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Old 10-25-2008, 09:14 AM   #31 (permalink)
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I have just read through all the reviews. I thoroughly enjoyed the Obscuro.
I am absolutely intrigued as to Mountain Ash Band. The Hermit. Any links?

I have to make a confession in that I have 6 King Crimson albums but not Lizard. I have not even listened to it. Amazing really as I consider the albums that I have at times to be sublime.
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Old 10-26-2008, 12:48 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Kings of Leon - Because of the Times (2007)



Tracklisting:
1. Knocked Up (7:09)
2. Charmer (2:56)
3. On Call (3:21)
4. McFearless (3:08)
5. Black Thumbnail (3:59)
6. My Party (4:10)
7. True Love Way (4:02)
8. Ragoo (3:00)
9. Fans (3:36)
10. The Runner (4:16)
11. Trunk (3:57)
12. Camaro (3:06)
13. Arizona (4:49)

Knocked Up here represents what is good about Kings of Leon, they're not good musicians, they never will be, but they can put out a good groove. This for me in this type of music is more important, I'll make it clear but it's not something I'd listen to for a challenge. But when you just want to relax with a pint of beer or a ridiculous amount of alcohol and don't feel like a prog-fueled trip, this is what you want. The vocals are much like you'd come to expect, mixed high and pushing the point, the quiet-loud transition is very useful for live shows and I'm glad that they have incorporated this into their album. It gives the whole song a far more natural feel, the fact that it is just noise, which is all you're gonna hear live anyways. The beat is compelling and the bass and guitar work complement the vocals in such a way that they become one whole part on their own, instead of seperate entities, which is good for the casual listener.

The lyrics are not exactly groundbreaking, nor should they be. As a long song it leaves a lot of room for improvisation which I feel has been sadly neglected, every now and then there is a bit of guitar scratching but overall there's not much to it. Periods of silence here aren't used to great effect and the song does drag on a bit. The unchanging beat doesn't help, while refreshing at the start of the song it can start to grate. The groove is still good but in shorter doses please, and lets not forget this is from someone who considers a 7 minute song to be middle of the line in terms of length.

Charmer is a brilliant pop song with rock pretenses, from the girlish squeal to the powerful if oversimple riff. The riff is very memorable if you've ever focused on it, it's a pity it's underused in the song. It's an enjoyable energetic little song that will make you wonder why there isn't more like this in rock music today. It's powerful, hard rocking, not overly grating and generally 99% better than all other songs released by mainstream bands today. On Call is the albums lead single featuring some nice layering and, by mondern standards, a brilliant performance from vocals Caleb Followill. The riff is heavy without being properly heavy in the mix which will leave you hanging a bit.

The attempted guitar solo like all others in the album is well, just not right, Matthew Followill is not a great guitarist. His solos leave so much to desire after being used to the brilliance of their influences such as Thin Lizzy, and Wishbone Ash especially before them. However to the young listener today that knows nothing beyond what is on the charts, and has been since their teens, this will be mindblowing. So it's not all bad, the groove is there, the concept is there, just needs a bit of work on the soul and the true skill. And to clarify once more, I'm talking about being able to make the guitar sing, not just play if fast.

McFearless has what I can only call a very grating intro that grows on you as you go further and further into it, the riff afterwards however is unmistakably because of the times. Whereas the bands of old would have a riff that dominated and played with clear pauses between chords and notes. Today there is not much if any pause or silence and to me is one of the great downfalls in modern music. McFearless has some nice drum work though and that swagger which make Kings of Leon one of the best modern mainstream bands is very evident.

What you notice early into this album is that the tracklisting hasn't been taken into account when creating the album, it is very much about the songs themselves not the whole feel. This should detract from the score, but at the end of the day it's not something which is taken into account by non-prog bands. Black Thumbnail is wonderfully incomprehensible, brilliant live where the crowd will erupt during the chorus and that energy is transferred to record remarkably well once more. It will have your head bobbing despite yourself, and this is a good thing. The solo is made good only by the fact that you're so into the energy of the song that pretty much any form of wankery will sound good, but once you're halfway through it that feeling wears off and you're remind that yes, it's still Matthew playing. I'd like to make a note that Kings of Leon must have the best ever list of misheard lyrics ever.

That wonderful groove once again returns for My Party and my god it is wonderful. The vocal effects are too much I have to say, it becomes a bit too much pop-punk, but that wonderfull groove so very much makes up to it. Here a really nice simple riff has been created and why more bands can't just do this I don't understand. Bring back the guitar in modern music, it can never be a bad thing to have too many guitars. The best part of the guitars is that they can be played live by Caleb and Matthew, even if they have to stand and concentrate for most of the time when you watch them. I have to say their stage presence is absolutely ridiculously pathetic, even if they win over the crowd with the music and image, but that's really not part of the album so it can't really be taken into account, even if a lot of opinions towards an album includes live performances.

True Love Way continues the groove and the misheard lyrics but it works on so many levels. I'd never consider KoL to be a deep band in any way, but the way their music can connect to an audience is pretty impressive. Even with the non single songs that most modern rock bands would simply fill with... well filler it seems that they have made an effort with them, and it works, because the album holds up so much more strongly for it. The beat here is addictively simple and the silence is used brilliantly for once and I feel it adds a lot to the song. This is unfortunately offset by the fact that there is no fade, or even any consideration to what the next song is, and Ragoo very much upsets the rhythm of the album.

It's not a bad song by any means, just badly placed, that being said it's not great either, it's just there but it will stick with you. The chorus is painfully addictive, and while the album isn't very hooky I can feel some good pop sensibilities here, even if it's uninentional and not very obvious. The solo is one which is above average in the album, short and sweet and feels a bit more like a little lick. Fans introduces a nice contrast between an overdriven slowly played guitar clean strumming.

This is actually my favourite song on the album, it's the only one apart from On Call that actually manipulates emotions, the high energy beat, all the different aspects of the song all work together very well. And the vocal performance is beautifully fragile and it just works, here is the career highlight of Kings of Leon, and that has to be said, because based on their latest effort, they're never ever going to reach this level again, and that is a very sad prospect. Painfully short this is the whole reason Kings of Leon deserve to be reviewed here right now.

The Runner actually works well with the ending of Fans the retrospective song is brilliantly put together and features another good performance by Caleb. The song feels like it's coming from the heart, not just a session and that's what songs should be like. Uplifting while sad at the same time it makes you feel even more of a connection to the vocalist, and even empathise with him. However don't listen to it when tired, because you're almost guaranteed to fall asleep, whether this is a good thing or not is another matter.

Another bit of an experiment here as Kings of Leon try haunting, the atmosphere and echoes do work pretty well, and it shows a remarkable maturing from their other albums. It is a very powerful track, it will slow time down and make you think, it's hard to write even as I'm listening to it because of the energy needed to pay proper attention to it. Casuals won't like this song, but general fans might, it's a big departure from their other songs on the album, even with the eventual climax there's not much going on. For a band known for the energy in their songs this can seem a bit out of place, but I certainly think it fits perfectly here, because bands need to experiment, or music will simply stagnate.

Camaro feels very 80's whenever I listen to it I feel like I'm in a bad 80's American action movie not to say the song is bad, because some bad 80's action movies have very good songs, especially driving songs. This is the perfect driving song, high energy, topic specific and it rocks, it rocks pretty damn hard actually, and that's just what you want from the album at this point. It's the second last track and you want to wake up again after a few low energy songs.

REST OF REVIEW IN NEXT POST
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Old 10-26-2008, 12:48 AM   #33 (permalink)
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END OF REVIEW

Arizona reminds me of something but I can't quite put my finger on it, I've heard the melodies before but that doesn't really detract from the song. This is a beautiful closing track, aptly placed, it will make you feel sad and that's exactly what makes you listen again, and I have to say it's pretty effective. The main guitar theme is incredibly reminiscent to a lot of the more polished end of 70's early 80's bands that had to give a good contrast to the punk scene in order to remain relevant. It's unexpected from KoL but in the end it works brilliantly, even if it feels awfully cheesy. The solo here does have some soul, if only given to it by the context of the song. When I hear a good solo I always feel a sense of warmth within me, Matthew captures this warmth, but only for a few seconds, which makes the relative shortness of their solos more of a strength than a weakness. The final fade leaves you with expectations of more good things to come, in retrospect it certainly didn't come from their next album.

7.4/10

How this album SHOULD have influenced music is once again painfully obvious to me, the swagger, the rhythm everything is just done so well here. It feels raw at times which is also very good. The fact that the band is willing to experiment, to expand on their formula is incredibly good. The true influence of the album is yet to be seen, but I hope some bands adopt and expand on this formula, because Kings of Leon certainly didn't much to their detriment musically albeit not financially, which simply highlights the problem with music today. This album proves that you don't need all that much talent to make good music.
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Last edited by Comus; 10-26-2008 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:19 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Wishbone Ash - Argus (1972)



Track Listing:
1. Time Was (9:44)
2. Sometime World (6:56)
3. Blowin' Free (5:20)
4. The King Will Come (7:08)
5. Leaf And Stream (3:56)
6. Warrior (5:55)
7. Throw Down The Sword (5:56)
8. No Easy Road (3:37)

A little note to start the review, I will not include the reissue track No Easy Road in the review while considering score, however I list it here and will mention it. This is because most versions of the album available to the savvy internet user do include this track. This album should need no introduction, it was named 1972 album of the year by Sounds Magazine and can be traced forward to being perhaps one of the most underlooked and influential albums of all time, especially and surprisingly within Metal.

The first track Time Was starts with a soft acoustic passage, slowly building and setting the mood creatively. The vocals have never been the strong point of Wishbone Ash, but I feel on this album they are so masterfully used within their limits, and provide a very strong backing to the music. The overall serenity of parts of this album are as much because the vocals are used in a very expert way as the instrumental work itself. The change from the serene to the first burst of energy comes and the transition feels natural, but unexpected to a first time listener. While it doesn't particularly rock hard, the whole scene is supported by seemingly random guitar licks which are very common within the album. The guitar work on all songs are absolutely exquisite and Time Was is no exception.

The duelling guitars are Wishbone Ash's lasting legacy. While it might have been common to have a rhythm guitarist on stage while providing support and rhythm to lead this new concept would change the whole way rock was viewed. The two different guitarists views on the songs flourish in the soloing and it's breathtaking to watch the eventual duel unfold. That being said, non-guitarists can appreciate the beautiful melodies that arise from such improvisation expression. The solos are indeed full of soul and very heartfelt. The two masters here are Andy Powell and Ted Turner who both put in stunning work. The equally important Rhythm Section comprised of Martin Turner (no relation) on bass and Steve Upton on drums both provide some brilliant work, even if their finest moments in the sun are on other albums.

Sometime World starts softly just as Time Was, but the guitar work is already present with a lazy solo complemented with some strumming deep in the mix. This eventually comes to the forefront and puts forward what is some of the finest subtle guitar work of the era. This song is stunningly simple and beautiful, yet there are certain flashes of extreme complexity that will cause a more intent listener to come offguard. The intricate way in which Ted and Andy form the passages under the strict rhythm of Martin and Steve is brilliant and works in almost every instant.

While the vocals may grate on someone not used to the less vocally focused prog bands it's important to note that while Wishbone Ash never had a distinctive vocalist their vocals have always been well handled. And at the end of the day, it's the guitars that sing the most, Sometime World contains myriad of solos that are briefly interrupted by the vocals and at the end of the day play a much bigger part. Near the end of the song, the final solo can for brief moments tug at your emotions, and for something this early into the albums context and ambience that is quite powerful indeed.

Blowin' Free contains one of the better songs to sing along to, and provides a brilliant contrast between the two different "voices" with lines of lyrics seperated by small bluesy guitar licks. The guitar work continues to stun and there is nothing finer to simply sit back, close your eyes and bask in the beauty that is this album. For once I'm at a lack of words, and that is something rather hard to achieve, no matter how many times I listen to this album each new time floors me. Each time leaves me wondering why I have been neglecting it, even bothering to listen to other music. But each time I also have to remind myself of the brilliant catalogue of other artists and it all seems worth it in the end. Blowin' Free ends on an appropriate sonic climax build up and reinforced by the vocals and especially the rhythm section.

What can only be described as, along with Phoenix on the first album, as one of Wishbone Ash's crowning achievements The King Will Come springs to life with a military style drumming and a brilliant wah-wah intro. The following licks build upon and provide one of the most epic, relatively short songs within progressive rock. Compelling lyrics and beautiful vocal harmonies continue to build on the brilliance of the songs, and the whole affair is a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Every successive variation on the main theme leaves you hanging for a solo. And when it finally comes it is a joy to behold, every bit as funky and sounding every bit as fresh now as it did back in 1972 it is amazing to consider what the musical landscape was like back then.

But the song isn't over yet, leaving a passage for live improvisation as was the style of the time they continue on with the main themes and once again give in to the beautiful vocal harmonies. As pretentious as the playing is on this song it never shines a negative light onto it, infact it makes it seem all the more organic as if the whole band are doing exactly what they want to and feel incredibly comfortable in doing so.

Leaf and Streme is densely layered and incredibly beautiful, a tranquil intermisson between the King Will Come and Warrior. The Vocal performance is once again very nice and complimentary to the music. Everything is just done to uttermost perfection here, and it shows. Warrior is very high in energy, providing a rusty jangling riff and some more beautiful lead guitar work to introduce the song. Warrior deals with a very basic concept, infact many of the songs skate around the same themes but not enough for it to be considered a proper concept album.

Warrior is about someone going off to fight, finding the concept of slavery to be far less favourable than victory or death in combat. The enduring melodies work so well here with the concept, an enduring feeling of what is going on is indeed reflected within the guitar work. And the chorus is definitely the most fun to sing along to within the whole album. The way the solos flow here is something which puts Wishbone Ash in a league of their own when it comes to melodic guitar work and the broad genres of the guitar work prove a beautiful contrast to the quite standard rhythm and themes.

Throw Down the Sword continues the concept of the Warrior, now that the war is over in a stalemate they have to return to their every day lives, to throw down their swords, or so to say. The introduction builds up intensity brilliantly with some more military style drumming from Steve Upton until he eventually settles into a regular beat. It will have your head bobbing and the way the song is restrained here at the start can be frustrating, but in a way that very much adds to the music. There are some brilliant bits of lyric in this album and Throw Down the Sword contains a lot of them. It proves that even the most common, often puerile themes can be conveyed in a confident and competent manner.

What I consider the climax of the album is all brought together here, a huge solo with dense layering and brilliant backing finishes this song, and what I consider the classic album. No Easy Road has been featured on re-issues as bonus tracks and doesn't really fit in with the rest of the album. It's by no means a bad song, but it's very much more down to earth than the seemingly huge songs on the rest of the album.

This will be, along with Lizard the second 10 I will give out, very few albums can deserve such accolade, and very few will get it I can say for certainty that some other albums border on 10, but will most certainly fall short. This may change on review and relistening, only time will tell.

10/10

This album, while largely unknown today has influenced the face of modern rock and metal music immensely, having influenced bands such as Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. Maiden would prove to be an especially important influence as it fronted the whole New Wave of British Heavy metal, and provided the basis of Power Metal as a whole (for better or worse). And many modern bands such as the Kings of Leon cite Thin Lizzy as influences, so there's even further secondary influence proven by Wishbone Ash and Argus. This album is essential for those wanting to further discover some of the roots of the less riffy side of metal, those who just love classic rock, and those who want to see what all the fuss is about within the prog community about a band who is only just considered to be within it.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:32 PM   #35 (permalink)
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And some review stats:

By year:
1969: 1
1970: 2
1971: 2
1972: 2
1975: 1
2007: 1
2008: 4

Average Score:
Modern: 8.16
Classic: 8.89
Total: 8.61

The high average current average scores can be explained by the fact that so far I have reviewed a very small number of new releases and most of them have been very good, also considering the fact that the classic albums I so far have reviewed have been some of my favourites, with Lizard and Argus both increasing the average significantly within the past few days.
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:29 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Nice review - I own the reissued version of Argus.

I agree that Argus is a complete prog classic, even if it isn't that proggy and more hard rockish. And yeah, the rhythm section is actually more prominent on other albums, although it's decent on Argus too. But overall, it's their best album.

My favourite bit of the album is the dual leads in the second half of Throw Down the Sword - absolutely musicgasmic.
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Old 11-02-2008, 01:59 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980)



Track Listing:
1. Kill the Poor (3:04)
2. Forward to Death (1:22)
3. When Ya Get Drafted (1:22)
4. Let's Lynch the Landlord (2:10)
5. Drug Me (1:55)
6. Your Emotions (1:19)
7. Chemical Warfare (2:54)
8. California Über Alles (3:00)
9. I Kill Children (2:02)
10. Stealing People's Mail (1:33)
11. Funland at the Beach (1:48)
12. Ill in the Head (2:43)
13. Holiday in Cambodia (4:32)
14. Viva Las Vegas (2:37)

Despite a slow introduction Kill The Poor sets the mood for this album in it's entirety, acidic lyrical content with a fast beat all tempered by a rather epic scale of experimentation. The whole political tone of the album is set here, entirely tongue in cheek it was a huge shock to the music scene at the time. Of all American punk bands that ever "made it" Dead Kennedys were the only one to truly embody punk in a way that no one else could. This album is in its entirety a huge protest about anything and everything, you truly feel the anger and sense of dissillusion.

Here the song titles say it all, delivered in short explosions of anger and raw speed the whole album plays like a huge tantrum, and that's exactly what it is and should be. Guitarist East Bay Ray here plays his part to perfection, with subtle experimentation there for the true listener but it can be easily missed. The songs tend to meld together yet there is no attempt at a general flow in the album. Here all the songs are just as good, just as raw and explosive without the albums context. Such a huge contrast to the more progressive side of rock it's exactly as it should be for a punk album.

Hailed as one of the forebearers of the generally awful Hardcore punk scene Dead Kennedys were incredibly influential, however none of the bands that came after it ever managed to create this sense of brilliance. Jello Biafra's voice and lyrics here play so well to the era, and the whole feel of rebellion. At a time when "new wave" was the in-thing slower tempo overproduced songs claiming punk status were the new thing, this album came as a shock. Each song is as cutting as the next, but the three sonjgs starting with Chemical Warfare and finishing with I Kill Children each try to outstrip each other when it comes to shock factor.

But you get the feeling that they're not simply creating these songs to sell, there is a huge sense of message. Chemical Warfare speaks of someone stealing mustard gas to release it at a golf course and watch the ensuing mayhem. It can be taken many ways, either how easy it would be to cause such pandemonium, or comparing the use of chemical warfare by the government as that of a deranged mass-murderer. There are a lot of messages within the music, in such a way that no other band has truly been able to emulate, or achieve before the release of the album.

California Über Alles is a scathing attack on the then governor of California Jerry Brown, not only comparing him to Hitler but also lining him up as the next president of the United States where he will lead a 1984 style regime. Such a personal and politically charged attack was pretty much unheard of before in music. I Kill Children would still be incredibly shocking released today, it follows the narrators ways in which he would murder children. Starting with "God told me to skin you alive". It suggests feeding them poison candy or strangling them with telephone wire amongs other things. The fact that its delivered in such an earnest way brings a true chill down your back.

The fact that this album dares to tread on such sensitive subjects is just another testament to how truly "punk" they are. Not even at the height of the british punk era did anyone act as this. The rhythm section throughout the whole album actually plays quite well for a punk band and I feel they hold the whole album together musically. Biafra's voice and East Bay Ray's guitar are constantly trying to outdo and break free of rhythm, experimenting in ways which most punk bands wouldn't dare. This experimentation means this album has aged extremely well and doesn't become tired after many listens.

There is a feeling that they're fast simply because it suits them, instead of just being fast as is expected of a punk band. There are often changes in tempo for various reasons which help to bring a nice feel of individualism in the album, this is especially felt by the often wandering guitar tending to slip away and do something completely different.

Often regarded as their flagship song, Holiday in Cambodia can be seen as a scathing acerbic view of American culture. Comparing it to a "Holiday in Cambodia" the subject matter is without a doubt the US detailing how close the current situation is to the oppression of Cambodia a current hotspot after the Vietnam war. The song is a good starting point for what Dead Kennedys are, severly left wing to a point of fault with more opinions than a presidential election. The "cover" of Viva Las Vegas is a perfect end to the album.

The whole album plays like a political and social satire, leaving no rock unturned and no subject sacred it is the perfect punk album. Despite this, it doesn't feel like a 10/10 album, and no punk album ever will, because it is purely reactionary, no matter how well it does it, it can never reach true brilliance. And, once again, my score will reflect this.

8.9/10

Incredibly influential album, but for all the wrong reasons, the countless imitators that have spawned from the genre that the Dead Kennedys helped create have never been able to live up to the brilliance of the creators. Hardcore and the subsequent genres that came from it, all the way up to emo have produced countless albums of utter tripe and as such Dead Kennedys hold a grave responsibility. How this album SHOULD have influenced music was to bring back the true face of punk, cutting, charged commentary, taking no prisoners and bringing the true feeling of punk back. They failed in doing so, however you can still enjoy the brilliance of this album, and the other Dead Kennedys albums.
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Old 11-03-2008, 04:14 AM   #38 (permalink)
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[CENTER]Obscure Tuesday (second review): Mountain Ash Band: The Hermit (1975)



This has been an incredibly hard album to review because of the manner of how it plays out and how the combined effort is just so much more important than the single bits. For an imperfect album it does a lot, and for that reason it deserves a strong
I think your review is excellent. This for me is a gem of the obscure. Thanks for the heads up. I have enjoyed this long lost pastoral folk album immensely. This is a long and sad life tale that the Mountain Ash Band have told but they have done it with style, not only with wonderful lyricism but also with eclectic folk styles that are also very English. I have imagined that this collection of songs could have been told by travelling minstrels in the mid 1800 at inns up and down Yorkshire. Maybe I am being too romantic. Great stuff Comus and I look forward to more hidden gems that you recommend.
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:09 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Just before I start the review I would like to say that I'm thrilled to see so many other journals about now.

The Shadows - The Shadows (1961)



1. Shadoogie (2:24)
2. Blue Star (2:44)
3. Nivram (3:24)
4. Baby My Heart (2:15)
5. See You In My Drums (2:49)
6. All My Sorrows (3:00)
7. Stand Up And Say That (2:14)
8. Gonzales (2:15)
9. Find Me A Golden Street (2:49)
10. Theme from A Filleted Place (2:22)
11. That's My Desire (2:27)
12. My Resistance Is Low (1:57)
13. Sleepwalk (2:48)
14. Big Boy (2:07)

The shadows started off in life as Cliff Richards backing band, but ended up being so much more, this maturity was already seen here in their debut album. Before I elaborate I'd like to thank the shadows for inspiring my hero Andy Powell to pick up the guitar.

The album starts off strongly and launches you straight back to the 60's, being a mostly instrumental album means there has to be some brilliant instrumental work. And there is, no doubt about it. Shadoogie would not be out of place as the backing track on a Beach Boys album, but instead of harmonised vocals here there is some fine guitar and drum work to keep the interest strong. And when I say fine, it truly is fine work. The groove is catchy and the tune is just as it should be. There's a huge sense of innocence here and it is sad that rock music had to lose that to evolve, but it adds a very sombre feel to the album in retrospect.

Blue Star is led by a mournful guitar eloping across a gentle sonic landscape like a river through rolling plains. The beauty of this track should never be lost on the listener because it is indeed stunning in its simplicity and construction. You just want to sit back and relax, close your eyes and think, this is another example of the innocence this record portrays painfully short is reminds me of Wishbone Ash's latest instrumentals "Northern Lights" from Power of Eternity.

A lot of the songs show melodies that would be prominent in little snippets of progressive rock as parts of instrumentals or even vocal work. Nivram is very much such a song, listen to this track and you cannot deny the influence of the guitar work on the progressive rock guitarists that came about almost a decade later. Nivram is a perfect example of all the parts working together to create a beautiful dream. A cool bass part here, some sound drumming and some brilliant guitar play there and you have a brilliant song. The bass solo drives the song forward and it's incredibly funky for its time.

Baby My Heart is the first vocal song, and far more upbeat than the first three instrumentals, here you can see the influence this band had on the surf rock genre. Again it would not be out of place on a beach boys album, but overall it is far more mature than the beach boys, and the instrumental work is a lot tighter. See you in my sorrows continues where Nivram left off, the basic melodies and progressions that are put down here can be found time and time again in progressive rock and in other forms of rock throughout the sixties and definitely at the start of the 70's.

Despite the many instrumental tracks there is never a moment where the album gets dull like some instrumental sogns tend to do. The short and sweet song format is very much of its time. This being said the songs have been perfectly created for the short length and I can't say that it would be any better if the songs were longer. The songs have been perfectly crafted to fit the era, despite this it is very much ahead of its time. All My Sorrows is another vocal track done very well, with the bass work shining here in perfect compliment to the vocals.

Despite very simple lyrics it is very well conveyed and even if it doesn't fit altogether brilliantly in the album I can't say that it detracts from it in any way. Because of the great bass work it is a brilliantly powerful track when listened with a good sound system or very good headphones, and I fear that may be lost on some people. Perfectly out of place the next song is a total departure from the sombre feel of All My Sorrows, Stand up and Say That is incredibly confident and upbeat. Some great piano work here keeps the piece together at times and the guitar work is as always totally brilliant.

Very jazzy here it is as always a good avenue to show off some talent and the track does it well, but contrary to most of the other songs, this one is painfully short for what it is. Gonzales true to its name is very much a country song, if you close your eyes and listen to this, you can see a bunch of indians on horseback rolling through the desert with rifles. The guitar work here is absolutely brilliantly done and convincing, it keeps you going through the track and leaves you wanting more. Find Me a Golden Street almost picks up where Gonzales left off, there is a very good interplay between the two instrumental tracks and the atmosphere created is just as it should be.

The Shadows do something that for the time would be incredibly difficult, they manage to set mood with solos and melodies instead of vocals and simple rhythm. The rhythm section throughout the whole album sets itself apart from the work of the era, the drummer and bassist are very much at the forefront at times and again that didn't happen again until some of the more progressive or heavy artists. All the songs of the album are very much straight to the point, due to the short nature of the songs they waste no time with lengthy intros and don't do much to set the tone of the song. While regrettable I don't see this as that much of a setback, since they manage to set the mood so well with the meat of the songs that it almost doesn't detract at all.

Theme from a Filleted Place is for me a weakpoint to the album, seems they just really wanted that melody on the album and didn't care if it fit or not. Followed by That's My Desire which is very much an aquired taste it brings a few weaker songs together. By no means bad That's My Desire is another vocal song, but it doesn't have the same strength that All My Sorrows displays. My Resistance is Low is the shortest song on the album, however I feel that it puts the album straight back on track, full of tempered energy like much of the album it plays a strong guitar melody with a few surprises that keep it interesting.

Sleepwalk is a Santo & Johnny cover, played very well here and it does add to the orignal, this cover is much more subdued but it feels just as genuine. Many other artists have covered the song but I still prefer the Shadows Version over even some of the more modern examples. Big Boy ends the album on an upbeat tone, the song is a fitting end to a very very good album.

8.3/10

This album has been incredibly influential, inspiring many guitarists prominent in the late 60's early 70's. The melodies alone gives an indication to how influential this album is, while much of it is shamelessly copied from other places their success make it probable that their version of some of these songs will be the most known. Especially at the time. The album went to number 1 on the UK Charts, being the first British band to do so and that alone speaks volumes.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:55 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I seriously would not have expected an album like this reviewed on here and in such detail. Very good review and it makes me wonder why you indulge in a spot of trolling on these boards every now and again. You are far too good for that. One of my favourite journals on here for sure.
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