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YI Reviews CD's


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I've gotten incredibly bored. Thus I feel like reviewing some CD's. I wont be going that in depth, because I can't be arsed. I just want something to pass the time. And hopefully shove some of my favourite bands down the throats of fellow EWB'ers. The first 5 albums I will review will be stuff i've been listening to quite a lot recently. Then i'll move onto other stuff, and possibly take requests.

Okay. Lets get this shit started.

Mew - Mew And The Glass Handed Kites (2005)


When Ollie sent me a couple of songs I presumed the worst, when gazing back at me was quite possibly one of the most artsy and ponsey album titles in recent history (That or it was going to be a band singing about Pokemon). However listening to the two songs ("Apocalypso" and "Special") instantly made me fall in love with the band. Looking back, those were probably the best two songs to send, they're easy to get into and both incredibly catchy. I would compare Apocalypso to a song Muse forgot to write. A beautiful, soft verse with an epic chorus, that you just can't help but nod along to. As for "Special", it resembles a soft, haunting, Depeche Mode track. It definately seems to have an 80's influence to it. And the riff flowing throughout is incredibly catchy. If you want to get into Mew, I suggest you start with these two songs.

The Danish band mix 'indie' and 'prog' rock influences beautifully, creating an original sound. I must admit, this is the only of their 4 albums I have heard, so I can't really comment whether this is a new sound, or what. But I like it. The songs flow dreamily. Oh, that's another thing. All of the songs in the album 'flow together' to create one long song. However, they do seem to get a little lazy towards the end. Personally I refuse to admit that 1 minute of complete silence can link 2 songs together. As I was saying, the songs flow dreamily together, and this much fits the concept of the album. As much like the music, the lyrics are very 'strange' so to speak. I like double meanings, imagery and listener interpretation in songs. But this takes it to a whole new level. I can't even begin to interpret these songs. They make little to no fucking sense.

Whilst this may strike as a bad thing. In Mew's case it is not. They're one of those bands where lyrics seem unimportant. The songs are beautiful and the singers voice only adds to that. Personally I pay far more attention to the lead singers enchanting voice than I do to listening to what he's actually singing. His voice is really just another layer of the 'music' (I suck at explaining things), blending in perfectly. This again goes to add to the dreaminess of the album. Personally I like to compare this album to a dream. It's all connected together (Though the minute of silence pisses me off no end), yet it's all completely different. Not everything makes sense, but you still love it.

The tracks themselves are very hit and miss. There are some truly brilliant works, yet others suffer from being too boring and long (Mostly the later tracks). Personal favourites are (Besides the 2 mentioned earlier); "The Zookeepers Boy" which makes use of the high pitched vocals perfectly with one of the catchiest and sweet choruses in any song ever. "The Seething Rain Weeps For You" uses synth and piano to add to the haunting effect, and again has an epic chorus to sweeten the deal. "And Envoy To The Open Fields" uses changing time signatures and syncopation, making it one of the catchiest tracks on the album. Those are my personal stand out tracks. There are some other good songs, there's also some nice moments in others. But there's also some, which I instantly skip (Or fast forward a few minutes, to get to the 'good bit').

If this were a debut album, it'd be a great place to start. But as a 4th effort, i'd have thought something a little better could have been put out. Granted it's a beautiful album, and the linking of all the tracks, whilst not completely original is a nice touch. However it's not really an easy listen. Personally, I believe music like this, a little laid back, progressive, somewhat ambient, should be something you can sit back and relax to. "And The Glass Handed Kites" however is not. It's one of those albums you really have to be in the right mood to listen to. That said, it's got some really good tracks that 'indie-rock' and 'prog-rock' fans may both appreciate.

RATING : 64/100

WHERE TO FIND : Amazon.com ($31...fucking hell), Amazon.co.uk (£6.97)...I know hmv also sell it, it may just be in larger stores (In the pop/rock section). I picked mine up for £7 in HMV.

WHAT'S NEXT : The second single from the album, "Why Are You Looking Grave?" will be released in the UK on the 6th of February. Featuring a Mogwai mix.


1st: Copenhagen KB Hallen (Denmark - tickets from www.billetlugen.dk

4th: Cambridge Academy @ Anglia Uni (01223 511 511)

5th: Colchester Arts Centre (01206 500 900)

6th: Norwich Arts Centre (01603 660 352)

8th: Bournemouth Old Fire Station (0871 220 0260)

9th: London Shepherds Bush Empire (0870 771 2000, 020 7403 3331, 020 7734 8932)

10th: Manchester Academy 2 (0161 832 1111)

12th: Reading Fez Club (0871 220 0260)

14th: Nottingham Rescue Rooms (0115 958 8484)

15th: Stoke Sugarmill (01782 206 000)

WEBSITE : www.mewsite.com

Despite saying I wouldn't go in depth I end up with that...nice. Anyways, upcoming reviews are Strung Out's "Exile In Oblivion", Death Cab's "Plans", Silverstein's "Discovering The Waterfront" and The Weakerthans' "Reconstruction Sites".

Suggestions are welcome...and of course voice your own oppinions on what I review. And sorry if my selection of adjectives suck. God knows how long it's been since i've had to describe something.

Edited by YI-tzy McJewish
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Strung Out - Exile In Oblivion (2004)


I guess it's more than pretty common knowledge around these parts that I have a raging boner over these guys (Not literally). However i'm trying not to be too biased when reviewing this. But then again, that would make a shitty review wouldn't it. Reviews are purely oppinion. So prepare for 4 paragraphs of arse licking. (:shifty:) This album had been anticipated by Strung Out fans for nearly 5 years (Due to 2002's "An American Paradox" been stated as a 'poor' album by many fans...yet as them to name their top 10 songs, you can almost be certain that at least 1 song from AAP will be on there). The band have now been around for close to 15 year. And released on the same day as the American Elections kicked off, with the tagline "On November 2nd, Vote Strung out" EIO marked their 6th Studio Album (Excluding "The Skinny Years" and including "Element Of Sonic Defiance"). Strung out were once seen as the black sheep on Fat Wreck Chords, now they are one of the handful of 'good' bands the label has left.

The album kicks off with a sample of Billie Holliday (Forgotten the song...shoot me) before kicking straight in with the opening track "Analog". First thing you notice is the heavy, darker sound to Strung Out. As a band they like to 're-invent' their sound for each album. Analog is like the entire album summed up in one song. It's loud, it's harsh. But also on the flipside it's refrained and melodic. It sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the album to come. With the changes in dynamic and 'style' it's hard to label this album as somethign definitive. The first half, for the most part is slower, hardcore-punk rock (Some exceptions) with the second half providing some catchy, pop-punk influenced tracks (Again, some exceptions).

The band don't neccissarily sound their most exciting or flamboyant on this release. However it is possibly the best they've sounded as a unit. With all of the parts able to be heard during the songs. This is one of the two things Matt Hyde on production has got right. Now let me vent for a second. The production let down this album no end. It's listenable, hell it's more than listenable. But if these guys get Matt Hyde back then i'll be pissed off. Seriously. The drums sound terrible. The bass drum is far too loud, it overpowers anything else the drum is doing at that part. Granted Jordan uses some nice double peddle work but is that more important than anything else? Plus it contrasts with the rest of the song. As whilst the peddles are loud, they're not very deep. They could have done with deepening the kicks so it fits in my with the heavier/darker vibe of the album. As for the other thing Hyde got right, the guitar part towards the end of "Vampires" where the riff keeps moving from the left speaker to the right. Very effective. Very haunting, works well. Another thing I like (But is shit on by some people) is the loudness of the bass in "Scarlet". The heavy bass helps make that song. Things that should stand out don't. Making it quite annoying to listen to at times. As you have to listen hard to pick up some nice 'background noises'.

Now back to the band being a good unit. That coupled with the production leads to many bits of 'excellence' going unnoticed. This can go two ways. Firstly you don't truly appreciate the album unless you give it a good listen (Jordan single handedly makes "The Misanthropic Principle" yet you don't notice how fast his drumming is until numerous times through). But it also serves as a 'treat'. As after numerous listens you can stil find something new. The band pull out all of the stops. They provide some classic riffs, in "Scarlet, "Swan Dive" (A tribute to former bassist Jim Cherry), "No Voice Of Mine" and "Her Name In Blood" as well as some other lesser appreciated and haunting riffs (Fitting the tone perfect) in the likes of "Skeletondanse", "Vampires" and "Katatonia". All throughout Jason Cruz matches this with amazing vocal prowess, and poetic lyrics. His range has certainly improved over time. Not only is he singing higher, but he's also using some screams in there with regular vocal work (However to be honest, these screams often do seem a little 'forced'). Chris also excels in his bass work. Adding the extra 'oomph' to a couple of songs. Such as Scarlet, Lucifermotorcade (He pretty much carries it) and Analog. The band really do pull out every trick in the book. Duelling vocals, double guitar 'solos' etc.. Not as much harmony as i'd have liked (That's one thing the band do really well).

There's only one 'poor' song and that's "Anna Lee". It feels completely out of place on this album, and is more of a throwback to the "Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues" era. On STWB, and with STWB production it may have fit well, but here it seems horribly out of place. It still has some good moments. Notably the buildup just before 2 minutes, with some nice 'echoed' vocals and a lightning fast fill from Jordan. The song also doesn't benefit from beind put between "No Voice Of Mine" (The catchiest song on the album, has amazingly fast riffs...well at least amazing to me) and "Never Speak Again" (The new SO 'Anthem'). Speaking of NSA, they recently nailed it live (They've done it twice, the first time they fucked up. 6 months later they finally got it...so hopefully it makes itself to the English live sets!...when they come :shifty:) Whilst on topic of NSA, they should have milked the 'chorus' more. It seems wasted. It's a great live sing along moment. Another ordering I didn't like as "Blueprint Of The Fall" being so early. It seems quite out of place in the early part of the album, with it being it more suited to the 'poppy' second half. But I guess it makes sense, as after "Analog" they need a 'fast' song to tell fans "We're still the same Strung Out". It also features Jake providing the solo. He does a really good job (Like on their "Bark At the Moon" cover) but it's not quite up to the standard of "Everyday".

If you're a punk-rock fan, you must at least listen to this album. But in my experience it's not just punk-rock fans who will appreciate this. It's incredibly catchy, but also has some metal influences. has some beautiful and 'epic' songs. This is something that is rarely seen on punk-rock albums. Yeah, there may be a handful of catchy songs. But is there songs that seem to have universal appeal? Personal, I feel that Strung Out may have that sort of appeal. Whilst not their best work, and my personal annoyance with production, this is still a really good release from a veteran So-Cal band that shows no sign of slowing down.

RATING : 78/100

WHERE TO FIND : Amazon.com ($13.99), Amazon.co.uk (£12.99), plus i've seen it in HMV in the 'Metal' section...plus in Music Zone shortly after release, but not since.

WHAT's NEXT : The band are looking to do another heavy year of touring. Looking to get to the UK, Europe and South America (Plus dates in the USA). A live DVD is scheduled for sometime this year as well. There's also rumours that an unfinished song cut from EIO "1979" may make it onto a Fat-Wreck compilation.


01.31 - Hollywood, Ca. House Of Blues

w/Fear Factory, Bleed The Sky, Benifit show for "A Place Called Home" which helps provide for at-risk youth

02.03 - San Jose, Costa Rica, Planet Mall

02.05 - Mal Pais, Costa Rica, Surf Club

WEBSITE : www.strungout.com

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Okay. The next reviews are going to be shorter. Mostly because I can't be arsed to write out at that length.

Silverstein - Discovering The Waterfront (2005)


On the surface Silverstein appear to be just another emo band. I first heard them on Amped 2, where they had a few songs on the soundtrack ("Red Light Pledge" became a personal favourite) though admittadly they did not make much of a lasting impression (As after I sold the game on, I soon forgot about them). I heard about this album a few months after its release and decided to check it out. I must say I was impressed. Firstly from what I had previously heard they've made progressions as far as musical ability goes. They seem tighter, and aren't afraid to mix and match styles in their songs. They bust out numerous breakdowns at moments you may not expect. Just because a song sounds nice and melodic, does not mean it will end that way. One such example is "Smile In Your Sleep", which has such a sweet opening riff, yet ends with a contrast of distorted guitars and screaming vocals. The band also dabble with some 'math-rock' influences. Playing about with time signatures in the opening track, "Your Sword vs. My Dagger". The song is a perfect way to kick off the album. A brilliant riff that really kicks you straight into the album. It also shows off the impressive range of vocals at offer. The song also beholds one of many, catchy choruses throughout the album.

Whilst often regarded as a screamo band by reviewers (LIKE HELL THEY ARE!) I personally believe the band are at their best when their tracks follow the more melodic route. For example "Always and Never" is the stand out track on the album. Whilst still upbeat, with some screams, it also has a pop-punk influenced chorus, making this a perfect live song, that everyone can easily get into. Another touch I like is the use of 'clean' guitars for the quiet parts of songs. It really adds to the contrast when the distortion kicks in. It's something rarely seen for the most part, and it's highly effective (I could listen to the first 30-seconds of "Smile In Your Sleep" over and over again). The band also proove they can write nice 'ballads', with the songs "The Ides Of March" and "Discovering The Waterfront", which feature gentle, slow build verses and epic sing along choruses (With added strings in the case of "Descovering The Waterfront"). Whilst some may judge these as simply 'radio friendly' songs thrown on to make the bands get some airtime and gain popularity, I see these songs as where the band make their best strides. Many of the heavier tracks seem generic, and nothing in there sets Silverstein apart from similar bands.

The band have pulled out 'most of the stops' for this album (It does feel as though they're holding a little something back for future endevours). It has an attractive sound, which could help see the band be elevated into somewhat mainstream recognition (I don't know how popular they are overseas, but they're not known well over here). One major downfall is the lyrics. They seem very...plain. Not that it's a bad thing. They're just not exciting or interesting, again they seem to just meet the quota set be 9/10 of the 'popular bands' out there. Because of their mixing of styles it's hard to pinpoint exactly who will enjoy Silverstein. Obviously they have a large emo following. However the 'hardcore' scene are also are fairly high on them. However they are more melodic when compared to the more 'punk rock' incluenced "Sick Of It All". Whilst being quite loud, they remain easy on the ears. Which is a good thing for the average listener.

RATING : 71/100

WHERE TO FIND : Amazon.com ($13.99), Amazon.co.uk (£9.99)

WHAT'S NEXT : Heavy touring, they are scheduled on the Warped Tour this year. They've recently finished shooting a video for the track, "Discovering The Waterfront", look out for it fairly soon.




February 17 Toronto, ON @ Mod Club


February 18 Toronto, ON @ Mod Club


February 21 Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew's Hall

February 22 Chicago, IL @ Metro

February 23 Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues

February 24 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza

February 25 Philadelphia, PA @ TLA

February 26 Boston, MA @ Axis

February 27 New Haven, CT @ Toad's Place

February 28 Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance Theatre

WEBSITE : www.silversteinmusic.com

Spelling mistakes can fuck off...I don't have Word anymore so I can't be arsed to read over it. :shifty:

I nearly have my review of "Plans" done. So you good people of EWB can request reviews from me.

Edited by YI-tzy McJewish
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Amplifier - Amplifier

Million Dead - Harmony No Harmony

yourcodenameis:milo - Ignoto

Reuben - Racecar is Racecar Backwards

Architecture in Helsinki - In Case We Die

The Wedding Present - Seamonsters

Desaparecidos - Read Music / Speak Spanish

Nada Surf - High/Low

TV on the Radio - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes

The Bronx - White Drugs

Dresden Dolls - Dresden Dolls

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You should review Final Fantasy ; "Has A Good Home". It is a fucking fantastic CD and hasn't good enough buzz as it deserves.

Edited by PunkRockPete
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Coming up sometime...whenever (:shifty:)

Death Cab For Cutie - Plans

KT Tunstall - Eye To The Telescope

Rufio - The Comfort Of Home

Million Dead - Harmony No Harmony

Panic! At The Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat Out

Tom Waits - Real Gone (Stick with the latest release)

Volcano! - Beautiful Seizure (If I can find it)

Final Fantasy - Has A Good Home

Fall Out Boy - From Under The Cork Tree (Another personal pick...should be interesting...will I finally out myself as a FOB fan...:()

Edited by YI-tzy McJewish
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Chris Cornell - Euphoria Morning

My personal favourite album of the now, it'll be interesting to see what you have to say about it.

Any Jamiroquai album.

Because they deserve to be pimped and pimped again.

The Postal Service - Give Up

Because they're cunts and won't make a new one.

That'll do for now. If I think of any others, I'll add them in.

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Guest Necro Koutcher

If you haven't heard anything by Tom Waits and review Real Gone, Then I hate you. Do Rain Dogs then Real Gone if you must. :P

Edited by Necro Koutcher
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