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Quick Play: A round-up of July 2007 album releases

We've listed albums in order of star rating. Best first.

EYEFEAR A World Full Of Grey(Dockyard)

Progressive power metal (my immediate thoughts before I read the biog that said the same thing) that pricks your ears up from the off. Their third album that is hard, heavy, solid, keyboards, there's a touch of Maiden (just), Queensryche, Fates Warning and their ilk. Vocals with a wide high and low range too.

'Searching For Forgiveness' features a range of moods. The title track then opens in Maiden fashion before moving to European power metal. There are elements of Masterplan too.

If you can imagine Marillion at their heaviest, retaining the melodic edge while dispensing the pomp and art.

'Changes' is like that, keyboards and guitar in equal parts, chunky too, a solid number.

Stick it on, you'll enjoy it I promise. ****

Review by Joe Geesin


In truth this CD probably deserves more than a quick play, a female-fronted band from Naples and they make no compromises - Antinisia 'Anty' Niri sings in Italian.

If you heard this on holiday in the sunshine (in Italy) you'd probably think it was OK. It's melodic rock, well performed and well sung. Frankly, it's as good as any Euro-rock fare, and if you like your cappuchino with a good froth, investigate.

For wider acceptance, the band may just have to get the phrase books out, but for the moment this is...Bellissimo!! ****

Review by David Randall

SIMON KENT Spaced Out Refugee

With a classically trained musical background you would expect proficiency from someone who as well as singing plays every instrument (apart from drums) and impressing producer Phil Brown (Didi, Beth Gibbons, Talk Talk) not only to take on recording duties, but to proclaim Simon the best unsigned act he'd heard in a very long time.

And as you would expect from the main soloist in an award winning boys choir, the vocals are spot on, while the music falls somewhere between The Moody Blues and Ultravox - soaring vocals, rock shaded pop and decent hooks. But whether it's individual enough to take Simon to the next level remains to be seen. ***½

Review by Pete Whalley

THE ENEMY We'll Live And Die In These Towns (Warner Bros)

Debut album that kicks off in fine fashion - a step up from the current mire of boy-guitar-pop with a serious nod at the early 80s punk/new wave. You know, the kind that spawned Big Country et al, there's even a nod at period Midge Ure. Not raw punk, the melodic kind.

There's a later nod at 80s/90s guitar indy, a decent attitude and some fine guitar. Trad hard rock this is not but it does have some fine rock moments.

I got this far before reading down the press release and seeing reference to The Clash, The Jam and Oasis. Not far off at all.

For a debut in the current age, a breath of fresh air. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin


This drum/guitar duo produce a decent and full solid sound, and this 6 track CD (EP or mini album?) is a touch indie with some serious classic rock thrown in.

As a duo, the White Stripes have nothing on them; for a start the drummer can actually play, and all tracks are recreated live, with no backing tracks. A few guitar FX and some meaty bass speakers is all you need.

There's even a touch of Sabbath in there. A lot of fun and it does get you rocking. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin

VARIOUS My Name Is Earl - The Album Karma Is A Funny Thing (EMI)

Never seen the TV programme, so can't comment on that. You know the one with the guy with the funny moustache. Not me, the TV programme.

Anyway, each of these tracks has been used in the programme, and the booklet nicely details each track with show, album track originally taken from, and in the case of new previously unreleased recordings details of who recorded the track originally. We're already off to a good start.

We start with the country rock of Jerry Reed's 'East Bound And Down', a serious nod at bluegrass, and Uncle Kracker has a fine stab at The Band's 'The Weight'.

Los Lobos and Young MC follow, keeping up the country and alternative feel.

Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock is more hardcore urban and is not only poor and annoying but stands out as such compared to the other tracks.

Sammy Davis Jr's 'Smoke! Smoke! Smoke' is a nice touch, if, again, too country. Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Gimme Three Steps' is probably the stand out track here, one that you really do need in your record collection. Back when Skynyrd were still a decent southern band.

There's a distinct country or country edge feel to the album so I guess you need to be a fan of that and/or the programme to really appreciate the album.

Closer '99 Red Balloons' is done extreme metal style by Van Nuys, and is simply strange.

If you've seen the programme, buy the CD, otherwise this compilation is PK but of limited appeal. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

VARIOUS Step Forward I Wanna Punk Rock - The Singles Collection (Sanctuary)

Step Forward was a short lived punk label fronted by Sniffin' Glue editor and ATV frontman Mark Perry.

This 27 track collection features the label's first 10 singles (A & B sides) in chronological order and well annotated too. Many of these tracks are on CD for the first time.

We kick off with the The Cortinas, who mixed The Motors with The Sex Pistols. Another 2 tracks by them appear later on. Three singles by Chelsea and several early tracks by Sham 69 and The Fall make for good listening.

Add Models, and 7 tracks by Lemon Kittens (semi coherent experimental noise merchants) and you get an interesting set that's guaranteed to fill a hole in any punk collection. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

THE SERVANT How To Destroy A Relationship New album from a band whose previous album shifted over 150,000 copies.

Indie metal - guitar pop / indie rock with a harder guitar edge that nods at rock and metal in places.

The opening title track features some nice guitar, 'Sleep Deprivation' builds well and has a nice chorus, and a solid bass sound. Vocals generally high as you'd expect from this kind of band but a wider range than most.

'Hey Lou Reed' is more balladic, more singer/songwriter fare. The cello on 'Save Me Now' adds depth to a fine heavy guitar pop song.

This is a pop album, make no mistake on that, but a guitar pop album, and one with more range, depth than most. Some nice heavy guitar in places but personally I still found it a little samey. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

TESLA Real to Reel (Tesla Electric Recordings Co TECR001)

Teslas first release on their own record label is a nod to all the influences the band have had over the years, 13 covers including Deep Purples 'Space Truckin', UFO's 'Rock Bottom', Thin Lizzys' 'Bad Reputation' and Led Zeppelin's 'Thank You'.

What the band have managed to do is bring their own sound to their interpretations of these classic songs and a great job they have made of it too.

Whilst most fans of the band will no doubt be waiting for the next studio album, this will wet the appetite until then. The band are back in the UK in November. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns


This 12-track sampler features a wide variety of music, nearly all of which is the product of Scottish based acts. From the spacey pop of 96 Tears with their soundtrack featured 'Keep A Clean Nose' to the out and out rock of Stick Finlays 'Cultural Vandal', there is a bit of something for most music fans.

Highlights include the perfect pop of Ormondroyd's 'Perfect Designs', the Hives style 'Thank God For Myself' by Stop It You're Killing Me, the haunting vocal and electronic sound of Simon Heartfields 'CWC Haunting' and 'Mouse Eat Mouse' by the band of the same name - a brilliant, if very Scottish, vocalised narrative over some very fine musicianship. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns

CIVILIZATION ONE Revolution Rising

This lot are a truly international group of musicians (Italy, France, Sri Lanka, and Brazil) who play progressive power metal of the European variety with quite a bit of aplomb.

Unlike some bands of this sort, they do have a decent set of songs on here and its not just musicians showing off. As with many of this sort of album, it's not really about catchiness per se, but "Dream On" is quite a good AOR power ballad. It's competent power prog with feeling and talent. ***

Review by Marty Dodge

MIDASUNO Songs In The Key Of Fuck (Sugar Shack Records)

I have to admit I nearly binned this on account of the title alone. Thank God I didn't - at least I can justify binning it now.

Haphazard indy guitar rock, loud and fast too. Lots of potentially good ideas fluctuate from tuneless to a crashing mess. Touches of punk metal.

The recording quality, like the cohesion and sadly the distortion too, is there, it's just not consistent.

Maybe I'm too old, but I don't get this at all. I think they left the word ‘off' off of the title. **

Review by Joe Geesin

CANVAS SOLARIS Cortical Tectonics (Sensory/Laser's Edge)

Mix jazz fusion experimentalism with extreme metal and this weird mixture is what you get.

Opener 'Berserker Hypothesis' features extreme bursts of drums and guitar, with quieter moments that allow you to hear the intricate keyboards. The drums can't keep to one time for long before going off in a different direction and/or adding fills and rolls that just clutter.

'Sinusoid Mirage' is quieter, there's elements of King Crimson and ELP at their more self indulgent and experimental end, you are left thinking 'Yes we know what you can do it's all very clever' long before the more metal sounds pick up.

'Interface' is quieter but 'Gamma Knife' is heavier and more bursts aplenty. Yes even the song titles give something away, as do 'Rhizome' and 'Reticular Consciousness'. Trying to be clever.

Elements of cohesion give bursts of sensible and enjoyable music, but too much of the rest of it is just a mess that changes direction too often and too quickly.

Even the most intelligent students can suffer Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. This mess is the result. **

Review by Joe Geesin

SINGLED OUT Hardcore Seanography (Singledout1)

Punk Rock has come along way since the late 70's. Whereas back in '77 it seemed like an abhorrent speeded up noise for Classic Rock fans, it has recently enjoyed something of a suprising comeback, if only because of the energy and simplicity that infuses many excellent contemporray bands.

Also, unbelievably, some Sex Pistols songs have become classics, and bands such as The Undertones have become period icons. And it is to the Undertones that Singled Out undoubtedly owe a lot of their influences.

But sadly while this young hardcore trio have the energy, and a smattering of humorous ditties they dont have either the songs or the vocalist to do themselves justice.

In fact too much is made of the humour quotient with only the 'Gangsta Rap' parody coming close. And it takes more than a few zany time changes as evidenced on 'The Ballad of Tim West' and some feverish Punk overload on 'Missed Opportunities' to fully convince.

And while there is a pop sensibility to 'Late Ho' Singled Out need more than this blast of very retro punk to take a step forward. **

Review by Pete Feenstra


Commander Keen aka Stuart Torrance and chums are a Scottish (not that it matters) new age/electro outfit producing ambient - electronica - roots music.

The pipes add a few notes of distinction, but that apart, it might just as well have been entitled my Tangerine Dream. Ethereal, trippy and ideally suited to those 'lost in space' festival moments. Ones for fans of the genre only. **

Review by Pete Whalley


A horrible and sombre affair, heavily reliant on a blend of goth and electronica. The blurb says for fans of Marilyn Manson, Sisters Of Mercy and Kate Bush. If they were darker and totally programmed it would be about right. Some nice melodies, but the opening track has a repeated line of 'Hope You Die Mother Fucker' - nice.

Some nice ideas but this duo really need to pick up some real instruments, get out of their bedrooms and get a life.

Review by Joe Geesin

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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