Archive for the Album Reviews Category

I’ve Moved!

Posted in Album Reviews, Movie Reviews, Music Downloads, music news, Single Reviews with tags , , , , on September 30, 2008 by kv

THE BEAT REVIEW (thebeatreview.blogspot.com)

is going to be my new home starting today. I’m still going to post articles on this blog but if you’re into MP3 downloads, please click the link above. Check out my new blog and tell me what you think. Requests are accepted there so hurry! 🙂 Ta-Ra!

The Verve – “Forth”

Posted in Album Reviews with tags , , , , on August 16, 2008 by kv

 

“You’re more likely to get all four Beatles on stage,” was how Richard Ashcroft once responded to a Verve reunion question. Despite his typically bullish comments, on June 26, 2007, the Wigan four-piece announced that they had reformed for a second time. Recent live shows have seen the band at their fiery, melodramatic best, but nobody’s quite certain whether Ashcroft and guitarist Nick McCabe have buried the hatchet for good. Was The Verve’s astounding Glastonbury closing set one last chance for the Britpop generation to bellow along to ‘Bittersweet Symphony’? Or does Forth signal a fresh beginning for the band who once had the world at their feet?

The Verve have never dealt in half measures. Their first two albums, A Storm In Heaven and A Northern Soul, were full of colossal, hypnotic rock ‘n’ roll that threw in the kitchen sink, the fittings and pretty much anything else they could lay their hands on. Their third, Urban Hymns, was an entirely different beast, choosing strings and mega melodies over guitar noodling and psychedelic wig outs. The earnestness of songs like ‘Drugs Don’t Work’ and ‘Sonnet’ struck a chord and their sales figures went through the roof. Following their split, Ashcroft muddled along with three largely unimpressive solo albums, all of which were crying out for McCabe’s deftness of touch. Eleven years on fromUrban HymnsForth positions itself somewhere in the middle of the layered soundscapes and brutal noise of the band’s early work and the swirling anthems of Hymns.

The opening four tracks capture The Verve at their very best and if the rest of the album matched them this would probably be their finest work to date. Opener ‘Sit And Wonder’ is a brooding, bass-driven belter that McCabe twists and turns around Ashcroft’s throaty rasps (“Give me some light!”) for nearly seven minutes. Taking the baton onwards is the grandiose march of lead single ‘Love Is Noise’, which has a chorus huge enough to match Ashcroft’s bombastic lyrical waffle. ‘Judas’ and ‘Rather Be’ stray dangerously close to the wishy-washy dreariness of Ashcroft’s solo material, but are saved by some cosmic McCabe guitar work and, in the case of ‘Rather Be’, a gorgeous chorus that will go down a treat at their next stadium shows.

Perhaps the label were breathing down their necks, or maybe The Verve needed to get out of the studio before they imploded again, but the rest of the album doesn’t sound as fully realised. A song title like ‘Noise Epic’ suggests a work-in-progress and perhaps explains why much of the record sounds like it’s in its formulative stages. Many will be delighted to see McCabe unleashed on the jammy ‘Colombo’ and proggy ‘Numbness’, but these tracks lack the sparky madness of the group’s early work or the stadium-conquering potential that The Verve possess in spades. Only on ‘Valium Skies’, surely the next single, and ‘Appalachian Springs’, the album’s finale, does the dual axis of Ashcroft/McCabe truly take flight. Ashcroft shows his usual swaggering self-belief, while the guitarist goes to town with some trippy licks and inventive rhythms. The much underrated combo of Peter Salisbury and Simon Jones, as always, provide the pounding and authoritative rhythm section that allows their gobbier bandmates to flourish.

If Forth is to be The Verve’s grand farewell, it’s a fitting tribute. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s awful, but you can never question its ambition. Richard Ashcroft has always had the loftiest of dreams for his band and every so often this album scales those heights.

review courtesy of digitalspy.co.uk

RELEASE: August 25, 2008

RATING: 4/5

our own review to be released after the official release date.

 

The Script – “The Script” Album Review

Posted in Album Reviews with tags , , , , , , on August 13, 2008 by kv

The Script is a three-piece band from Dublin, Ireland with musical influences arising from U2 to Timbaland. The band’s front-man Danny O’Donoghue has trained with U2’s vocal maestros and of course, he pulled off his lessons with aplomb. His fascinating yet admirable vocals are merely obvious in their sparkling brand-new debut album. 

The Script is not your ordinary rock band. Their music is rock but infused with a little bit R&B style added onto it. Why not? Danny, the front-man and Mark Sheenan are former R&B producers back in their hometown in Ireland. Even though the band is actually popular in the media in Ireland, there have been speculations that all of those are just some kind of a publicity stunt but of course, with their album released I’m pretty sure all of those speculations are just hoaxes. And of course, take note that the name of the band actually suggests a new face in the music industry with confidence, angst, and lovable characteristic in nature to its name. 

The album features 11 tracks (Ireland and UK edition). It includes the eponymous debut single “We Cry” that received favourable reviews from the critics and the outstanding “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” that made a chart-toppling debut at #3. I’m pretty sure by now that the group has increased their chances of getting to #1 with the release of their album.

The band which describes their music as a whole brand new “Celtic Soul” are quite crafty and innovative musicians as they portray in the album. The band gives us this polished, inevitably well-produced and well-crafted album that is a combination of Pop slash Rock slash R&B which is very appealing to the audience and listeners.  This isn’t one of the albums that will make you buy at first but afterwards you’re going to stack in your CD shelves after a good one or two plays in it. 

For evidence of such pluralism, “Rusty Halo” which is one of the downfalls of the album is just a remnant of “The Police”. Talk You Down has more than a hint of David Gray about it, and album closer I’m Yours is the kind of bedsit ballad destined for moist-eyed lighters-in-the-air status. Break Even is a future hit in the making and probably one of the best in the album.

In the contrary, The Script should really make an effort promoting their album so that they will become widely known not only in the UK but in Asia, and the US as well. If given time and fortune, this band can become a huge worldwide success levelling into the levels of U2, OneRepublic, and some other bands that are given a major breakthrough into the compelling and critical world of music. They might get a #1 debut in the UK Albums Charts as hit #1 in the UK Midweek Albums charts.

RATING: 4.75/5

RELEASED: August 11, 2008

TRACKLISTING:

 

  1. “We Cry”
  2. “Before The Worst”
  3. “Talk You Down”
  4. “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved”
  5. “Break Even”
  6. “Rusty Halo”
  7. “The End Where I Begin”
  8. “Fall For Anything”
  9. “If You See Kay”
  10. “I’m Yours”
  11. BONUS TRACK- “Anybody There”

 

what do you think about the album? Does it deserve a #1 debut in the UK Albums Chart? Does “THE SCRIPT” deserve international success? Have your say.

DOWNLOAD? head over to iTunes

Sharleen Spiteri – Melody

Posted in Album Reviews with tags , on July 29, 2008 by kv

SHARLEEN SPITERI – Melody

by: musicomh.com

It’s human nature that we reject few things more vehemently than something we have fallen out of love with. Relationships, religions, political ideals: when the revolution comes, outright dismissal is often easier than facing the difficult questions that life has a sadistic tendency to pose.

Sharleen Spiteri hasn’t become a Buddhist or joined the BNP, but someone’s sure got her back up. Melody, her first solo outing after more than two decades in the business, is an album informed almost wholly by the dissolution of her 10-year relationship with magazine editor Ashley Heath in late 2004; that it’s taken her this long to air her feelings on the matter is partly a reflection of how deep her hurt ran and partly of her conflicting feelings about writing such personal songs, songs she didn’t feel able to release under the umbrella of her long-time sonic conduit Texas.

Spiteri may look demure peering out from beneath that trademark dark fringe, her face half covered by a hand, but lyrically she’s pulling no punches. For all its pretty retro stylings, Melody bristles with the subverted promise of a Glasgow kiss if Spiteri doesn’t get her way. In the same manner as Nancy Sinatra expressed her reclamation of self through those famous down-treading boots, Spiteri declares her independence through song after song of mature, slinky, feminine soul.

This is, of course, hardly what the charts are in want for more of, but Melody plays so much less like an exercise in marketing than it does the sound of a woman following her heart. White soul may have been the stock trade of Texas in their heyday – their urban flirtations rarely sounded comfortable – but on her own Spiteri has swapped her detached, tomboyish cool for a warm, viraginous strength.

Opening up her voice in a way we haven’t heard for years, Spiteri is at her most effective on first track It Was You, belting out the ultimate in kiss-offs – “something inside just died… it was you” – ouch! If only Duffy’s ubiquitous Mercy hadn’t got there first, this could be a killer single. The transparency of involving Duffy mentors Bernard Butler and David McAlmont is unfortunate, but Spiteri wears their mantle well.

While tasty first single All The Times I Cried provides a prime 1960s flashback, Melody goes one step further and leans so heavily on Serge Gainsbourg‘s Jane B he gets a co-write credit. This elegant weepie was the first song Spiteri wrote for the album and perfectly suits her dusky tones; that it could easily have slotted into Texas album The Hush is but a minor quibble.

As a lifelong fan of Tamla Motown – revisit the excellent Texas cover of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell‘s You’re All I Need To Get By for proof – Spiteri pays homage to its biggest-selling group The Supremes for the punchy Stop, I Don’t Love You Anymore, a finger-clicking, tambourine-tastic slice of deliciousness, and the seductive, brass-led Day Tripping.

The Shangri-Las also get a look in (Don’t Keep Me Waiting) and the Sinatra influence is most keenly felt on the playful I’m Going To Haunt You. Here, Spiteri just about manages to stick to the right side of pastiche, only slightly risking a Geri Halliwell-style embarrassment.

Had this album been made any sooner, it would surely have attracted more attention than it is likely to get. What it loses in the element of surprise, however, it gains in hard-won perspective and a lived-in authenticity that Duffy just can’t match. Still, with Rockferry shifting millions all over the world and showing no signs of slowing down, it’s hard to see Spiteri competing on that level.

But it’s unlikely she’ll care. After all, she’s played the Next Big Thing role before and, 23 years later, is still here making the music she loves. And in such a fickle, trend-driven business you can’t do much better than that.

review courtesy of http://www.musicomh.com

Ashlee Simpson – Bittersweet World (REVIEWED)

Posted in Album Reviews with tags , on June 6, 2008 by kv

Ashlee Simpson’s ‘Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)’ is as fresh and hooky a pop single as we’re likely to hear all year. Were it performed by Gwen Stefani, who Simpson clearly channels in the video, it would probably be hailed as some kind of minor masterpiece, a smart combination of eighties new wave and glossy urban beats. But from Simpson it’s been greeted with a collective shoulder shrug, failing to crack the top 100 of the US singles chart and languishing outside the top 20 in the UK.

Then again, nothing in Simpson’s career up to this point has suggested we should take her seriously. She’s variously known for being caught miming on America’s favourite Saturday night entertainment show, denouncing Hollywood’s “twisted view of feminine beauty” while preparing to have a nose job, dating Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, being the sister of a woman who used her dumb blondeness as a career move, and launching a fairly uninspired pop career off the back of an MTV reality show.

Now, at the ripe old age of 23, Simpson has decided she wants more: a bit of credibility, a soupcon of cool. The US journeymen who crafted the dour, angsty Avril-pop of her previous albums have been handed their P45s, replaced with a cast list that combines the innovative and ubiquitous (Timbaland, The Neptunes’ Chad Hugo), the leftfield (‘L.E.S. Artistes’ star Santogold, genre-mashing musician Kenna) and, rather bizarrely, Tom Higgenson from pop/punk one hit wonders Plain White T’s. Their brief? To help Simpson make a “fun party album”.

The result, thank goodness, isn’t a hip-hop record, but rather a hipper, sleeker version of what Simpson’s done before: candy-coated pop/rock with sharp beats and plenty of hooks. Bittersweet World is filled with sounds that, while not exactly exotic, certainly sound bracing on an Ashlee Simpson album: surf guitar, eighties-style casio keyboards, even a N.E.R.D-esque guitar riff on ‘Murder’.

Sadly, Simpson remains limited by her voice, which is too thin and raspy to pull off the slinky dance-pop of ‘Boys’ and insufficiently meaty for power ballads like ‘Little Miss Obsessive’. Sometimes she tries to compensate for her vocal shortcomings by going all husky and vampish, but the results have an unfortunate tendency of bringing to mind the more theatrical moments of Geri Halliwell’s solo career.

Worse still, Simpson’s attempts to make a “fun party album” are frequently undone by her lyrics. She proves she’s got a sense of humour on ‘Hot Stuff’, sending up a skanky, shameless attention-seeker, but elsewhere she’s prone to self-pity: Ashlee wants to be left alone, Ashlee’s been abandoned, Ashlee’s sick of being tossed around like a ragdoll. “It’d be nice to make some mistakes without observations or opinions or distortions,” she moans on a song called ‘What I’ve Become’. Didn’t she sign away that privilege when she used a reality show to become famous?

These problems aside, Bittersweet World is a step forward for Simpson, a solid, hooky collection with two brilliant moments: ‘Rule Breaker’, on which she comes off like Joan Jett’s snottier younger sister, and ‘Outta My Head’. She still has a way to go, but, for now, Ashlee can take pride in the knowledge that this is easily the best album made by a Simpson sister.

review courtesy of DIGITALSPY.co.uk

The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing

Posted in Album Reviews with tags , , on June 4, 2008 by kv

British pop has never been this good. Katie White and Jules DiMartino are on the verge of going into the mainstream of UK pop music scene. Their smashing debut album titled “We started nothing” clearly presents an understatement from the group. The duo emerged from their squeaky little garage in the city of Salford, UK. Their music is quite unique from the usual pop slash rock slash dance anthems that were produced in the mainstream in years.

The Ting Tings are quite the underdogs because their music was not as popular as it sounds. Their debut single “Great DJ” wasn’t quite given attention to the UK music public because they’re music was produced by an indie label. But the success has yet to come when they moved into Columbia Records. Their second single “That’s Not My Name” came straight onto the #1 spot in the UK Singles Charts and proved that indie groups are now in the zone. Their album, “We started nothing” debuted also at the #1 spot in the UK albums charts.

The album is composed of 10 uniquely produced tracks that are incorporated by dance funky beats into the songs. Stand-out songs include “That’s Not My Name”, the iPod syndicated commercial anthem- “Shut Up And Let Me Go”, the quite not familiar title “Impacilla Carpisung” and the piano incorporated “We Walk”. Their beats are quite fascinating and astonishing. Their music is forced to be reckoned with. So if you are into unique pop dance rock music, you might well like this album. It’s definitely worth buying for. Unfortunately, the album is currently available in the UK and Europe only. I bet, this CD will become one of the most talked-about albums in the next few months or so.

BUZZMUSIC gives it a 4.5/5 rating.

download their #1 single – That’s Not My Name – DOWNLOAD HERE!

The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing (Review)

Posted in Album Reviews with tags , , , on May 29, 2008 by kv

The Ting Tings

THE TING TINGS – We Started Nothing Review

When Jules De Martino and Katie White emerged from their Salford art-house commune at the death of 2006 with a 20-minute, five-song live set, they stood out brightly from Manchester’s usual colourless lad-rock. Subsequent showcases at the ’80s power-pop parties they organised made it apparent they were attempting a cross-pollination of bohemian trendiness and ringtone-mainstream ambition. The infectious ‘Great DJ’ and ‘That’s Not My Name’ testified it was a trick that could work. Soon after, the major label deal was signed and the NME tour slot booked: The Next Big Things had arrived.

So have The Ting Tings justified the froth-mouthed hype with their debut album? Well, the already familiar songs, including the aforementioned pair, have lost none of their impact. De Martino’s songwriting expertise (he used to pen tunes for George Michael as well as TKO, the unsigned girl group White was in before the two morphed into Manchester trio Dear Eskiimo) is given a shopping mall feel by White’s delighted yelps, like Girls Aloud gone Warhol.

If they could keep the standards as Everest-high as this throughout, we’d be listening to the greatest pile of pop since Madonna’s ‘Immaculate Collection’. And it’s this that makes the drastic plummet in quality between ‘We Started Nothing’’s stand-out treats all the more startling. If you plotted this record track-by-track on a graph, you’d have a diagram spikier than Vlad The Impaler’s back garden. ‘Fruit Machine’, for example, is already a mammoth step down from ‘That’s Not My Name’, being little more than a bendy guitar riff stretched into a song, but the following ‘Traffic Light’ is woeful. A slow, plinky-plonky ditty characterised by childish sound effects, it sounds like something that didn’t quite make the Rugrats Movie soundtrack. Then – woah! – back up again for ‘Shut Up And Let Me Go’, its presence on the new iPod advert not dimming the impact of its shuddering Jackson Five bassline. Then – screech! – another huge dip for the irritating pogo beeps of ‘Keep Your Head’. Then up, up, up again, with ‘Impacilla Carpisung’’s sassy electronic swishes, delighting so much they could happily nestle in a Gorillaz nest unnoticed. Up, down, up, down… it tarnishes the band’s undeniable quality, like unwittingly swigging a mug of cold instant coffee while still panting after the best sex of your life.

De Martino and White are on an unashamed mission to make perfect pop, but seem to have treaded the path too literally. Like Kylie, Leona et al they’ve made an album with searing melodic highs but dumped Xeroxed efforts in the troughs between them. They’ve never suggested releasing an album was more of a priority than a necessity, but their volcano-hot songs have been toiled over at the expense of true depth. Still, ‘We Started Nothing’? Not at all – this is the beginning of something wonderful. There’s just lots more to do.

Review courtesy of NME.co.uk