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Old 10-07-2009, 09:11 AM   #41 (permalink)
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YES! I'm finally done reposting all my old reviews. All I'm missing now are the old comments

Anyways, expect more new reviews in the future!
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:24 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Congrats on getting one of my favorite journals back in its entirety, and I'm very much looking forward to what you shall be reviewing next!

Last edited by Anteater; 10-09-2009 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:48 AM   #43 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anteater View Post
Congrats on getting one of my favorite journals back in its entirety, and I'm very much looking forward to what you shall be reviewing next!
Thanks I'd already written my next but I managed to lose it during the posting process. Such a rookie mistake! Anyways, since the next will be a bit of a new start, I'll try a new format. I think I'll give up the detailed review and rather focus on a few tracks to represent the albums like you do yourself.

Anyways, expect a review soon .. I just have to write it - again
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Old 11-03-2009, 11:19 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Tore, I think you need to be told how awsome you are.

You're awesome.
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:18 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RezZ View Post
Tore, I think you need to be told how awsome you are.

You're awesome.
Seconded.

Thanks for all the reviews Tore. Keep em commin I'm likin' it so far.
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:53 AM   #46 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toretorden View Post
Yes: close to the edge
Toretorden's Treasure Trove score : 6/6


I love coming across albums like this because it means I've found something that I can treasure and enjoy for the rest of my life. Many thanks to Yes!
Agreed, one of the best albums in my opinion as well. Timeless, excellent album.
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:39 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Default Spirit - The Family That Plays Together

Thank you all for the nice words of encouragement! It's criminal how long I've gone without writing up anymore reviews, but with awards and comps and other things to do around here, I've needed a period of calm to reignite my passion for doing reviews. Anyways, I think I've rekindled the flame and from now on, I'm going to try and shorten down my reviews and not describe every track. We'll see how it goes. After a few months hiatus, I give you my review of :


Spirit - The Family That Plays Together (1968)



tracklist :
  1. I Got a Line on You
  2. It Shall Be
  3. Poor Richard
  4. Silky Sam
  5. Drunkard
  6. Darlin' If
  7. It's All the Same
  8. Jewish
  9. Dream within a Dream
  10. She Smiles
  11. Aren't You Glad
Listen : Spotify


Introduction

Members :
Mark Andes - Bass, Vocals
Randy California - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Ed Cassidy - Percussion, Drums
Jay Ferguson - Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals
John Locke - Keyboards


Spirit first emerged in 1967 from a different band called The Red Roosters which had the members Mark Andes, Jay Ferguson and the semi-legendary guitarist Randy California in it. Randy, who was born in 1951, was really just a kid at the time, but had already done things now considered big like playing with Jimi Hendrix in the band Jimmy James and the Blue Flames in 1966 when he was 15.

Anyways, with the addition of Ed Cassidy (drums) and John Locke (keyboards), Spirits Rebellious was born, soon to be shortened down to just "Spirit". Their first self-titled album was a jazz flavoured psychedelic rock record which became an underground hit. Their second album was released the same year and featured their best selling hit, I Got A Line on You. The band then started touring and were supported by Led Zeppelin. Spirit is regarded as a major influence on LZ, from the playing of Jimmy Page to the making of songs like Stairway to Heaven. In 1969 after the release of their third album Clear, they were offered a spot right before Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, but they turned it down because they thought it would be smarter to tour more and promote their latest album. Had they played at Woodstock that year, Spirit could've been a household name today. Who knows?

This review is about their second album, The Family That Plays Together. At their core in the 60s, they are a psychedelic rock band, but their second release goes well beyond the artistic boundaries of their first. We get jazz and bluesy jam rock influences with a large song to song variety. The album also has rather good production value and lush instrumentation, from guitars to pianos, trumpets, lush strings and flutes. The album has been rereleased with bonus track and while I do have a rerelease, as a rule I leave bonus tracks out of my reviews. Here we go!


Detailed Review :

The opening track is one of their biggest hits, I Got A Line On You. While it was a selling point, it's not the most interesting track on the album. Rather, it's an uncomplicated rock song with a lot of catchy refrain. While it is certainly enjoyable, the music turns much more compelling as the song reaches it's end and slides gently onto the second track, It Shall Be. It's a jazzier and slower song where the wide instrumentation of the band really shines. The verses are mysterious sounding with flute and piano while the refrains are warm, catchy and feature horns. Check it out!



My girlfriend has no particular love for it, but I used to listen to this while spending a lot of time by myself up in the arctic winter and it's one of those songs that take me back to that time and place, walking through the freezing cold and dark while listening to Spirit with my little mp3 player. Associations or not, I think it has a lot to offer.

While the next couple of songs are enjoyable, the next highlight for me is the song Drunkard, a sad song about a poor lowlife who doesn't get the meaning of it all. It has a couple of sad verses before it descends into an outro.

Darlin' If is a more upbeat thoroughly enjoyable love song and another high point that lightens the mood after it's slightly depressing predecessor. While we're now leaving my album favourites behind, the rest of the tracks are all mostly good and bring more jam, blues and psychedelic rock to the table. The only track I don't like on the whole album is the song "Jewish" which I can't help sounds a lot like pretentious drivel. By the way, Aren't You Glad, the last track on the album, sounds a bit like a good natured and lusher Stranglehold Is this where Ted Nugent's inspiration for his classic song comes from?


Review Summary :

Aside from one song which I don't particularly like, Jewish, this album is all good. I would still not call it a brilliant record because it has a couple of flaws. First of all, many of the songs are just too short. The whole album clocks in at about 34 minutes and half the tracklist is under 3 minutes long. The other problem is that while there are occasional glimpzes of brilliance, most of the songs by far don't quite achieve that level of quality. They are good, but that's it.

Still, there's a lot to recommend about this one. What I love is just the sound of Spirit on this album. Compared to later albums, they sound slightly unpolished, but definetly more unique and organic. As mentioned before, the wide instrumentation gives a lovely flavour to most of the tracks here. I also like the variety between the songs. The album keeps you interested from start to finish which, alright, admittedly is only about half an hour.

It was either gonna be a 5 or a strong 4. If there had been just one more song approaching awesome on this one, I would've gone for the 5er, but it's gonna be a 4 for me. Still, if you have an interest in this kind of stuff, you should get this album. It's a truly interesting album, highly regarded by many and a worthy addition to any music collection.

Toretorden's Treasure Trove score : 4/6

Favourite tracks : I Got A Line On You, It Shall Be, Drunkard, Darlin' If, Dream Within a Dream
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:59 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Default Kula Shaker - Strangefolk (2007)

Kula Shaker - Strangefolk (2007)



tracklist :
  1. Out On the Highway
  2. Second Sight
  3. Die for Love
  4. Great Dictator (Of the Free World)
  5. Strangefolk
  6. Song of Love / Narayana
  7. Shadowlands
  8. Fool That I Am
  9. Hurricane Season
  10. Ol' Jack Tar
  11. 6ft Down Blues
  12. Dr. Kitt
Introduction :

The band :
Crispian Mills - Lead Vocals/Guitars
Alonza Bevan - Bass
Paul Winterhart - Drums
Harry Broadbent - Keyboards


When I first signed up here, I got just a little heat in my own introduction thread because I'd written somewhere that I liked Kula Shaker. Actually, I still do and while I may not think their 90s albums are amazing start to finish, they certainly know how to put together some brilliant tunes.

But let's start by taking a few steps back. In case you've never heard of them before, they are a multi-platinum selling psychedelic rock band to come out of the english 90s britpop scene. Their brand of psychedelic retro rock is flavoured with cultural and musical influences from India - instrumentically, thematically and sometimes linguistically as they've written a few songs in sanskrit. They're not entirely uncomparable to some of Finland's 90s space rock band Kingston Wall's output, but with a little more variation and a more polished and poppy sound*. Their debut album K was released in 1996 and was followed up by their second album Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts in 1999. Both albums sold rather well and had multiple singles and the band got to enjoy a bit of success and controversy. However, they still decided to call it quits and disbanded before the end of the century.

In 99, I got Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts as a gift from my sister and I enjoyed it so much I went and got K as well. For this reason, I was quite bummed when I found out the band I'd just gotten into had disbanded right after I found out I liked them. Oh well, that's the way it goes - and I thought that was that until late 2007 when I found out they were back together. Not only that, they had released their third album that same year!

So - Strangefolk from 2007 was released 8 years after their second album. Helping them produce the album was a star-team of hit makers and grammy winners, yet it has been met with mixed reception since it's release. What do I think of it?


Detailed Review :

Kula Shaker's previous album openers have been good and Strangefolk is no different. It starts off fresh with pop rocky Out on the Highway, a feelgood guitary song with bucketloads of catchyness and hit potential. To people familiar with the band, it's perhaps a bit simpler than you've come to expect but it's still a brilliant track and has become one of my favourite songs from the group. What's also enjoyable perhaps especially on the first spin is that thankfully, they still sound like Kula Shaker - the band they were in the late 90s.

I don't think there is an official video for the song, but I had no trouble finding it on youtube. Check it out!



Second Sight is also rather good, although not as immediate as the first. Like it's predecessor, it's tight with drive, has enjoyable guitar and while the verses are a little sedate, the refrains are nicely hard rockin'. It's the kind of song which suits them well. Even Crispian Mills nasal vocal style really shines.

Die For Love sounds like it was made by a hit-maker. There's nothing wrong with it, but compared to their better songs it's somewhat unoriginal and sounds slightly like it was placed there for soppy single potential. Dictator (Of the Free World) sounds like an inspired attempt at Cool and playful but unfortunately also comes across as quite silly.

The title track Strangefolk is a monologue with some indian instrumentation which is there likely and simply for concept, but it is followed by quite a curiosity, Song of Love/Narayana. Am I crazy or did I just hear an instrumental cover of two Prodigy songs smacked into one? I think I did. Maybe you know the excellent Climbatize and Narayan from The Prodigy's third album The Fat of the Land? Seems Kula Shaker thought they'd be good if you mixed them together and played them with real instruments. The reason for this turns out to be less coincidential than it might first seem. Actually, Crispian Mills helped write the song Narayan for The Prodigy .. The result here is enjoyable, but it's appeal comes mostly from the fact it's a curiosity.

Shadowlands is a slower, more sombre song which is good, but not very memorable. Fool that I am however is quite the little earwig. It's melodic, soothing and strangely remorseful and the brightest gem on the album since we left the first couple of tracks. It is followed up by another remarkably charming and marine inspired Hurricane Season, a song in 5/4 which is roughly about a sailor caught by the sea.
He was hanging in the darkness holding to the line
Faces in the water of folks he'd left behind
Saying 'boy you must be crazy should have stayed at home
Stuck with what you'd started, stuck with what you know'
And the sea had come to take him and snuff him like a light
In the black and heavy water, in the black and heavy sight
Add some lovely guitar and organ solos reminiscent of rock's golden age's Deep Purple and you got the best track on the record. Again, it's not as immediate as the others - it's a grower - but it's easily the most memorable song on the album. Here it is :



The next three tracks are not exactly bad, but on the numerous listens I've had, they haven't really grabbed my attention. They're actually all enjoyable, but that's it for me. Kula Shaker's goodbye for now, the last track Super CB Operator, is perhaps the most fun of the bunch and is a rockin' feelgood party track.


Review Summary :

Strangefolk I think is a good album, nothing more and nothing less. The production value is rather good and for the most part, they sound like their old self and I get the feeling they're comfortable and have fun with what they're doing. This comeback probably won't blow anyone's minds as it contains quite a bit of mediocrity in it and even a dose of embarassment. Still, there are fortunately also a few moments of brilliance and they may be worth checking out. The quality of the album is not however entirely consistent. It's a bit hit or miss.

Those who really like the band should of course check it out. I'm sure they'll find quite a bit to like here. Those who don't know the band and/or are just sceptical should consider getting the album, but only for those few really good songs that hopefully will appeal to them. Essential for people who like the band and recommended to those who like what they hear in the youtube vids above, but non-essential to the rest!

Toretorden's treasure trove score : 4/6

Favourite tracks : Out on the Highway, Second Sight, Fool That I Am, Hurricane Season


*Kingston Wall of course have other redeeming qualities

†Frontman Crispian Mills' admittant and outspoken love for the swastika, which among other things is an important symbol in Indian culture, led some people to believe he was a nazi. The same people probably thought the swastika was something Hitler came up with in his spare time. Mills' added admitted liking for dandy uniforms probably didn't help matters further.

‡Particularly the track Hey Dude from their 1996 debut K
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:45 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Thanks for Close To The Edge review. I agree it's one of the best Prog albums of all time. I think it ranks with DRAMA as the most musically fertile YES prog album (1983's excellent 90125 isn't really Prog).

It's a shame Bruford left after this, but then drummer Alan White did an excellent job on Topographic Oceans.

I personally think Close to the Edge and And You And I are two of the best songs EVER of the entire Prog Rock genre, and here we have them on the same album. Yes's prog masterpiece.
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Old 10-28-2012, 04:18 PM   #50 (permalink)
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I read your reviews with interest, particularly, although not exclusively, the progressive rock reviews, like Tarkus and Close to the Edge. I liked the introduction to the Journal. Is it possible to add one of these, and to keep updating it, in retrospect?
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