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Reviews

Music reviews of bands and artists from Rockhaq

Album Review: Steely Dan – Gaucho
10
2 days ago

Album Review: Steely Dan – Gaucho

Speaking about Aja, Steely Dan’s sixth album, guitarist Dean Parks said of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, “perfection is not what they’re after, they’re after something that you wanna listen to.” No other quote encapsulates the music of Steely Dan better. Indeed, on Aja, as evidenced by its sales, they really did find something you wanna listen to and, arguably, found perfection. It is what Parks said next that hits true poignancy in regards to Aja’s follow up: “… we would go past the perfection point until it became natural.” 1980’s Gaucho is evidence of what a Steely Dan album sounds like when it stops just before perfection- the sound of a band desperately striving for flawlessness but ending up with a finished product on the wrong side of their goal.
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Album Review: The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin
10
1 week ago

Album Review: The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin

By  •  Reviews

The wonderful thing about The Flaming Lips is their ability to be profound without sounding pretentious. Unlike, for example, some of the prog-rock bands of the ‘70s, whose big themes often got lost in dense mysticism, The Flaming Lips remain down-to-earth. In recent years their personality has arguably become a little tacky and directionless, sounding more like a random quirky word generator than a band. However, at their peak, The Flaming Lips were able to ground their existentialism in accessible idiosyncrasies. Twenty years ago, they achieved this balance to perfection. Presenting life in all its beauty and heartbreak, with gorgeous melodies and lush instrumentation to match the richness of its themes, The Soft Bulletin remains the band’s crowning achievement.
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Album Review: David Byrne – David Byrne
8
3 months ago

Album Review: David Byrne – David Byrne

In 1994, listeners got a tantalisingly brief glimpse at the real David Byrne, one they would have to wait a decade to witness again. On his self-titled album, Byrne raised the veil slightly; just enough to let his most personal song writing to date into the world.
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Album Review: The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
10
4 months ago

Album Review: The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses

By  •  Reviews

In my last I review, I looked at The Velvet Underground’s self-titled album, an ahead-of-its-time masterpiece whose influence is still felt today. This time, I’m also looking at a self-titled album that just so happens to be an ahead-of-its-time masterpiece whose influence is still felt today. Released this week in 1989, The Stone Roses’ debut album is one of the most crucial records in the development of alternative rock. Reaching back to the jangle pop of the 1960s whilst forging the path for the Britpop-ers of the 1990s, The Stone Roses is an endlessly rich and arresting experience that left an unavoidable impression on the British rock scene.
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Album Review: The Horrors – Primary Colours
10
4 months ago

Album Review: The Horrors – Primary Colours

Ten years ago this May, a highly stylised gothic punk outfit released their second album. In all honesty, back in May 2009 nobody expected much from this motley crue of mudbloods, bar the odd throwaway goth-punk radio-friendly two-minute pop single. It’s a crying shame that they suffered the same fate as countless other acts who have the creative foresight to inject a strong style into their image. The many striking qualities in their debut album Strange House ended up being cruelly overlooked by about 90 per cent of music critics in 2007.
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Album Review: The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground
10
5 months ago

Album Review: The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground

By  •  Reviews

When asked what the best Velvet Underground album is, there’s a case to be made for (almost) all of them. With the exception of 1973’s Squeeze – which barely counts as a Velvet Underground album due to the lack of any original members – there’s a unique quality to all of their releases. Whether it’s the gritty innovation of their 1967 debut, the dark experimentation of 1968’s White Light / White Heat or the tuneful delicacy of 1970’s Loaded, there’s something in all of them to hail as genius. However, for me, there’s no question as to which album is their magnum opus. Simply titled The Velvet Underground, the band’s third album is a timeless masterpiece that sounds as contemporary on its 50th anniversary as it did in 1969.
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Album Review: Massive Attack – Mezzanine
10
5 months ago

Album Review: Massive Attack – Mezzanine

I’ve been meaning to review this album for several years now and laughably missed my own deadline to cover it in time for its 20-year anniversary in late 2018. For Massive Attack’s Mezzanine it’s a case of better late than never, though. Like a number of other 1990’s British albums that have gone on to be regarded as all-time classics, it was released to little fanfare or drama. But Mezzanine is a sleeping beast that has well and truly withstood the ravages of time.
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Single Review: Carly Rae Jepson – No Drug Like Me
8
6 months ago

Single Review: Carly Rae Jepson – No Drug Like Me

2015’s stunning Emotion was one of the best pop albums of the decade. It was a perfect mix of breathless hooks, simple narratives and underhand bitterness, lifting to something of cult status amongst fans. Since then, Carly Rae Jepson has kept us fans waiting; teasing us with 2017’s Cut to the Feeling and 2018’s Party For One… she’s been playing a long game.
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Album Review: Nicholas Allbrook – Wabi-Sabi-Bruto-Bruta
8
6 months ago

Album Review: Nicholas Allbrook – Wabi-Sabi-Bruto-Bruta

By  •  Reviews

As the frontman of Perth-based psychedelic oddballs Pond, Nicholas Allbrook is a slick but edgy performer; with quirky melodies and rough vocals, he presents himself as a grittier sort of glam rocker. However, on his solo work, Allbrook is a very different character. Unrestrained, perhaps, by the poppier sensibilities of bandmate Jay Watson (a.k.a GUM) and producer Kevin Parker (a.k.a Tame Impala) Allbrook has carved a more experimental image. Whilst his darker ideas have started to seep into Pond’s music, especially on their latest record The Weather, Allbrook still saves the least conventional stuff for himself.
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Album Review: Scott Walker – Scott 3
10
6 months ago

Album Review: Scott Walker – Scott 3

There’s a beautifully mournful moment about half way into the first track on Scott 3, It’s Raining Today, which sums up the whole of Scott Walker’s career. The strings which envelop the song, subtly change down a chord or two and suddenly Walker’s words have added gravity:
“We go like lovers / To replace the empty space /
Repeat our dreams to someone new.”
The first line is hopelessly romantic: a vision of something complete, two people in love going through life together. The next lines however, send shivers down your spine. This is love that is trying to fill something that’s lost, a repeated vignette that has not yet succeeded. Someone who’s been hurt before but goes into every relationship with the same gusto, sure that this time will be the one. This flip from happy to sad in the space of a few words sums up the whole song, the whole album and Walker’s whole career.
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