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Reviews Written by
Wes4Les "CosLesIsMor!" (Richmond, VA)

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Up at the Lake
Up at the Lake
Offered by langton_distribution
Price: CDN$ 13.64
13 used & new from CDN$ 0.88

2.0 out of 5 stars I'm disappointed., June 3 2004
This review is from: Up at the Lake (Audio CD)
After giving this album a good listen to, several times, my final thought is stick with the title-track single. The rest of this long-awaited album is a fairly bland, under-whelming collection of ballads and mid-tempo tunes that bears little resemblance to the music they created in the early and mid-90's, music that compared favorably with The Stone Roses and Ride's output. Burgess' voice is fine as always; the lyrics heart-felt, the music solid, and at times pastoral and pretty. However, music this tepid won't win any new Charlatan fans, nor keep around the old ones. Is the sun setting on Burgess and Co.? It sure sounds that way...

Sunburnt
Sunburnt
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 35.93
6 used & new from CDN$ 29.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Music as sunny as the cover art., May 19 2004
This review is from: Sunburnt (Audio CD)
Simply one of the prettiest discs I've ever owned. This album is more stripped-down then The Chills previous releases, being that Sunburnt was recorded mostly by Martin, with help from two veteran performers in Dave Gregory and Dave Mattacks. The trio really gives this album a clean, bright, full sound, never-the-less. Several tracks jump out at first listen (the up-tempo "Premonition," the chipper "Come Home," the striking piano-ballad title track, the ethereal "The Big Assessment," the blistering guitar-driven "Dreams Are Free," and the gentle "Lost Among The Ruins," all come quickly to mind.) The tracks I didn't mention will still leave you humming, not to worry. This album is wonderful to listen to; tuneful, thoughtful, crafted with care under difficult circumstances. Martin is one unique talent, I hope he returns with new material similar to this, and soon.

Winter Guest [Import]
Winter Guest [Import]
2 used & new from CDN$ 1.08

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This "Winter" is warm, indeed., April 12 2004
This review is from: Winter Guest [Import] (VHS Tape)
The conversations, the discoveries, and the small adventures of four various "couples" are shown to us in this lovely film, set in a small, sea-side Scottish village during a bright, but bleak, Winter's day. Two young boys delight in the frozen world around them, rather than attend school, and talk about their folks, their future, the things they find on the icey beach, etc. A young woman's fancy toward a young man she has spied on for some time becomes a curious friendship/affection when she finally approaches him, in her own rambunctious way. The young man's recently-widowed mother is visited without notice by her own doting mother, bent on snapping her once-lively daughter out of her funk, and hopefully, encouraging her not to go back to Australia where she met her departed-husband. Finally, two older ladies who delight in attending the funerals of strangers, for their own macabre reasons, take the lone bus out of town for the day to attend yet another. On this cold day, one of the ladies becomes frightened, apparently at the knowledge of her own mortality, and it's up to her more stoic friend to "keep her from falling." The stories of these four pairs often intersect with one another, and almost-equal time is spent with each couple, which I appreciated. This is a very mature film, lovely to watch and listen to. Several key scenes stand out for me. One is when the elderly mother slips and grabs for a railing on the slippery sidewalk, as she approaches her daughter's street; at that moment, the camera shows the daughter in bed, dreaming perhaps, raising her hand up to grab the head-board rails, as if she sensed her mother's plight and wanted to keep her from stumbling, too. Such a small scene, yet so perfect. A final scene with the young boy holding a kitten he has found, walking out onto the frozen-over sea, telling the feline he and her will explore this new world, while his friend calls for him to come back, oblivious to the first boy's intention to keep going, is moving and eloquent. There are humorous moments sprinkled throughout, so this drama isn't as dry as I was led to believe. The striking scenery, the touching dialogues, the lovely piano-score; it all adds up to one memorable movie, for those who will appreciate it.

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 22.94
11 used & new from CDN$ 2.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Mars made a keeper., Dec 3 2003
Being a Mats fan, I bought Chris' albums as they came out, just for old time's sake. I don't know which I find more clever, his music or his artwork. The ballads he came up with for this release, "Before It Began," "Don't You See It," are still favorites after a decade. I'm just a ballad kind of guy. "Ego Maniac" thunders out your speakers; lots of grungy and spiky sounding thumpers like "Outer Limits" to jam to here as well. Of his 4 albums (so far) I liked this one best, but Mr. Mars had no shortage of terrific songs on any of his recordings. For a guy known for his drumming, his music and song-writing are pretty intelligent and grooving. Too bad The Replacements didn't have two singer-songwriters in their heyday, they could still be around!

Let It Be... Naked
Let It Be... Naked
Price: CDN$ 14.41
49 used & new from CDN$ 7.43

5.0 out of 5 stars El mucho better-o., Dec 1 2003
This review is from: Let It Be... Naked (Audio CD)
GB: A kick of a start, good call putting this where it belonged.
DAP: Rough edged ballad brings us back to Earth fast.
FYB: Bouncy number from George, with twangy guitar shadings.
TLAWR: Sounds great sans syrup. Lovely piano ballad.
TOU: Country bumpkin number, John and Paul dueting, good fun.
IGAF: Jaunty rocker, a great song that should've been a hit.
OA99: They enjoyed making this, it sounds like. Rollicking fun.
DLMD: John in a pensive, growly mood. Nice organ fills, too.
IMM: Tough little rocker from George, with shifting tempos.
ATU: Sounds fine with just acoustic guitar, John's poetic lyrics.
LIB: Still making people shiver 3 decades later. A masterpiece.
I won't be tossing the original soundtrack, but who-ever made this album a reality should be commended. The inclusion of "Don't Let Me Down" gives the album a tougher edge, while the removal of the gloppy strings and choruses, the dismissal of certain shorter tunes, not to mention the before- and between- song patter, gives LIB-N a straightforward, yet still joyous, overall sound. Most of the tracks sound nearly the same, with TLAWR, ATU, and LIB undergoing the most changes. I have to say the orignal soundtrack sounds like a pieced together after-thought compared to this vibrant and solid piece of work. If you pass this one up, you'll be missing something really unique.

Diary/Flip-Flop
Diary/Flip-Flop
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 23.95
10 used & new from CDN$ 3.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Guaranteed great listen., Nov. 7 2003
This review is from: Diary/Flip-Flop (Audio CD)
From start to finish, it don't get better than this. Jangling guitars, crashing percussion, soaring vocals, throbbing bass-lines, G.D. rocked the house with this, their final (for now) album. "Pretty Is..." was the single, but most of the tracks here could have been released as well. "Always Saturday" is sunshine-bright with sweeping guitars, "Likes of You" is a vitriolic barn-burner, aimed at Britney Spears and her ilk a decade early. "Barometer" is a twangy, mid-tempo ballad, "Happy Home" a chirpy sing-along which the fellahs were so adroit at creating. "Whiskey Talk" rolls along like a lost Lynyrd Skynyrd track, while "Everything But Luck" trips, hops, and bops to a bouncy rhythm. "Ten Laws" is a sweet ballad, "Fade Out" a ballad with Smiths' like reverb on the guitar, finally "Vista" finishes up with a clap-along-kids-around-the-campfire-do-wah-diddy flourish. What a wonderfully bittersweet end for such a terrific band. Hears to G.D., pun intended.

Quebec
Quebec
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 24.95
7 used & new from CDN$ 6.25

4.0 out of 5 stars The neew ween?, Sept. 19 2003
This review is from: Quebec (Audio CD)
Nah, just improved as always. ween has made great strides since their early, DIY days. Their last album sounded downright mainstream compared to, say, The Pod. This album features many flavors, changes gears often. It would be difficult to write a review that would make someone who wasn't familiar with ween's unique brand of alt-rock (often bracing, jarring, quirky, and country-tinged) run out and buy a copy of quebec, but this one or the previous release would be a good place to start for the un-initiated. My personal favorites would be the rowdy "Long Night," the floaty "Zoloft," the trippy "So Many People," the tuneful "Chocolate Town," and the rousing "Transdermal Celebration." Even the songs I'm not crazy about are well-crafted and performed. An alt-rock gem, to say the least.

Workbook
Workbook
Price: CDN$ 16.99
28 used & new from CDN$ 8.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like it, before or after., Aug. 3 2003
This review is from: Workbook (Audio CD)
This album was Bob's first as a "solo" artist, and it's so different from his work with Husker, Sugar, or his solo work since; I wish he'd done two works of this nature, for comparison. There are many songs here filled with his scathing guitar sounds, but the noticable difference was the inclusion of violins and cellos in certain numbers, particularly the mournful "Sinners and Their Repentances," the jaunty "Brasilia Crosses Trenton," and the bouncy "Dreaming, I Am." The opening "Sunspots" is a lovely classical-acoustic guitar ballad, and is followed by several excellent songs, of various tempos and moods. The high point in the first half would have to be "Poison Years," which welds a blistering lyric to equally smoldering music, with a thrilling solo at the bridge. The second half features some of his strongest lyric-writing, the music only slightly less grabbing and powerful than before. Then the album closes with the Husker-ish "Whichever Way The Wind Blows," a high-octane, screaming white-noise guitar/shouted vocals mini-epic, finsihing with the quaint sound of wind chimes, clever touch! This masterpiece was my everything in 1989, and 15 years later, it still resonates strongly with me. Maybe not a "must-have" for everyone, but a terrific listen-to, and I believe Bob was never better, singing or playing.

Communiqué
Communiqué
Price: CDN$ 13.13
26 used & new from CDN$ 5.58

4.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites., Aug. 2 2003
This review is from: Communiqué (Audio CD)
Dire Straits other studio albums get more attention, but for some reason, I listen to this one the most. It is a brief record, nothing exciting, yet the music here is just so calming and satisfying. "Once Upon a Time" strides along Mark's Spanish-styled guitar-picking, "News" is a mournful, picture-esque ballad, "Lady Writer" resembles "Sultans of Swing" with it's bouncy lyrics and snappy guitar-riffs, "Single Handed Sailor" is as tuneful a song as Mark ever wrote. Perhaps because this album was recorded in the Bahamas, the music here has a laid-back, smooth sounding glide to it; from start to finish, it's almost seamless. I would give it five stars, if there was just a bit more energy to the proceedings. Probably this was the least "important" album they made, as they were obviously trying to capture or improve upon the feel of the first, popular album. To me, this one is a terrific, easy to listen to record; tasteful and appropriate anytime.

They Threw Us All In A Trench
They Threw Us All In A Trench
Price: CDN$ 20.68
22 used & new from CDN$ 3.39

1.0 out of 5 stars Too clever for their own good., Aug. 2 2003
The humorous song titles and the Gang of Four comparisons compelled me to seek this one out. I was put off by the gruff, incoherant lyrics, the rat-a-tat drumming, the ear-spiking guitars, and the monotonous keyboards that pervade most of the songs here. The final track sums the album up: a tuneless rant that suddenly becomes a silly bore, as the same notes are repeated for twenty numbing minutes, before someone realized they sounded like a broken record. The Liars are either a true garage band, or trying to sound like one. They aren't especially tuneful, or memorable. Those who like this album now haven't listened to the good stuff from the past, or they wouldn't be so fervent about it. If you want to disturb your neighbors, play this one for them. Otherwise, save your money. Your ears will thank you.

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