Monday, 17 March 2014

Something a bit different for a change.... I bought a book celebrating 70 years of the Radio Programme Desert Island Discs and a fascinating read it is

It lists the choices for a selection of castaways and some of the choices are mindboggling....
Elton John - Shine on you Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd
Margaret Thatcher - A sketch by the comedian Bob Newhart (!)
Frank Bruno - Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea
Desmond Tutu - The charity record We are the World by USA for Africa
Gordon Brown - Loch Lomond by Runrig
Johnny Vegas - Dignity by Deacon Blue

So it gets me thinking about my choices - The rules are simple eight tracks (not albums), one book and one luxury. And so here goes:

1. One Night in Bangkok - Murray Head
The first 7" record I ever bought and 30 odd years later I still know all the words
2. Kayleigh - Marillion
First album I truly loved and named my eldest daughter
3. Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd
Still the greatest guitar solo and as a student an album that was a soundtrack for 4 years
4. Last Exit for the Lost - Fields of the Nephilim
Most amazing live experience at the Astoria. Viewed through the dry ice a sea of arms reaching skywards
5. 225 - New Model Army
Lyrically one of the greatest bands ever and this one from my favourite album
6. Welcome to the Jungle - Guns & Roses
This band are the reason I wore cowboy boots and drunk Jack Daniels as a student in the frozen north
7. Crimson - All Living Fear
The sound of the Cavern Club, always dark, slightly claustrophobic but the gigs were great
8. I Wanna go to Marz - John Grant
Stood in a tent at Beautiful Days festival and felt like I was the only one there

The book would be Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and I guess luxury is a crate of single malt.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

You see an album and think "that's gotta be good...." and so it was with Snowbird and their debut album Moon.

Paul Raymonde (Cocteau Twins) provides music along with guest spots from members of Radiohead and Midlake so what can go wrong ?

The opening track I Hear the Owl call my Name is all subtle rhythms and layered ethereal female vocals and very promising. There's a touch of the Horrors side project Cats Eyes about it.

All Wishes are Ghosts slows things down with flute and piano dominating the ballad and that where the issues start - The tempo doesn't really alter until the final track. The layered vocals grate by track 4 and it's like listening to an extended John Lewis Christmas advert. The whole thing is a tortuous listen in one sitting.

The last ballad In Lovely finally allows the voice to sing alone without multi tracking it and so much better for it

There is a track called Porcelain which as a description sums up the album - delicate, pretty but ultimately cold.


Just when you think disaster, the album comes with a remix disc of all the tracks called Luna.
Now I've never heard of RxGibbs but he remixes all 11 track in the same running order

Suddenly I Hear the Owl call my Name comes alive with beats. The vocals are reduced to a repeated sample, guitars muted in the original spring forward and this is now fantastic.

The 3 minute piano ballad Amelia is doubled in length with drums adding much needed colour whilst again the vocals are twisted into samples. Porcelain removes nearly all the singing and adds some shimmering guitar for decoration.

The album I bought was a let down but the very special album hidden as a bonus is the one I will enjoy again and again