Archive for June, 2007

Album – Soundtracks for Sunrise – The Winston Giles Orchestra

Posted by admin on 10th June 2007

I can’t remember the podcast on which I first heard the Winston Giles Orchestra, but I knew as soon as I heard it, that I had to get it in for review. This in itself proved to be a little harder than usual, seeing as the CD had to make its way from Australia to Canada, and the postal services just didn’t want to play ball. However the CD eventually made it’s way and I ran off to my stereo like a giddy school child.

This is an amazingly well balanced album, whose 10 tracks flow effortlessly, making it feel like a ensemble piece, rather than a rag tag of disjointed tracks. The production on the album is just stunning, with an amazing sound bed, giving your ears a whole ton of aural candy to digest.

The CD opens with “We Wait For Sunrise”, a track to me that is very stereotypical of the Winston Giles Orchestra sound. It reminds me a lot of a UK band called the Orb, but with less psychedelic/trippy influences, noting I said less, rather than no. This whole ambient sound spills over into the next track “Welcome to the Hotel”, which features vocals that blend in very well, reminding me a lot of Dave Gilmour from Pink Floyd. “A Little Song” is a slight departure, but those signature sounds are still there. The beginning of “Revenge” is still more of a departure, but it soon falls back into line with the rest of the album.

Track after track of just stunning music. I was a big fan after listening to that one track from the album on a podcast. One album later and I’m a huge fan, who can see myself playing this album into oblivion. “All Come Together” is probably my favorite track on the album, having the most amazing of beginnings. “Welcome to the Hotel” also gets a very favorable mention.

Conclusion : A wonderful album showcasing some of the amazing stuff Australia has to produce. Just sheer magic.

Posted in Down-tempo, Electronica, Psychedelic | No Comments »

Album – OK Cobra – OK Cobra

Posted by admin on 2nd June 2007

  • Band / Artist : OK CobramySpace
  • Genre : Hip Hop / Alternative
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD : URBNET
  • Buy Digital Download : iTunes
  • Rating : 8 out of 10

Hip hop, rap and reggae are not the usual fare in my CD player, so it generally has to be something fairly special to get me interested enough to want to play. I heard OK Cobra many, many months ago on the CBC Radio 3 podcast. I got the album in and just as I was about to review the album, I sent the band an email to confirm a few things. Anyway, the band let me know that they’d signed to a record label and that a review should hold off until the album was available in the usual places. So hold off I did and promptly forgot about the album. Upon looking through some unread email, I found one from URBNET, the record label and wouldn’t you know it, there was OK Cobra and that proved enough of a jolt, to get me to dust of the album to finally get the review out of the door.

As I’ve said many times, I don’t know my hip hop from my elbow, but I do know good music. Fast paced lyrics, fused with drum, bass and many other audio elements like audio sound bites keep you aurally stimulated. Yes among the stimulus are a few of the more colorful words, but that is very much in the culture of this style of music, so goes by pretty much unnoticed.

The first track “Intro” gently draws you into the album and then comes the bitch slap with “Time Flies”, an assault on the senses, but a pleasant one at that. “Child in Rhyme” is the track for me that defines the overall sound of the band and one that is just a joy to listen to. It’s repetitious, mellow sound bed is in stark contrast to the lyrics and lyric delivery, but it really works well.

With 13 tracks there is much to like, even if this genre of music isn’t your usual cup of tea. Certainly a band that can introduce hip hop to a whole new legion of fans, as De La Soul did, in their own inventive way before them.

Conclusion : However you want to define the genre of this music, it’s inventive, engaging and very listenable.

Posted in Alternative, Hip Hop | No Comments »

Album – On Fire – The Higher

Posted by admin on 2nd June 2007

The Emo genre of music, is one that’s often misrepresented in the press. It’s also one that means different things to different people. To some it’s well crafted music, with a dark lyrical edge. To others it’s all out desperation and despair. The Higher is a band that has that some what Emo feel to a few of their tracks, but it’s definitely more of the upbeat, darker lyrical edged variety.

I’ve actually sat on the album for a while. It was one of those albums that came in unsolicited and to be honest, I just had a feeling it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea. So it languished for a few weeks, until I heard my daughter playing something and asked her what it was. Sure enough it was The Higher. So I dug through my pile to give the album a spin and was pleasantly surprised.

This 12 track album has a real energy to it, without having that total overloaded, bloated feel. Sometimes I hear younger bands that have this high energy and almost relentless and overpowering feel to them. Here the band concentrates on well structured songs with a well crafted kick.

The album opens with “Insurance”, sounding at first like the Hughes Corporation’s “Rock the Boat”, or rather opens with what could be a sample, that’s used throughout the track. It’s a great track, that introduces The Higher’s sound nicely. “Guts” continues the great sound and is in fact a very radio friendly song, which I could also imagine featuring on MTV or VH1 accompanied by a creative video.

One of my favorite tracks on the album, is the oh too short “Histrionics” which has some gorgeous acoustic guitar and is just a sheer joy to listen to. Another particular favorite, which showcases another side to the band, is the wonderful “Can Anyone Really Love Young”, with a more laid back feel and great vocals.

An amazing follow up album to the bands 2005 release “Histrionics”, which I have to admit passed me by completely. Featuring a fairly wide range of musical styled, with songs that vary from the great, to amazing. There’s not a duff track on the album.

Conclusion : An incredible album, which while instantly appealing to the younger music crowd, also has a lot to offer the more discerning mature listener. Fantastic stuff.

Posted in Pop, R&B, Rock | No Comments »

Album – Fitness to Practice – Amateur Transplants

Posted by admin on 1st June 2007

What do you get when you cross 2 fully qualified doctors, chart topping songs and a sometimes down right biting, comical twist? OK so you’ve probably guessed the answer is Amateur Transplants, a two man group consisting of Adam Kay and Suman Biswas, who are actually doctors in England’s national health service. On the whole this isn’t the kind of album for delicate ears, even though some of the songs are derived from everyday children’s favorites, like the Little Mermaid. However, for those of us who like our comedy with no holds barred, this is just one of those albums that doesn’t fail to raise a smile, while at the same time surprising you, when you find yourself laughing at something that you know is oh so wrong.

The album opens with a familiar song, with a title that just rolls off the tongue, “Paracetamoxyfrusebendroneomycin” based on that children’s favorite ” SupercalifragilisticExpialidocious” from the movie Mary Poppins. The only thing child friendly about this track though, is the title, and that’s because the majority of kids won’t be able to read the title, let alone say it.

I first heard the album complete, in the car and it was the second track, “Nothing at All” based on the Ronan Keating song of the same name, that had my ears pricking up and caused me to laugh out loud. Most of the songs on the album, seem to have lyrics that draw from either their medical or student experiences. All of the tracks on the album are based on fairly familiar songs including, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” Billy Joel, “Eternal Flame” The Bangles and “Any Dream Will Do” from the musical Joseph. It is however the two stand out tracks that really make this album and indeed the tracks that have gained fairly wide coverage on the Internet and podcasts.

The first of these tracks is “London Underground”, based on the classic Jam song “Going Underground”. Whilst the humor is particularly biting and potentially offensive, especially if you work for London Underground, for those of us that have direct first hand experience of strikes, delays and cancelled trains, there will be much to make you laugh. The second of these two stand out tracks is “Northern Birds”, based on the Extreme song, “More Than Words Can Say”. The humor from this stems from the great North South divide and is very funny, especially if you are from the south of England.

With 17 tracks, there’s lots on this album to like. You really need a fairly liberal sense of humor as the language is very, very, very, very (is that enough verys?) strong. There’s much on this album that could be deemed offensive, so you want to be extremely careful before playing it in a work atmosphere or in front of people you are not sure about.

The only real criticism I have of the album, is the sound quality. It’s obvious that these songs were captured live in a non studio environment, but that doesn’t distract too much from the songs themselves. It only really became an issue when I listened to the album on headphones and then the sound became very reminiscent of listening to an album on a Walkmanm without Dolby to get rid of that low level background hiss.

Conclusion : Witty, colourful and sometimes downright offensive. I love it. Admittedly some of the songs loose their appeal pretty quickly. This also isn’t an album that you’re likely to play over and over again, once you’ve become accustomed to the songs. However it is an album that you’ll constantly dig out to amuse your family and friends. That is the ones that are not easily offended. Great stuff and a definite buy for those of you that enjoy a good comedy album.

Posted in Comedy | No Comments »