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Bonobo – Days to Come

Stephen Ryan

Bonobo is the name given to the Pygmy Chimpanzee, a species which prefers sexual contact to violent confrontation with outsiders; ‘Days to Come’ reflects this attitude through its ability to pleasure the listener into a state of serene satisfaction. UK-based Simon Green has crafted an album of atmosphere and elegance, displaying an almost irrational ability to blend the organic with the electronic. Picture a mossy tree with roots embedded in a laptop, and you begin to have a sense of the electronic precision shaping the organic resonances of each individual instrument. Bonobo’s crisp melodies are joined on a few tracks by the soulful voice of Bajka, who gives the songs a lyrical class which is so often absent from many of electro artists. The songs are at once intricately layered yet entirely lucid, making this album nothing short of a masterpiece. Five big shiny stars.

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Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full

Matthew Freemantle

Being as it is the first album since his bitter (and costly) divorce from Heather Mills, ‘Memory Almost Full’ was expected to be a mournful collection of songs about the ordeals of separation. But those who desired sad and candid McCartney forgot that he is arguably the world’s most upbeat human being, one who seldom (if ever) wallows in Waitsian waters of booze and regret. The first single ‘Dance Tonight’ spells out the album’s intention; to do nothing more ambitious than get us off our feet and onto the dance floor for a bit of a shuffle., or give us something to hum to while we wash the dishes. The result is an album that is occasionally a bit like bubblegum; sweet at first but tasteless and dull from then on. But McCartney’s genius was never complicated and there are hooks all over the place to keep us interested, just not quite as much oomph as on his previous solo records. But hey, it’s McCartney. You’ll get it anyway.

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Flat Stanley – Between 2wo Worlds

Matthew Freemantle

Flat Stanley should be very grateful for the adage that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The front of the already weakly named ‘Between 2wo worlds’ album features a drawing of a half-pear, half-apple; an image which, hopefully anyway, is meant to represent something deep. Inadvertently, the band has reviewed rather accurately its own album on that ridiculous cover. For ‘Between 2wo Worlds’ is an album of two halves, one half being quite good and the other utterly rubbish. Such is the problem with attempting to sound like a Bon Jovi, Matchbox 20 and Seether unplugged at the same time. When it works, on ‘Songs for the broken hearted’ for instance, it’s good, honest melodic rock. But when it doesn’t, as in ‘Stereo’ among others, it’s just painfully fake and uninspired. As was the case on their debut, ‘Of secrets and Wine’, Flat Stanley’s sophomore album proves that they can be both very good and very bad on the same album. Let’s hope they make up their mind in time for number three.

 

 

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