Mozart: Serenades For Wind Instruments

The Press notes for his new album, played by the European Union Chamber Orchestra (conducted by Santiago Mantas) open by saying “Mozart’s wind serenades need little introduction as … true works of genius,” describing the performance as “fine”, all but making a review redundant. It’s Mozart, it’s played well, what more is there to say? […]

The Head and the Heart: Signs of Light

Fans of The Head (as we hope they’re called for short) are rather critical of this, saying it’s a sign the Seattle folk-rockers have sold out. Some reviews even use the dreaded M-word. Yes, Mumfords. All we can say is that a member of the Review Corner had an early Head CD which was a […]

Haçienda Classiçal

Hooked On Classics was the album that gave the rock/classical crossover a bad name, classical hits over a lame dance beat. It didn’t deter people from mixing rock and orchestras; Metallica’s S&M (Symphony and Metallica) sold lots but was divisive. It always seems a bit of a flawed idea (unless you’re Jeff Lynne, in which […]

Karin De Fleyt: Hohler Fels, New Music For Flute

This experimental flute music is for those who like the flute and want to hear some technical playing but care little for melody (or pleasure, if we’re being harsh). The opening song is Rolf Gehlhaar’s Grand Unified Theory of Everything, which stems from a lecture Gehlhaar attended. It opens with a lone piano key and […]

Amy Duncan: Undercurrents

This is a gentle and refined pop/folk album that seems to go on too long. If you like her voice, you may find it caressing your ear throughout and never tire, but otherwise the good moments are left stranded between the overly saccharine or bland. She’s a talented musician: she plays guitar, piano and double […]

Robin Sarstedt: Tu

There’s going to be a lot of people who like this — people with a fondness for acoustic guitar and singer-songwriters doing it well. There’s nothing laboured about Sarstedt’s music, no shoe-horning words to the tune or trying too hard. It may not be breaking any new ground and despite skirting around topics one might […]

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Skeleton Tree

Cave has been getting progressively more ambient (or at least playing more atmospheric, dark piano ballads) for a couple of albums, possibly because of the time he devotes to soundtracks. This new album is no different, and there’s a companion film, One More Time With Feeling. Clearly this one is different: while the album was […]

Fleetwood: Mac Mirage

The Mac is a machine and that machine has a sound, very evident on this re-release. Mirage (1982) followed 1979’s edgier Tusk but came before the generally better Tango In The Night, which we remember being hailed as a return to form. That Mac machine sounds like it always does, but only firing on one […]

Monocled Man: We Drift Meridian

This album combines late night jazz with electronica; the overall mood is like being out on a foggy night when ships are lost at sea; a stranger is shuffling towards you out of the fog, probably with a treasure map in his hand. It’s all a bit mysterious. That’s not surprising: the concept is obscure […]

Asylums: Killer Brain Waves

Asylums are a DIY band and this is out on a label run out of a back bedroom in Southend-on-Sea, but the lack of external, objective control is perhaps their Achilles heel. There are some outright excellent songs on this album, which falls short of greatness by a lack of focus. The tunes fall into […]