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Old 12-13-2015, 02:27 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Put me in the group that was massively disappointed by their second album. "Beings" is great though, doesn't really come close to GT, TMH but still very very good on its own merits and ranks very highly for 2015 for me
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Old 12-13-2015, 02:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm definitely going to have to listen to that. I'm unclear how a band can have such a superb debut, a great third album (though I'm with you on that it doesn't equal Gracious Tide, but then, what would?) and a so-so album in the middle...
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Old 12-13-2015, 05:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Title: Beings
Artiste: Lanterns on the Lake
Year 2015
Nationality: English
Familiarity: I've heard and loved Gracious Tide, Take Me Home

Expectations: I don't know. There were mixed reviews for the followup, Until the Colours Run, but I've not yet heard that. I'm hoping this will be more in the style of the debut than the second album. Either way it will be great to hear Hazel again.

1. Of dust and matter: After some radio-tuning noises and effects we're greeted by a single acoustic guitar strumming slowly, and then that angelic voice of Hazel Wilde, with crying synth rising behind her like some sort of banshee. Beautiful lonely piano now as Hazel's voice rises in passion, and it's a strong, strong start and augurs well for the rest of the album. Rolling percussion and really sprinkly piano as we rise towards the conclusion of the song
2. I'll stall them: Beautiful piano and sweet trumpet leads this in, then it gets pretty passionate and powerful as it goes along, Hazel's soulful voice taking command with a great sort of again crying synth counterpointing the brass and making this just something quite special.
3. Faultlines: More uptempo with some busy percussion and rolling piano, a stronger vocal from Hazel but I feel it could end at the three minute mark whereas it continues on to five. It's not that it's overstretched, as such, but it does seem a little unnecessarily long. Still a great track though.
4. The crawl: The first since the opener to begin on guitar, joined then by Hazel's piano and another ethereal vocal. Love the sort of militaristic drumbeat that is somehow both incongruous and exactly fits. That rising synth (I'm beginning to wonder if it's guitar?) is back and it slots right into the feel of the song.
5. Send me home: Wondering if that's violin accompanying the piano at the opening of this ballad? Short but beautiful, the way LotL do so well.
6. Through the cellar door: Kind of a slightly Prefab idea about this I feel; midpaced with a really nice just gently riffing guitar that then bursts out in a quite unexpected punch, taking the song by the scruff before Hazel and her piano re-establish order. Nice to be shaken up once in a while.
7. Beings: If there's one thing apart from Hazel's voice that makes Lanterns on the Lake so special, it's her exceptional skill on the piano, and here she demonstrates it once again, almost without guile, like someone saying “Yeah, I can do this. So?” Almost as if it's not a big deal. Talk about self-effacing. More beautiful synth and rolling drums. Just gorgeous. Wonderful rising --- I don't know: guitar? Vocal? Synth? Just beautiful.
8. Stepping down: I think there's some scratching going on here, or maybe it's samples, but against the serene piano line it really is so effective, almost like listening to the wind howling outside on a cold night as you sit by a nice warm fire. Has a very ambient feel to it.
9. Stuck for an outline: This is where Hazel shows she can coax some real power and almost anger out of her keyboard. Violin added in from Angela Chang helps to calm the song slightly, but there's an unaccustomed bitternness in Hazel's vocal here. Powerful percussive ending that almost, but not quite, shakes the overall feeling of serenity this album gives me.
10. Inkblot: This short track takes ethereal to a new level and is an amazing if slightly muted closer.

Final result: I'm sort of sorry that I have yet to hear Until the Colours Run, as I might have been able to say this is three for three; LotL got a lot of praise for Gracious Tide.. and sometimes we know the one thing music critics love is to kick their darlings, so the negative reviews of Colours might have been some backlash, the expected thing, the reaction to the dreaded second album: we'd better trash them or we won't be cool. Or maybe it was a disappointment, I don't know. But this one certainly isn't, and leading in my case anyway on from Gracious Tide, Take Me Home it's a pretty phenomenal followup.

Rating: and a half

(Sorry; almost all the tracks on YT are unplayable in my country, so this is the only one I could get.)
It's really odd that you just did this and I just reviewed one of their albums as well. I was supposed to a few rec's back but, missed it and had to do it today. Beautiful band but, I listened to this song Stuck for a Outline and really don't love it as much as I do songs from Gracious Tide, Take Me Home. Still I think I'll give this album a listen as well. And maybe all of their albums.
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Old 12-13-2015, 06:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Title: Love, Fear and the Time Machine
Artiste: Riverside
Year 2015
Nationality: Polish
Genre: Progressive Rock
Familiarity: I go back and forth on them: I've heard some albums I liked, some I was not so keen on.
6
Expectations: I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll enjoy this.

1. Lost (Why should I be frightened by a hat?): Leave it to Riverside to come up with the silliest title since “Apocalypse in 9/8 (Co-starring the delicious talents of Gabble Ratchet)! Good moody opener; the vocals of Mariusz Duda are as always a joy to listen to. Lovely organ line from Michał Łapaj with soft percussion then a sharper guitar cuts in and the song's tempo picks up. Great start. Why should he be frightened by a hat, anyway? AAAAHHHH!

2. Under the pillow: Lovely soft guitar, almost acoustic then it kicks up into a nice sort of mid-paced rocker with some fine fretwork.
3. #Addicted: Slick little bass intro from Mariusz before it runs along on an uptempo line, great little hook. Actually reminds me a lot of a-ha. Beautiful gentle little guitar and keyboard outro.
4. Caterpillar and the barbed wire: This has a very Marillion feel to it, like something off Marillion.com perhaps.
5. Saturate me: Great keyboard intro from Łapaj and screaming guitar then also from Piotr Grudziński, instrumental for two minutes before the vocal comes in. Sounds like mellotron there (does anyone still use them?) and again I find this quite Marillionesque, sort of like “The Invisible Man” maybe.
6. Afloat: Beautiful little ballad which runs on repeated guitar lines and a gorgeous little organ.
7. Discard your fear: Another good song, but there's a problem developing, something that happens to me every time I listen to Riverside, and that is that, the above apart, I'm not really getting that much into any of these songs. They're all good, in their way, but I doubt I'll remember any once the album is over, which is a pity, as I feel on repeated listenings it might grow on me, or reveal some hidden depths I'm not seeing here. But on first listen, it's just not engaging me as I had hoped it would.
8. Towards the blue horizon: All right, this is eight minutes long. Let's make a conscious effort to describe it. See my problem though? If I was really into this album I wouldn't need to make a con --- anyway. Yeah. Lovely pastoral intro on guitar, with a soft and very endearing vocal which (sorry again) just plunders Hogarth's songbook for all it's worth. Lovely rippling piano. This may be another favourite. Sort of hear echoes of Spock's Beard in here at times too. Yah, really enjoyed that.
9. Time travellers: There's nothing quite like a strumming acoustic guitar to start a song. Great, swaying ballad with a really upbeat message in the lyric. The organ again is amazing. Sort of Floydesque guitar around the midpoint. You know, maybe this album has a chance after all. Making a strong showing here at the end.
10. Found (The unexpected flaw of searching): Again though, what is it with the weird titles? What does this even mean? Yeah I know, they're Polish, but still. Well it opens with a lovely introspective guitar (oh come on! I haven't used that word in quite a while now!) and again an upbeat ballad to close, and indeed it would seem, bookend with the opener. Is this a concept album? Not sure, but I feel there's a common thread running through it.

Final result: I don't want to write this album off, as I feel it will grow on me, but right now I'm not one hundred percent impressed with it, which is, as I said, a common reaction I have to Riverside. But I have hopes. The quality is there, maybe I just need to keep digging to find the buried treasure. On that basis, I'll give this a hopeful

Rating:

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Old 12-13-2015, 06:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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It's really odd that you just did this and I just reviewed one of their albums as well. I was supposed to a few rec's back but, missed it and had to do it today. Beautiful band but, I listened to this song Stuck for a Outline and really don't love it as much as I do songs from Gracious Tide, Take Me Home. Still I think I'll give this album a listen as well. And maybe all of their albums.
Yeah it's weird all right, but that was the order the list ended up in. They only have three albums by the way.
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Rating: and a half


4u
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Peter Gabriel > Big Bear

Thanks for the Riverside and Lantern reviews I'll be listening to those albums after finals.. The YT vids linked are great tracks.
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Old 12-14-2015, 06:12 AM   #18 (permalink)
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4u
Thanks man! Really appreciate that!
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Peter Gabriel > Big Bear
I just did that to annoy him, or at least return the annoyance.
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Thanks for the Riverside and Lantern reviews I'll be listening to those albums after finals.. The YT vids linked are great tracks.
Well you're welcome. Didn't think you'd be into either, but glad you liked them.
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Old 12-14-2015, 06:29 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Full and fair disclosure: as mentioned in the OP, some of these albums will occasionally appear in review form in my journals. When that happens, I will use this symbol to show it has already been used. There's no way I'm writing a second review for each and anyway, who reads my journals?

And so, with regard to the next one:


Title: Clinch!
Artiste: The Blues Overdrive
Year 2015
Nationality: Danish. I think.
Genre: Blues
Familiarity: 0%
1
Expectations: I had hoped this would be a rip-roaring, powerblasting bluesfest, but what I got instead was a quiet, low-key ... well, read on.

1. Pistol blues: Has a very Credence feel to it from the beginning, starts low and restrained but I imagine it will kick up shortly... actually, no it doesn't. Bit of a disappointment actually.
2. Rolling thunder: Better. Rocks out from the start. Good guitar work and some fine percussion. The vocal fits the music perfectly.
3. Three time lover: And now we're boogying at last. Aw yeah! This is the blues, man! Pretty cool.
4. Woman of love: Kind of a Dire Straits guitar here, actually very like a slower “Sultans of Swing” or “Water of love” (any coincidence?). Softer vocal which is interestingly different, almost a touch of folk in there. The guitar goes Santana-style halfway through.
5. Daughter of the devil: And this is The Eagles' “Witchy woman”. Oh dear.
6. Jealous: This is a bit better, but I'm starting to get a little bored now. Where are the hard-rockin', hard-drinkin' blues stormers? This is, so far, pretty damn weak.
7. Cherry: God! Another limpwristed borefest!
8. Lay your burden down: Do these guys EVER rock out? This is just total snoozedom. Did not expect this.
9. Living here without you: Okay, there's a decent Robert Crayesque groove here and some nice electric piano. This is not bad. Still not really kicking out any stays though, and I'd like to hear that. Given that we have only one track to go, however, I kind of doubt it's gonna happen.
10. Aurora: No, it's another slowburner. Not bad, but ffs, wake up guys huh?

Final result: For a blues album, I just expected it to be more lively. I guess the blues can be introspective and sort of downbeat, which is how this album came across to me. But how these guys won the accolade of Best Blues Album of 2015 is beyond me. They say on their website they can't believe it: neither can I. Big disappointment personally. I'm certainly no expert on the blues, but I've heard the greats and the not-so-greats, and this doesn't come close. I guess some people prefer their blues downbeat and low-key. Not me though, at least, not all through the album.

Rating: (Is there any way to get this new half-icon to line up with the rest? Not that I don't appreciate Goof's work, but it looks a little lopsided now. No problem if not.)

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Old 12-14-2015, 09:36 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Well you're welcome. Didn't think you'd be into either, but glad you liked them.
I rec'd you Agnes Obel and Midlake! Why would you think that? I listen to a lot more than rap ya know

That's the most offensive thing anyone on MB has ever said to me, I hope you're happy.
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