Monday, September 29, 2014

Beck: 'Morning Phase'

For myself and many others, Beck's 12th album 'Morning Phase' seemed to be a book-end to his 2002 acoustic release 'Sea Change' which is not surprising as he used many of the same studio musicians. I think it's more thoughtful than 'Sea Change', which was written over a few weeks after his break with his fiancee Leigh Limon. 'Morning Phase' seems more thoughtfully introspective, wiser, perhaps even a bit road weary. It has the same wonderful technical mastering that many of his albums possess and the vinyl version sounds superb, especially in the low registers. 'Morning' and 'Turn Away' are personal favourites. Highly recommended. (8.5 out of 10)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 'Push the Sky Away'

Nick Cave's 15th album is quite different from his previous efforts, more introspective but still holding that nasty bit of underlying menace that his fans have come to love in his work.  It doesn't have the guitar ragnarok that we've heard with 'Mercy Seat' or 'Stagger Lee' (one of my favourites) but its still very arresting stuff. I suspect that 'Jubilee Street' will have a frequent spot on his live shows. (7.5 out of 10)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Arturo Perez-Reverte: 'Pirates of the Levant'

Pirates of the Levant is the 6th book of the Alatriste series. Set in the Mediterranean during the tumultuous 17th century, Alatriste and Inigo serve aboard a rowed Spanish galleon raiding the enemies of Spain (mostly 'Turks' and the English), which culminates in a nail-biting, hard-pressed battle at sea. I'm a huge fan of Perez-Reverte's work, but was at first a little disappointed with this effort. The first third seems a bit lackluster, with long passages on the 'fading light of Spain,' etc. Nonetheless, it does fall into a comfortable step, and by the last half of the book I felt I was back in a classic, rollicking tale of the taciturn (but ferocious) Captain and his love-sick teenage companion. Not one of Perez-Reverte's best, but still quite good by any account. (7 out of 10)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Luke McCalin: 'The Pale House'

The second book in this WWII detective series. Its protagonist is Captain Gregor Reinhardt of the Feldjagerkorps (German military police), formerly of Berlin Kripo and a veteran of the Great War. The writing is solid - very cinematic in its descriptions and the hero is suitably hard-boiled. A good read. (7 out of 10)

Bryan Ferry: 'The Jazz Age'

On the Turntable

A niche album to be sure, but quite wonderful. All of the music is Bryan Ferry's, from the earliest Roxy Music to his most recent solo work BUT it's all played in a 1920s jazz style. 'Avalon' and 'Slave to Love' are particularly trippy. (8 out of 10)