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The Quiet One View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2010 at 21:21
Hey Rob, your Awake review surprised me, great review!
 
Although I did remember that you once told me that Awake was, in your opinion, Dream Theater's finest. Though I don't agree with the rating, with the review itself I'm very much in agreement with almost everything.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2010 at 21:36
Not much of a surprise re Awake because I had recommended it to him after his Images & Words review (though I don't know if he had already heard it).  Wink  This is the one where they put their best foot forward...Moore recedes into the background a bit and is thereby actually more effective, giving a powerful sense of atmosphere to the music.  Voices is my favourite Petrucci solo spot.  LaBrie turns in his best performance with the band to date,which...is still not necessarily saying a lot; sometimes he gets tiresome to listen to after a while even on this album.

Agree about Heavy Horses too.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2010 at 21:40
^ Cheers for the recommendation Roger; can't remember if I'd heard it before.

Originally posted by The Quiet One The Quiet One wrote:

Hey Rob, your Awake review surprised me, great review!
 
Although I did remember that you once told me that Awake was, in your opinion, Dream Theater's finest. Though I don't agree with the rating, with the review itself I'm very much in agreement with almost everything.


Cheers Pablo; the rating is a bit of a rationalisation issue on that one. If I find a modern band that can frequently put out remarkably consistent 70-minute albums without becoming somewhat homogenous, it may drop to four.

Also, just seen mis-hit gets censored LOL


Edited by TGM: Orb - March 31 2010 at 21:44
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2010 at 21:44
Great review on Awake. In spite of disagreeing with you in every other review you have made of that band, this one I actually agree on almost everything.
 
Congratulations. 
 
Clap


Edited by CCVP - March 31 2010 at 21:49
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 31 2010 at 21:53
^
Thanks Caio, though I'm sure we'll have to agree to disagree a lot on certain other albums by that particular outfit LOL
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 01 2010 at 08:34
Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:

^
Thanks Caio, though I'm sure we'll have to agree to disagree a lot on certain other albums by that particular outfit LOL
Sure Rob, we can always agree to disagree in this case, wile disagreeing in agreeing in other cases were an agreement cannot be reached even though we disagree Wacko LOL.
 
Anyway, DT is controversial band and I can agree they make a lot of people disagree. TongueLOL
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 01 2010 at 08:39
Not sure I agree with you there Wink... but then, that was agreed Confused
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2010 at 18:46
Bloody Tourists, 10cc, 1978

StarStarStar

Decent album by one of my favourite outlets of quality rock and oddball art-pop. Minus Godley and Creme, 10cc’s grasp of parody becomes rather less consistent... the remaining Stewart and Gouldman partnership, while remaining rather fine songwriters and occasionally amusing lyricists with a penchant for melody, great voices and solid performances, seems not to tantalisingly straddle the fine line between sincerity and parody but rather stumbles over it and back all too frequently. Musically, this album’s both catchy and well-written BUT there are a disconcerting number of songs on this record that are not bad but non-highlights and where 10cc had most thrived was on coming up with songs that are both inescapably catchy and somewhat off the wall. But at least they start with one of them;

Dreadlock Holiday is one of 10cc’s finest and best-received hits. Unless you do have some deep-seated moral objection to white men doing reggae, 10cc’s merge of the genre’s aesthetics with a sharp sense of parody (hence the thin organ tone) and a number of gorgeous pop hooks (listen to that marimba roll...) in a decidedly unusual format should be a somewhat uncontested highlight. While that basically puts the rest of the album to shame in terms of catchiness, quality and originality, the more-or-less narrative Anonymous Alcoholic with its neat funk middle comes close-ish.

Across the rest of the album, the more rock, fast-paced numbers seem to more or less fade once they’re over. Shock On The Tube is a bit of a lyrical rehash of I’m Mandy (Fly Me); neat guitar line, runaway piano and the great harmonies. Last Night is a rather tamer riff-driven piece which, while memorable in bursts, doesn’t really go very far.

The odd stuff comes in two parts: Old Mister Time has a sort of Gentle Giant vibe on the opening with dark choppy piano chords and the occasional odd effect. Lyrics decidedly thin and the character play isn’t quite there. Great moments everywhere, with some remarkable Beach Boys-y Harmonies, but not a fully functioning whole.

The more progressive-sounding Tokyo is piled up with synths and guitar effects. Lead vocals fine as ever, harmonies better than ever. Lyrics haven’t been great on the album, but with the slowed pace of this one, it’s rather galling. Instrumental section a highlight.

Of the calmer pieces, slightly-too-comfortable ballad You And I is very pretty. Reds In My Bed borders on sluggish; the band is far too capable to mess anything up obviously but given that the only bit from the song that really stands out for me is the vocal harmonies, I think there’s something decidedly beneath 10cc’s regular standard in the writing. Take These Chains is marginally more noticeable. Lifeline’s acoustic section is extremely pretty, making the ironic reggae alternation a little more entertaining. Some vocal melodies not miles beneath the Beatles’ best work.

Rounded off with From Rochdale to Ocho Rias. A fun song. Indefensibly so, but still fun. Perhaps one of the album’s better ones... vocal melodies fantastic, parodic bursts entertaining, energy kept throughout, guitar solo excellent. Strange that the album’s most openly ironic piece seems both more sincere and effortlessly deep (‘you spend half your life in transit, but that’s just the way God plans it/toothbrush and some fresh pyjamas, that’s all you need’) than the extended story pieces.

10cc’s earlier albums, aside from being some of the first music I really got into, continue to make me listen and make me smile... this doesn’t really do that, but it’s nice to listen to and has some of the best vocal harmonies and melodies they’ve written. Pick Bloody Tourists up if you’re already into the band or want to see their more regular and subdued side more closely, if you’re not, head over to such classics as Sheet Music, The Original Soundtrack and How Dare You for some of the finest and most disarmingly original art-pop known to man.

Rating: Three Stars, 10/15

Favourite Track: Dreadlock Holiday

---

Should review the afore-mentioned pinnacles of Crossover sooner or later... wanted to write some more averagey-low ratings first though.


Edited by TGM: Orb - April 03 2010 at 18:47
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 29 2010 at 08:32
< ="-" ="text/; =utf-8">< name="ProgId" ="Word.">< name="Generator" ="Microsoft Word 12">< name="Originator" ="Microsoft Word 12">

Us, Peter Gabriel

StarStarStarStar

While it’s fairly galling to give what’s quite possibly my favourite Peter Gabriel album less than a confident five stars, I have to admit that the overwhelming emotional power and quality of the whole isn’t quite matched by a slightly trundling Sledgehammer-lite song in the shape of Steam. Otherwise, however, we have Gabriel at his most heartfelt, with his raw voice and honest lyrics never buried under effects and a sort of electronic world/pop orchestra approach to every song that doesn’t really crowd proceedings but rather produces a wonderful, flexible background against which the ideas, vocals and soloists stand out.

The first three songs are various shades of heartbreak, with a special emphasis on the power of the lyrics... this is not the sort of teenage angst that can be wonderful if written preciously enough but a much more mature look back at failed relationships with sentiments that really should make an impression. Come Talk To Me is the most colourful song Gabriel’s ever written, in my opinion, just listen to that violin-solo-followed-by-Eno’s(I think)-keyboards towards the end or the way the central theme is reprised very quietly in the softer, hopeful but unsuccessful, breakthrough section.

Love To Be Loved is equally powerful from a lyrical perspective, has a great rhythm section and the unsuccessful escape at the end (a recurring theme of this album) has a crushing emotional power, some of Gabriel’s best personal dramatic vocals and a touching musical contrast. Blood Of Eden is a slower, calmer piece but no less emotionally charged – the vocals shared with Sinead O Connor have a wonderful liquid power contrasted with Gabriel’s grittier, more defined leads.

I’ve already touched on Steam but I suppose it’s worth saying that it’s more how out of place this chugging guitar/horns song is and how lacking in dynamics (well, they’re there but more in the minutiae of the construction than the whole piece) it is compared to its obvious model. It’s a good song; I enjoy it, but I’m not sure it should be here. While we’re here, I suppose we may as well touch on the other two upbeat ‘pop’ songs of the album – Kiss That Frog is in the same vein, though I really like it for some incomprehensible reason. Maybe it’s the less unitary nature of the second half the album or the hilarious harmonica or the disarming tricksy intro but I think it fits in pretty well.

Digging In The Dirt should certainly not be placed with those two; it’s fast-paced but it’s also an aggressive, angry piece full of contrasts both emotional and musical and listen to that gorgeous break at around 2.20. In short, it’s serious and it really is very good. Probably the piece from the album that’s most grown on me.

Only Us is a very powerful piece of dark, murmuring atmospheric music directed mostly through the rhythm parts. The electronics are draped over the duduk and Gabriel’s vocals and Levin’s breakthroughs into the upper register. I suppose you could trim a couple of minutes and keep the general thrust of the ‘song’ more or less the same but then you’d lose the album’s best guitar part. Washing Of The Water is easily the best of the occasional simple pieces Gabriel’s given us in dribs and drabs since Peter Gabriel 1, aside from the powerful central image (‘let your waters reach me, like she reached me tonight’) and the heart-melting vocals, the choices of instrument (piano, organ, cello) are all pretty much perfect.

Fourteen Black Paintings is a very simple concept executed brilliantly and professionally. Showcases one of Gabriel’s best features: while in the details he incorporates a lot of world music and pop elements, he usually retains a sense of overall structure and energy that allows him to mould these into something really powerful, unitary and unique.

Secret World sees at last the escapism so often unsuccessful in the previous songs, breaking free from the constraints of failed relationships. The image is incredible, the lyrics and vocals heart-rending and the bass part is particularly good.

Us is probably my favourite Peter Gabriel album, a bit more consistent than 4, a bit more mature than 3 (which I’ve rated higher), rather deeper than So and much more vivacious than Up. I’d recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who thinks that experimental ‘pop’ music has some possibilities for expressing ideas in a serious way (and if you’re on this site, you probably should) or simply more or less anyone. A very good album, get it immediately.

Favourite Track: Secret World
Rating: Four Stars (13/15)



Edited by TGM: Orb - June 28 2010 at 17:18
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2010 at 17:10
Perdition City, Ulver

StarStarStarStar

A revelation about the potential of trip-hop; the mood of each piece is pretty much always hit (though I have to admit the snarling gangster soundtrack thing may be welcome relief from the rather absorbing coldness of the rest of the album but it’s also so stereotypical and tacky that it sort of collapses under its own weight). If every piece were quite as good as the opening Lost In Moments, which perfectly contrasts a chilly background with the bursts of warm saxophone, loose paraphrasing of Kerouac, very defined vocals, and the human vibrancy of the wonderful escapist conclusion. If this is still available on PA as a sample, give it a listen. I suppose having too obvious a favourite is a bad idea for a mood album if that favourite is very self-sufficient.

Thereafter, most of the album remains very consistent and, more importantly, consistently very good. Take the following Porn Piece: half minimalist-driven dark mood music with a cello, leading up into a very warm and haunting song which a savage groove interrupts followed by a return of the main idea. Very well-structured and internally logical. Hallways of Always is, I suppose, where your appreciation of the music’s content over its aesthetic is most tested; I think it’s wonderful. Tomorrow Never Knows might well represent some of the album’s best musical fusion, with the contrast of a slightly industrial and very modern music with some shimmering film-score-type backgrounds – however, I’m not quite as convinced about this one as the album so far, it sounds a bit thin on ideas whenever the ‘leads’ drop out, though the concluding catharsis is absolutely wonderful.

The Future Sound of Music is initially more driven by the depth and range of sounds that augment it than the rather dry piano chords that hold the piece down. From the choral/piano contrast around three minutes in, the whole piece is absolutely essential modern progressive music. I suppose you could have made the first section a bit more self-sufficient without ruining the (utterly brilliant) contrast with the following half. We Are The Dead is the most uncomfortable thing on the album, I guess, unsettling the listener with its rich, crisp vocal delivery, dark and resonant lyrics and most of all the unsettled background contrasting with a repeated ghostly choral sound. Dead City Centres contains the lapse in taste referred to above, and while it largely represents an excellent development from the former track, I can never decide whether the jazz interlude/Chicago Gangster parody works out very well. It is well executed and is a musically solid choice, but conceptually it rather disturbs the immersion.

Catalept is another classical/trip-hop fusion though this one has a definite forwards trajectory. The washes of anarchic noise are a very neat effect indeed. The closing Nowhere/Catastrophe merges the album’s trip-hop/minimalism with a genuine song, and a very decent one at that. Anyway, the conclusion is wonderfully bleak. One non-musical quibble: 1) ‘Trickster G’... maybe it’s no sillier than, say, ‘Furry Lewis’ or ‘Slash’ or ‘Sting’ but I think those names are ridiculous too.

In short, Perdition City is a superb result for a ‘let’s get a random album from a random genre I know nothing about’ moment. It doesn’t get a perfect score because I feel there are some cracks in the overall construction and a couple of parts that feel a little lazier than the album’s best cuts. A very original and powerful album, which is exceptionally well-constructed and which perhaps might change your views on the validity of certain strains of music as it did mine. Needless to say, you should get it.

Rating: Four Stars, 12/15 (or maybe a 13)
Favourite Track: Lost In Moments, though any of the first three would do.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 27 2010 at 09:52
For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night, Caravan, 1974

StarStarStarStar (and Smile)

Caravan’s 1974 album comes with more line-up shifting. The loss of Richard Sinclair, much as he’s one of the relatively few really distinctive and charming voices in the Canterbury scene, we can deal with. Firstly, Pye Hastings is on a creative peak, with tighter guitar work, superb melodic writing and winning lead vocals (I think a couple are also taken by John Perry, with a bit more balance inside songs than the Hastings/Sinclair pair had). Secondly, the fantastic John G. Perry (whose very respectable solo album is worth checking out) is on bass. While not a showy lead bassist, he is extremely melodic and supportive and his choices of tone are superb. Thirdly, they have a violist. So, one of the best bass albums of all time, David Sinclair at his most subtly wonderful, Pye Hastings writing, playing and singing better than ever, a violist, two pieces with orchestration, a load more guests to add a little more flavour to various pieces (Rupert Hine on synth and Frank Ricotti on congas in particular) and a brilliant title.

A truly superior and very professional Caravan album but not without the charm of earlier efforts.

The opening of Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss is one of the essential Caravan jams with some solid brass orchestration, awesome feedback solos from David Sinclair and a Jimmy Hastings flute solo (which is always a good thing). However, the departure from this jamming is arguably even better... Headloss is a solid display of melody writing with superb rhythm section work.

Hoedown is a more decisively rock song and arguably feels more lively here than in the more participational A Hunting We Shall Go version. Of note, the melody is great and the various moody David Sinclair twinkling over that riff is wonderful.

Surprise, Surprise has the two new elements of Caravan’s  arsenal in the foreground. Geoffrey Richardson on viola adds a pastoral character and a heart-warming solo, while Perry’s basswork is stronger than ever. Pye Hastings’ vocals are gorgeous, and the lyrics are some of the best disjointed ones around: ‘when the years are gone, and we live on memories/Will you still remember me that way?’

C’thlu thlu is a bit of an odd one, turning through ironic creepiness to a hilarious chorus, ‘so we ran – YEAH! – as fast as we can’. Somewhat liquidy, and the mellotron-like organ work and killer blues solo is (like most of Sinclair’s washes on this album) a highlight that doesn’t jump out at you but waits and creeps up. Again, Perry’s basswork is more than excellent, and the addition of Frank Ricotti’s congas to the rhythm section shakes things up a little.

The Dog, The Dog, He’s At It Again... great pop song with Caravan’s typical flair for light humour and unusual parts. Pye Hastings gets credit for some of the best light melodies this side of Paul McCartney and some curious winning lyrics: ‘You’re naive if you really do believe/that the world is so full of sin’.  The jam replete with handclaps is every bit a match for the wonderful layered vocal sections.

Be Alright/Chance Of A Lifetime isn’t very well opened. I don’t like the vocals all that much, the riff is a bit laboured, solos (although we have a very good Pye Hastings guitar solo) are tacked on over the top. However, the continuation is just gorgeous – a liberated Geoffrey Richardson adds a melting texture over the top of some gorgeous vocals to a great, great melody. So, yes, the opening of this is my only real doubt about the album but the rest more than compensates.

A Hunting We Shall Go is English pastoral rock at its finest.

Anyway, get some good speakers, get this album, find a relaxed Summer afternoon when hayfever keeps you indoors, listen out for the details and enjoy For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night.

Rating: 13/15. Four Stars that would be a comfortable five if it weren’t for the minute and a half of Be Alright.
Favourite track: hm. A Hunting We Shall Go, if only for the viola riff.

P.S. Bonus tracks are mostly just WIP versions plus another mix of Memory Lain, Hugh/Headloss and I can’t think of anything hugely remarkable about them. The track left over from the Austin/Evans sessions is at least a bit different and, if memory serves, pretty good, with the heavy organ use, so that’s maybe worth having as a curiosity – the remaster sound is fantastic, so I wouldn’t shy away from getting it despite the generally weak bonuses.

PPS. Noticed I haven’t mentioned drummer/constant member Jimmy Coughlan once in the earlier review. This is largely because he’s generally very solid and while his style helps make the album,  he only really stands out all that much on Hoedown and A Hunting We Shall Go.


Edited by TGM: Orb - June 28 2010 at 17:16
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2010 at 17:14
Tormato

Dead

Rare album to actually lend credit to the ‘I just couldn’t make myself listen to it more than once to make this rushed knee-jerk reaction review’ standpoint. The name itself is, or should be, a combination of torment and the ancient Sanskrit word for festering yet shiny dung. Obviously the band would be much too technically gifted to produce an utterly meritless turd if it weren’t for the combination of terrible production and serious lapses in taste on the part of every band member.

Wakeman is here shinier and generally less pleasing than an arse-pimple. Squire has somehow acquired an utterly vapid, gutless tone, White’s bag of tricks are a cheap and transparent plastic covering thrown over the stained furniture of the album’s rhythms, Howe is more or less unremarkable and his trademark tones are draped over directionless parts. Anderson’s chant-y and rather unmemorable melodies are here slammed into a number of songs with no real focal points, which robs most of his power. While Yes have hardly been the example par excellence for hard-hitting lyrics which are simultaneously accessible and guttural, Anderson’s lyrics have never been so insufferably dumb or lazy as Tormato’s and nor are the vocal arrangements very special.

The ultimate failure of Tormato doesn’t come down to any failure by any particular member, but to the fact that everyone (except White, who’s trying as hard as possible not to impress us) is trying to show off simultaneously with no particular concern for the actual songs. And the production and tone choices mean that all these separate half-arsed attempts to impress us fall flat in an overly busy mess.
Future Times/Rejoice is an upbeat little number with a bit of vaguely countrified drumming and hideously messy and shiny production. The synth choices are hardly great, and Wakeman somehow manages to make even the organ sound wimpy. On the plus side, you can look forward to the Future Times when Tormato will have stopped.

Don’t Kill The Whale. ‘Our last heaven-beast’ is sadly betrayed by Jon’s moodless and thoughtless writing. Much as it’s become the figurehead for the album’s criticism because modest commercial success from short songs isn’t OK, I genuinely think it represents the album’s best musically. Fairly punchy, hilarious harmonies and a sort of balance within the piece that’s not really around anywhere else here. Also, whatever you think of the song, Anderson singing ‘dig it dig it’ could’ve made music hall.

Madrigal comes from another world where Yes aren’t the world’s most tasteless band in 1978. Harpsichord, lush classical guitar and Anderson’s vocals fit together very well. If ‘Celestial travelers have always been here with us’, they’re probably now leaving early with a mumbled excuse and downcast eyes pretending not to know mystic J.

Release, Release – the instrumental noodling will probably be considered a highlight, and for moments it’s not that bad – the transition at about 4 minutes in is pretty cool, the opening is solid, Squire has some funky bass near the end. Howe doesn’t really pull off rock and roll, and added cheering doesn’t lighten a bland drum solo or make it feel live.

Arriving UFO. Wakeman’s uncharacteristic bit of organ echo fiddling lightens this unmemorable bit of trite Anderson writing. On the plus side, hilarious and the aforementioned organ. On the minus, the chorus melodies and a lot of the writing is banal.

Circus Of Heaven – the inclusion of a child’s voice deflating Anderson’s maddening list of adjectives was slightly funny, but the song is otherwise pretty unredeemed. Anyway, using irony does not a good song make.

Onward: a bit of supple vibrato doesn’t disguise a very boring melody and a general lack of instrumental writing. The keyboards (presumably Wakeman) are admittedly a fairly uncanny imitation of a dire over-orchestration.

On The Silent Wings Of Freedom is not a lost classic, nor is it really progressive rock of the calibre we expect from Yes. The awfully thin (as much the fault of the production as anything) rhythm section focussed opening is redeemed only by a couple of Howe’s more liquid solos though neither of these seem to actually be aiming anywhere.

The problem with the whole is that there’s nothing remarkable, surprising or (thank god) particularly memorable about Tormato. The problem with the individual parts is that they are, basically, Yes parodying itself.

Save the somewhat redeemed Don’t Kill the Whale and Madrigal, an awful, awful album that the die-hard Yes fan will buy anyway. Recommended for anyone working on an incentive program to stop online piracy. Another positive thing about Guantanamo Bay’s closure is that this album no longer has a place in the civilised world.

Rating: One Star. But not a very shiny star. 4/15
Favourite Track: Madrigal or Don’t Kill The Whale

---

For the record, I've listened to this quite a few times now and I still find it blissfully hard to remember most of it. That perhaps explains why some of my song descriptions are very light. Love Beach represents a far superior pop record to that one. As does 90125, actually. Something like Genesis (s/t) blows it out of the water.

Anyway, ech. Next up, some rare live Caravan, I think.


Edited by TGM: Orb - June 28 2010 at 17:19
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 30 2010 at 21:29
A Hunting We Shall Go, Caravan, 1974

StarStar (Star)

Rather lightweight live album, only thirty four minutes long, three songs and some painful applause herding for an encore. The line-up is essentially the Girls line-up, though John G. Perry's been replaced by an also-excellent Mike Wedgwood. The production is clear but the mix misjudged: the admittedly nicely brought out bass sound dwarfs all other elements. In particular, Pye Hastings' guitar is very low, the drums never seem to match the bass volume.

Regarding the content, we have the minor classic suite A Hunting We Shall Go and Hoedown off For Girls plus the fairly seminal For Richard. A Hunting We Shall Go, despite some brief bits of curious improvisation, feels a bit pale and pasty without the superb For Girls production and frills. The riff is still magnificent.

For Richard is translated brilliantly to the new line-up. Richardson's viola really changes the flavour of the piece to something a little more pastoral while the bass-heavy mix keeps it powerful and punchy as ever. Pye Hastings' vocals are fleeting but delightful. In the nearly 20 minutes running time, we see the whole plethora of cool, loose improvisations and tight, light-hearted rock music that defines Caravan taken over wholesale by a fresh line-up with a star soloist. Hoedown is the encore... lively tune but not really a show-stopper. Caravan bring out the participational elements of that song in a trite, amusing, ironic way with a calculated lack of charisma. Changed more drastically than hunting from the studio version, with Hastings' echoey guitar and Richard Coughlan's drums holding things down and various cutesy improvisations from the band's major instrumentalists.

Hard to see what appeal this album will have for those who aren't devotees of Caravan and even those who are don't really need this. Still, the For Richard take on here is grade A live album stuff. Only two stars for the whole package, maybe a three for the performances; more than half of the stuff here could be part of an easily five star Caravan live album.

Rating: Two Stars but quite good/15 Favourite Track: For Richard

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 10 2010 at 12:28
< ="-" ="text/; =utf-8">< name="ProgId" ="Word.">< name="Generator" ="Microsoft Word 12">< name="Originator" ="Microsoft Word 12">

90125 - Yes, 1982

StarStar

Maybe

After the unfortunate bowel movement that was Tormato, I approached this with some reservations about Yes’ more openly pop career. 90125 has some equally distasteful eructations but . Squire is rather subordinated, Anderson sounds nothing like he has before (i.e. on occasion, he emotes ;)). Interesting how much of the aesthetic appears to be artlessly modelled on the hugely commercially successful Asia. I suppose that many of the things that ruin this album for me are the same things that wreck Asia for a lot of this site’s members but really, the difference is that Asia’s first album has memorable songs with noticeable personalities. This album has three, maybe four songs a dedicated Yes fan should hear plus a quick instrumental.

Owner Of A Lonely Heart... the harmonies are lush, I like the various soloish bits, which represent a genuine combination of imaginative writing and pop sensibilities. The whole song is good, has personality and is memorable.

Hold On isn’t quite hard rock. The vocal harmony that forms the lead vocal is just not really very compatible with the rest of the (very bland) song and Rabin’s guitar tone is unforgivably cheap. We can do without any of the five minutes of this.

It Can Happen... the chorus and indeed most of the song is dreadful, bawling stuff and Squire’s cool bass flourish is the only feature we might want salvaged into a rather better six minute song.

Changes... and wow. After two dreadful pieces that only by virtue of their intelligible but still bad lyrical content and production couldn’t be on Tormato, we have one of the greatest songs Yes have ever offered up and a pinnacle of early 80s attempts to make synthetic pop more complex and progressive rock more emotive. The lush, dense progressive, tuned-percussion-heavy intro and outro are neither of them hugely relevant to the glorious, direct song they surround but still fits with it superbly. The singing is fantastic, the harmonies again sound like something that only Yes could do and the song is simply so much more imaginative and punchy than anything off the album yet.

Cinema will maybe hold more attractions for those who feel instrumentals for their own sake are still events. I personally have as little affection for this moodless though technically impressive and dense piece as I have for YYZ. Short instrumentals do best with a mood, dammit.

Leave It... outrageous, outrageous vocal harmonies completely with a bass voice that sounds like a strange merger of 10cc, Gentle Giant and the Drama Line-Up. So utterly out of character for this album that the vaguely shiny disco chorus seems merely hilarious and the rest inane genius in a thankfully relatively compact format.

Our Song... the fairly quick if not hugely imaginative rhythm section is done a disservice by the horribly omnipresent tacky keyboard choices from Kaye.

City Of Love has comedy value in excess of the various bad songs here; Jon Anderson trying to sing in a streetwise manner contrasted with stereotypical AOR harmonies (‘no woman don’t cry! No woman don’t... cry!’). Has to be heard for that reason alone. Musically tolerable.

Hearts is a bit more carefully constructed than the remaining songs, with decent development on existing themes, cryptic lyrics put over some very nice harmonies. More of the Trevor Rabin show. A bit too much repetition. Not a bad song, just loses focus a little.

One song elevates this album to the lofty heights of two stars. If you can listen to Changes and still believe that an 80s aesthetic and pop format is incompatible with superb creative music, you are quite beyond help. Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Cinema, It Can Happen and the comedy value of City Of Love further rescue this from the bin and/or toilet I’ll keep Tormato. If you’re a Yes fan, you need look no further than 1978 to do worse than this.

Rating: Two Stars, 7/15, maybe.
Favourite Track: Changes

---

Generous rating but I like Changes too much.

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Ronnie Pilgrim View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 10 2010 at 17:33
No disrespect, but I did not much care for the review referenced below. Wink 
Here's why.

Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:

Review 45, A Passion Play, Jethro Tull, 1973

StarStarStarStarLamp





Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:


After the phenomenal success of Thick As A Brick, Anderson and co. approached this next offering with their minds set to creating another one-song album. 


Well, this is not exactly true, but has no bearing on the review thankfully. The actual "Chateau D' Isaster" story is here. The "mind-set" was one of creating a concept album paralleling the similarities between humans and animals. The one-song album we got came from hastily re-written material salvaged from those failed recording sessions and given a new concept. I'm not sure you can really state that the intention was to create a one song album all along.

Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:


John Anderson's vocals, lyrics, acoustics and flute are excellent as ever throughout the entire album, and the more prominent use of his sax (which isn't generally great, but does contribute to the more chaotic and dissonant sections of the album). 


Stop right there. Please don't tell me you don't know the man's name is Ian Anderson.

How can you claim to have any credibility going forward with a glaring mistake such as that?

Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:

 More trivially, this is one of two albums to which I have been caught playing air acoustics very badly. I'm restraining myself from awarding five stars, but only because my personal preference finds itself elsewhere at the moment.

It's not clear whether or not you are withholding your five star rating because you were embarrassed by your behavior while listening to it; but in any event, the album deserves at least 5 full stars or the omission of this statement as a reason for not doing so.


For me, A Passion Play is your Larks' Tongue in Aspic - both albums I would rate 6 stars.
It has everything a proggie craves - rock, symph, jazz, folk, great lyrics, a concept, originality, uniqueness, and depth.
Brilliantly executed.


Edited by Ronnie Pilgrim - July 10 2010 at 20:28
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 10 2010 at 19:35
Never have I disagreed more in my life with anybody than in your SFaM review, but oh well thats just me. Embarrassed
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 10 2010 at 21:51
Originally posted by Ronnie Pilgrim Ronnie Pilgrim wrote:

No disrespect, but I did not much care for the review referenced below. Wink 
Here's why.

Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:

Review 45, A Passion Play, Jethro Tull, 1973

StarStarStarStarLamp





Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:


After the phenomenal success of Thick As A Brick, Anderson and co. approached this next offering with their minds set to creating another one-song album. 


Well, this is not exactly true, but has no bearing on the review thankfully. The actual "Chateau D' Isaster" story is here. The "mind-set" was one of creating a concept album paralleling the similarities between humans and animals. The one-song album we got came from hastily re-written material salvaged from those failed recording sessions and given a new concept. I'm not sure you can really state that the intention was to create a one song album all along.

Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:


John Anderson's vocals, lyrics, acoustics and flute are excellent as ever throughout the entire album, and the more prominent use of his sax (which isn't generally great, but does contribute to the more chaotic and dissonant sections of the album). 


Stop right there. Please don't tell me you don't know the man's name is Ian Anderson.

How can you claim to have any credibility going forward with a glaring mistake such as that?

Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:

 More trivially, this is one of two albums to which I have been caught playing air acoustics very badly. I'm restraining myself from awarding five stars, but only because my personal preference finds itself elsewhere at the moment.

It's not clear whether or not you are withholding your five star rating because you were embarrassed by your behavior while listening to it; but in any event, the album deserves at least 5 full stars or the omission of this statement as a reason for not doing so.

For me, A Passion Play is your Larks' Tongue in Aspic - both albums I would rate 6 stars.
It has everything a proggie craves - rock, symph, jazz, folk, great lyrics, a concept, originality, uniqueness, and depth.
Brilliantly executed.


Suppose I should edit that one a bit:

Re: Chateau D'Isaster... had forgotten that. Good point.

Re: John/Jon/Ian/Neo. Silly typo is tilly sypo. Editor was fired in anticipation of recession. Re: Credibility. I'm only writing a few album reviews in my spare time... I'm not deciding on a national level which school building projects to scrap. Figure I can deal with an occasional typographical cock-up.

Re: air acoustics... no; was a light aside with no particular causal relationship to the sentence following it - I'd thought the last sentence there made it pretty clear why it wasn't getting a five then. While only semi-relevant here, I'm pretty sure I did up the rating to a 5 a while back (check the album's page - one of the problems with this thread is that I don't and don't really have the energy/time to update all the individual reviews as I occasionally update the actual 'site' reviews).

Any way you cut it, it's a great album Thumbs Up - if I've time I'll try to edit it up a little tomorrow.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 10 2010 at 22:11
Originally posted by DT-PT DT-PT wrote:

Never have I disagreed more in my life with anybody than in your SFaM review, but oh well thats just me. Embarrassed


In a world with (the immensely wonderful) Brass Eye, Conservapedia and The Daily Mail, I think that deserves a medal Wink

Anyway, it's obviously not just you (nearer the time, I got a PM from someone who by their own admission hadn't read my review and still managed to disagree utterly and completely and categorically with it)... I'm more interested, to be honest, in getting one or two people to hear some of the more interesting Hammill albums or Maneige than knocking albums like Scenes or Tormato, fun though that is.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 10 2010 at 23:03
^
Speaking of which, on a more positive note, your Tormato review is dead on. LOL
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 11 2010 at 11:13
Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:

 
Any way you cut it, it's a great album Thumbs Up - if I've time I'll try to edit it up a little tomorrow.

Yeah, not getting paid for these reviews is a bitch, and then to put up with the likes of me....
You actually got a lot more right than you did wrong, and my hat's off to you for all the work.

Because there's another error, and since you offered, here's a rundown of who does the vocalizations on the album:

John Evans
"And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the boney shoulders of a young horse named George, who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision."
and
"This is the story of the hare who lost his spectacles." (Spoken line, not the narrative)

Jeffrey Hammond
"The examining body examined her body."
and
The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles the narrative
and
"Steve. Caroline." Shouted at the end of the album during the fadeout

Ian Anderson
All other mouth sounds; whistles, grunts and words sung or spoken

Thanks for your professional courtesy.




Edited by Ronnie Pilgrim - July 11 2010 at 14:09
"The pointy birds are pointy pointy
Anoint my head anointy nointy"
Steve Martin The Man With Two Brains
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