Some words of caution. As my collection leans heavily into Rock/Alternative/Indie these reviews will obviously cover these genres, but there may still be some tentative forays into others. There might also be some embarrassing surprises that will erode my cool a bit (though not as many as there would have been if I had been reviewing my vinyl...). :)
I will try and review a fairly well known* album (er…when I can) and one less so each time. I am not going to review albums I like/liked and know well, nor will I include soundtracks, compilations, greatest hits and live albums (not that I am much of a fan of those). I will also horrifically date myself.
* 'Well known' is a relative term, of course.
Here we go.
KT Tunstall, Eye to the Telescope (EMI, 2004)
I’m surprised this album is quite as old as it is, but in this case I am not sure quite why I own it or what it was exactly that made me think I wanted it, as I know exactly zero KT Tunstall songs. I have never played it either (though I think it was a fairly recent charity shop purchase, so it hasn’t been ignored quite that long).
The album starts with the mediocre Other Side of the World, which is pleasant enough but lacks any great originality. Better is the next track Another Place to Fall, which manages to deliver a bit more edge. I actually quite like Under the Weather for its um raininess, although it’s the shock pleasure of being caught in a brisk shower when you know you have a nice warm fire to return to rather than the gritty, persistent drizzle that pervades the work of say, The Verve or the first Editors album, which is fine in and of itself, but is possibly a bit chirpy for my taste!
By the time I reach Suddenly, I See, I realise that I do know one song, but not one that would have got me particularly interested in a whole album, so that remains a mystery.
In all the album is a bit cheery and simplistic for me, I can pretty much say that it’s just a style that I will just never get into however many times I listen. This is a good album; it’s just not good for me.
Standout new to me track: Under the Weather
Score: 5 out of 10
Verve, A Storm in Heaven (Hut, 1993)
Keeping with the rain theme then, this one is a lot more promising. I have a soft spot for The Verve; Urban Hymns is a great album and I like A Northern Soul quite a lot too and I only got this one fairly recently because I thought I had better have it. However, it got a bit lost in collection and hasn’t really been listened to.
Hmm. This album is very much of its time and reflects a band that hasn’t really found its confidence or its niche. It’s very shoegazey; Star Sail displays the classic shoegaze symptoms of mumbling vocals over a tsunami of crunchy guitar effects, while Slide Away sounds like classic James without the wit. So far so good then; the album might be dated, but I am a bit, so to me these aren’t flaws. They aren’t great songs though, so perhaps there is better to come…
I was quite enjoying The Sun, The Sea - until the saxophone came honking in towards the end to ruin the track like someone let a flatulent goose into the studio. Queue skip button. The next three tracks are pretty samey shoegaze without a lot of personality, then there’s the Indian-flavoured Butterfly, which is by far the best song on the album and it chugs away nicely under until the sax intrudes again, although not as badly as before; such a shame! Kula Shaker did a similar thing better though.
There’s little on this album that stands out particularly to me, but as a kind of white noise, it works and I shall be putting A Storm in Heaven into my writing playlist with Suede and Slowdive for when I actually do some writing.
Standout new to me track: Butterfly (until the saxophone comes in)
Score: 7 out of 10