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No-Man - Lovesighs - An Entertainment CD (album) cover

LOVESIGHS - AN ENTERTAINMENT

No-Man

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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russellk
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars STEVEN WILSON is one of the hardest working craftsmen in modern music, and NO-MAN represents one of his flagship products.

Originally a three-man band, NO-MAN was between 1990 and 1994 WILSON's main hope for his musical breakthrough. It was only when it became clear that NO-MAN was not a long-term commercial proposition that their music became progressive and STEVEN WILSON shifted much of his musical energy to his other fledgling project, PORCUPINE TREE.

'Lovesighs' was NO-MAN's first album after two years of issuing singles with limited success. To my ears the band appeared to be positioning themselves somewhere in the PET SHOP BOYS area. BOWNESS's laconic delivery, subtle variations on a monotone, gives the band a distinctive flavour. WILSON provides gentle, upbeat techno-pop and hip-hop: interesting music, but only a shadow of the magic he would weave later in the decade, both with this band and with PORCUPINE TREE.

NO-MAN certainly had both pretension and ambition. The sleeve of this record notes: 'Four years and (almost) three singles after its sordid conception in the back of a rusty Hillman Imp and its ensuing forceps induced delivery, No Man, the self-proclaimed 'greediest band in pop', finally releases its first (almost) long-playing album'. The same blurb quotes the positive reviews of unnamed critics and goes on (embarrassingly) to describe the band as a 'sexually rampant three-headed monster' who 'know a good bowel movement when [they] feel one.' Not quite the sort of self-promotion they needed, I think.

As for the music, it is surprisingly muted, with none of the big moments WILSON is known for. The songs are small-scale, introverted and thoughtful. 'Days in the Trees' is a genuine good track, while 'Heartcheat Pop' and DONOVAN's 'Colours' are rather enjoyable. I do like the spoken word 'Iris Murdoch Cut Me Down'. The rest of the album is rather forgettable, and is over quickly.

Don't judge NO-MAN on the strength of this album. One year later they came up with an excellent techno-pop album, then shifted gear and mutated into an unclassifiable 'other', a vehicle for STEVEN WILSON creative overflow.

The best tracks of this album are available on compilations. Unless you're a fan and collector like me, leave this one. Move on, proggers, nothing to see here.

Report this review (#144382)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Lovesighs - An Entertainment is the debut album from yet another one of Steven Wilsonīs projects ( Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, Bass Communion..Etc) No-Man. No-man is a very different sounding entity than Steven Wilsonīs most famous band Porcupine Tree which all other Steven Wilson projects always will be compared to. No-Man where on this a three piece band at it was the focus of Steven Wilsonīs attention at the time. Porcupine Tree was at this time a one man project that Steven Wilson worked on when he had time.

The band consist in addition to Steven Wilson who plays all instruments except the violin parts of Tom Bowness on vocals and Ben Coleman on violin.

The music on Lovesighs - An Entertainment is actually a pretty strange mix. The drums are obviously electronic and unmistakebly belonging in the nineties while Tim Bowness subtle vocal approach reminds me of Steven Wilsonīs ditto in Porcupine Tree. In addition to the features there is also a great amount of folky violin playing in the songs. It kind of reminds me of Kate Bush when she is most celtic inspired ( The Sensual World). Iīm having a hard time comparing the music to anything as I donīt listen to much music in this vein. Most songs have an ambient feeling to them and there are not any tracks that stand out from the rest. Well except for the atmospheric last song Days in the trees - reich which is basically a sample of Lara Flynn Boyle talking from Twin Peaks. I actually like this song better than the rest which is not a good thing of course.

The musicianship isnīt that special. Bass and drums are electronic and there is just a few guitar chords here and there. The most exciting parts are the ambient keyboard sounds, but again this isnīt very special or original.

The production is caught in the early nineties. The drum sound really gives this album away. There will be a lot of people having a hard time with that drum sound.

The cover art isnīt that exciting.

This is not an album Iīm very exited about. Itīs not bad but Iīm a bit indifferent towards it. Iīll rate it 2 stars. Fans of Porcupine Tree or Blackfield shouldnīt necessarily pick this one up as the style on Lovesighs - An Entertainment is very different from the sound that those bands stand for.

Report this review (#176381)
Posted Wednesday, July 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Lovesighs is a companion EP to the 1991 No-man debut Loveblows and Lovecries. In fact, it's so much of a companion that I could easily just copy the review of the main album and paste it here.

It is a compilation of proto-trip hop songs with a strong art-pop flavour and persistent dub-loop rhythms. The song quality is very uneven, with only the opener Heartcheat Pop and Iris Murdoch standing out in this mostly faceless collection of songs. Also the vocal qualities of Tim Bowness is a point open for discussion. While his David Sylvian inspired mumblings can convey a warm and soothing melancholy, their monotonous delivery can easily turn a No-man album into a weary listen.

Only for Wilson / No-man completists.

Report this review (#267313)
Posted Sunday, February 21, 2010 | Review Permalink

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