Saturday, January 31, 2004

12 memories

album review

Album: 12 Memories
Artist: Travis

'12 Memories', the new Travis album, is not just a logical follow up to their previous CDs. It is the result of the happenings of the last two years. Incidents like Neil Primrose's near-fatal accident (which was almost the end of the band) and the war in Iraq have clearly influenced the album - the album that nearly didn't happen - making it a whole lot darker and downright depressing...especially if you listen to it at three in the morning when you can't sleep and your head hurts...

Anyway, the album is loaded with dark lyrics and themes. 'Re-Offender', a song about domestic violence, is sandwiched between two antiwar tracks: 'The Beautiful Occupation', the acoustic version of which can be heard on the War Child album 'Hope', and another antiwar song, which features Celtic fans singing out the chorus. 'Walking Down The Hill' and the hidden track (or the 12th memory rather) 'Some Sad Song' are both mellow, and, well, sad. And 'Quicksand' and 'Mid Life Krysis' are just as cheerful as their titles suggest!

'Love Will Come Through', which was featured on the 'Moonlight Mile' soundtrack, is probably the song that sends out the most positive vibe. The track was also released as a charity single after Neil's accident and has been announced as the next single to be taken off the album.

Being a Travis fan doesn't ensure that you'll like this CD. '12 Memories' is clearly different from 'The Man Who' and 'The Invisible Band'. At first listen you might write this off as another average album, but this is one set that grows on you with every listen and once you acquire the taste, you'll see how you can relate to so many things Fran is singing about and hear those melodies that'll make you want to sing along too!

- By Sameen Amer

Us Magazine, The News - 30th January, 2004

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Natural Selection

album review

Album: Natural Selection
Band: Fuel

Natural Selection: the struggle for survival; the process by which those less adapted to their environment tend to perish...but if 'Natural Selection' has anything to say about it, then Fuel have absolutely nothing to worry about.

With hits like 'Hemorrhage (In Your Hands)' and 'Bad Day', Fuel's sophomore set 'Something Like Human' was a big success. Following a hit record with a new album is always tough and usually leads to one of two things: either a record that sounds exactly like the previous one (trying to stick to the "winning formula" ... in other words, a major slump!) or one that is solid and consistent. Thankfully, Fuel have gone down the second road and created a record that totally rocks!

Three years after the success of 'Something Like Human', Fuel's new release 'Natural Selection' has twelve tracks...and all the elements of a hit record! The album kicks off with the hard-hitting 'Quarter' and goes on to reveal some excellent tracks like 'Down Inside Of You', 'Million Miles' and 'Luck'. 'Running Away' and 'Most Of All' drive on melody without loosing the Fuel edge. 'Die Like This', 'These Things' and 'Days With You' see Fuel moving around without a hitch in the familiar territory of power ballads.

The album also includes the single 'Falls On Me' as well as the 'Bring You Hell Remix' of 'Won't Back Down', the track that originally found home on the Daredevil soundtrack. With Kevin Miller on drums and Jeff Abercrombie on bass, Brett Scallions' powerful vocals perfectly complement principal songwriter/lead guitarist Carl Bell's angst driven lyrics.

Capitalizing on the seasoned guitar riffs, Fuel have also added a touch of piano and cello to this album. The tracks flow smoothly from one to the next and each track is good in its own right. If you're a Fuel fan, then there isn't even a single track on this CD that you'll want to skip.

A well-rounded effort, 'Natural Selection' is a rock solid album that has something to offer from start through to the end. If Darwin's theory is anything to go by, then rest assured that Fuel ain't going nowhere!

- By Sameen Amer

Us Magazine, The News - 23rd January, 2004

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Shut up!

album review

Album: Shut Up
Artist: Kelly Osbourne

Kelly Osbourne's debut album 'Shut Up' proves that children don't necessarily take after their parents! If you thought that Kelly, being Ozzy Osbourne's daughter, must sound something like Ozzy, well, think again. 'Shut Up' is a collection of twelve tracks that oscillate between punk-pop-rock, and nothing at all like Ozzy's work. Not that there's no mention of daddy dearest...'Papa Don't Preach' seems to have been done with grounds that went beyond covering an old Madonna track!

Granted, the girl has attitude (yes, brattiness and attitude go hand in hand!) but she lacks a lot in vocal talent, something she tires to make up for with an extra helping of attitude - and all that leaves us with is an over dosage of attitude. And the album seems to be over done at places. Kelly's vocals on 'Disconnected' and 'On The Run' are lost somewhere between the loud music and the really loud music. Parts of 'Come Dig Me Out' sounded more like screechy screams than anything else. And I tried my best to find something to like about 'Everything Alright' but failed miserably.

But the entire album isn't bad. 'Contradiction', 'Coolhead' and 'On Your Own', with their old-ish beats and style were cool. The title track 'Shut Up', laced with cheeky lyrics, has the potential to become an angry-teen-anthem. And 'Right Now' and 'Too Much Of You' might actually sound good if someone ever decides to do cover versions.

'Shut Up' probably sold more on its curiosity value than anything else. Oh and it didn't sell much, by the way, which is why it has been re-released (on a different label this time...Kelly claims the previous one didn't promote it properly!) as 'Changes'. 'Changes' has all the twelve tracks on 'Shut Up' along with live versions of four tracks and the recently number one crowned title track, 'Changes' that features Ozzy Osbourne and is a cover of an old Black Sabbath hit.

On the whole, the album isn't exactly horrible but it isn't stellar either! If you like punk-ish music, then this is what you should get...but whatever you do, don't try looking for any of Ozzy's darkness...Kelly didn't get any of it! So who did? Jack? Er...probably not!!

- By Sameen Amer

The News, Us Magazine - 16th January, 2004