smashing Pumpkins who revel in the band's angst-ridden alt rock may well recoil in horror at this slice of pure, sweet melodicism from the band's lead guitarist, but Iha's solo debut is worthy enough to stand on its own merits.
Musically, Iha's ability to effortlessly reel off one catchy acoustic pop number after another is reminiscent of Freedy Johnston.
Lyrically, he's not nearly as adventurous or intriguing as Johnston. Yet, while some would no doubt classify his lovelorn ruminations as saccharine, they ultimately come across as honest and heartfelt--and, most importantly, they fit perfectly with the tone and spirit of the music. (Peter Blackstock - http://www.amazon.com/)


- Be Strong Now
- Sound Of Love
- Beauty
- See The Sun
- Country Girl
- Jealousy
- Lover, Lover
- Silver String
- Winter
- One And Two
- No One's Gonna Hurt You

JAMES IHA

martedì 23 novembre 2010

AA.VV "Volume Twelve"




Come non ricordare le ottime compilation di Volume Magazine, iniziate nel 1991 e terminate nel 1997?
Una serie di uscite in cd, composte da compilation di gruppi indie, molte volte con brani inediti, remix o rarità. Il corposo libretto del cd era in realtà il magazine, con articoli sui gruppi e sulla scena musicale.
Uso il numero dodici per rappresentare queste uscite, anche se presto ci sarà spazio per il best of delle compilation Volume.
Ho scelto questa per la presenza di una chicca pop come Girl Meets Girl degli sconossciuti (ai più) Shriek, ma anche per la presenza dei miei amati Goya Dress.
Da dimenticare la versione di Only Now dei Ride, veramente spenta. (Dicembre 1994)


Node – "Olivine"
Spiritualized – "Good Times (Pure Phase)"
Goya Dress – "Foetus"
Garbage – "Vow"
Prolapse – "Visa for Violet and Van"
Shriek – "Girl Meets Girl"
Pet Lamb – "Son of John Doe"
Moby – "What Love?"
G. Love & Special Sauce – "Tomorrow Night"
Massive Attack – "Karma Coma (Bumper Ball Dub)"
Experimental Audio Research – "Space Theme (Tribute to John Cage in C, A, G and E)"
Laika – "Lower Than Stars"
Ride – "Only Now"
Catatonia – "Dream On"
Love Spit Love – "Wake Up"
Novocaine – "Pond Life"
Flinch – "Days"
Nitzer Ebb – "In Decline"


VOLUME TWELVE

Veruca Salt "Blow It Out Your Ass It's Veruca Salt"



Il lato "violento" della forza! Ahahah!
Pigiano sull'accelleratore le fanciulle e nei primi due pezzi muscoli e chitarre non mancano, anzi, non credo che le Veruca siano mai state così toste.
Poi si torna a respirare.
Un pregevole EP che usciva tra il primo e il secondo disco! (1996 Geffen)

- Shimmer Like A Girl
- I'm Taking Europe With Me
- New York Mining Disaster 1996
- Disinherit


VERUCA SALT

domenica 21 novembre 2010




Il Myspace, anche nella sua nuova forma, è terribilmente lento. Quindi ho chiuso la pagina del mio programma e le playlist saranno messe sul blog.
Quest'anno Melting Pop è in differita, quindi non avrò problemi a postare la scaletta della puntata già con anticipo, in modo che possiate vedere se la musica trasmessa potrà interessarvi.
Ecco quindi la scaletta della puntata del 25 novembre.
Vi invito ad ascoltare la puntata perchè ci sono in palio 4 biglietti per la data veronese del 2 dicembre delle Luci Della Centrale Elettrica e 2 biglietti per i Chapel Club al Tunnel a Milano il 3 dicembre.
Buon ascolto allora. E magari fatemi sapere cosa ne pensate del mio programma, in onda dalle ore 21 ogni giovedì su Radio Popolare Verona, in streaming sul sito www.radiopopolareverona.it
Aloha. Ricky

Venua..... Buon Compleanno
My Foolish Heart..... Afternoon's Nuisance
Mambassa.... Casting
Dilaila..... Settembre
Le Luci Della Centrale Elettrica..... Una guerra Fredda
Chapel Club..... O Maybe I
The Hundred In The Hands...... Commotion
Vanity.... Howling
Cherry Ghost..... Kissing Strangers
The Walkmen..... Angela Surf City
School Of Seven Bells..... Heart Is Strange
Milk Kan..... Junkshop
Lucy's Diary.... Rock Kicks
Thoc!..... 1000 Resons
Massimo Volume..... Litio
Jimmy Eat World ......Mixtape
Ed Wood...... Miss Sunshine
Numero 6 ...... Maledetta
Union Sound Set...... Hiding Places

venerdì 19 novembre 2010

The Crescent "The Crescent"



Il punto di contatto più indicativ potrebbe essere l'esordio dei Cast. Poi ci si possono sentire i soliti mille rimandi a formazioni Uk, ma, ripeto, mi piace accostare i The Crescent ai Cast.
Sta di fatto che il disco era stato anticipato da dei singoli che a mio avviso non riescono poi ad avere nel resto dell'album un adeguato sostegno, risultando quindi le canzoni migliori. Onesti mestieranti. Tutto qua. (2004 Hut)


The Crescent is collection of four-minute guitar-pop gems by the band of the same name. Having served an apprenticeship with Lee Mavers, the notoriously eccentric former frontman of the La's, the group have developed a raw melodic touch that pulses with an infectious blistering energy.
Like Oasis, the Crescent make no attempt to disguise their influences. The opening track, "On the Run", recalls the Who, as the repeated burst of a single chord resonates before the guitar somehow tumbles into the riff from the Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash". Then there are Wayne Whitfield's wall-cracking vocals, somewhere between Liam Gallagher's guttural howl and the throaty raunch of Rod Stewart as he roars, "Shape up / Work out what's up / We're running out of time / Trying to keep up". Elsewhere, "Another Day" builds gently from a simple acoustic rhythm to a rousing string-laden atmospheric climax.
But in the main The Crescent is built around straightforward melodies and raw instrumentation. "Wake Up" would make Mavers proud. Demonstrating the infectious qualities of an incredibly simple guitar hook and a strong chorus, it proves that with a little precocious talent, less is indeed more. (Christopher Barrett - http://www.amazon.co.uk/)


- On The Run
- Streets Of Tide
- Parallel
- Wake Up
- Test Of Time
- Another Day
- Spinnin' Wheels
- Not Good Enough
- Told U So
- Stay On


THE CRESCENT

Don "Album"



Due cose sono commoventi. La prima è trovare qualcuno che mi chiede ancora qualcosa dei Don, non pensavo che questo gruppo potesse davvero interessare a un lettore del mio blog.
La seconda cosa che fa piangere è pensare a questo disco: onesto, sincero, e tutto sommato più che valido esempio di classico guitar pop rock, che però non credo sia mai uscito, se non in veste clandestina.
E allora lode ai Don! (1998 London Records)

- One By One
- Faces On Faces
- Alfie
- Dab
- How Free
- Sitting Room
- Gone Again
- Heads High
- Esprit
- Stay Sober


DON

Mandalay "Instinct"




Tutte le volte che la mia signora ascolta questo disco le viene in mente Madonna. E magari non è neanche tanto lontana dalla verità. Giusto se Madonna decidesse di spegnere le luci disco e buttarsi sul soffusto e morbidoso credo che il risultato potrebbe essere proprio così!
Ai posti di comando dei Mandalay c'era l'ex Thieves Saul Freeman, e se già con il suo precedente gruppo aveva un cantante all'altezza della situazione (cercare sul blog per saperne di più), beh, anche qui non si scherza.
Nicola Hitchcock ci conduce su territori decisamente angelici e delicati e gli accostamenti del gruppo a Portished e Cocteau Twins non ci stanno neanche così male. Alla fine i Mandalay sono entrati nel grande calderone del Trip Hop, ma devo dire che l'eleganza della loro musica merita ben di più di una semplice etichetta. Un disco, il secondo e ultimo per il gruppo, da ascoltare in religioso silenzio. (2000 V2 Records)


- Not Seventeen
- Don't Invent Me
- Like Her
- Deep Love
- No Reality
- You Forget
- Simple Things
- Too Much Room
- What If I
- It's Enough Now
- Believe


MANDALAY

The Bardots "V-Neck"



C'è qualcosa che non va in questo disco, o semplicemente non è bello come l'album d'esordio, che era veramente qualcosa di magnifico.
Tutto qui. (1995 Che)

- Carrion
- Annabel
- Irene
- Bad Feeling
- English Lovers
- Skin-Diving
- Berlitz
- How Could I Hurt You?
- Violent Love
- Somebody Could Die Across My Throne and I Would Never Know
- The Colony Room
- Feeling Juvenile


THE BARDOTS

Lodger "Walk in the Park"










Ci sono gruppi che ho amato nel periodo Brit Pop, altri che ho odiato, altri ancora che mi hanno fatto piuttosto schifo.
Uno di questi furono i Lodger. Vi giuro che io vendo pochissimi cd, a casa ho delle brutture assurde, ma se a suo tempo ero arrivato a venderlo sto cd, beh, vuol dire che non potevo proprio sentirlo.
Ma per fortuna il buon Cristian lo aveva ancora li, ed ecco che seppure per poco tempo questo cd torna a casa, giusto per comparire sul blog e poi è già tanto che non voli via dalla finestra.
Supergrass (Danny Goffey) + Powder (Pearl Lowe) + Delicatessen (Neil Carlill)= capolavoro??? Naaa, niente di tutto ciò. Solo un disco di una noia mortale. (1998 Island)


- I'm Leaving
- Always Round Here
- This Girl's in Love With Me
- Bones
- Love Is the Game
- Old Ways
- Cold Breeze
- Top Gear Luv
- Small Change
- Stepped On
- Ciao
- Safe

LODGER

martedì 16 novembre 2010

Space Monkeys "The Daddy Of Them All"







Lode al buon Geep Nicotera che tira fuori dal suo cilindro personale questo piacevole dischetto, e soddisfa una richiesta che era stata fatta.
Simpatici, pop, ballabili, movimentati....ma fuori dalla classifica. Dura la vita in quel di Manchester. (1997 Interscope)

- Acid House Killed Rock & Roll
- Blowing Down the Stylus
- Sugar Cane
- Inside My Soul
- Ready for the Rampage
- Dear Dhinus
- Smile America
- Let It Shine
- We Are the Supercool
- Sweetest Dream
- March of the Scarecrows


THE SPACE MONKEYS

sabato 13 novembre 2010

Luxembourg "Front"



Beh, ma che bel disco è questo?
Il fatto che non abbia avuto successo dimostra solo ottusità, nient'altro.
Il gruppo che più mi viene in mente ascoltandoli sono gli Elcka, accostabili se non altro per un triste destino.
Un bel disco dicevo: struggente, intenso, melodico, con ottimo gusto nella costruzione di raffinati pezzi che però non mancano anche di buone chitarre incisive. Tanti parlano di Pulp come nome tutelare, io ci trovo motlo di più. (2006 Dogbox Records)

Bless Luxembourg.
They're even trying to write the review for me with their press notes.
They also take pride in having a "real life audience rather than a virtual one", before going on to say how "myspace had no part in generating the word of mouth...".
Listening to the Cure meets Pulp of 'We Only Stayed Together For The Kids' ("it's years since I have seen you without clothes"), however, it's quite easy to see how people (and the Gay Times) have shown their interest in the band.
The aforementioned track is just one of thirteen in a concept album focussing on "small dramas". It's also a previous single and the best thing on here, lyrically depicting a failed relationship ("we wont feel pain, just rage") and how the couple only stay together for their kids. Blimey. Bet that's a fun house to live in.
Move over Pat Sharp.
'What The Housewives Don't Tell You' is Morrissey's best song on 'You Are The Quarry'. Unfortunately, Sir Moz forgot to record it and filled his album with sub-par tracks with stupid titles instead.
Nevermind though, because Luxembourg must have been able to mind-read, as they recorded it instead. How very kind, sirs. It's sarcastic and playful ("I'm stuck at home with a thousand housewives, they're such a scream"), easy to sing along to in the bath and a potential single so all's good there then.
Sometimes, Luxembourg do wear their influences a bit too heavy on their sleeves; 'Single' is Belle and Sebastian and 'Making Progress', likewise is 'Parklife' Blur. They do also have a tendency to slip into snoozeville too, and sexual innuendo filled ballad 'Mishandled' is only saved by a beautiful Jonny Grennwood-esque guitar solo to break up the tedious five minute dirge.
Despite these shortcomings, when Luxembourg are on form they really are on the cusp of indie pop greatness. 'Luxembourg vs Great Britain' is a soaring attempt to quell frustration. Guitars over-dub synths, rather than vice-versa which ultimately give the song a certain edge over some of the albums slower moments.
'Sick Of DIY' (the next single) is what the Manics would kill to sound like now, perfectly mixing 80s goth with Britpop- a pairing that sounds about as appealing as dog walking with George Michael on Hampstead Heath, but somehow manages to work.
'Faint Praise' on the other hand, would have sat perfectly on Strangeways, right where the abysmal 'Death At One's Elbow' stood.
When Luxembourg work, they're epic. When they don't, they come across a bit flat. Thankfully, this album is mostly the former.
Get gay! (http://www.leedsmusicscene.net)

- LE14
- We Only Stayed Together For The Kids
- What The Housewives Don't Tell You
- Single
- Relief
- Taking Cover
- WC1
- Sick Of DIY
- Making Progress
- Mishandled
- Luxembourg vs Great Britain
- Down A Sunny Street

LUXEMBOURG

venerdì 12 novembre 2010

Mansun "Little Kix"






Tirai un sospiro di sollievo ascoltando le prime note di questo disco. Mi ero detto "ecco, i ragazzi sono tornati a qualcosa di più normale, diciamo così". In teoria un tentativo di ritorno a qualcosa di più rassicurante, rispetto al secondo disco, c'è sicuramente stato.
In pratica è un disco privo di mordente che non lascia il segno.
Si adagiano su una scrittura piuttosto di maniera i Mansun, che raramente si risolleva e tutto fila via fin troppo piatto: per loro, sia chiaro. Lo avesse fatto un qualsiasi altro gruppo ci sarebbe stato anche da apprezzare, ma con i Mansun, beh, la delusione c'è.
Non mancano arrangiamenti d'archi, un singolo apripista decisamente buono, ma forse si calca un pò troppo la mano in certe ballate e si arriva alla fine con l'idea che qualcosa non quadra.
Canto del cigno per i Mansun. Gruppo fondamentale comunque. (2000 EMI)


After all, Mansun went from brooding glam-ish guitar rock on their 1997 debut, Attack of the Grey Lantern, to all-out prog song structures and abstrusities on the astonishing follow-up, Six.
They haven't exactly been pointing the way to Little Kix. This isn't a 180. This isn't even a 90.
This is almost shifting onto another plane of music. But that's not to say the shift is dramatic enough for comparisons to become meaningless. The band has expressed a taste for the Bee Gees, ABBA, and mid-'80s Prince, and this record is probably the result of such affinities.
All the same, not much of Little Kix could be classified as filler, even if two tracks-- "Fool" and "Goodbye"-- exhibit a slight dip in quality from the surrounding material.
The band seems to be painting with muted colors, though, especially in contrast to the manic off-kilterness of Six.
Perhaps this has something to do with the seeming disinterest of the band members backing frontman Paul Draper. Little Kix could, at times, be mistaken for a Draper solo album for all the effort the other guys appear to be investing.
Guitarist Dominic Chad contributes some nice lead touches occasionally, but bassist Stove King and drummer Andie Rathbone seem content with just laying down a nice pocket.
The album's largest detractor lies with its lyrics.
The complete lack of irony prevents it from reaching its potential as a genuinely satisfying production. Sure, honesty and directness are nice and all, but with no bite, lines like, "We are the boys, think about nothing and/ We are the boys, boys have got feelings, too," fall flatter than the late Bill Hicks at this year's Republican National Convention.
Everything is so amazingly darling and clichéd. Even the chorus of "Soundtrack 4 2 Lovers," a fine ballad by any measure, could've been culled from the new age compilation, Pure Moods.
If you're a real wonk for deep, original sentiments, Little Kix will probably wear like steel underwear. But as a collection of love-themed songs, the record has a lot to offer for listening in the car, boudoir, or singing in the shower. (Craig Griffith - http://pitchfork.com/)

When it comes to opinions about Mansun it seems they attract extreme reactions. On the one hand they have received some brutal - and frankly - rather insulting criticism from some sections of the music press.
On the plus side they have a strong cult following, not harmed by the fact that they reply personally to the fan mail they receive. Their first two albums also aimed for extremes, starting off with 1996's 'Attack Of The Grey Lantern', a widescreen pop-rock album that was one of the best of the year and then they decided to bring out 1998's 'Six', a prog-rock album which even early Genesis fans might have called self indulgent.
Thankfully 'Little Kix' is a return to former glories that doesn't contain anything as fantastic as 'Legacy' or 'Stripper Vicar' but certainly has its fair share of great moments. 'Fool', the single, aims straight fo the jugular by beginning with the chorus straight away.
There's delcious harmonising on 'Forgive Me' and the oft-repeated but never tiresome guitar melody that elevates 'Electric' is another definite highlight. No matter what people may say about Mansun's more grandiose moments, they have an arresting vocalist in the shape of Paul Draper whose vocal ululations are stronger than ever; just witness his range on 'Until The Next Life' for the evidence.
Mansun sometimes fly a little too high with ideas above their station but more often than not they deserve to get away with it thanks to superb musicianship and sheer spirit. (http://www.leonardslair.co.uk)


- Butterfly (A New Beginning)
- I Can Only Disappoint U
- Comes As No Surprise
- Electric Man
- Love Is
- Soundtrack 4 2 Lovers
- Forgive Me
- Until The Next Life
- Fool
- We Are The Boys
- Goodbye


MANSUN

mercoledì 10 novembre 2010

Mansun "Six"













Ebbene si, ho odiato questo disco. Al primo ascolto rimasi sconvolto. Fors mi aspettavo una copia del primo disco e questa mistura di prog rock mi aveva profondamente deluso.
In realtà era stato il mio approccio ad essere sbagliato.
I Mansun non si erano fermati, no, avevano anzi raddoppiato sforzi, fatiche e impegno, ma era 1 impegno che veniva richiesto anche all'ascoltatore, che doveva smarcarsi dal primo disco e approcciarsi a questo lavoro a mente libera, pronto ad entrare in un mondo nuovo, ad un livello decisamente piùalto e complesso.
A tutt'oggi arrivare in fondo non è così facile, lo ammetto. Ma sicuramente è un disco che non mi spaventa più! Mi farebbe piacere leggere un pò di vostri commenti, cari lettori del blog (1998 Parlophone Records)


The sheer audacity of Mansun's sophomore album, Six, demands respect and ridicule. After the surprising success of their first record, Attack of the Grey Lantern, Mansun have practically abandoned all the key ingredients to that record's accolades. Songwriter Paul Draper dumped the satirical characters and simple guitar pop, which was a brave move, if not a stupid one.
Instead, Six invents the haphazard genre of glam- prog- space- bubblegum- rock in which rock stars in glitter and leather pants play nine- minute bezerk jams.
Surprisingly, this album has yet to see release in the States-- the songs change pace so frequently and randomly that they'd be perfect for our short- attention spans. It's perfect! I mean, if you don't like a song, you just have to wait about 30 seconds for it to completely change.
Seemingly influenced by comic books and hallucinogens, Six skitters from chugging power- chords, to intricate hooks, to Pink Floyd wandering, to Tchaikovsky samples, to lip- licking swagger.
At times they can come off like a frightening cross between the Pixies, T Rex, and Yes. If you give Mansun the benefit of the doubt, and assume they're not being completly serious, Six entertains immensely, chock-a-block with every element of modern rock. The fusion sounds so weird and seizure- inducing that it sucks you into its pretentious, mascara'd maw.
It helps that the four lads rock with remarkable skill. It's hard to imagine any other band pulling off this mammoth epic. (
Well, perhaps Radiohead on a heavy dose of prozac and a Cadbury chocolate rush.) Paul Draper's emotional, spotlight- sucking delivery sparkles over Dominic Chad's inventive solos and melodies, as the drummer and bassist simply try to keep up.
When making a concept album, a band walks the razor- sharp line between Kiss' (Music From) The Elder and Radiohead's OK Computer.
With a truckload of chutzpah, Mansun walks this tightrope for over an hour, teetering to either side, constantly looking to fall off. From moment to moment they can be ridiculous or beautiful, artistic or fluff.
The chills and thrills of hearing them perform such a stunt is worth hunting down an import. (Brent DiCrescenzo - http://pitchfork.com/)

If someone over at Parlophone Records had been doing their job back in the summer of 1998, this album would never have seen the light of day. All I have to say is thank god whoever was supposed to be supervising Mansun's follow-up to the mega-smash Britpop comedown, Attack of the Grey Lantern, was asleep at the switch.
Six is one of the most improbable and unpredictable records I've ever heard (from a major label or otherwise) and that's probably why I enjoy it so much. But I understand that it's not for everyone.
In fact, the few people I've exposed to this album have either a) violently ejected the CD from the player as if it were a reflex action, b) asked me to leave their home, or c) both. To date, I've only been able to convince one friend of its greatness and even he skips a good chunk of the songs. Still, I haven't given up hope that its debauched beauty resonates with someone else out there.
As of right now, Mansun is but a footnote in history. Try bringing up Mansun in conversation and you're almost certain to wind up discussing bad Eurythmics covers and fishnet stockings.
Then, once you explain away the confusion, the slightly more aware music fan will say, "Right, they did that Grey Lantern album. I liked that 'Wide Open Space' song." And for almost everyone in the States, the story ends right there. But see, for me, that's where it really begins.
Attack of the Grey Lantern was fantastic, and it easily ranks among my favorite albums of all time, but it still has nothing on their second offering. Six is the sound of a band collectively snubbing its fan base and smashing expectation to spectacular effect. No stone is left unturned and no genre unscathed over the course of its 70 monstrous minutes.
Mansun nick "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" (yeah, the one from Piotr Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite) and marry it to lyrics about Stanley Kubrick faking it with the moon. They play a song entitled "Cancer" that, at over nine minutes long, features three distinct movements and they actually have the gall to break into laughter right in the middle of it.
There's a minute-long piano ballad called "Inverse Midas". Yes, there's even an operatic interlude that includes a voiceover from the legendary Tom Baker entitled "Witness to a Murder Part II". (FYI, "Witness to a Murder Part I" does not appear on the album and may not even exist.)Admittedly, Six is preposterous-almost certainly the product of copious amounts of drugs.
But there's something compelling about its insanity, the way it veers from classical scores to pedal-morphed guitar solos without so much as a case of whiplash. This is inspired dementia from start to finish. Some would be tempted to call it a concept album, but, honestly, there's too much going on for there to be a coherent concept.
I prefer to think of it as a "conceptual" album -- one that has the arc and scope of a concept album but never quite follows through.
There are scattered references to Scientology, Winnie the Pooh, and Marxism. But really, they're mocking the whole idea of a concept album. If Attack of the Grey Lantern was a spoof, Six is an outright parody.
The title track, which also, fittingly, happens to be the opener, sets the tone perfectly. It begins with a short piano intro before guitarist Dominic Chad revs up his guitar for a blazing volley.
Then, as the riffs die down and the strings fray, the track seemingly gives way to an entirely new song as Draper sings, "Life is a compromise everyday". His voice short-circuits, leapfrogging from speaker to speaker.
Any sane band would have divided the two sections up into separate songs, but not Mansun. And it's all the better as it is. "Television" is a frightful epic that takes on our present day fascination with the tube -- lampooning our insatiable desire for up-to-the-minute news coverage.
It ends with an avalanche of guitar feedback and a two second blip of our very own national anthem. The very next track, "Special/Blown It (Delete As Appropriate)", lulls the listener into a false sense of security only to deliver a backhanded punk wallop with Draper carrying on about fucking up, shooting his load, and spewing on the motorway shoulder. Varied to say the least.
But whole thing works because Mansun, even at their most deranged, can't betray their pop instincts. Their unerring ear for a memorable melody keeps the enterprise from sinking under the weight of ambition.
Much of Six goes on in this perfectly convoluted manner, save for the pristine ballad, "Legacy" (which is the saddest rumination on the fate of washed-up rock stars I've ever heard).
The album isn't so much a collection of songs as it is fragments and ideas. The story goes that Mansun entered the studio with very little in the way of actual material. They had nothing but 27 small sections and spare melodies.
Whereas every other band would try to flesh out the pieces into complete songs, Mansun decided to do it the harder way: combining the disparate segments as best they could. The result is akin to a collage, but, to their credit, it never feels forced or haphazard. Instead, the approach yields the most challenging and beguilingly unexpected music.
It sounds like no one and everyone: Magazine, Joy Division, Prince, Radiohead, David Bowie. But make no mistake, these fragments, snippets, whatever you want to call them do somehow, almost miraculously, form coherent songs. Six is a never short of a delirious prog-punk romp.
Sadly, Epic Records has ruined the Mansun experience for American audiences. Both of their albums have been irreparably mauled, but Six more so than the Attack of the Grey Lantern. Epic removed "Inverse Midas" and pared down "Six" and "Being a Girl" to both songs' detriment.
I'd go as far as to say that the American version of Six isn't even the same album. You're better off not hearing it all than to subject yourself to such an inferior, watered-down edition.
If you're serious about listening to Six, do it justice and get the import.
Mansun's wayward path following Six has been equally distressing. Little Kix, their third album, is the most wretched album I've ever heard from one of my favorite bands. Bland, unimaginative, and overproduced, the album was everything that Six was not.
It's hard to believe a band could stumble so terribly, but I suppose to scale such impossible heights, you've got to risk colossal failure.
Since the chilly reception of Little Kix, the band has been holed up in the studio, trying to regain their form. They emerged briefly this past May to test material at a handful of live dates across England. To be fair, it's hard to pass judgment on bootleg recordings, but what I heard of the new stuff didn't sound promising.
But even if Mansun never recovers, the band will always have a special place in my CD collection.
I only hope that people appreciate Mansun somewhere down the line -- that their sonic experiments weren't all for naught. That would be the greatest shame of all. (Jon Garrett - http://www.popmatters.com/)


- Inverse Midas
- Anti Everything
- Fall Out
- Serotonin
- Cancer
- (Interlude)
- Witness To A Murder (Part Two)
- (Part Two)
- Television
- Special/Blown It
- Legacy
- Being A Girl


MANSUN