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  albums - nov 2004


The Wowz - Long Grain Rights (RIYL Records)
Well, this is nowhere near as ‘lo-fi’ as the previous EP and the extra production hasn’t ruined the album one bit. Again the melodies and the sweet pop songs are there, but all with a much stronger country undertone….. Take the list from the EP review and add in a healthy dose of The Band. That should do it…. Possibly a bit of Smog as well.

There really isn’t too much to say about this album, it is a joy to hear, it’s rather chirpy, without being irritating, and it contains some of the best quirky pop you will hear this year.

Well Done.

Drew Millward

Vermont - Ten Random (Tbilissi Recordings)
I’ll level with you, I got this from the tasty review sack because I thought it was another Vermont, one that is fronted by Davey Von Bohlan from The Promise Ring….. It isn’t them. They are much better.

In fairness to Vermont (tricksters that they are!) perhaps it would have been a better idea if Metcalf had reviewed this, he likes his indie limp, and that is what this is…. Limp Indie Pop. I’m trying not top be too negative, but this is a long way from being my cup of tea. I’m pretty confident if you are a fan of such bands as Belle and Sebastian or Camera Obscura this will more than likely float your boat; me, I’d rather listen to Slayer.

Perhaps I’ll send this to Sam and give them another crack of the whip…..

Drew Millward

Neville Clay - Pearshaped (Ferric Mordant Records)
Genius. It isn’t that often that this reviewing malarkey throws up some great albums, but this happens to be one of those times. Although the music and lyrical content seem almost poles apart, the whole thing just gels so well. Musically it reminds me of John Martyn, well for that matter, it could be a whole host of great jazz infused folk guitarists, but lyrically this is very much from the Billy Bragg (albeit with a much better voice, and nowhere as near annoying)  school of Anglicana, I suppose there is a pretty big Smiths link there as well…. Yeah, that is exactly what it is, Anglicana.

Each song on the album tells a story about mundane everyday lives, all brilliantly observed and put to music in a touching and poignant way, some of the songs being just downright beautiful, ‘Staff Room’ is a very good example of this, a story about a teacher and a brief overview of her life, which somehow becomes one of the most heartfelt songs ever committed to record.

From start to finish, this record is real joy to hear.

Drew Millward

Geisha - Hymns for the Living Dead (Blood Red Sounds)
I have had this CD for some time, and due to my complete incompetence it escaped the last round of reviews, I apologise, because frankly I’m really scared.

This is truly one of the most brutal sounding records I have heard come from a UK band in recent memory; at times it is a struggle to listen to, but in the best possible sense. With reference points standing at Dillinger Escape Plan, Melvins, Lightning Bolt and Friends Forever, you can imagine what sort of thing might be in store. There are also elements of Scratch Acid, Jesus Lizard and Shellac…… and I know what you’re thinking; but, yes they really are that good. Like the bands mentioned, although noisy, there is so much more to the sound and dynamic than just foot to the floor ‘noise’ (for me there is a feeling similar to listening to Aphex Twin), but frankly it is difficult to do justice to.

I cannot recommend this highly enough. A definite contender for my end of year lists…..

I can only speculate on the carnage that might eschew when they are let loose live.

Drew Millward

The Get-Outs - Get the Message (Avebury Records)
Cool! A cover of ‘Hey, Johnny Park’…… oh, hang on no it isn’t.

I have nothing against some mindless punk rock fun, but frankly if it doesn’t grab you by the jaffers like a dose of the clap, it ain’t really doing its job properly. There are countless bands treading a similar pop-power-punk path, and to be blunt, a lot more people doing it a lot better than The Get-Outs. This is all a bit nondescript.

Everyone would be a lot better served going getting the new Green Day album, which incidentally is fucking blinding (some things you never grow out of).

Drew Millward

David Smith - Fastest Machine (Are You Listening Records)
I feel another apology may well be on the cards, it has been a while since I got this one, but that is not to say that it has gone unheard, far from it in fact. This is a good thing in case you didn’t know.

I have to say that I am really impressed with this CD, it took me a few listens to ‘get it’ but, that is usually a good thing to be honest. The songs stick with you, and grown on you with each listen, the album has a great feel to it overall, to me it is reminiscent of ‘Carbon Glacier’ by Laura Viers, and since that has been one of my favourite albums of the year, that is pretty high praise. The album flows and ebbs and draws you in, David’s voice is pretty relaxing, without ever being bland, and at some points nearing Kurt Wagner or Micah P. Hinson. All in all this a pretty damn accomplished debut release and I hope for everyone’s sake we will hear more from David Smith.

Drew Millward

65 Days of Static – ‘The Fall of Math’ (Monotreme Records)
I love technology. It’s a force of magnificent power that can bring with it knowledge and has changed our lives for both better and worse. A band who seem to understand this are 65 Days of Static.

‘The Fall of Math’ is guitar based rock that is constantly fighting and embracing its technological side. It’s an album where at times guitars and laptop programming blend and harmonise and then launch into warfare a second later. Songs often gently ease themselves along whilst being punctuated by walls of brutal intensity. No better is this illustrated than in the title track, which is an angular assault  that pumps along in fits and starts as guitars and programmatic noises fight for audio space. It proves to be probably the pinnacle track of the album.

Comparisons to other wall-of-sound-niks like Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai are impossible to ignore. However don’t put this release down as nothing more than mimicry because it’s far from it and it proves 65 Days of Static to be a formidable British talent. This is an album which should be played unspeakably loud whilst you break things…and then methodically reassemble them. An off-kilter bag off noise rock joy.

Luke Drozd

Bare Naked Ladies - Bare Naked for the Holidays (Desperation Records)
For someone who hates the arse out of Christmas, I found this album to be a breath of fresh seasonal air. I must confess to have always been a fan of the Bare Naked Ladies(BNL), their appearance at Glastonbury 1999 was one of the highpoints for me. There humour and joie de vie is always infectious and so I looked forward to reviewing "Barenaked Ladies for the Holidays" a collection of all your favourite seasonal songs.

The album is, as you would expect a light-hearted sing along. Some of the tunes I had not heard before but have stuck in my head like glue (Elfs Lament, Hannukkah, Oh Hannukkah). Most of them however, are classic Christmas favourites with a slant. The rendition of Jingle Bells, the opening track, is inspired. It starts in a solemn style with a languid piano accompaniment, only to kick into an accordion frenzy of religious proportions. By far the most bazaar track is Deck the Stills, which contains only the 5 words, Crosby Steels Nash and Young; enough said. There are a few bontempi classics which may have the philistines reaching for the skip button, but for me this is all part of the festive cheese.

I had expected the Ladies to mess about with the lyrics more than they did. I thought their strength was in their witty verbals rather than their musical finesse. The fact that they did not opt for an all out lyrical assault made me think a little more about their musical ability which is, without question, brilliantly accomplished.

Supermarket managers and call centre bosses, throw out your dull elevator Christmas carols. Let the Bare Naked Ladies put the spice back into the season of goodwill with the best festive album since The Wombles Christmas Party (1978).

Neil Brackenridge

The Guild League – Inner North (Matinee)
Tali White is a genius. This much we know. The very fact that he’s in two of the best bands in the world tells us as much. But there’s something else at work here. ‘Inner North’ may well be the best album released this year, and even a contender for the best ever released on Matinee.

‘Inner North’ sees a definitely maturing of the Guild League sound. The band’s debut album was full of jaunty pop songs, and, whilst the POP will never leave Tali White, ‘Inner North’ is a far more serious, some might say maudlin, record.

‘Animals’ is symptomatic of this change. It features a spinetingling, soaring vocal by White – his voice sounding stronger than ever. ‘The Storm’, meanwhile, is my favourite. Above a Smithsian jangle, White sings about the worst day of his life, bad weather and has the fantastic ‘fear is a feeling that will never cover everything’ refrain.

Essentially, this album is very much about Australia. Whilst ‘Private Transport’ extolled the virtues of Tali’s much-loved travelling, ‘Inner North’ remains a defiantly domestic affair. Which is kind of nice. Also nice is the excellent production, which only enhances the pop songs. In short, this is a polished affair, and, for once, that’s a good thing. The Guild League rule my world.

Sam Metcalf

Steven Kennedy – Control Freak (Black Sheep)
Radiohead have a lot to answer for. They gave us, indirectly, Coldplay and Keane and other types of people who need to be shot. I wouldn’t quite put Steven Kennedy into that category, but this is a very, very dull album. Massively over produced to the point where the actual SONGS get lost under a welter of special effects, multi-tracked vocals and barely audible guitar, ‘Control Freak’ is an apt title if Kennedy was behind the mixing desk. Hang on….Elvis Costello features on the ‘Bonus Track’ (??!!). This tells me all I need to know. I think it’s fair to say that Mr Kennedy is not my cup of tea. Soz.

Sam Metcalf

Castanets – ‘Cathedral’ (Asthmatic Kitty)
Cathedral is a dark country folk album largely recorded in a cabin in Californian woodlands. It sounds distant and melancholic and has a sense of foreboding throughout. Most of all though it’s phenomenally good.

Ray Raposa is Castanets, and with help from esteemed musical friends including members of Pinback and Rocket From the Crypt, he has managed to put together an album that speaks of the uncertainty and fear that we all experience in life. To this he adds a sense of beauty that few songwriters can match.  That isn’t to say this is just another folksy Americana offering though. Akin to Sufjan Stevens and M.Ward at times, he is also able to team noisy chaotic moments, reminisant of Dirty Three, with bittersweet and perfectly realised songs. Tracks like you are the blood and my personal favourite no Light To Be Found highlight a talent for the poetic that would rival the likes of Elliot Smith or Connor Oberst for truthful and unforgettable prose.

This album will send a chill down your spine as you’re transported from your armchair out to the cabin to bear witness. A diverse and outstanding musical offering.

Luke Drozd

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (Mute)
Nick Cave keeps on keepin’ on, on the beautifully packaged double album. It really does make a difference to whether or not an album gets a good review on tasty, y’know. Jewel cases are so 1991, and this album is encased in a hessian box! Yes! HESSIAN!

Any road, the ‘Abattoir Blues’ is mighty fine. It rocks in a piano-ey way that Jools fucking Holland could only dream of, and, in places, sounds like the might Birthday Party. Which also brings to mind the much-missed Gallon Drunk, but that’s another story. Cave can still do the torch song better than almost anyone, as witnessed on the title track. And the backing singers deployed throughout are ACE!

Meanwhile, in a city far, far away, ‘The Lyre of Orpheus’ is a more sinister beast indeed, and contains songs about falling down wells. Do not listen to this record alone. That is all.

Sam Metcalf

Elizabeth Harper – Elizabeth Harper  (Angular)
There are various reasons for listening to music. Some listen to it to challenge their perceptions, some to move them emotionally, some to have a bloody good dance, some to remind them of times gone by and some to accompany the ironing -. This album falls into the latter camp.

If you were to break it down to its basic components you’d find nothing wrong. Perfectly pleasant voice, fey delivery, child-like lyrics hinting at something deeper, but it leaves you asking what you’re supposed to be getting excited about. What distinguishes this from anything else out there? Competent but dull instrumentation, uninspired lyrics, a voice the likes of which you’ve heard countless times before? It’s all just ok, but why would you want to invest your time and money on something so mediocre? Elizabeth hints at something more interesting with “Parlour Window”. A darker, Blondie-esque track which unfortunately isn’t representative of the rest of the album; a shame as she seems to have more to offer.

Matthew Latham

Beatwave Argentina - Beatwave presents Argentina (The Orchard)
As with any compilation, this represents a mixed bag. The general theme is a laid-back, coffee-bar vibe, and in this respect it is successful. A collection of tango rhythms, minimal electronica and funky deep house, it easily conjures up the feel of lazy summers and cool refinement. What it doesn’t do, however, is break any new ground. As it’s supposed to represent the output from a country in another continent, it’s slightly disheartening to discover it’s just like something you heard in Café Del Mar. Pleasing on the ear, but nothing you’re going to remember 5 minutes after hearing. Worth a listen, if only to try to work out what the hell Altocamet were up to when they came up with “Manazana de Metal” is all about.

Matthew Latham

Destroyer – Your Blues (Talitres)
Played entirely on those new fangled keyboards, Destroyer’s music is anything but. ‘Your Blues’ is a most delicate record. There is, it has to be said, an element of prog rock to much of Destroyer’s music, and this, of course should be stamped upon before it gets out of hand, but it’s easy to forgive the cheeky little scamps when they write such gorgeous music. ‘Don’t Become the Thing You Hated’ is a lesson in such progness, but manages to overcome pomposity because, underneath it all, it’s a pop song. As are the other 11 tracks on this great little album.

Destroyer are clearly quite mad, and at times, this comes across a little too readily in the way the lyrics are sung/spoken. But put aside any preconceptions about this band being mad old hippies and just enjoy it. Cos it’s great.

Sam Metcalf

Matt Suggs – ‘Amigo Row’ (Broken Horse)
Broken Horse has proved with only a hand full of releases that they are one of the brightest independent labels currently staking their claim for the rights of our stereos. With the release of Matt Suggs second album ‘Amigo Row’ they show no sign in allowing this reputation to slip.

When the first track father kicks in instant flavours of Nick Cave and Neil Young become evident. This collection of piano and guitar led songs shows that Suggs is a strong songwriter who deserves to be compared to such greats. Many drift along like being serenaded in a cocktail bar as on Tehachapi Girl, whilst tracks like the foot-tapping excellence of Calm Down show his ear for thoughtful catchy tunes.

This record is streaked through with hints of country, easy-listening and pop all with a slightly grimy edge. It also proves Matt Suggs to be a songwriter of a truly high standard most will never reach. The real question is what can Broken Horse release next to keep up their current standards.

Luke Drozd

The Donnas – Gold Medal (Atlantic)
The Donnas great fun. Like a less serious Sleater Kinney, they make great sounding indie rock, although they’d probably strip me naked and kiss me all over for saying that. Er, I mean shoot me.

‘Gold Medal’ is unashamedly rockist. But is all the better for it, in my opinion.  ‘Fall Behind Me’ comes on like Joan Jett fronting Sleater Kinney, and has some of the best little guitar solos. But The Donnas can also do the introspective thing too. ‘Is That All You’ve Got For Me’ is the best REM song released for years.

But please don’t tell anyone that I like ‘Gold Medal’, will you? My indie chums will pinch all my badges off me….

Sam Metcalf

The Je Ne Sais Quoi – We Make Beginnings (Coalition)
After some initial reservations about the name, I slipped the disc into the old cd player and sat back awaiting what would be on offer. And what an offering this is.

This Swedish fourpiece have produced 10 tracks of perfect spiky garagey tracks mixing up syths, scratchy guitars, punchy drums, funky basslines and a mix of male/female vocal harmonies.

Title track 'We Make Beginnings' was definitely my fave on the first couple of listens but the super quirky urgency of 'Station to Station' is this week's winner. It's a bit like The Rapture without the starkness. 'We Needs Disasters could be Fugazi at the height of their powers. Some might argue that isn't an original sound but I'm all for trying to copy genius.

The whole album raps up in just 38 minutes with the zonked out funkadelia of '2004' - an absolute gem that is guaranteed to get the dancefloors bobbing. Get it on the Christmas wish list now!

Shane Blanchard

The High Water Marks – ‘Songs About the Ocean’ (Eenie Meenie Records)
Featuring members of a range of other well established bands from around the world (including Preston School of Industry and Apples In Stereo) The High Water Marks are here with an album of what can best be described as bedroom pop. By this I mean it has that raw, well, recorded in the bedroom sort of sound to it. In other words it’s pop music without the gloss or sparkle you can often be presented with. This has both good and bad results.

On some of this album, such as the opener ‘Good I Feel Bad’ it works quite well so while we have a song which would otherwise sound saccerine sweet we get it with a certain amount of edge to it. They offer a sound that crunches along but is ultimately rather sweet, kind of like a teddy bear full of breakfast cereal.

The problem I ended up having though was that although I initially rather enjoyed it, as the album moves on it begins to become somewhat boring and sound a little formulaic. This means that what we’re essentially left with is an album that as a whole never really peaks above average.

Luke Drozd

Mock Orange – ‘Mind is Not Brain’ (Silverthree Sound Recordings)
‘Emo band turned intelligent indie rock/pop’ seems to be a statement you get here a lot these days. As the Emo fad began to fade it seemed many changed tack to avoid getting left behind, just as many bands changed from Pop-Punk to Emo when the formers popularity faded. Growing up and developing or jumping ship? I honestly don’t know. Mock Orange are one of the bands who apparently where Emo and have redefined their sound in just such a way. I have never heard their Emo incarnation so I can’t comment on that however what there current dynamic offers is simply great.

This album offers intricate guitars, tight melodies and a massive dollop of pop sensibility along with it. What sets them apart from so many other bands doing similar things is the almost math-rock edge the guitars have through out. On a track like ‘make Friends’ the guitar riffs are tight and complex whilst the over laying vocals are more akin to the like of Weezer. In fact this record crams in more diversity of sound then most bands offer in an entire career.

Mock orange have an ear for a great song, one that’s catchy but not at the expense of much greater depth making this a thoroughly satisfying listen indeed.

Luke Drozd

Uncut – ‘Those Who Were Hung Hang Here’ (paper Bag)
Uncut are hail from Toronto and in a previous incarnation a Rock meets Techno ensemble filling a middle ground between Dance and Rock music. Through ups and downs and trials and tribulations they now occupy a far more traditional rock band status. What we have ended up with at the end of that is a Canadian band with a somewhat English sound playing some of the best and most compulsive rock music i've had the delight in hearing for a long time.

This album is packed solid with post-punk that is loud and startling as well as melodic and groove laden. A track like ‘Copilot’ demonstrates this well. It is at first quiet and subtle before literally exploding with chugging guitars and spiralling bass riffs. It also offers a small subtle section of programmatic sound hinting back to their previous incarnation and used to good effect. The Englishness of the sound stems from the vocals that are often slightly further back in the mix and end up becoming reminisant of bands like Joy Division.

This is a record that isn’t necessarily instantaneously arresting but one to really brood over and let slowly seep into your life. Trust me it’s a welcome addition.

Luke Drozd

The Southern Electrics   -  Electric Superhighway (M15)
My first impression of this album was not one of much admiration - indeed it perhaps veered towards the dismissive - but that, I concede, was probably due to the novelty of it. By the time I reached the end of the second sitting this album became one of certain recommendation.  

Some may describe them as missing their pigeon hole of style, but that what makes them stand out. A style ranging from pure gritty rock to pyschedelia, Primal Scream harmonies and dare I say it, “electro dance” twangs, The Southern Electrics will be noticed. 

Superbly crafted tracks such as Media Choke Whore, with its’ ‘oh so subtle tones’ of a pleasured female, ‘Alien’ with its squelchy backdrop noises and lyrics to match and beautifully crafted interludes such as ‘Spanish Fly’  make this album complete.  The lyrics steer clear of the chopped up regurgitated matter we so commonly come across and the music is competently mastered.  

Aptly named Electric Superhighway, this album certainly flows from beginning to end in such a way that the varying genres glide in and out with little obstruction.  

Perhaps by the fifth time my opinion will swing full circle. But for now, it’s happily resting in my collection.

Mel Hedley

Viva Stereo - Optimism is not a Curse (Much Better)
This review has taken a while to put together, and I'm still not sure if I'll get it right. Viva Stereo have created an album so full of musical influences, changing moods outright beautifully compiled tracks that I am still finding new levels and layers on each listen.

The dirge electronica of 'Copper Wire' breaks into a Spiritualized-like choral finale. 'Cabin Fever' highlights a much poppier upbeat twist while 'Memo to Self' betrays some of the band's Manchester influences. The wacky loops and bleeps at the intro of 'Jesus Son' give way to a much more mangled guitar and filthy drum pattern.

But it is in between these more upbeat tracks that another beautiful soundscape evolves in a much gentler, less obvious way. Guest contributions from members of The Reindeer Section and Arab Strap among others lace in between the haunting drum patterns and gaunt vocals.

The overall effect is an album with a distinctive northern feel by a band who appear completely confident about what they are trying to achieve. Optimism in this case is certainly not a curse.

Shane Blanchard

Capitol K – ‘Happy Happy’ (Faith and Industry)
I’m going to start with an honest admission. I have absolutely no idea how to really describe Capitol k to you in anything that won’t sound rambly and confusing. This is probably because that’s a bit like how Capitol k is. Okay how about this, it’s fucking ace.

Electronica, meets guitars, punk aesthetic meets dance. Bits sound like kids TV shows rewritten by a criminal.  It bleeps, bloops and generally plays with how songs are expected to sound. It’s loveable and scary. Its weird yet familiar like an odd uncle. It’s quite simply an abolute essential to your records collection.

Luke Drozd

Fonda 500 – ABCDELP (Gentle Electic)
Ah, my freaky friends, Fonda 500 have returned. By now, you know what you’re getting with a Fonda 500 album. That being a load of frazzled casio inspired pop songs, with the odd quiet noodle thrown in. And this album is no different.

That’s a good thing by the way, and this album is up there with the rest of the Fonda 500 canon, but, y’know, I’d really LOVE to hear this band do a full-on POP album. None of this farting around for five minutes over a casio loop. No, I want all my songs to sound like ‘Summer’s Here and Everything is Right’, which comes on like The Fall, circa 1985.

The band’s northerness comes across with song titles like ‘Come On If You’re Coming’, but this seems to be album that, once again, has no central theme. There are a three songs about hair and haircuts. One called ‘Little Miss Spelling Bee’, and generally much weirdness abounds. Well, I wouldn’t have it any other way….

Sam Metcalf

Off Target – A Coalition Records Sampler (Coalition)
This compilation marks 10 years of the label Coalition Records. 10 years is a long time in the world of the independent label and yet Coalition is still going and there’s one very simple reason for this. In those 10 years coalition have released album after album of extremely high standard music. From their early days as a purely Hardcore label to their more eclectic leanings in the present day they barely put a foot wrong.

This Compilation offers a sample of all the bands on their roster and weighing in at 75 minutes there’s plenty to choose from. We have examples of strong and powerful hardcore from the likes of The Horror, which is sure to get you hearts and fists pumping, to acts like wonderful JR Ewing, angular, odd and mighty good. For me though my personal favourite has to be the track from The Je Ne Sais Quoi, a song that will have you addicted and dancing from the off. In fact it’s the first track so it may take you a while before you delve deeper, just make sure you do.

A great compilation that’s going to get me digging into my pocket and buying up the back catalogue for sure. Here's to 10 more years.

Luke Drozd

Stigma - Bronx Cheer! ep (Spermatazoa)
It seems like something sinister is stirring north of the border, well, in Dundee at least. Originally released in April, the Bronx Cheer! ep has only just reached Tasty Towers and at 8 tracks long can definitely squeeze into the albums section.

It's a funny thing music. At a time when everyone is trying to sound like the next Franz Ferdinand something can come along which completely bucks the trend. The weird thing about Bronx Cheer! is that it sounds like it could have been made about 10 years ago at the height of the grunge scene. And this is not meant as a criticism at all because to me that era was all about bands not caring what people thought, trying new stuff but definitely getting a few grudges off their chests via music.

And Stigma sound like very angry young men. The bastard love child of Eddie van Halen and Layne Staley perhaps, but I swear on their well worn distortion pedal and tuned down guitars they know how to pen a tune. Opener 'Sound of Heck' has an absolute killer riff that will get in to your head after the very first listen and  'Season of the Bitch' sounds like Soundgarden disappearing into the fiery furnaces of hell itself. Bronx Cheer! sneers in the face of the current art rock dominated music scene as a lesson in  good old fashioned high quality grunge.

Shane Blanchard

The Go Find – ‘Miami’ (Morr Music)
The Go Find is the one-man project otherwise known as Dieter Sermeus and ‘Miami’ represents his debut release and a damn fine first album it is. The instant it begins there’s something immediate about the way the songs are constructed that you can’t help but be enamoured by. Using both traditional instrumentation and a smattering of computer wizardry Sermeus has served up an excellent pop album. It s impossible not find comparisons between The Go Find and The postal Service or The Notwist. The whimsy and poetics present in both these bands own work is equally apparent here whilst still retaining a certain air of its own.

Dieter apparently believes the best place to enjoy his music is in your car so I say belt up, hit the road and bask in his enriching little world. Sadly I don’t own a car so I shan’t be joining you on this journey.

Luke Drozd

Various – A Houseguest’s Wish – translations of Wire’s Outdoor Miner (Words on Music)
A most brave subject for an album. But a most worthy subject. ‘Outdoor Miner’ is one of my favourite songs EVER! And so I’m gonna either love or hate this album.

And! Yes! I love it. From Adam Franklin’s opening version this album rarely wavers from being excellent. Titania’s version appeals to the jangly pop in my left leg, whilst the Lush and Flying Saucer Attack versions bring back great memories for this reviewer.

It’s interesting to see that a lot of bands have gone for a slow version. I’d always listened to this song and though it to be one of the best POP songs ever written. That’s not to say that a slow song cannot be a pop song, but….I’m rambling. This is a very great album. That’s all you need to know.

Sam Metcalf

Logh – ‘The Raging Sun’ (Bad Taste)
Logh’s first album ‘Every Time a Bell Rings, an Angel Gets His Wings’, was a bleak, arresting album that seemed to evoke cold landscapes and a sense of foreboding. ‘The Raging sun’ is the follow up to that and rather than being a departure it is more of a progressing or completing of what that album began.

Much of the feel of the fist is still present. A song like ‘An Alliance of Hearts’ feels intimate yet grand and as before the whole thing seems to speak of landscape. What it does manage to do that the previous at timed lacked is to have a real feeling of more direction, like a band growing into a sound of their own. The restraint which most of the album is delivered with (with the exception of its one real outburst in ‘The Bones of Generations’ an explosion of a track) tends to drag you in and has the ability to not only sound like they are being forcibly muted but to give even greater impact to those moments when they release it all. These times tend to give a genuine sense of release for the listener to.

An album that shows a band continuing to push and explore what sort of music they want to make and one that shows Logh beginning to really come into their own.

Luke Drozd

Frankie Machine – Re-Unmelt My Heart (Artists Against Success)
The latest missive from Francis Albert Machine is an unrivalled triumph. At the heart of these gentle folk-pop songs lies a grumpy fucker, and that is to be cherished. Whether that is to found in the sample-tastic ‘Why Are You #2’, which says, plaintively ‘Why are you laughing, why are you smiling, why are you breathing’, or during the frankly beautiful ‘Black Eyes #3’, well, that’s your choice. But you can’t really go wrong.

What I don’t understand is why Artists Against Success don’t have more…err..success. Of course they don’t wanna play the smelly corporate game. But this is quality indie pop song writing you fools! It’s your duty to make sure that ‘Re-Unmelt My Heart’ isn’t just another indie album that gets sold to friends and die-hard fans alike. Keep the miserabilism alive. Vote Frankie Machine.

Sam Metcalf