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Music Index

The starting point for an index of all my musical sections.

 

Historic Album Reviews

I am gradually building up my reviews of historic albums from America to U2

 

The Music Years

Albums reviewed by years from 1963 until the present day.

 

The Gig List

A list of concerts and gigs I have attended over the years with reviews when I can remember what they were like.

 

Music Writing

My music writing - both published and unpublished.

 

Here and Now

Details of Eastern Evening News Here and Now columns I was involved in.

 

2009 Album Reviews

Major 2009 albums reviewed and rated.

 

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Free music - Best of 2009

 

Free music - Best of 2010

My favourite tracks from 2010 compiled as a playlist.

 

 

 

 

 

The Music Years - 2009

The following albums were released in 2009 and have been reviewed thanks to the following legal music sites:

 

To Lose My Life - White Lies - 6 

Death/ To Lose My Life/ A Place to Hide/ Fifty on our Foreheads/ Unfinished Business/ EST/ From the Stars/ Farewell to the Fairground/ Nothing to Give/ The Price of Love

If you are prone to depression, please keep away from this album which should carry a health warning on its sleeve. It talks of death and destruction. There is a definite nod to Joy Division, although the lyrics are more discernable and the songs more tuneful. Add to that the fact that they sound uncompromisingly like The Editors and you get some kind of feel for this London trio who have been tipped in many circles for success in 2009. It's really a matter of whether their territory and their music is just a touch too sparse and difficult to digest. Just listing the song titles could be enough to put you off. If you want music to entertain keep away from this one. If you want music to be thought provoking then give it a few listens - it's pretty much as simple as that.

Stand Out Track - Death

 

The Crying Light - Antony and the Johnsons - 6

Her Eyes are Underneath the Ground/ Epilepsy is Dancing/ One Dove/ Kiss My Name/ The Crying Light/ Another World/ Daylight and the Sun/ Aeon, Dust on Water/ Everglade

And now for something completely different. I always think it is wrong when writing reviews to assume that everyone reading them is knowledgeable about that particular artist. There are still relatively few people aware of the work of Anthony Hegarty despite the originality of his 2005 Mercury Prize winner "I Am A Bird Now". It's certainly worth checking out. This is the follow up. It's difficult to describe Hegarty's voice. Probably Nina Simone is the closest in sound and that alone might give you some idea of the gender bending involved here and previously. This is a difficult album to comment on as it's a mixture of under-stated songs about flowers and the world in general mixed with theatricality. You have to delve beyond the sparseness of some of the music and melodies. There's nothing comfortable about what Antony delivers. On Epilepsy is Dancing he opines "cut me in quadrants, leave me in the corner." Lyrically it's an expansive album about freedom, peace, life and death. The collection of songs is dedicated to Japanese butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno. Apparently butoh is a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance inspired by Ankoku Butoh (so now you know). Thank goodness that there are people in this world prepared to push the boundaries of art and music. Antony and the Johnsons do it in a subtle and undemanding way amidst some strange instrumentation. Give this one a try. You'll either love it or hate it.

Stand Out Track - Daylight and the Sun

 

Tonight - Franz Ferdinand - 6

Ulysses/ Turn It On/ No You Girls Never Know/ Send Him Away/ Twilight Omens/ Bite Hard/ What She Came For/ Live Alone/ Can't Stop Feeling/ Lucid Dream/ Dream Again/ Katherine Kiss Me

It is often said that the success of a group lies with the strength of its second album. Many never make it past this landmark. Well FF have now released their third. Surprisingly it's been four years since the last one "You Could Have It So Much Better." The band has been accused in some quarters of being samey on their new release, but I have to say Tonight is a grower. On the first few listens I wasn't at all sure about the direction it was taken. But on further listens, that is part of its charm. The idea of progression-no progression is illustrated by the opening track and single Ulysses which at first seems to sound more of an amalgam of Blur and Scissor Sisters but on closer examination is firmly in the Franz Ferdinand camp. There is a similar kind of feel to Turn It On and that's the hard edge songs gone. It's almost as if the album goes through a number of re-incarnations with "Twilight Omens," "Bite Hard" and "What She Came For" firmly entrenched in the FF past. Just when you are coming to terms with this the album veers off for an almost folky finale that includes the almost psychedelic Lucid Dream and Dream Again and the acoustic Katherine Kiss Me. So it's quite difficult to sum this album up. Some of the same (yes), some changes (yes) but four years is a long time to wait for an album that will re-establish the band without re-inventing them. The fourth album could be even more difficult to assess.

Stand Out Track - Twilight Omens

 

Working On A Dream - Bruce Springsteen - 6.5

Outlaw Pete/ My Lucky Day/ Working on a Dream/ Queen of the Supermarket/ What Love Can Do/ This Life/ Good Eye/ Tomorrow Never Knows/ Life Itself/ Kingdom of Days/ Surprise Surprise/ The Last Carnival/ The Wrestler/ A Night for the Jersey Devil

So what do we have here? Bruce Springsteen's pipe and slippers album with the man seemingly at peace with himself and the world. Springsteen seems to have adopted the Barack Obama hope for the future stance with an album more about domestic bliss and peace of mind than politics and the ills of the world. I wonder what the younger Bruce would have made of what is really a middle age cosy album with few surprises. The best tracks are very pleasant, some of the others can border on the embarrassing. It starts with a strange ode to an outlaw that weighs in at over eight minutes and reeks of country music and seems out of keeping with the rest of the album. Then we get the attempted uplift of My Lucky Day which frankly sounds as if it was written in a half hour break between rehearsals. Other titles such as "Working on A Dream," " What Love Can Do", "This Life", "Good Eye" and "Life Itself" hint very strongly at the stance taken by the album. There are a few good songs here such as the middle of the road Beach Boy-esque love song "This Life" and "Kingdom of Days." The Wrestler is a dull song despite winning awards and Queen of the Supermarket has to be one of the worst songs he has written - all about love over the shopping trolleys "The way she moves as she bags the groceries and Each Night I Take My Groceries and I Drift Home" - oh Brice please. Life just isn't like that.  Similarly Surprise Surprise sounds like one of those awful chirpy singalong Christian songs with the words "Let your love shine down." My main problem with this album is certain areas of it have immediate appeal, but it's an appeal that will soon grow cold after a few listenings. In other word it doesn't leave any lasting impressions or doesn't challenge the listener enough.

Stand Out Track - Kingdom of Days

 

Great Escape - The Rifles - 5

Science in Violence/ The Great Escape/ Fall to Sorrow/ Sometimes/ Toe Rag/ History/ Winter Calls/ Out in the Past/ Romeo and Julie/ The General/ For the Meantime.

Reasonably literate London-based rock with more than a passing nod to Paul Weller, The Jam and particular Killers. This is pretty relentless driving rock with a distinct lack of variety to make it more palatable. Ironically it's only in the final song In the Meantime that we get a hint of whimsy and that makes it a strange one to end with.As a driving modernistic rock album this is a decent effort but within the larger picture it's difficult to see where The Rifles are sufficiently different and sufficiently good enough songwriters to raise them above a whole host of similar acts. Even when they do drop the tempo a little as on History it still sounds the same as what has gone before. I have a terrible feeling that this band will hit a brick wall sometime soon. Perhaps they sum it up in their own words on Toe Rag when they say "same act, same songs played again and again." Having said that this is a decent rock song with a definite feeling of Squeeze to the lyrics.

Stand Out Track - Toerag

 

Which Bitch - The View - 5

Typical Time 2/ 5Rebbeccas/ One Off Pretender/ Unexpected/ Temptation Dice/ Glass Smash/ Distant Doubloon/ Jimmy's Crazy Conspiracy/ Covers/ Double Yellow Lines/ Shock Horror/  Realisation/ Give Back the Sun/ Gem of a Bird.

This is an improvement on the band's first album "Hats off to the Buskers" but still seems to lack originality, although I do have more than a sneaking like of Distant Doubloon which is a weird song that manages to sound like a Sting effort. There are hints of classical music here as the band seem to be mounting more of a charm offensive. Again it doesn't quite come off. Covers features Paolo Nutini and a strange trumpet arrangement that at least challenges the sensibilities. Somehow there seems to be a hint of Caribbean tempo to the songs and Kyle Falconer seems stuck somewhere between his true Scottish accent and some more eclectic vocals. This is in no way a bad album, but it is scarcely going to set the world alight.

Stand Out Track - Distant Doubloon

 

It's Not Me It's You - Lily Allen - 4.5

Everyone's At It/ The Fear/ Not Fair/ 22/ I Could Say/ Back to the Start/ Never Gonna Happen/ Fuck You/ Who'd Have Known/ Chinese/ Him/ He Wasn't There

Lily Allen has limited appeal and on her second album the songs begin to morph into one another with a monotonous similarity. It was Lily herself that announced a change of direction with the second album - but there will always be a similarity in her material due to the semi rap style vocals and the rhyming lyrics. The problem with Lily Allen is her first album sounded fresh and interesting. Any subsequent albums were likely to sound samey as she is a strictly limited talent that will obviously have a relatively short shelf life. I can't imagine any real changes in direction or any new originality, just more of the same. So here once again we have songs about sex, drugs and rock n roll, broken relationships, current relationships, relationships of the past and the present. It's all very limited and introverted and rather suggests the singer's ability to sustain a really meaningful relationship is probably small. You get the definite idea that she is writing about numerous affairs here - all equally meaningless. Sadly when Lily throws off the early 20s angst she will have little left to write about, although she does pick on George W Bush in Fuck You. Sadly Bush is yesterday's man, now almost (thankfully) forgotten. Sadly I think the same might soon be said of Lily Allen as she runs out of melodies and lyrical ideas.

 

Red Light Fever - Hot Leg - 3.5

Chickens/ You Can't Hurt Me Anymore/ Ashamed/ I've Met Jesus/ Trojan Guitar/ Cocktails/ Gay in the 80s/ Prima Donna/ Whichever Way You Want to/ Kissing in the Wind.

The Darkness burst upon the scene, provided oodles of heavy rock riffs, played sold out gigs and stadiums and then, like so many before them, imploded. Lead singer, latex clad Justin Hawkins decided to lay low for some time before re-inventing himself and his band as Hot Leg. Well that was the theory. The reality is something a little harsher. Whereas the Darkness sold out within minutes of tickets being available - there is a suggestion that Hot Leg are finding it difficult to sell out modest venues - such is the flimsy nature of rock n roll. Yesterday's heroes are today's rock fodder. For a start the name The Darkness had satanic, ritualistic rock connotations. Hot Leg sounds more like a Rod Stewart cast off band. Perhaps a more low key approach was what Hawkins' was trying to achieve. So what of the music. Well sadly Hawkins has become a pastiche of himself. This is The Darkness underachieving. The songwriting attempts to be lyrically sharp but doesn't really succeed. The album is full of slashing guitar riffs and falsetto vocals as if Hawkins desperately still wants to be Freddy Mercury but doesn't quite know how to be. So his voice quakes and rolls and on the opening track Chickens just becomes laughable as if the singer has inhaled too much helium. Gay in the 80s has plainly stupid lyrics "oh in the 1980s they were the gaytees, they were the straightees" and how about this from "I've Met Jesus." "I've Met Jesus and he's nothing like you."   Is it Hawkins trying to be amusing or trying to be clever? The result, sadly, is just a mess that only the most diehard fan will enjoy. It's the kind of album you play a couple of times before consigning to a place at the back of your CD collection or give to the nearest charity shop. For me the record starts and under 36 minutes later grinds to a halt.

Best Track - Trojan Guitar (at least there's a little subtlety to it)

 

Years of Refusal - Morrissey - 6 

Something is Squeezing My Skull/ Mama Lay Softly on the Riverbed/ Black Cloud/ I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris/ All You Need is Me/ When I Last Spoke to Carol/ That's How People Grow Up/ One Day Goodbye Will be Farewell/ It's Not Your Birthday Anymore/ You Were Good in Your Time/ Sorry Doesn't Help/ I'm Ok by Myself.

Just how much angst and vitriol can this man perpetrate? The answer is obviously a considerable amount. The problem is how much of this do we want to listen to or take in. Here the answer is mixed. Yes we all feel miserable and yes we all want to be miserable at times. But we don't want to make a career out of being depressed. So does Morrissey need to lighten up? Well a good cause of life coaching obviously wouldn't go amiss but then what would he sing about? That said Years of Refusal isn't a bad album by any means. It's just that Morrissey will be 50 this year and I can't help feeling it's time he grew up a little. Here he bemoans once again that nobody loves him, nobody cares. Well love old mate is a two way street. You have to give as well as take. So when we get lyrics like "Nobody wants my love, Nobody needs my love" and "I was wasting my life just thinking about myself" it's almost time to heave up with embarrassment. If these aren't bad enough we then get "yes there are things worse in life than never being someone's sweetie." Is sweetie the kind of word a 49-year-old usually users? I would suggest not. But let's not be negative. Morrissey has to express his views about love and sex through his music. We know this, so we either listen to the album and its well constructed melodies or we ignore it. The choice is ours. At least you know exactly what to expect.

Best Track - I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris

 

No Line on the Horizon - U2 - 6 

No Line on the Horizon/ Magnificent/ Moment of Surrender/ Unknown Caller/ I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight/ Get on Your Boots/ Stand up Comedy/ FEZ - Being Born/ White as Snow/ Breathe/ Cedars of Lebanon.

The essence of a satisfying album is being left with a feeling that you have just listened to something worthwhile. The first thing that strikes you about No Line on the Horizon is its power. Thankfully U2 have decided to tread the path of solid rock. It's no Joshua Tree but neither is it some of the limper later efforts. The songs are, in the main, well constructed and the production is excellent as you would expect from Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. To say it is classic U2 would be rather over-egging the pudding but it is a competent set of 11 songs with more highs than lows. The tone of the album is set by a solid rocking title track that gives way to "Magnificent - another song with a pounding beat and Bono vocals that hark back to earlier conquests. I read a review stating that U2 are the kind of band you either love or hate which makes it difficult to constructively criticise their output. To my mind this is too simplistic a view although it is difficult to put aside thoughts of previous material. Trying to look at No Lines on the Horizon from  a fresh viewpoint is difficult. There are plenty of nodding references to the past but enough freshness to make it successful without taking it into ground-breaking territory. There are good songs here like Moment of Surrender which weighs in at over seven minutes and is a complex piece. Naturally there is filler material. Get on Your Boots seems out of place on the album and is a strange choice for a single, although that will probably ensure it does really well. I particularly enjoyed the sharp instrumental passages of FEZ Being Born and the excellent drama and low key feel to the ballad White As Snow. On Moment of Surrender the band sound like the Stones and at times there's a definite Scissor Sister feel to proceeding. There's also a low key end to the album in the rather majestic Cedars of Lebanon. Overall it's not a great album, but it is a decent one.

Best Track - White as Snow

 

Yes - Pet Shop Boys - 6

Love/ All Over the World/ Beautiful People/ Did You See Me Coming?/ Vulnerable/ More than A Dream/ Building a Wall/ King of Rome/ Pandemonium/  The Way it Used to Be/ Legacy/

You just can't argue with what the Pet Shop Boys do. Disco beat and catchy choruses would normally have me running a mile, but somehow Messrs Tennent and Lowe can get away with it. So what we have here are 11 well crafted pop songs with more than a hint of sensibility. There's nothing earth-shattering but would you expect there to be. The duo have come some distance since their early days and the 2009 incarnation bends low to disco with a passing nod to decent meaningful lyrics. It's almost as if they give you insights into their own lives but well within the parameters of popular music and I guess that's why they have been so successful. Yes was a pleasant surprise and I'm still enjoying it after quite a number of plays.

 

The Hazards of Love - The Decemberists - 6.5

Prelude/ The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won't Wrestle the Thistles Undone)/A Bower Scene/Won't Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)/ The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)/ The Queen's Approach/ Isn't It a Lovely Night?/ The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid/An Interlude/ The Rake's Song/ The Abduction of Margaret/ The Queen's Rebuke/The Crossing/Annan Water/ Margaret in Captivity/ The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!) / The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise)/ The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)

I have a number of weaknesses when it comes to music and literary American/Canadian bands is one of them. Certain areas of Americana are quite special. Arcade Fire. Fleet Foxes, Okkervil River, Midlake are just four of the good guys in this area and certainly The Decemberists are a fifth. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, they are a hub around songwriter Colin Meloy. They write and perform highyly intelligent albums full of stories and unusual twists. The Hazards of Love is another strange story. Meloy found a little known 1966 EP The Hazards of Love by Anne Briggs. That album didn't contain a song entitled The Hazards of Love so he set out to write one himself. The result a concept album about the relationship between Margaret (voiced by Becky Stark) and lover William (voiced by Meloy). Over the course of the album we meet forest queens and murdering knaves and if that sounds strange the solid effect of the music brings it back to a more comfortable level with recurring themes keeping the whole thing on track. There are hints of folk and even prog rock here. There's plenty going on and it's another impressive offering.

 

Fork In The Road - Neil Young - 5.5

When Worlds Collide/ Fuel Line/ Just Singing a Song/ Johnny Magic/ Cough Up The Bucks/ Get Behind the Wheel/ Off the Road/ Hit the Road/ Light a Candle/ Fork in the Road

First let's get the negatives out of the way - well to start with there's a terrible CD cover. Just look at it opposite. That really doesn't inspire you to want to listen to Neil Young's new album. Then there's the fact that the entire album is about the singer's Lincoln Continental car that has been modified to run entirely on alternative energy as part of a project to develop a viable energy power system, Young is recording a documentary which will culminate in him driving his electric car to Washington. Now that may be a laudable idea but is it really worth 10 songs which might have the effect of putting back the much awaited archive project again. So what of the music. Well it's certainly not all bad. There's a grungy feel to most of the material which rocks along. The only problem is the subject matter does become dull and lacking in variety. It's certainly not a bad effort but after a few plays it begins to grate somewhat. I guess, as with many Neil Young albums, it's all a matter of personal taste. At least he has the guts to use his music to promote the issues he believes in.

 

Navigate Home -  John Howard 7

Lion in My Winter/ All This Time (What Took You So Long)/ Navigate Home/ Portrait of a Mother/ Calm (My Fury Blind)/ Notes to Self/ A Wardrobe Dreams/ In Whose House/ Isn't That The Truth/ Change (Who Changed?)/ Miss Ashton's Disappointment/ The Leaving (Prayer)/ Precious (Alone is Hard to Do).

In his cover notes to Navigate Home, John Howard states that songs just started pouring out, which is in itself extremely interesting. By the time they reach their 50s most artists are settling down to pipe and slipper music. The angry young men have turned into peaceful middle age. Then you have the likes of John Howard whose output is increasing both in quantity and quality. Perhaps it was the years in the wilderness, almost hiding his talents, perhaps unsure of his ability. Thankfully that talent is now on show for all to enjoy. John's voice never slips. It is just a tragedy that his music doesn't find a larger audience - or perhaps that is its attraction. You see to like John's music simply illustrates that there are hidden gems out there. All you have to do is scratch beneath the surface. Navigate Home is glorious. For me whatever the stresses of the day have been, simply listening to a John Howard album sooths the furrowed brow and makes you feel human again. Navigate Home is simply an extension of everything he has done in the past - beautiful melodies, lush orchestration, deep lyrics about love and life. John cares about his music. He cares about what we think of it. It's wonderful to find an artist who lets us into his world as much as this. I know John won't mind if I quote from his notes as they say much more than I ever could "I wanted the album to reflect a sense of travel, of seeking out and finding, of upheaval and settlement, of loss and renewal, of reflection and anticipation where the past had brought us and what the future held" In other words a man at the crossroads of life - setting off in a different direction with more than a nod to some of the great songwriters of our generation. There are mentions for such influences as  Laura Nyro, Carl Wilson and Jimmy Webb (more of this later). Of course John doesn't just imagine and write about the upheaval - he has lived it as well. John Howard lets us into his life in a welter of subtle colours. The album opens with one of his most beautiful songs "Lion in My Winter" which starts the journey. "Portrait of a Mother" is a clever song following a visit to a David Hockney portrait exhibition in London. The whole journey idea is no better shown than in Notes to Self which is designed to sound like a train rushing along and reminded me greatly of the W H Auden poem The Night Train. Of course there is always a touch of glam with John Howard and here it comes in the form of one of his longest songs. "A Wardrobe Dreams" weighs in at well over 10 minutes and ends with some wonderfully evocative and tuneful piano work. It's certainly more glam rock than Lion, Witch and Wardrobe.Change (Who Changed?) is John's homage to the genius of Jimmy Webb. To me Webb remains the greatest living songwriter, so the inclusion of a track inspired by By the Time I Get to Phoenix is highly appropriate. I particularly like "Miss Ashton's Disappointment." For a start it's a story song and it also lets us into another corner of John's life - his days learning the piano and the breakdown of the relationship with his teacher the day he put lyrics to Fur Elise. It wasn't a popular move but it taught the young John that what he really wanted to be was a singer-songwriter. And I have to say that in this song John mentions Richard Harris and MacArthur Park. There's also mentions for Brian Wilson and I swear a touch of Jacques Brel in this one - need I say more. The album ends with another romantic number Precious (Alone is Hard to Do) written for two friends who were getting married. I can think of no more appropriate song to tie the knot to. I have only mentioned some of the songs on the album. The others are just as vital in their own way in a feelgood induced journey through the singers, past, present and future. Dramatic, lush, luxurious - this is music for grown up people.

 

The Duckworth-Lewis Method - The Duckworth Lewis Method - 5.5

The Coin Toss/The age of Revolution/Gentleman and Players/The Sweet Spot/Jiggery Pokery/Mason on the Boundary/Rain Stops Play/Meeting Mr Miandad/The Nightwatchman/Flatten the Hay/Test Match Special/The End of the Over

One of the hardest albums of the year to review. Yes an entire album on the noble art of cricket. There aren't many people who could get away with it. Neil Hannon from Divine Comedy (one of my all time favourite groups) and  Thomas Walsh from Irish band Pugwash just about make it, but there are some cringe-worthy moments on the way. I am involved with a cricket writing web site and a year or so ago decided to write an article on the lack of good cricketing songs and now these two illustrious gentlemen come up with 12. Without a working knowledge of cricket this album will make little or no sense. Try explaining the terms "Gentleman and Players," "Nightwatchman" and "Test Match Special" to an American to start with. Then try to explain the Duckworth Lewis method of scoring for weather affected games to a Brit and you begin to understand some of the problems with the songs. To be honest it's all a little contrived. Some of the lyrics are amusing particularly on Jiggery Pokery which describes Shane Warne's ball of the century that bowled England's Mike Gatting. The songs are largely forgettable with Gentleman and Players the stand-out track and something that could have found its way onto any Divine Comedy album. Elsewhere it's all a little too much to take.

 

The Resistance - Muse - 6.5

Uprising/Resistance/Undisclosed Desires/United States of Eurasia/Guiding Light/Unnatural Selections/MK Ultra/I Belong to You/Exogenesis Symphony Part 1/Exogenesis Symphony Part 2/Exogenesis Symphony Part 3

I'm sure the fact that this is a bombastic record will come as no surprise to Muse's fans, but have they gone just too far over the top with their fifth album. I have a problem with Muse. Are they true prog rockers, pretenders to the throne of Queen or just super cosmic space age rockers in the style more akin to The Darkness with synth pop as a backdrop. Well I suppose the answer is a little bit of both. Certainly Muse have pushed the boundaries with this record, delving more into classical music. On United States of Eurasia lead singer Matt Bellamy manages to sound like Freddy Mercury dropped in the Egyptian desert. Nevertheless it's one of the stand-out tracks on the album with some delicate piano playing amongst all the stadium rock. Muse have the ability to take you high and then let you down gently with some beautifully melodic passages. You could never say that listening to Muse keeps you in the comfort zone, but perhaps that's what music is all about. The highlight of the album is the three part Exogenesis Symphony which brings it to a conclusion. Here the band are at their most enigmatic and complex.

 

Revelation - Peter Andre - 1

Behind Closed Doors/Distance/Ready for Us/The Way You Move (Up in Here)/Call the Doctor/Go Back/Sliding Doors/Outta Control/XOXO/Replay/Unconditional

I ask myself just why did I waste 37 minutes of my life listening to this tripe. I saw a news item on the local TV station where Peter Andre said he was really proud of the new album, so thought I would give it a play. Mr Andre should stick to reality TV programmes. As a singer he has limited talent. I understand he wrote all 12 songs on this album which would probably explain why they all sound the same. Basically the guy has nothing interesting to say. If you are a fan of musical pap this will probably appeal to you, otherwise listen to some proper music.

 

Re-Issues

Odessa - The Bee Gees - 7.5

Odessa (City of the Black Sea)/ You'll Never See My Face Again/ Black Diamond/ Marley Purt Drive/ Edison/ Melody Fair/ Suddenly/ Whisper Whisper/ Lamplight/ Sound of Love/ Give Your Best/ Seven Seas Symphony/ With All Nations/ I Laugh in Your Face/ Never Say Never Again/ First of May/ The British Opera *

* - Orignal 1969 track listings. The 2009 re-releases Odessa Deluxe and The Complete Odessa have stereo and mono versions of the album plus demos and previously unreleased tracks.

Some albums defy categorisation - none more so than Odessa, a beautiful hotch potch of pop, psychedelia, country and classical, originally released in 1969 amidst arguments between Barry and Robin Gibb over musical direction. In some ways that could be the reason for the uneven feel of this album. But it is exactly that uneven feel that makes it so impressive and impossible to pigeon-hole. The opening track deserves an essay on its own. It's a strange mixture of history, love and rejection. Then we get a smattering of pop songs, Beatles influenced songs and psychedelic pop before it all suddenly changes direction from Lamplight onwards. Lamplight is a typical soaring Robin Gibb song that was touted as the first single from the album but replaced by Barry Gibb's First of May. It gives way, for no apparent reason to another pop song Sound of Love and then a country hoe down in Give Your Best and then branches out into romantic full blooded classical with Seven Seas Symphony, With All Nations before returning to the song format and ending with the overblown classicism of The British Opera. First of May is also a delightful song. So many different styles on one album can be rather confusing but in the hands of real tunesmiths such as the Bee Gees it works really well and, despite being a double album, leaves us wanting more which is where the 2009 editions come in with their additional versions and tracks.