Archive for September, 2010

Mumford & Sons / Sigh No More

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 300000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Sigh No More

Mumford & Sons are a folk rock band. The band is made up of Marcus Mumford (vocals, guitar, drums, mandolin), “Country” Winston Marshall (vocals, banjo, dobro), Ben Lovett (vocals, keyboards, accordion), and Ted Dwane (vocals, double bass).[1]. Although the band members have claims on certain instruments, the members switch instruments during live shows according to convenience, for they each play a variety of instruments. The band formed in late 2007, rising out of London’s folk scene with other artists such as Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Jay Jay Pistolet and Noah and the Whale.

The band has often supported Laura Marling at concerts, while their association with Noah and the Whale can be traced back to St Paul’s School, Barnes and King’s College School, Wimbledon. Mumford and Lovett attended King’s College School alongside Noah and the Whale bassist Matt Owens, while Marshall attended St Paul’s School along with Charlie Fink, lead singer of Noah and the Whale.

The band’s debut album, Sigh No More, was released in the United Kingdom in October 2009, and February 2010 in the United States.

The Analysis:

Sigh No More—-Beginning with lush arrangements and some damn harmonious vocals, the song is rather quiet but allows you to hear every little note that is being played. The accents on these guys are priceless! I love the gentleness of the whole damn thing and the gentle switch off from vocalist to vocalist…this is very different….but in a great way!

The Cave—-Beginning with a gentle acoustic guitar and a lone vocal, this has a melody line that is damn irresistible. Slowly, there are sounds added to the track..little by little the song exposes itself to you. This is wonderfully layered with subtle harmonies…and when the song does really come alive, hang on to your hat. this is fabulous…this is the furthest thing from mainstream, but has found a permanent place on my playlist. Fantastic!!!

Winter Winds—-This has some nice horns at the onset and a remarkable banjo that fits the heavily accented vocal wonderfully well. When the entire band joins in on the vocal, this really has the sound of a very large band. This is magical….the different instruments all work together to create a lush and wonderful landscape of sound. This is different, but just different to keep me listening.

Roll Away Your Stone—-With a sad and forlorn sounding guitar at the onset of the song, the banjo comes in after and adds to the sweet sound of the song. The vocal is a lone one…full of an emotional edge. you are suddenly surprised as the song opens up with some furious picking that last a short time and then quiets suddenly again…just to repeat the process over and over..keeping you on your seat wondering what is coming next. This is fantastic…a true plethora of sounds and rhythms.

White Blank Page—-Delivered with a vocal that is as melancholy as the music itself, this is a stark and beautiful display. The vocal is just rough enough to keep your attention and the music just quiet enough to make you listen with keen ears to every note. There are huge moments in the song…when the music actually leads the song, but it is the lone and lonely vocal that is the star of this show…this is just wonderful!

I Gave You All—-Again, beginning with a stark and lone acoustic guitar and a lonely emotional vocal, this release can become tedious at this point…because of the sameness and the lonely and quiet aspect of it all…you find your disposition taking a downward turn. It is only the huge instrumental bright spots that save this from being a bit too depressing for the mainstream. These are some pretty intense lyrics as well.

Little Lion Man—-This is just fantastic!!! Much more upbeat musically and showing that magical vocal with the heavy accent to the best light, this is just incredible. I love this…when all of the instruments join in and the band goes on a mini-rampage, it is just what the release needed at this point. This is full of life, fantastic lyrics and a damn nice energy!!!

Timshel—-Returning to a more sedate and predictable sound at the onset, the saving grace is when the vocal begins on this track. It seems like all 4 voices are joined together…delivering this huge harmonious beautiful sound that takes your breath away. This is simply beautiful…with lyrics that make you pause and ponder as well.

Thistle & Weeds—-Full of the sedate and gentle instrumental meanderings that shapes this release, the vocal is more sedate than usual…but the lyrics are like huge colorful swipes of paint on a bleach white canvas. This save the track from obscurity…the emotions are real and raw…the words dig in and find a place in your psyche.

Awake My Soul—-With little musical introduction, the vocal begins almost automatically from the start. The lyrics…again, are full of this vivid imagery that is just breathtaking. Mumford delivers line after line of words that are just meant to sear a place in your soul…awaken your emotions and make you think all day about the things that are better left alone…not anymore.

Dust Bowl Dance—-Stark piano begins this track….ushering in a poignant lyric that would rival the best of Springsteen Americana. The accent is heavy on this track..allowing you to realize that emotions and lyrics are not bound by oceans or land lines. This is wonderfully quaint…touching me and making me think much more than i wanted to this afternoon…but, that is what music is all about.

After The Storm—-Ending this release much as it started, this is stark and naked…bolstered only bu a lone acoustic guitar and lyrics that squeeze you heart tighter than cardiac arrest. This is brilliant folk-pop that was designed perhaps to exile demons…both his and yours! This is wonderfully beautiful.

**** out of 5

Devo / Freedom Of Choice

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 290000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Freedom Of ChoiceDevo (pronounced /ˈdiːvoʊ/ DEE-voh, originally /diːˈvoʊ/ dee-VOH)[1] is an American band formed in Akron, Ohio in 1973. The band had a #14 Billboard chart hit in 1980 with the single “Whip It“, and has maintained a cult following throughout its existence. Their style over time has shifted between punk, art rock, post-punk, and New Wave. Their music and stage show mingle kitsch science fiction themes, deadpan surrealist humor, and mordantly satirical social commentary. Their often discordant pop songs feature unusual synthetic instrumentation and time signatures that have proven influential on subsequent popular music, particularly New Wave, industrial and alternative rock artists. Devo was also a pioneer of the music video, creating many memorable clips for the Laser Disc format, with “Whip It” getting heavy airplay in the early days of MTV.

Freedom of Choice is the third album by New Wave musicians Devo, released in 1980. It saw the band moving in more of an overt synthpop direction, even though guitars still played a prominent role.

The album was produced by Robert Margouleff, famous for his synthesizer work in Tonto’s Expanding Head Band and with Stevie Wonder.

On the Billboard Music Charts, Freedom of Choice peaked at #22 on the Pop Albums chart. It contains Devo’s most well-known song, “Whip It“, which hit #8 and #14 on the Club Play Singles and Pop Singles charts, respectively.

The group later performed an alternate version of “Girl U Want” that appeared on the Tank Girl soundtrack.

An entire alternate demo version of the album was released in 2000 on the Rhino Handmade two-disc rarities collection Recombo DNA. The demo version lacks “It’s Not Right,” “Ton o’ Luv”, “Don’t You Know” and “Freedom of Choice” but includes demos of the “Whip It” b-side “Turnaround” and three unreleased tracks (“Luv & Such,” “Time Bomb” and “Make Me Move”).

In 2008, the album was digitally remastered and released as part of the box set This is the Devo Box in Japan. On September 16, 2009, Warner Brothers and Devo announced a re-release of Freedom of Choice and Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, with a tour performing both albums.

The Analysis:

Girl U Want—-Beginning with a trademark devo synth line, this is perhaps a defining song for the group….I can remember the moment I first discovered Devo….thinking to myself that this might very well be the best think in music I had ever heard. This is so damn catchy and loaded with trademark 80’s synth sounds…you have to wonder what this record might have sounded like if they had the technology available today…this might very well blow your head off.

It’s Not Right—-With a remarkably progressive synth line and vocals that seem almost ice-cold and unnerving, the band really helped to solidify the New Wave movement in the US…for me it was Devo and the Human League. This is remarkable…just the simple fact that the band was able to coax some of these sounds out of a synth when they did. This is perhaps the closet you can come to a New Wave/futuristic love song possible!

Whip It—-Played out and way misunderstood, despite popular belief this is not a song about S&M, but rather a song about overcoming those obstacles that stand in your way of achieving your goals. The music that accompanies this song is just classic early 80’s synth…built for the pogo style of dance that was everywhere in the clubs and just happy enough to allow the true message of the song to leak out of your ears. This is indeed, a moment in time!

Snowball—-Full of trademark staccato beats delivered from a progressive synth, Devo delivered a huge song with this one. The vocal is almost robotic….buying in to the whole New Wave disinterested movement that many artists had in the early 80’s…but despite this, this is perhaps one of the warmest songs on this release. This is remarkable…Mark & Co. delivered song after song of pure heaven on this one!!!

Ton O’ Luv—-One of my favorite tracks on this release, it found a place for me simply because of the progressive synth line that seems to escalate but never really goes anywhere. there are some nice synth generated horns on this track that are wonderful…and Mark delivers line after line of love’s alienation and the triumph of overcoming it with tenacity. This is fabulous!!

Freedom Of Choice—-The early 80’s anthem for disenfranchised people everywhere, this is one positive line after another. Devo managed to be remarkably socially aware despite the oddity factor that the band garnered because of the whole devolution thing. regardless, you have to admit many of their far-fetched opinions seem pretty accurate these days. This features some nice real-time guitars as well as some masterful synth lines…this is history!

Gates Of Steel—-This remains my favorite Devo song EVER!!! I love the synth line that begins the song and stays with it all the way through. There is a huge de-escalating bass sound that adds so much balls to the track. The vocal is incredible…delivered with an urgency and melody that is remarkable. Live, this song has always fallen flat for me, but this recording is remarkable…this is pure 80’s New Wave that helped to start a worldwide movement!

Cold War—-Delivering a slight more muted sound, the song is still full of that classic give and take style vocal that Devo is famous for. This is classic….delivered with a slight political edge that is magically drenched in fun and irresponsibility. This is fantastic…thinking about the powers that be punching their way through the solution to the cold war conjures up hilarious sights in my mind’s eye…this is HUGE fun!!!

Don’t You Know—-a bit more electric and full of staccato beats, Devo continues to deliver songs that stick pretty close to its vein of music. This is another of those pogo inspiring 80’s new Wave songs that made me and my group of friends go crazy with this record.I remember my first listen of this record…it was a home-coming, a revelation and something that would form my musical tastes for the rest of my life.

That’s Pep—-This is just pure fun….proving to all the nay sayers that indeed this small town band had indeed perfected a sound all of their own…and opening the door for many others to steal it. This has a great de-escalating sound that the synth is responsible for and an almost mechanical vocal that spoke of the disinterest of the public in the early 80’s…like I said, this is history!

Mr. B’s Ballroom—-The band delivers a track that is pure to its sound but produces nothing new. The chorus is a huge big affair that will stick with you for a bit and the underlying synth sounds were way advanced for it’s time…but to me, this was never a huge track for me. The almost spoken word interludes are pretty damn funny though!

Planet Earth—-Mothersbaugh delivers a vocal that is so removed and automatic that it almost seems foreign to the friendly synth delivery from the rest of the band. This is huge fun…but delivered with an underlying message if you are looking for it!

****3/4 out of 5

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl / Record Collection

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 290000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Record Collection

Mark Daniel Ronson (born 4 September 1975)[2] is an English guitarist, music producer, artist and co-founder of Allido Records. He is currently under the music alias of Mark Ronson & The Business Intl.

While his debut album Here Comes the Fuzz failed to make an impact on the charts, his second album, Version included three top ten hits and won Ronson a BRIT Award for Best Male Artist 2008. His third studio album, Record Collection, was released on 27 September 2010.

The Analysis:

Bang Bang Bang—-The first thing you notice about this release besides the incredibly contagious beats is the lack of the annoying huge horns that pervaded all of Ronson’s material in the past few years. This song is high on energy, features a nice old school rap track and an infectious melody that sticks in your brain for days…the 80’s are back…in a HUGE way!!!

Lose It [In The End]—-Well….there are some horns here, and the sound is a bit more reminiscent of past Ronson recordings. The saving grace is the fantastic smooth vocal. This is such a sedate and wonderfully accessible pop song with nice intermittent raps throughout the song. Ronson just proves further that he is indeed a force to be reckoned with. This is marvellous.

The Bike Song—-This is superb….delivering the essential rap interludes and a slight funk that makes you want to dance your ass off, this is fantastic. Ronson does allow the horn section back into the track…but it is pushed way to the back of the mix…allowing the synth line to lead the song and a smooth vocal to capture your full attention. the chorus is a bit silly and juvenile, but you can dismiss it…because this is too pleasant not to love!

Somebody To Love Me—-This entire release, but this song especially is so Moby inspired. This is the record that I have been praying for…until Moby manages to get back on the right track. The vocal that is featured is a nice soul inspired sound…the beats are pure, simple and magic…with no horns and very little pretention. This is just fantastic!

You Gave Me Nothing—-Wow….this is huge fun right from the start. The melody that runs through the bottom of this song reminds you of dozens of your favorite 80’s songs…the chorus is so huge that you will hum it for hours after it is over…the vocal is so smooth and pleasant you will turn to it over and over for a smile. This is just incredible…a winner from the beginning to end.

The Colour Of Crumar—-Coming out of the quiet from a distance, this has a very retro sound to it…delivering beat after beat that is slightly muted and reminding you of a scratchy favorite 45. This is genius….the synths are encompassing…wrapping up your whole body in a fine retro sound…wonderful!

Glass Mountain Trust—-With huge beats and mystical synth sounds, the vocal that is featured on this track is a nice retro styled soul voice that gets into your brain…making me wonder if this is Cee-Lo Green…this is wonderful. The beats that accompany this track are fantastic…full of heavy hitting bass and a synth line that makes you miss the old days of early 70’s funk…just fantastic!

Circuit Breaker—-Beginning with a huge tribal beat, the synths come in and make the track a bit more poppy. The sound is delicious! This is pure and classic 80’s style synth pop that travels at a great speed and delivers enough breaks to keep you guessing as to what is coming next. This is so retro, it almost reminds me of….Kraftwerk!!!

Introducing The Business—-Wonderfully downbeat and full of a ghostly styled synth line, this has that remarkable New York rap line that runs through it…only with better beats!!! This is gritty and very New York…the slow and subtle hum of voices that run through the back drop of the song add os much…this features the London Gay Men’s Chorus….and it is FABULOUS!!!

Record Collection—-With a huge dose of moderate Dancehall and a vocal from Simon Le Bon, this has to be nothing less than spectacular….and it is!!! This is full of nice synth swirls and when Simon enters with his vocal you are comfortably back in 1985…no questions asked. This is one of my favorite tracks on this release…it is so retro that you want to grab every 80’s record and listen to them all at once…this is fabulous!!!

Selector—-Returning to a more horn infused delivery, this is still pretty moderate compared to much of the previous Ronson releases. The sound, again a bit muted makes you believe you might just be listening to one of your favorite old scratchy records….it leads in perfectly to….

Hey Boy—-With a fantastic heavy bass beat and a remarkable vocal introduction that finds a place in my heart right from the start, this vocalist has the voice of an angel. she delivers line after line that is just begging for a huge remix to land on the dance floor all over the world. the synths are straight out of 1988 and the delivery has just as much energy. This is breathtaking, masterful and literally delicious.

Missing Words—-Delivering a bit of a dirtier synth line, this is still nothing less than fantastic. This leads wonderfully into….

The Night Last Night—-This has that Ronson trademark sound written all over it…the drum/synth beats are classic and the slight and muted horn sounds are everywhere on the song. the same female vocal is on this track..delivered so sweet and serene that you are lulled into a nice trance dance when listening to this. This is damn near genius…from me, this release has ZERO complaints!!!

****3/4 out of 5

Deerhunter / Halcyon Digest

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 290000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Halcyon DigestDeerhunter is an American four-piece indie rock group originating from Atlanta, Georgia. The band, consisting of Bradford Cox, Moses Archuleta, Josh Fauver, and Lockett Pundt, have described themselves as “ambient punk,” though they incorporate a wide range of genres, including noise rock, art rock, shoegaze, and post-punk, as well significant pop elements. The band has gone through several line-up changes and the death of a member.

The Analysis:

Earthquake—-Beginning with a plethora of effects, they all serve to set the mood for the fuzziness and experimentation that is to follow. The vocal….swimmingly pleasant is pushed behind the slight fuzz of the guitars and the funeral beat of the electronics. This is layered with all kinds of experimental sounds and knob twisting effects…giving the track an even more ghostly and sad feel….this is fantastic!

Don’t Cry—-Much more lively from the onset, there is still a remarkable and pleasant fuzz all over the entire track. the vocals are incredible…the song has a nice throwback feel to the 50’s style School Dance songs that sweethearts danced to! This is wonderfully beautiful…the crashing cymbal of the drum permeates the pleasantness with just enough noise…wow!

Revival—-Changing direction a bit once again, this release will keep you guessing…even after a few listens. This is nice…much of the fuzz is missing at the onset of the song, but manages to creep back in later as the track progresses. the vocal is delicious…delivered with intense lyrics but in a lazy vocal style. This is brilliant!

Sailing—-This is so serene and quiet that you might actually find yourself drifting off during this. The delivery is full of beautiful instrumentation and a vocal that is at the very front of the mix and the sole star of the show. The music behind the voice reminds me of Low…it is that quiet at times. This is full of vivid lyrical imagery and a melody that literally lulls you into a quiet place.

Memory Boy—-Returning to a more aggressive sound, this is nicely layered with over lays that give the vocal a much larger feel. the melody line that runs through the bottom of this track is straight out of the Doo-wop groups of years gone by. The drum track is stellar…keeping the song firmly on point. this is a devastating song lyrically, but damn pleasant from a musical angle.

Desire Lines—-Bass heavy form the onset, this takes a bit to get started. When the lead guitar chimes in with the drums you have another masterful melody line that makes way for the fantastic vocal. This is haunting and delivered with a different energy…much in the vein of Microcastle. This only makes me fall even more in love with this band.

Basement Scene—-Returning to a much deeper sound that allows for the return of the fuzzy guitar, this also pushes the vocal a bit more to the front of the song. This again has that remarkable finger snaping style of music that was so popular in the 50’s…this is brilliant…as the vocal declares “I don’t wanna get old”… just have to nod your head in agreement and give into the sentiment…this is wonderful.

Helicopter—-This is a nice track…full of the odd effects that started off the record, there is a healthy dose of electronics going on in this song right along with the actual instrumentation. The vocal is so damn pleasant…allowing you to daydream along with the gentle water drop sounds that seem to be constant in the background. This is fantastic….one of my favorites from this release.

Fountain Stairs—-This is literally fantastic!!! The guitars and the drums come together to deliver a perfect summer shiny pop song that has feel good written all over the instrumentation. there is always a small bit of darkness in every one of the bands songs, but it is even less so here. This is a pure beach filled summer song that conjures up sunshine and warm blistering sun. Wonderful.

Coronado—-Much more layered with aggressive guitars and a somewhat distorted vocal, this is very garage in sound. The horns are marvelous on this track…reminding you of the Rolling Stones Exile On Main St. This is noisy..delivered with a remarkable control and reminding me why I love this band…this is stellar!!!

He Would Have Laughed—-Ending the release on a nice gentle note, the guitars are shiny and the drum beats are fantastic. the vocal enters with a wonderful reading of true emotions and feelings that are so relatable. I had to listen to this track about 5 times in a row….it settled with me that well. This has a nice haunting quality to it that lasts through the entire track…this is just masterful!

****1/2 out of 5

Peter Gabriel / Hit [2 Disc Collection] [Disc Two]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 270000009-04:00 12 by marky7235


The Analysis: Disc Two

San Jacinto—-Continuing to deliver songs with a more world music flavor later in his career, this track is no exception. Perhaps it is a xylophone or some electronic impressario of it that begins this track, but it gives the song a nice Asian sound that carries through most of the song. Gabriel sounds as sedate as ever…even when the song does pick up some steam…this is wonderful.

I Don’t Remember—-Another of my favorite tracks by Gabriel, this track has a huge drum delivery that kicks off the song right from the onset. Gabriel delivers an almost robotic vocal that is lots of fun…although the chorus of the song seems laden with a certain angst to me…this is intense…brimming with a bit of anger and lots of urgency…still love this!

The Rhythm Of The Heat—-Not really familiar with this track, although it plays very well to me. This begins in a very somber Pink Floyd kind of way…the music is minimal as Gabriel enters with an intense vocal that is slowly aided by what appears to be children’s voices. This track is so minimal and naked, that you are really able to enjoy the full glory of this man’s voice. Really nice….

Loved To Be Loved—-Full of nice exotic sounds, Gabriel ushers in his vocal in a rather sedate and quiet way. the piano that supplies the melody for the song is constant throughout and is wonderfully catchy. The lyrics are real and heartfelt…something that we can all relate to..Gabriel has a way of touching that nerve…doesn’t he?

I Grieve—-A brilliant and entirely devastating song. Gabriel delivers lyrics and vocals that will leave your heart beating outside of your body…reach down and pick it up before it becomes any more damaged. This is so full of realness and honesty…touching every single emotional nerve that a human has….this is a triumph of a song. It rarely gets better than this..perfect for a rainy afternoon.

Family Snapshot—-Beginning just as sedate, Gabriel sings line after line that is meant to provoke thought and emotion…he has been more successful than I think he ever intended to be. The lonely horn that plays in the backdrop of this song gives the track an even more funeral sound….this is just incredible.

In Your Eyes—-This is my favorite Gabriel song….EVER! Recorded with African vocalist Y’oussor D’Nour, this really was the true beginning of Gabriel’s fascination with the whole World Music movement. This is both heartbreaking and incredibly exhilarating…a true joy to listen to over and over and over. I love the vocal from D’Nour….it is not the same song without him. This is a true triumph.

The Drop—-Again, this is a piano based track that reeks of a melancholy that is all-encompassing. The mood is set from the very first notes of the song and is only heightened by the vocal that Peter delivers. This is full of mystery and a certain atmosphere that really pervades the majority of later Gabriel material…this is wonderful.

The Tower That Ate People—-A bit lighter of a song…at least a bit more fun. this is full of distorted vocals and hearkens back to the 80’s hits that helped to make Gabriel an even more household name. This is somewhat abrasive, but also fun and a much-needed break from the somber delivery of the past few tracks.

Lovetown—-This is nice….delivered with a slight funky bass guitar beat and a shuffling percussion. Gabriel enters and delivers lyrics that are just as intense as anything else you have heard on this disc though. Remarkable…despite the more upbeat tempo, the song can still devastate you…plus the slight blues lean is pretty awesome as well.

Father, Son—-Again, piano based and delivered with a very funeral tempo, this is another of those songs that forces you to hold back the tears at the very onset of the song. This is a tender ode to children and family…gabriel delivers a fantastic vocal…so emotional and as real as you could ever find from anyone…this is incredible.

Signal To Noise—-For me, this is very Genesis inspired and experimental. Peter delivers some yells and yelp that will startle you….bringing to mind some of the spectacle shows that Genesis used to perform back in the heyday of the band. This is different, but still very Peter.

Downside Up [Live]—-Not sure who the female that is singing with Peter on this song, but the delivery is very nice. This live rendition is remarkably true to the origianl…the two voices come together in perfect harmony and add just enough contrast to keep the song truly interesting. This is just wonderful!

Cloudless—-With a wonderful World Beat spine to the song, this is a rather big song as it develops. This is where gabriel sits very comfortably now and seems like a perfect place to end this compilation. The backdrop singers that add the flavor to the song are remarkable…I could listen to this stuff all day. This is just about perfect!

**** out of 5

Peter Gabriel / Hit [2 Disc Collection] [Disc One]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 270000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

HitPeter Brian Gabriel (born 13 February 1950) is an English singer, musician and songwriter who rose to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of the progressive rock group Genesis.[1] After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went on to a successful solo career. More recently he has focused on producing and promoting world music and pioneering digital distribution methods for music. He has also been involved in various humanitarian efforts. Gabriel was awarded the Polar Music Prize in 2009. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010.

The Analysis: Disc One

Solsbury Hill—-One of the most defining and pleasant songs from Gabriel’s solo career, this track features a remarkable acoustic guitar delivery that is matched perfectly by the bass beat in the back drop and the added strings. Gabriel delivers a stunning vocal and lyrics that are thought-provoking and storied. This is a remarkable example of the man’s genius!

Shock The Monkey—-One of the earlier singles from Gabriel’s solo career, this is perhaps known just as well for the video as the odder elements of the song. Even though this was an earlier single, the World Music obsession is all over this track as well…full of tribal beats and a jungle type feel. Gabriel sounds brillint….his voice doing all kinds of acrobatics as he sings the song and wraps it around all of the beats…this is fantastic!

Sledgehammer—-This was another of those songs that Gabriel released in his 80’s hey day that was combined with a brilliant conceptual video…finding a place in people’s memories for ever more. This, taken from the blockbuster So, was a huge worldwide smash for Peter. With great bass and percussion, the song is also delivered with a nice healthy dose of horns. Gabriel delivers a vocal that is slightly hoarse in sound…making it even more appealing for me…this is great to hear after such a long absence.

Don’t Give Up featuring Kate Bush—-Also taken from So, one would never think of pairing these two singers together…but it worked and the result was nothing less than pure beauty. The instrumentation is fantastic…a stark and beautifully layered delivery of guitar and slight World sounds….Gabriel matches his vocal with Bush perfectly…leaving you feeling lonely and desolate…just what music is meant to do…make you really feel.

Games Without Frontiers—-Another of those early solo singles that has a huge life. This song can still be heard on classic radio on any given day…although the sound of the song was much more progressive and new wavish for me. Again, this track includes some nice exotic noises, but it is the vocal that allows this song to live on and on. This hearkens back to the odder days of Genesis…reminding you of some of the odd costumes and characters that Gabriel managed to conjure up. The remarkable  thing is how timeless and fresh this still sounds….incredible.

Big Time—-This is another of those songs that was elevated to whole other level because of the remarkable video that accompanied it. Gabriel has an incredible mind and imagination and it shows in his videos. This is nice, but was a bit too overplayed for it to ever be a real favorite of mine…none the less, it is a pretty great single.

Burn You Up, Burn You Down—-With huge tribal drums and a vocal that seems layed over the top of everything, this has quite a nice instrumentation. The vocal at times is rather serious, but the chorus is a nice chant of voices that beefs up the track quite a bit. This is not a favorite, but part of Gabriel’s evolution.

Growing Up [Tom Lord-Alge Mix]—-Another of my very favorite tracks, this mix is sedate and even more serious than the original. The remixer gives the track a very swirly feel but as it progresses adds some nice heavy bass hits that allows for a bit of a livelier delivery. Gabriel delivers a wonderful vocal…singing in a most natural tone but still brimming over with emotion….just remarkable.

Digging In The Dirt—-With a nice shuffling beat and a fair bit of drums, Gabriel enters a delivers a vocal that is full of drama and flair. This is a pretty serious song…lyrically speaking, but Peter manages to entertain with his voice as it goes up and down…in and out and delivers all kinds of emotions in 4 minutes…nice!

Blood Of Eden [Radio Edit]—-This is very heavy on the World Music vibe…Gabriel delivers a vocal that is simply devestating..leaving you desolate and dripping in melancholy. The chorus is full of additional singers…delivering a nice flourish of a capella style African chanting that just adds to the overwhelming sadness of the song. This is just fantastic!

More Than This [Radio Edit]—-One of Gabriel’s treasures that never really got the attention that it my humble opinion. This could be so remixed and made into a huge dance single as well as being slowed and quieted some to become a tender and much more poignant track. This is just wonderful all the way around….

Biko—-A huge track, I believe this was written for the motion picture Biko…this tells a story and is really a piece of history in the whole Apartheid struggle. Gabriel delivers a vocal that leaves you exhausted by the end of the song…it is that emotional and raw. This is real and a subject that is dear to the heart of Gabriel….the man is a sheer genius. This remains one track that I can never get enough of! I love the line….”You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out a fire.”…powerful stuff!

Steam [Radio Edit]—-et another song where perhaps the video was as popular as the song itself…Gabriel continued to show his genius and versatility with songs like these mixed in between some pretty sedate and serious tracks. This has a wonderful instrumentation and shows the true range of Peters voice as he hits some really nice falsetto notes. Very nice!

Red Rain—-Returning to a more socially aware state of mind, Gabriel again delivers a track that will stick in your brain and drain your emotions all at the same time. This is an ode to the environment…when people could barely spell the word. Well, at least that is what the song means for me. This is remarkable…the instrumentation is huge…the sounds are incredible…but the vocal remains even and urgent.

Here Comes The Flood—-Stark and piano based, Gabriel again delivers a song that rips at your emotions and leaves you soaking wet on the floor…trying to come to terms with the heavy dose of lyrics that accompany the lone piano. This is remarkably beautiful…Gabriel sings in an unaffected and emotional way…that gets in your bones and leaves you with your head hanging…just fantastic.

****3/4 out of 5

Dimmu Borgir / For All Tid [For All Time] Remastered

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 240000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

For All Tid

For all tid (“Forever”, or, literally, “For All Time” in English) is the first studio album by Norwegian symphonic black metal band Dimmu Borgir. It was remastered and re-released in 1997 with their new label Nuclear Blast with the front cover art in full color and the entire “Inn i Evighetens Mørke” 7 minutes added.

The artwork displayed on the front cover of the album is inspired by Gustave Doré‘s illustration of Camelot from Idylls of the King.

The Analysis:

Det Nye Riket [The New Kingdom]—-To some fans of the band, this first release may be a bit difficult to take. the lyrics are all in the bands native language but the granduer is fully intact. This opening sequence is full of mood and atmosphere….the build-up is excruciating…proving to everyone that the original vision of the band is still intact and was determined before they ever started. Shagrath enters the song with a spoken word that is his native language sounds even more demented and scary…this is a masterful mood setter for the mayhem that is about to occur…..

Under Korpens Vinger [Under the Wings Of The Raven]—-I am amazed at the rough sound of the band on this debut release….but it also allows fans to know where the band started and the masterful way that they have perfected their craft. This is a magnificent and moody track…the vocal is fantastic…Shagrath literally pukes his words into your ears…I am amazed at how far he has come. there are sounds in this track that can still be heard in Dimmu songs to this day…just proving the band had a vision and have perfected this. This is demonic and scary, but it is also beautiful in all of its roughness….I am still amazed!!!!

Over Blecknede Blaner Cid Dommedag [ Over Faded Blue Horizon Unto Judgement Day]—-Still sounding incredibly muted and lacking the finesse of expert production, the song is ushered in by the surprising clean vocal of Shagrath….this is pretty damn incredible. the dark and moody sounds of the music are the same as we have come to love from this band….there are layers and layers to the music as always…just not as pronounced. This is stellar and remains one of my favorite tracks from this release. the keyboards add swirling atmosphere…you have to love this stuff.

Stein [The Path]—-Giving little time to catch your breath, Shag return with a guttural vocal that will tear your larynx to shreds…there is this charming little flute noise that plays throughout the song…giving a nice contrast to the rough and assaulting aspects of the song. This is huge, dark and gloomy…just what the Doctor ordered!!!

Glittertind—-This delivers an overwhelming melody that rides underneath the song and leaves me almost breathless. The drums are damn near perfect and Shagrath enters with a puke that will leave you staggering. This is really an aggressive track…full of layered guitars and really heavy on the bass…but when the leads kick in with that melody, you know that this band is going somewhere. this is magnificent!!!

For All Cid [For All Time]—-Beginning with a magnificent hum of voices, this song delivers at the onset an almost ballad style guitar. You know that this is probably just an interlude to mayhem, but you sit through the gentleness anyways…..and you are soon rewarded with the sound of all hell breaking loose. the guitars sound a bit fuzzy on this track,,,,but the keyboards elevate you above all of the din. The vocal is much more prominent on this track and delivered in the native language sounds even more demonic and vomited. This is stellar…if you want to trace the bands heritage….this is an incredible place to start!

Hunnerkogens Sorgsvarte Ferd Over Steppene [‘The King Of The Huns’ Sorrow Black Journey Over The Steppes]—-Giving you little time to catch your breath, this track is delivered in a much more Thrash style until the overwhelming keyboards kick in. this is full of mood and atmosphere, but has a really great energy. Shagrath sounds like he is delivering his vocal in a tunnel, but it still shows all of the promise that this band had and still has…I’m so counting the days for the new release….still one of my favorite bands in this genre!!!

Raabjorn Speiler Draugheimens Skodde [Raabjorn Reflects The Mist Of Draugheimens]—-Melding perfectly from the previous track, this is laden with effects and atmosphere. Shagrath delivers a vocal that is full enough of that evil flair to retain credibility, while the music is almost trademark metal of the time.This is a brilliant track that takes you on a magnificent journey of movements and ideas…classic Dimmu even in the beginning.

Den Gjemte Sannhets Hersker [The Ruler Of The Hidden Truth]—-Ending the proper release with a dark and layered extravaganza, the band is in fine form as it set a perfect landscape for Shagrath to puke over. this is somber and funeral…as you would expect…laden with masterful keyboard effects and lots of fog, I’m sure. This is fantastic…a nice nightcap for the disenfranchised!!!

Bonus Tracks:

Inn I Evighetens Morke Pt. I [Into The Darkness Of Eternity Pt. I]—-From the start, this is full of nice effects and swirls….the keyboards leading the entire direction of the song. the drums play second…delivering a strong backbone for the true stance of the track. this is moody and full of atmosphere..playing into the dark elements that the band was trying to convey despite the lackluster production. as the song opens up, the guitars are more pronounced, but it is the swirl of atmosphere that remains throughout…this is magnificent….I can only imagine how this would sound with a clearer production.

Inn I Evighetens Morte Pt. II [Into The Darkness Of Eternity Pt. II]—-As the song continues, the guitars and vocals emerge with a brutality that will snap you r neck. Shagrath sounds better on this track than perhaps anywhere else on this release….this is stellar and holds all of the promise of the next chapter…which was damn incredible in the bands history…this is the beginning and is for the serious fan for sure!

**** out of 5

Morrissey / You Are The Quarry

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 240000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

You Are The Quarry (Gatefold)You Are the Quarry is the seventh studio album by Morrissey, the former lead singer of The Smiths. The album was released on 17 May 2004.

The release was a significant event in Morrissey’s career for several reasons. Throughout the late 90s, Morrissey was treated with contempt by the British music press and subsequently became a pariah with respect to the Britpop movement,[citation needed] turning to progressive rock in lieu of his usual indie pop. With You Are the Quarry, Morrissey returns to the musical mainstream. Because it was his first studio album in seven years, the critics and the public were more willing to give him a chance and offer a tabula rasa. As such, the first single “Irish Blood, English Heart” became his highest charting single in the UK at #3 and received significant airplay in the US, going to #36 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. The album charted at #2 in the UK (held off the top spot by Keane, which prompted Morrissey to joke in concert at the time “With regard to the album ‘You Are the Quarry’, if your name is Keane then you better leave now”.) and became Morrissey’s highest charting album in the US, reaching #11.

The album is in many ways unique in comparison to Morrissey’s previous work. Musically, Jerry Finn‘s production gives the album a very mainstream, commercial feel, but it also makes the songs very appealing and polished. This is especially evident in the percussion, which is prominent and melodic. Guitarists Boz Boorer and Alain Whyte craft songs that fit somewhere between modern indie rock and AOR. Lyrically, Morrissey touches on many themes, varying from politics to relationships to Morrissey’s place in society.

The Analysis:

America Is Not The World—-Delivering one of his best crooning vocals in years, as well as his most blistering reading on American consumption, Morrissey is in full poetic form…attacking many of the inadequacies of American life over some of the most pleasant and endearing pop music again surprises many of his fans by reminding us that he is still here, still strong and still speaking his word….regardless of whom he might piss off. This is MY Morrissey!

Irish Blood, English Heart—-Just as quickly, Morrissey goes from chastising the Americans to his own Brits. Perhaps one of the best singles Morrissey & Co. have ever produced, this has balls and lots of charisma. Morrissey has rarely sounded better or more driven by a track…the chorus delivers a magical hook that will live in your brain for YEARS…and punctuated by barbed lyrics that make you think and urges you to do research. a true triumph!

I Have Forgiven Jesus—-To this day, this remains one of my favorite tracks from this release. Full of the kind of self-deprecating lyrics that only Stephan can deliver, this both makes you laugh and feel introspective at the same time. The chorus is this huge beautiful melody that allows Morrissey to sing in that upper register that breaks him free of the croon mode…reminding me of the old days. This is a huge shining star that for me has never quite dimmed.

Come Back To Camden—-Oh Stephan… I truly love you!!! It remains impossibly difficult for me to fathom how someone else in the world magically feels the same way I do…release after release, he always relates to me on a very personal level. It may be just a line or a melody…or in this case a full song. This is magical and incredibly personal for me….my own personal hero!

I’m Not Sorry—-Starting off with a pretty nice drum delivery and a classic Morrissey style guitar, the vocal enters with a drama and flair that only Morrissey can deliver. There is a slight vocal echo to the vocal that gives the song an even more lonely feel. the words are intense and cause you to stop and examine them all with a microscope. This is Morrissey at his best…rarely has he delivered such poignant and real lyrics set to a brilliant landscape of instrumentation.

The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores—-This begins a bit noisy, but silences to allow the slow and sexy croon of Morrissey delivering line after line that you feel an overwhelming urge to take apart and study. This is just magical…as the music builds and builds, the vocal increases with intensity as Morrissey urges you to take him in your arms and love him….this is just brilliant! A true piece of art, this one!!!

How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel—-Returning to the much more Boz driven guitar delivery, Morrissey manages to deliver his croon over whatever music is presented to him. This is still amazing to me. Morrissey proclaims his hurt and disdain and still steadfastly maintains that no one could know how he feels…and in a graphic way…but surprise Stephan….we know how you feel!!!

First Of the Gang To Die—-Perhaps the crown jewel of this entire release, Morrissey delivers a single that will live on and on and on!!! This has all of the energy of The Smiths, the integrity of the mans solo beginnings and a huge promise of the future. This is magnificent…I am at a loss for words here…this is a huge, shining, bright moment that will live on forever. Viva Morrissey!!!

Let Me Kiss You—-Another of those magical songs that allows Morrissey to lend his tender croon to the mastery of a band that has learned to play around his voice. this is accentuated by some nice backing vocals from the band…beefing the song up a bit and giving it even more emotion. The piano is a nice touch…giving the track an even more grand feel to it. Morrissey delivers line after line that plays on his desolation and lonliness…allowing us to believe that the man is still alone and desolate after all of these years…I find this hard to believe…but I’ll buy into it.

All The Lazy Dykes—-Beginning with some nice drums and electronics, Morrissey delivers a nice vocal…I’m not even going to get into the political correctness of such a song…I expect Morrissey to push the envelope and indeed he does. This is a bit brazen…even for Stephan, but the song is another triumphant example of a return to pure form. This is brilliant!

I Like You—-For Morrissey, this is a surprisingly upbeat and rather positive song. The music matches the vibe of the lyrics to a tee. Stephan delivers line after line that speaks of infatuation and the quivering belief that he had allowed emotion to enter into his squalid world of emptiness. this is a triumphant….leading one to believe that Morrissey had experienced love and perhaps the crash of misery afterwards…welcome to the real world my friend!

You Know I Couldn’t Last—-Ending his stellar comeback with a magnificent ballad full of vivid lyrics are heavy piano, Morrissey allows you to totally lose yourself in the moment as he delivers lines after line about the terrible press and how they can twist your words and make you to be something you might not like. Morrissey delivers a tale that is career encompassing…full of fan sway and media spin….and the danger of buying into the whole damn lot of it. This is spectacular!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

Queensryche / Greatest Hits

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 240000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Queensryche - Greatest Hits

Queensrÿche (pronounced /ˈkwiːnzraɪk/, KWEENZ-ryek) is an American progressive heavy metal band formed in 1981 in Bellevue, Washington. The band has released eleven studio albums and several EPs and DVDs and continues to tour and record.

Queensrÿche has been successful in the progressive scene, having sold over 20 million albums worldwide including over 6 million albums in the United States.

The Analysis:

Queen Of The Reich—-Let me just say, that when Geoff Tate lets loose his scream at the very beginning of this song, it set the bar for every band that came after. That opening yell…never really replicated by Tate anymore, possibly rivalled the best of Halford. The band itself, has always had a trademark sound to it’s is pretty easy to recognize a Queensryche song from the opening bar. Tate delivers an amazing vocal all the way through this track…it is unfortunate that his voice has nor held up well during the ensuing years. This has a nice aggressive delivery…and a killer drum track.

The Lady Wore Black—-This was the Queensryche song that I really cut my teeth on…not discovering the first EP in full until later. This has another exceptional vocal performance from Tate and a familiar guitar line from DeGarmo….trademark sound as I said earlier. There is a nice moodiness to this track that fir the time of its release wonderfully well. Tate delivers a vocal that leaves you shaking your head and practically in complete awe of the guy. This is fantastic…with great guitar solos and some really great drums. Still a favorite.

Warning—-One of my favorite tracks from the first proper full length release from this band, the song and the CD, carried on in the tradition of delivering Metal that was instantly recognizable and very accessible. Tate still delivered his trademark screams without fail and just melted your brain with amazement. The gang style vocals at times on the song gives it much more power than it would have had. This is energetic and piercing…just amazing.

Take Hold The Flame—-Another really favorite track of mine, this is based more on the moodiness than the vocal…although the vocal is pretty incredible…I love the fact that you are able to catch almost every single word without a lyric sheet. This is somber and mellow…until the track grows and grows and becomes this huge incredible song…ushered in by a piercing scream from Tate and the familiar guitar riffs of Chris. This is followed up and supported by a nice drum track…Scott never got the attention he deserved. This is rousing, aggressive and classic!

Walk In the Shadows—-Taken from Rage For Order, my personal favorite Queensryche release, this is energetic…a bit experimental but still containing many of the familiar sounds that the band has always delivered. This has that DeGarmo guitar line that you cannot escape, but also includes some keyboards and that magical voice of Tate’s. This is much faster paced than most of the bands material, but is still accessible and pleasing to the palate…a moment caught in time.

I Dream In Infrared—-Perhaps my favorite track from Rage For Order, this has always had a special place in my playlist list. This is a huge song and one that really makes you sit back and think about the lyrics. The song…like most on this release is a bit more progressive than the bands earlier recordings…but still familiar to any fan upon the opening strains of the song. Tate begins his vocal is a pure and sedate way…full of movement and emotion…as the song progresses and becomes more metallic, you are once again comfortably at home with one of your favorite bands. I NEVER tire of listening to this!

I Don’t Believe In Love—-From the onset, this is a bit different for the band…although the song has a familiar sound to it, the guitars a tuned a bit higher than usual and the drums are moved much more to the forefront of the song. Of course, this is from the blockbuster Operation:Mindcrime….the release that made Queensryche a household name and robbed them of their Metal credibility. This is nice, but I have never been much for conceptual records…I perfer to take a release song for song. This is pretty landmark….but also marks a huge shift in the band’s career and credibility in Metal circles.

Eyes Of A Stranger—-Probably one of the best known tracks from this release, the nurse over the intercom has been used on about every hospital commercial I can think of. this is very Proggy to me…delivering line after line of guitar that could have been taken straight from any number of 70’s Rock releases. Tate continues to deliver stellar vocals, but he is less likely on this CD to scream as he did in the early days…things seem a bit more restrained…although the double tracking has some nice upper octave moments…this is nice to hear after such a long time, but it has never been a real favorite of mine…to me this reeked of SELLOUT!

Jet City Woman—-For one, this song has an exceptional bass line…second of all, I find this one of the more accessible tracks on this release…allowing DeGarmo to once again deliver a familiar lead guitar that also magically matches the melody line of the vocal. This is superb…I love the energy of this song…although it takes a bit to really surface, this is like Queensryche of old…aggressive yet still accessible with a chorus that will live in your brain.

Empire—-Continuing with the barrage of tracks from Mindcrime, this is a pretty acceptable track. the guitar line is irresistible and is in perfect tandem with the heavy bass drum that beats like your heart throughout the song. This is nice…aggressive and full of familiar sounds but delivering a fresh angle as well. This is much more in line with things that you would find on Rage For Order…a bit experimental and proggish. The chorus is addictive and will stay with you for awhile…this is pretty nice!

Silent Lucidity—-The best-selling single of this bands career, it allowed this once Metal band to be played on top 40 radio 20 times a day. This to me is acceptable but too full of pretention and a need to sell records. Yes, this made the band huge…yes, this also helped spell the demise of this bands credibility.

I Am I—-This song finds the band returning a bit to its roots, but also struggling to follow-up a millions selling record in a short time. This is abrasive at times and really did not work in the climate of music during the time period that it was released. Metal was dead and Grunge was king….the band was not able to follow-up the grandiose recording with another and this really fell flat for most of its fans…myself included. This is lackluster at best.

Bridge—-Trying to follow down the successful Ballad road once again, this is nothing more than a rehash of everything that the band had done before. With no recognizable guitar and a less than stellar vocal, this track fell on deaf ears everywhere it was played.

Sign Of The Times—-This song remains the one shining star of the post Mindcrime time period for the band…returning to a nice aggressive guitar delivery and allowing Scott to pound the hell out of drums, this has a hook line that is damn addictive. Gone is the vocal histrionics of Tate though…he sings in a comfortable range that never causes him to strain or remind us what a great vocalist he used to be. this is nice, but nothing like the glory days. for me the shining moments are all instrumental.

Chasing Blue Sky—-Included as a bonus track, this is from the onset a disappointment. This track finds Tate crooning rather than actually singing. Delivering line after line is an almost deep bass vocal, I question what the hell happened to his voice. When the whole band harmonizes on the chorus it is a bright moment, but overall this is a sad display of how a band falls.

Someone Else?—-This is nice…full of aggressive guitars at the onset, Scott again rocks the drums like he always has. Disappointingly, the song crashes to a slow crawl as Tate delivers yet another ballad trying to relive the moment of Silent Lucidity. This is just a slop song added on to the disc to get people excited…the excitement lasted about 30 seconds.

**** out of 5

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin / Let It Sway

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 220000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Let It SwaySomeone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (SSLYBY) is an indie pop band from Springfield, Missouri. Their first full-length album Broom, independently released in 2005, received good reviews from Spin Magazine and they are now signed with Polyvinyl Record Co.. The band’s name refers to Boris Yeltsin, the first President of Russia (1990–1999).

Let It Sway is the third full length studio album from indie pop/rock band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. It was released through Polyvinyl Records on August 17, 2010.

The Analysis:

Back In The Saddle—-Beginning with an almost trademark Indie Pop style guitar, the vocal soon follows with a remarkable breezy delivery that made me smile from the start! When the song finally open up and the sound becomes more electric and beefier, the vocal follows suit. this turns into a nice Stadium sized rocker that will play very well live and on college Radio. This is a huge, fantastic song…I’m hooked!

Sink/Let It Sway—-from the very first time I heard this song, I knew that this was the one for me from this release. This is immaculate Indie Pop delivered in a way that is remarkably accessible but still complicated and layered. The harmonies on this track are damn perfect…not sure if this is over dubbed or actual…at any rate it is spot on. This is perfectly perfect!

Banned [By The Man]—-This is another really stellar track. The vocal begins almost with the guitar and they play together in perfect tandem. This is a HUGE freakin’ song…this was built for huge arena shows and crowd frenzy…this band knows where it is going. This is perhaps without fail…I remain so impressed.

In Pairs—-Beginning a bit odd, that little voice in my head started to doubt the majesty of the band…for just a moment. This track is just eccentric enough to keep the band Indie and just accessible enough to garner new listeners…this is a machine at work. When that guitar really kicks in, you won’t be able to sit down and ignore it! Guaranteed!!!

My Terrible Personality—-This song melds almost magically from the previous with a more amplified guitar sound and a pure, unadulterated Indie sound. This guitar pick-up in perfect tandem with the guitar is magnificent..this could be our new Arcade Fire!!! The vocal is exquisite…delivered with a melody that will stick in your head for freakin’ days…..damn I love this!!!!

Everlyn—-From the onset, this has a nice progressive drum sound that lets you know you are in for yet another treat. When the guitars and the vocal enters, the melody is literally addictive. the sound if the song…although large is so damn pleasant. This is pure perfection…with nice throwbacks to the 50’s…that male melodic lead…the uptempo of the 00’s…with the guitar and drums…it all smashes together to create this…perfect on this night.

Stuart Gets Lost Dans Le Metro—-Beginning very soft and introspective, the expressive guitar sets the tone for the song. The mood is wonderfully deepened by the intro of a piano and a vocal that is overlayed or sung in the best CSN harmonies I have ever heard. This is beautiful and delivered with the mood to make you feel as the song would dictate…this is just magical!

All Hail Dracula!—-Merging magically and effortlessly from the previous song, this manages to take you in a totally different direction in a matter of seconds….WOW. This is a nice surf, beach pop song that makes me drop my jaw in awe at the vocal harmonies…and the gentle surf pop. This is just wonderful…..this band should be HUGE!

Critical Drain—-This is nice…..delivered in an aggressive manner, the guitars are literally sparkling! This is followed up with a drum track that literally leads the pace of the song…the vocal enters and is like a magical topping on top of everything else. This is beautiful…pained and full of the most descriptive lyrics you could imagine…this is magic!!

Animalkind—-Socially aware and making Damn Good music at the same time….can America ask for anything more? And delivered in an accessible manner that even your kid sibling can listen to. This is fantastic…the harmonies are just magic…and the laid back instrumentation is so pleasant…it would not possibly get on anyone’s nerves. This is just……!!!!

Phantomwise—-More aggressive musically from the onset, the drum track on this song is much heavier from the beginning and remains through the entire song. the vocal has a nice emotional quality to it…going from a quiet reflection to a much louder statement. This is pretty fantastic….I have not enough good words and  no negative words to add.

Made To Last—-From the beginning of this track, I thought of Big Country…..the guitar moves a bit to the backdrop as the song develops though. The vocal is full of vivid lyrics and an emotional delivery that helps you along with every word that is being delivered. This is another really large song….this band COULD really be huge…I’m just say in’.

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]