SPICE WORLD? Southampton University's Finest Entertainment Publication 29th September 2007

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Southampton University's Finest Entertainment Publication
29th September 2007
SPICE WORLD?
18th May 2007
Editorial
Editorial
Johnny Flynn and the Sussex
Wit
Hamptons, Southampton
5th February 2008.
Bonjour lovely readers!
I trust you are all sitting comfortably. Perhaps reclining, sipping a fresh and steaming mug
or tea, or even coffee, maybe you’re indulging in
a biscuit or two. Either way, you are enjoying a
well earned break, with a copy of your favourite
entertainment magazine. And you are content in
the knowledge that once again a combination of
remarkable wit and intelligence has secured you
a couple of good examination results.
If not, fear not. The musicians and actors within these pages are living proof that you
don’t need exam results to succeed in life. Your
stunning looks and partiality for a spot of karaoke
shall serve you just as well.
Talking of karaoke, check out our brilliant
SPICE GIRLS feature. And to fully appreciate the
front cover I must stress that the headline is intended to be pronounced in a dulcet tone ala Alan
Partridge, to be fully appreciated. ‘Spiceworld’.
So we pay homage to the Worlds best pop group.
Ever. Because lets face it, tickets to the re-union
tour were more exciting than golden tickets into
Johnny Depp’s chocolate factory. (If he had one.)
And those of you who claimed you didn’t want to
go? Well you’re about as fun as a picnic without
crisps.
We also have interviews with the brilliant
FROM AUTUMN TO ASHES, THE LOVED ONES
and new Bushfire sensation MATT COSTA. Not to
mention the low-down on the latest records from
the likes of MARS VOLTA, THE WOMBATS, AMY
MACDONALD and remember those chaps UNDERWORLD?
So get your read on.
Helen
The Edge Team:
Editor: Helen Wilson
Record Editor: Pete Benwell
Live Editor: Phil Reynolds
Film Editor: Dean Read
With...
Rik Sharma, Carla Bradman, Natasha
Harding, Holly Kilner, Alex Jenkins,
Adam Vaughan, Oliver Cragg, Danielle
Richardson, Jess Francies, Gareth
Brading and Heather Steele
The Edge
University of Southampton
Highfield
Southampton
SO17 1BJ
023 80595230
023 80595252
[email protected]
Reviewers have a dreadful tendency to compare every minor act with
someone the reader might have heard of,
no matter how farfetched the comparison
might actually be. It just seems like a good place to start. If that’s where
I was to start then I would liken the support acts tonight to; Andrew Bird, Jeremy Warmsley and Band of Horses, but probably not in that order. It helps me because without being able
to employ the use of any further description, the bands were a brilliant correlation of such sounds.
Unfortunately, a combination of warm beer and high spirits means that I can’t in retrospect distinguish betweenthe three warm up acts, Mes Memoires, The B In The Bang and Fireworks Night. But
with a combination of banjo’s, ukuleles and accordions they stirred myself and the entire audience,
it seemed, into a remarkable sense of goof fortune and prosperity with their individual fragments of
traditional folklore and a good old fashioned sense of rhythm.
Then the long awaited J. Flynn took to the stage, and I realised I was not the right person to
review this fellow.
If only I could write reviews as good as Flynn can write songs then maybe I would be able
to do him some justice. But the truth is I’m no bard, whereas Johnny and his troupe of troubadours
are. Opening the set with the popular single “The Box”, after one false start Flynn and the Sussex Wit
started their tale, with gusto, encouraging the crowd into an enthusiastic jig. “Sweep my mass away,
leave my body, leave my bones” and everyone in the small room was swept away. Away from the
patter of rain outside, and the everyday trials and tribulations which weighed heavily upon our tiny
shoulders, and mustered up spirit which would challenge that of any good campfire.
This was followed by the considerably lesser known, and slower number Eyeless in Halloway,
a sad concerto of sinking sand, funeral priers’ and crooked dreams. The introduction of the string
section seemed to somehow bring the band into full fruition. Whereas the previously somewhat
skeleton sound of guitar and drums threatened not to live up to the full blown orchestra of the warm
up acts. The joviality of new single Leftovers picked up the pace, and got heads a nodding and soon
quieted any doubts as to why it was the Sussex Wit headlining. Small venues are brilliant for such
acts, but my only concern with this particular venue, was that during the relatively quiet numbers,
most notably Cold Bread, the friendly and enthusiastic banter of the barmaids somewhat distorted
the experience of the song. (Although I can’t say I’m not enlightened by the blonde’s assertion that
pernod is a favourite tipple of hers. I’ll bear that in mind.) Despite this, and a minor technical difficulty which was only overcome by the temporary dismissal of the celloist, the venue with its throwback
decor, dim lighting and cheap drinks made a wonderful setting for this magical brand of vintage folk.
The highlight of the set was saved until last however. Brown Trout Blues, a harrowing, harmonica driven, and despair soaked self-vindication. With its dirty blues riff and self-effacing lyrics, it
is a beautiful poison for the bleak and desolate, or else the most effective antidote to a broken heart.
“We can roll around like marbles on the floor. Please pick me up and roll me out the door.” And with
that we took his advice and headed for the door. Safe in the knowledge that if only this was 1954, we
would have just have been witness to a historical event. But alas, it’s not, and for all his talent and wit
Johnny won’t ever reach the dizzy heights of success that his forefathers did. But for now, that really
doesn’t matter.
British Bhangra Conquers Adversity to go
Global
Bhangra music has gone from an obscure 1960s
Birmingham import to an internationally recognised artform - says the author of the first ever history of the genre.
But according to Dr Rajinder Dudrah who is Head Of Drama
at The University of Manchester, the music has had to
struggle against cultural racism and community politics to
stake its place in British popular culture.
The Senior Lecturer in Film and Media Studies
charts the rise and rise of the mix of Punjabi beats and lyrics,
UK pop, RnB, reggae, garage, grime and other world sounds
in his new book Bhangra: Birmingham and Beyond. Dr
Dudrah said: "Bhangra has made a hugely important contribution to British popular music despite the attitudes of the
mainstream music business.”
"In the 1980s Bhangra bands were selling up to
30,000 cassettes a week in Asian music shops. But despite
massive popularity, the music was and continues to be
unrecognised by the official top 40 - though it outsells many
of the official top 40 bands. Even though the genre now is
now taught in schools, it is still sidelined by the British music
establishment. When Bhangra artist Panjabi MC sampled
the theme tune of 1980's TV series ' Nightrider' , it sold millions of copies globally. However it was ignored by Britain
until American rap star JayZ used the tune. Bhangra music
has now become a cultural backdrop: you hear it regularly
for example in advertising. So surely it's now time for it to
be formally acknowledged by the music industry alongside
our other major artists."
With contributions from Ammo Talwar head of the Midlands-based Punch Records and photographer/music
journalist Boy Chana, the book is now out.
Interview
11TH fEBRUARY 2008
coffee with costa
Born in Huntington Beach, CA, in 1982, Matt Costa received
his first guitar at age 12. While he was always interested in music, even
playing in a band in high school, Costa’s first love was skateboarding.
At the age of eighteen however, a horrific skateboarding accident
shattered his leg and dashed these dreams of becoming a professional
skater. So he picked up his old guitar.
Now focused solely on songwriting, Costa recorded a handful of
demos, one of which landed in the hands of No Doubt’s Tom Dumont. The
SoCal axeman went on to produced Costa’s two self-released EPs, and his
2005 studio full-length debut, Songs We Sing. Costa’s sophomore effort
and second release for Jack Johnson’s Brushfire label, Unfamiliar Faces,
was released on January 22nd.
So you learn other people’s songs that seems quite weird?
The more that you take in the more that you can put out you can’t put
anything out if you don’t take anything in all we do is recycle
information, recycle it. It’s like a glass bottle I put it in my ear
and it comes out my other ear and then it’s a plate and I can eat off
it and someone else will start spinning the plate above their head and
doing tricks with it.
Then someone else will smash the plate.
Everything is just recycling and doing what you want with it.
I heard you say in an interview that everything is influenced by
something which came before it and so you went really far back to
get to the bottom of it all does that mean that you think everything
out there at the moment is just a copy of what’s already been? And
if so what should musicians do to recover some sort of originality?
Matt is fresh off a whirlwind European tour, on which he only manJust be yourself because all of the melodies and types of songs
aged a couple of London dates, but he assured me that next time round he have been written before so you really just have to put something of
would be far more throrough in his roamings of our Isles. Following these
yourself into them. Anyone can cover a song but it’s that person
dates I caught up with the man of the Bushfire moment, for a quick chat...
who does it in a great way and it’s different and that time the record
spans out and stays with you. I don’t think I’ve really achieved it
I love the video for Mr Pitiful, have you ever tried busking? yet and that’s good because I think it’s all a bit downhill once you
Yes at different places.
It didn’t make too much money though; I think the most I ever made was about $10 once. have.
Your making a bit more money now I hope! Has it helped being signed I heard you say in an interview that ‘the imaginary world is a lot
to Jack Johnson’s Bushfire Label, since he’s already established in the more fun than the real one’ so what sort of things do you do in your
folk
genre? imaginary world?
Yes, with everything he’s done. He’s taken me on tour, and I have Everything! Imagine all the things that you want to do but you can’t
complete creative control, on every record. And it’s nice because he do. Like even when you’re just walking down the sidewalk. Or maycomes from the same place as me. The Bushfire label is there just to be you’re in a car and your about to turn left and there is someone
support something that is just happening; it’s not making it too crossing the road, maybe you just want to stop and jump out your
c
o
n
t
r
i
v
e
d
.
.
.
. car and go grab them and say hey I think we should be together,
because you might just fall in love with them. But it’s all that sort of
I heard rumours that you locked yourself away in your bedroom to write stuff that you never do!
this record, how far is that true? I mean, I’m concerned; did you
leave
for
food
etc? Do you feel like you are leading a regular life at the moment?
I left for coffee, other than that I just had a piano and a bunch of Yes I enjoy it, it’s a lot cheaper
guitars, a 1967 harmony guitar, Leister the piano he’s called Where do you see yourself in a few years time?
Leicester, and he’s old.
71 this year actually and he has a lot of
knowledge. In the morning I’d have coffee and then sit down and ask In a few years time I will celebrate the anniversary of you asking me
Leicester a bunch of questions and by the time all that happened I just that question.
had to make sure that I pushed record on my tape player, because lots Thanks Matt.
h
a
p
p
e
n
e
d
.
I’ve also heard that you took inspiration from your favourite books;
listening to the record I’m imagining 19th century American literature
like
Twain,
what
are
your
favourite
books?
I had a whole bookcase of books. Let me see had a bunch of Steinbeck
novels that I’d read because I think he’s really good. I also had this
book called Riding the Rails which was based in the great depression
and is all about the teenagers, because there were about 200 000 who
rode freight trains all over America. Some just did it for fun,
because they were from wealthy families, but most did it because they
felt like they were a burden on their family. The book tells each of
their individual stories.
I had a bunch of records too, mainly 50’s
and 60’s Donavan, the Beatles, stuff passed down from my grandparents.
What’s
on
your
record
player
now?
Everything I listen to is anywhere from 60’s folk, rock, Britpop then
back into early turn of the century folk music. Every month I have a
new obsession musically stuff that I go back to, stuff takes about two
years to digest and understand to get it in my brain. Right now I’m
listening to Nick Drake five leans left, for like a week straight.
This morning thinking about it and some of the songs I want to learn.
Interview
18th May 2007
The Loved Ones are a pop
punk band based out of Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. The band was founded
in late 2003 by Dave Hause (formerly
of The Curse and Paint It Black) on
vocals and guitar, Michael Cotterman
(formerly of Kid Dynamite) on bass
and Mike Sneeringer (formerly of Trial
by Fire) on drums. The band’s first
release was a self-released four-song
demo in 2004. The following year,
they released an EP, The Loved Ones,
on Jade Tree Records. Their debut
album, Keep Your Heart, was then
released a year later on Fat Wreck
Chords
After leaving Paint It Black,
singer Dave Hause worked hard as a
roadie for New Jersey’s The Bouncing
Souls, which got the Loved Ones’ foot
in the door. They eventually toured
with the Bouncing Souls and many
other bands, including The Explosion, Against Me!, Rise Against, Bad
Religion, NOFX, and Less Than Jake.
In April 2006, the band appeared on the cover of their hometown music publication, Origivation
Magazine.
In December 2006, a posting on the band’s MySpace page
announced that Cotterman had left
the band. He was replaced by Chris
Gonzalez and they also added second
guitarist David Walsh. They were both
formerly members of The Explosion,
who had announced their split up
near the time Cotterman left.
The Loved Ones have announced the details about their
upcoming sophomore full length.
The record is titled Build & Burn and is
due out February 05, 2008. The album
was produced by Pete Steinkopf and
Bryan Kienlen of Bouncing Souls as
well as Bob Strakele who also acted
as engineer and mixer. Members of
the Hold Steady also provided some
guest performances.
DH: yeah they would be the ones I’d
wish to see
The loved ones have described their music as ‘popularist
punk’. Although they aren’t exactly
making music for the masses, they
want their music to reach as many
people as possible, and not to be
hemmed into being an underground
punk act.
That’s not to say they are sellouts by any stretch of the imagination. These guys have worked hard to
be were they are and there music isn’t
exactly heading for the charts.
It is an original blend of pop,
punk, ska and hardcore which makes
them a brilliantly attractive listen.
For a review of their latest
album, check out the review section
starting on page 6.
The Loved One’s Are:
Dave Hause – Vocals / guitar
David Walsh - Guitar
Chris Gonzalez – Bass guitar
DW: yeah, ever since I was five years
old, very young. It’s kind of weird
when you realise music is gonna be
a big part of your life majorly, it’s a
big risk. You still try to maintain your
home life, you gotta strike a balance,
but it’s working for us now.
RS: What are your plans as a band?
DW: Yeah, we just finished up making
a record, that comes out in February,
called ‘Build And Burn’.
DH: We recorded it on a couple different places on the East Coast, with our
friends Pete and Brian, they produced
it, and Bob. Pete and Brian are in the
Bouncing Souls, and Bob is a long
time friend. We had a blast making it,
and we’re really psyched about putting
it out.
[Some people push a giant trolley past,
which makes a ridiculouslyloud trolley
noise.]
DW: [laughs] Do you reckon you got
that sound on there?
Reporter Rik Sharm caught
up with guys before their show...
RS: I reckon I did! If you could go to
any show, any musician, alive or dead,
who would it be?
DH: Hmmm [thinks carefully] I would
love to see Joe Strummer again.
RS: Who would you say your main
influences are musically?
DH: I guess old rock and roll, 60’s and
70’s rock and roll, and punk from the
70’s and the 80’s. We like the Clash, the
Ramones… the Beatles, Tom Petty,
Bruce Springsteen,
RS: In the Clash? Or with the Mescaleros?
DW: Either way
DH: Either way… I would like to see
The Beatles, The Replacements, those
would be the top shows I would
choose.
RS: Have you always wanted to be in
music?
DH: yeah
DW: Mozart?
DH: Mozart.
DW: Beethoven.
RS: Who are your heroes?
DW: I’ve had a bunch of heroes in my
life personally, my mum, for
sure, my wife… a lot of women.
[laughs].
CG: I’d like to say at this point in my
life, my mother is my hero.
RS: Do you have any advice for any
musicians who are starting a band?
DW: I would just say the most important thing that I found, as a musician,
would be to play from your heart, and
just because you love music, if you
love to communicate through music.
If you
look at it in terms of a career, or as
a way to be famous or something,
you’re probably gonna be let down.
But if you’re playing for the sheer joy
of playing, then that’s the way to do it,
and anybody could do it.
CG: If you approach it in an artistic
and creative way you know, then it’s a
great outlet.
DW: you gotta keep it humble, and
grass roots, then let it grow from
there.
RS: And finally, what’s it like being on
Fat Wreck Chords?
DH: we like being on Fat! We have a
good relationship with
everyone there, they’re really professional, and really hands on.
DW: and they’re really fun too
DH: yeah, you can have drinks with
them
CG: and they give you artistic freedom
too
DW: Chris and I, our old band was on a
major label,
RS: It sounds friendly, and a nice
atmosphere
DH: yeah it’s a nice atmosphere, its
really good
RS: That was my last question!
DW: thanks for the interview
RS: Thank you
Records
11TH fEBRUARY 2008
The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath
By Pete Benwell
The Mars Volta have always split
opinion. Built from the ashes
of Texan post-hardcore outfit
At The Drive In, The Mars Volta
are to some a breath of fresh air
in a popular rock music scene
dominated by dull and formulaic
unit shifters (I’m looking at you,
Foo Fighters), but are to others a
hangover from the worst excesses
of 70’s prog; self indulgent and
unnecessary. Whilst debut album
De-Loused In The Comatorium
gained popular acclaim worldwide, subsequent efforts Frances
the Mute and Amputechture were
somewhat less well received, and
the band haven’t reached the
level of mainstream popularity
that their initial reception suggested was possible. Instead, they
remain a largely cult phenomenon, managing nonetheless to
sell out tours in large-ish venues
worldwide.
The problem that most
detractors have with The Mars
Volta is that they seem to lack
direction. Too much experimentation for experimentation’s
sake makes listening hard work.
Frances... especially was horribly cluttered with unnecessary
instrumentation, and with some
tracks over ten minutes long, you
had to be pretty damn commit-
ted to stay the course.
Thankfully The Bedlam in Goliath’s longest track is a ‘mere’
nine and a half minutes, and the
album starts with a refreshingly
straightforward direction that
makes the prospect of listening to the whole affair a lot less
daunting. Opener “Aberinkula”
abruptly kicks things off with a
fat guitar riff and Cedric Bixler’s
electrifying screech of vocals.
Combined with cascading drums
and a torrent of sax, it makes for
an invigorating opener. Followed by the similarly emphatic
“Metatron” and the dirty groove
of “Ilyena”, the initial stages of
The Bedlam in Goliath seem to
resurrect ghosts of At The Drive
In, and they’re all the better for it
– heavy and exciting but tapered
with the experimental flair of
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s guitar
work. This re-found rock edge
rears its ugly but welcome head
at points throughout the album,
to most devastating effect on the
album’s centrepiece, the nine
and a half minute opus “Cavalettas”, Lopez and new addition
John Frusciante’s guitars tearing
all over the place, rocketing the
track into the stratosphere. The
lumbering “Goliath”, meanwhile,
is blessed with the closest The
Mars Volta have ever got to a pop
chorus, before descending into
an orgy of guitar masturbation.
Unfortunately, this rocking new dynamic doesn’t last
for the whole album. Perhaps
inevitably for anyone who’s familiar with their work, at points,
The Bedlam in Goliath descends
into pointless experimentation
to such a self indulgent extent
you can practically hear
them air high-fiving
each other around
the mixing desk.
“Soothsayer” is
probably the worst culprit of
this; nine minutes and eight
seconds of tangled guitars and
screeching strings that achieves
very little apart from confusion.
At other points on the album
Cedric Bixler’s yelps become
irritating, victims of overuse of
effects. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with experimentation per se; but when it doesn’t
create any kind of atmosphere;
doesn’t take the song in any direction then it just gets boring.
So, The Bedlam in Goliath is far from perfect by any
means. The Mars Volta haven’t
managed to completely cut
the crap; the album is splattered with a lot of pointless
guitar noodling and unintelligible vocals. Yet, at points, this
experimentation combines with
a heavy quality that recalls their
hardcore roots, and it really
works. I suppose The Mars Volta
are a quintessential “marmite”
band – some will love the dense
and complex instrumentation
and wilfully experimental edge,
whilst others will be put off.
However, despite being patchy
in places, this effort at least
shows a will to entertain the listener rather than simply indulge
their wildest bedroom mirror
and tennis racket prog-rock
fantasies, and for that, it’s well
worth a listen.
‘The Bedlam in Goliath’ is out
now on Universal. The Mars
Volta are touring the UK during
March.
Matt Costa- Unfamiliar Faces
By Phil Reynolds
In a music scene where
dreamy eyed pop-folk troubadours
come ten a penny, something special
is required to lift oneself above
the haze of James Morrison, Paolo
Nutini and their floppy fringed ilk.
Breathing new life into an already
over-crowded sub-genre, newcomer
Matt Costa is exactly that special
something, a pure, and accomplished
song-writing talent that will give
the Jack Johnsons and James Blunts
of this world cause for serious
concern. Costa’s second album,
which hit the shops last month, is
an joyously complex patchwork
of influences and musical styles,
woven together by tight production
and an admirable musicianship
rarely seen in today’s top forty.
Although Costa’s guitar occupies
the central position in most
tracks, each one demonstrates an
impressive variety of musical styles
and arrangements that distance
Costa’s offering from the dreary
sound-a-likes of Morrison and
Blunt. ‘Lilacs’ is a soft, bouncing
folk ballad that wouldn’t sound
out of place on a Seth Lakeman
album; gentle, lightly strummed
guitars and cymbals wind over
soft synthesisers, allowing Costa’s
reedy vocals to play over the top.
‘Vienna’ sees Costa turning
his hand to a chilled out lounge
music style, which work surprising
well with the acoustic guitar. Soft
echoes and some delicate voice
work lift the song into a soothing
uptempo ballad. Elsewhere, ‘Never
Looking Back’ catches Costa
at his most reflective, a single,
melancholy guitar is the order of
the day, backed by soft, sombre
harmonica parts; the song is
pure folk-rock, in the darker spirit
of Simon and Garfunkel or James
Taylor; and a merciful reminder
that Costa’s range extends
beyond the gratingly cheerful
folk-pop of his stablemates.
Of course, Costa does indulge
those moments; but when he
does, he approaches them with
a refreshing verve and bent for
experimentation.
Particularly
noticeable is ‘Emergency Call’ a
summery ballad that incorporates
both piano and trumpets around
Costa’s lively (and impressively
energetic) acoustic guitar work,
and is sure to become one of
this summer’s biggest hits.
Unfortunately, it’s these
more exuberant moments that
also let the album down, Matt
Costa’s first single, ‘Mr.Pitiful’ is
a dreary piece of swaggering
indie-pop. Led by simple piano
arrangements and a distracting
falsetto performance, the track
feels like a disappointing attempt
to conform to chart and genre
expectations, instead of taking
the bolder step of establishing
himself apart from his rivals.
Ignoring the insipid first
single, Matt Costa’s first major
label release is a beautiful,
uplifting collection of pared
down folk, delivered with an
impressive modern edge, this
is folk for the i-pod generation.
‘Unfamiliar Faces’ is out now
on Brushfire.
Records
18th May 2007
The Mountain Goats- Heretic Pride
By Helen Wilson
The Mountain Goats are, as yet,
still to be sniffed out by the savage
wolves of success.
Despite
averaging an album
per year since their
formation
in
1995, they are
still straying
in
deserted
moorland
territories,
unknown to
the entire
population
of
the
U n i te d
Kingdom, it
w o u l d
seem.
But
anybody who
appreciates
music knows,
metaphors
a b o u t
m o n e y ,
success,
fame
and
glamour really
don’t
matter.
What does is
the quality of
the music, and
in this case
it is superb.
I love that
sense of relocation
that a book or song can give you.
Listening to the Mountain Goats I
honestly feel like I’m at the helm Mojave Desert. In fact I’m sitting
of 1956 Ford Mustang (Coupe) at my desk, have no interest in
steering down a highway in the cars, and haven’t travelled that far
The Loved Ones - Build and Burn
By Rik Sharma
The Loved Ones sound has
expanded for this, their third
album, and their second on
Fat Wreck. From the pop-punk
music that adorned those efforts,
it has evolved to give a larger
spectrum of sound; with definite
country influences along with
good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll
combining with their punk sound.
One of the best things about
the band is Dave Hause’s rough,
unpolished vocals, and this is
noticed immediately as the album
starts, as his voice powerfully
enhancing the band’s music,
particularly impressive on opener
‘Pretty Good Year’. The opening
two tracks infact, are probably
two of the three strongest on the
disc; coming straight from The
Loved Ones’ punk rock roots. The
third track, ‘The Bridge’, is much
slower in comparison, with a
steady beat, and it retains the feel
good feel from the warm vocals.
‘Sarah’s
Game’ is a
surprisingly
touching
story about a
woman who,
from
the
first verses
it
appears
the listeners
are meant to
dislike, as she
plays games
with
men,
teases them
and
twists
them round her little finger, but
as the song progresses, it is clear
to see that she is the one losing
out because of it. ‘Brittle Heart’
continues the motif of building
and burning that the album is
West in America. Ever. This Iowa
based minstrel (John Darnielle)
spins yards of yarn and fables,
the usual southern America,
post-depression blues. Stories
about love and love making,
songs about running away, but
ultimately about coming back
home, and of course songs about
spies from Imperial China (that all
important political element?) are
all sung in deep and raspy tones,
which make you one part tearful
and one part giddy (and makes it
damn near impossible to emulate
his choral soar in Karaoke).
Opener ‘Sax Rohmer #1’
was written in reaction to one
of Sax Rohmer’s infamous spy
novels, and more specifically as
a dedication to the character FuManchu. It is a vivid, pulsating,
heavily articulated ragged camp
fire anthem. Every moment leads
toward its own sad end, and the
song drums up momentum , with
the advancing and complicated
plot straining John’s voice into
its final hoarse plea “I am coming
home to you, if it’s the last thing
that I do.” ‘San Bernardino’ follows
in a totally different vein. The
story follows a young unmarried
couple who gives birth to a baby
boy in a cheap motel, off a freeway
in the High Desert, California. A
dark take on the nativity tale,
the angelic harp plucked guitar
and orchestral strings, ignore the
morality of it all and conclude
with an impassioned sentimental
resonance.
As a rule The Mountain
Goats are a vocal heavy band,
based on; the band say that the
record has an underlying theme of
people’s decisions in life, and how
they have a large impact for either
good or bad, how sometimes
something good is there for you,
yet you tear it
down. Along
with ‘Selfish
Masquerade’
these
two
tracks
are
amongst the
softest
on
the album,
a departure
from
the
raucous,
driven earlier
tracks, not
necessarily
a welcome
one, but the band prove they are
adept at playing this music too.
With the slower tracks comes a
little less originality, and they could
be considered to be bordering on
the edge of blandness at times.
relying on the merit of their clever,
pathos ridden and poetically
inventive lyrics.
But on this
album they experiment more
musically, inviting the musically
multi-lingual Eric Friedlander to
improvise over the guitar and
vocal arrangements. The result is
a much more interesting variety
of sounds. Sometimes rather
aggressively, such as on ‘Lovecraft
in Brooklyn’, The Mountain Goats
adopt a much more conventional
sound of
guitars, bass and drum, which
results in a unique and beguiling
rock ‘n’ roll number. In other
instances, such as ‘In the Craters
of the Moon’ they exploit the
theatrical build up of the song
with the supplement the dramatic
tension of the song with an
orchestral break. ‘I start to sweat I
can’t cool down’ shouts John, their
songsfrantic and impassioned,
down to the last augmented
chord. Not quite
typical Yankee folk, these guys
take influence from pioneers such
as Donavan and Dylan, and bring
it into the twenty-first century. Full
blown band blues. The Mountain
Goats are chronically under-rated,
I sigh again after listening to
Heretic Pride.
‘Heretic Pride’ is out now on 4AD.
A couple of the standout tracks,
however, is the sad ‘3rd Shift’,
followed by ‘Louisiana’. This latter
track is the main country influence
on the disc, and provides the
easiest song to sing along to.
Closely behind is ‘Dear Laura’,
which brings back a punkier feel.
The final track on the CD is the love
song ‘I Swear’, probably the most
accomplished number here, a
great album closer, and a possible
future a good live set ender also.
The record is always solid, and at
times, touches of greatness are
displayed, but overall it remains at
a fairly similar, always listenable,
but not always exceptional, level,
and it is clear that this band
has produced a good record,
but a record that was always
firmly within their capabilities.
‘Build and Burn’ is out now on Fat
Wreck Chords.
St Vincent - Marry
Me
By Holly Kilner
Having already toured
with The National and Arcade
Fire, this year looks promising
for St. Vincent. Formerly of The
Polyphonic Spree, Annie Clark,
American multi-instrumentalist
singer/songwriter creates
haunting yet beautiful music,
comparable to the likes of Regina Spektor and Bat For Lashes.
Debut Marry Me sees
her unique blend of beguiling
and striking vocals met with a
mish mash of instruments from
guitars and organs to xylophones and French horns. The
result is a beautifully crafted
and original debut, ranging
from the crazed melodies of
fairground-esque tracks such as
‘Paris Is Burning’, with an almost
waltz like chant of ‘dance poor
people dance and drown’, to
the soft bluesy style of ‘Human
Racing’. St Vincent’s a singer
songwriter with a difference,
with weird and wonderful lyrics
covering the serious to the often tongue in cheek and quirky.
Offering a wide range
of sounds, album opener ‘Now,
Now’ enchants with its soft vocals, organs and strings. Whilst
the edgier ‘Your Lips Are Red’ is
rockier, blending pianos, violins
and percussion with bass,
synthesisers and distortion.
The brilliant mixing of genres
and mesmerising vocals really
defines the album which blends
a complete myriad of sounds
with ease. Each track builds
brilliantly and offers something
different from the last. An impressive debut, Marry Me offers
a unique blend of rock, soul and
indie beats with hand-clapping
aplenty.
‘Marry Me’ is out now on Beggars Banquet.
Interview
American
hardcore
outffiit
From Autumn to Ashes have
been feverishly touring the UK
supporting Hundred Reasons, and
on their travels swung down to pay
Southampton University a visit.
Interviewer
Rik
Sharma
caught up with the band, before
the show, for a quick chat…
RS: So! Introduce yourself…
BD: I’m Brian, I play guitar
in
From
Autumn
to
Ashes
RS:
BD:
evil.
Describe
your
Loud.
Loud
Not
unlike
sound
and
AC/DC.
RS:
What
are
your
next
plans
as
a
band
then?
BD: Well, we’re touring, mainland
Europe,
Australia,
Brazil
and
Japan, and we’ve started writing
new music, so hopefully it will
be out by the end of the summer.
RS: Are
you looking forward
to the seeing the world then?
BD:
yeah
we’ve
been
to
Australia and Asia before but
we have never been to Brazil! I
love Australia, love Japan, I’m
sure I’ll love Brazil, it’s all good!
RS: Why was the new album
called ‘Holding a Wolf by the Ears’?
BD: We thought it was a clever
name,
really
nothing
beyond
that…. I’m kidding! There is
actually a meaning to it…..
no… it was just clever [laughs].
RS: Are you planning to play
Reading Festival again?
BS:
Yeah…
we’ve
done
it twice now, anytime they
wanna have me back, I’ll go!
at
RS: Who are your main
influences as a band? You
mentioned
AC/DC
earlier…
BS: I was kidding about that.. I
don’t really think they influence
our band too much, except
for listening to them… we all
pretty much listen to different
things, I don’t think there’s
much crossover even in the
band.. So… I’d say anything from
between Barbara Streisand and
DSL. We like to take it all in, and
make a little schmorgusboard
of… delicious rock music.
RS: When you record, how
does your sound come together?
BS: Well I don’t think there’s
ever a conscious effort to sound
a certain way, but once things
start to come together they
just keep on going from there
RS: Do you have any advice to
people trying to start a band?
BS: Don’t! Don’t start a band.
Go to school. Get a real job. Find
a nice lady, marry that lady… get
divorced by that lady and then…
hopefully that lady had a lot
more money than you did, take
money from her! [laughs] No, I
don’t know… you wanna start
a band, do it! Just know that if
you wanna make this your job,
11TH fEBRUARY 2008
that its not like playing
a gig on the weekend,
you’re gone! Say goodbye
to everybody you know, if
you have a girlfriend, say
goodbye to her too, cause
she’s breaking up with you.
RS: So you spend
a lot of time away
from home, on tour?
BS: 10 months out of
the year… your girlfriend,
your friends, you’re not
gonna have ‘em anymore.
You have to make a
decision whether this
is more important than
having a normal life.
RS:
And
would
you
say
it
was
worth
it?
BS: Yeah if it works out its
worth it! But if not, I guess
you could always go back…
but it’s been worth it for me!
RS: Do you have any bad habits?
BS: I smoke…I smoke… I’m an
alcoholic, I’m a drug addict….
I have a lot of bad habits…
[Suddenly] I don’t look at porn
really! So that’s not like one
of my vices… that’s kind of
redeeming, you know.. I’m not
like a creepy, grimy guy! So I
smoke and drink and do drugs, but
other than that I’m pretty good!
RS:
jobs
what
BS:
Have you had any other
other than this? And
was the worst of them?
Yes! I got fired from
working in a shoe store,
years ago, before the
band! And then actually
right after that we went
on tour! I sold Vans.
RS: How did you get fired?
BS: I guess I wasn’t
good at selling shoes!
I had to go open up the
store in the morning and
I probably didn’t show up
on time… I KNOW I didn’t
show up on time! And I
had to open the place,
and kids were outside
trying to buy shoes, and
I wasn’t there! So I guess
that’s why they fired me…
RS: but its turned out really well!
BS: Yeah, thinks have worked
out ok for me! That was a
terrible job… it wasn’t a hard job
or anything, it was just a terrible
job man. When they fired me,
I was just like… okay! I didn’t
even care that I didn’t have
money or anything… but that’s
ok cause I hate you. I hated
selling shoes, nothing good
about selling sneakers to people.
RS: What’s your ideal day now?
BS: On tour or at home,
there’s two different ideal days!
RS:
Both!
BS: Well, at home, I like
waking up… fairly early, playing
with the dogs, three dogs, I like
hanging out with them… then I
start drinking at 11 am and that
pretty much takes over for the
rest of the day! And my guitar!
That’s a great day… and then
on tour… all those things, but
minus the dogs! Followed by
a good show, and good people
to hang around with, the other
bands, it helps to be on tour
with bands that are good guys
and have fun and stuff. Just
stuff that’s not very stressful
or anything, it has to do with
the people that you’re around.
RS:
Thanks!
BS: Thank you very much!
From Autumn to Ashes are
currently on a headline tour
around Europe.
Their album
Holding a Wolf by the Ears is
out now to buy or download!
18th May 2007
Live
SPICE UP YOUR
LIFE!
SPICEGIRLS RE-UNION TOUR.
9TH JANUARY 2007
O2 ARENA, LONDON.
The Spice Girls. Some revel in criticising their songs, making fun
of their costumes and sometimes even insulting their fans. These people
we generally refer to as boys. Personally I was there with the best of them
on Boxing Day 1997 waiting to see the Spice Girls movie for the first time.
Having owned all the albums and even some of the merchandise going to
see the Spice Girls reunion tour was a natural step. But 1997 was a long
time ago and was I ready to be a Spice Girls fan again.
The O2 arena formally known as the millennium dome is a large
entertainment district complete with a cinema, exhibitions, ice skating rink,
restaurants, and the O2 arena. This world class venue has played host to
many big names such as Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. Its great
acoustics and wide range of facilities perfect to hold the Spice Girl’s
reunion tour. On the 9th January 2007 this complex was littered with spice girls fans waiting to relive their childhoods.
Men in drag stood patiently waiting for their friends,
dressed in fetching union jack dresses and
ginger wigs and merchants paced through the
crowds trying to flog grossly overpriced programmes. Excitement filled the air and crowds
piled into the arena filling all of the 20,000
available seats. Suddenly darkness and the
atmosphere became electric each fan looking
desperately for where their childhood icons
would appear on stage. Could it be through
the stage doors or down the spiral staircase
and then in time honoured pop band tradition the Spice Girls appeared, shooting up
though the floor.
The Spice Girls began their set
with Spice Up Your Life, the live band
bringing the song to life and fans
everywhere screaming out every
lyric. Following this they performed
such hits as stop and say you’ll be
there with classic dance routines to match. Between each
costume change a plethora of
dancers entertained the crowds
really showing off why this tour
sold out in 38 seconds. At every
stage of this performance the
Spice Girls were not afraid of
friendly banter with the crowd.
They even managed to slip in
the odd joke about Tesco’s and
indulge in the odd spot of ‘dad’
dancing.
About midway through this concert the Spice Girls costume changes
take a step into the past as they don their original trade mark outfits. As
the guitars kick in with the funky riffs of Who Do You Think You Are, Ginger
Spice appears out of the floor in her union jack dress, sending the crowd
into a fury. Each of the Spice Girls then appear out of the darkness in their
own trade mark outfit. No come back tour would be complete without such
iconic clothing. The Spice Girls then go on to perform some of their biggest
solo endeavours such as It’s Raining Men. I Turn To You, and Maybe. Mel
B’s performance stands out, covering Lenny Kravitz’s Are You Gonna Go
My Way she takes what is a legendary song and makes it her own.
The Spice Girls performed mama complete with videos of their
own childhoods and a child choir sending the crowd into mass swaying.
Also they performed Goodbye and Wannabe before finally finishing with a
reprise of Spice Up Your Life. One thing that was clear from this concert is
that the Spice Girls are great performers. In the past
they may have mimed on top of pops but this time
they sung without the help of machines or studio
magic and just relied on what are truly good voices.
Slowly the stadium emptied and the magic was over.
Crowds piled onto the tube network and women covered head to toe in Spice Girls merchandise chatted
about how close to David Beckham they got to sit, bragging to anyone who would care to listen. It was all over
but it left you with a nice happy feeling like you had made
your 9 year old self proud.
The Spice Girl’s reunion tour known for its
record price tag, each Spice Girl set to earn £10 million from the show, has certainly caused
a fuss in the British media over the
last few months. Associated with
cheesy advertising telling us in
five different ways that they are
indeed getting back together
and other corny publicity, some
have claimed that they are only
in it for the money. But in their
own words they wanted to put
on the greatest pop show the
world had ever seen. Did they
achieve this? I think they did
and I got the impression that
20,000 other people that night
agreed with me.
The Spice Girls have cancelled
the rest of their World tour. So if
you missed them, well silly silly
you.
Live
Plain White T’s
Southampton Guildhall
29/1/2008
Cartel and Girls Like Boys were
the supporting acts for the Plain
White T’s at Southampton Guildhall. Both acts were well worth
seeing in their own right. Girls
Like Boys especially were a complementary band to be playing
alongside The Plain White T’s.
They successfully warmed up the
audience by blasting out a number of their songs, and certainly
were crowd pleasers.
The Plain White T’s began their
set with their latest single to be
released in the UK: ‘Hate (I Really
Don’t Like You)’. Immediately I
realised that my assumptions of
The Plain White T’s, and expectations of the gig, had been amiss.
Based on the slow and sentimen-
tal single ‘Delilah’, that was a bit
hit at the close of last year, and
from hearing their album ‘Every
Second Counts’ I anticipated
quite a tame gig, verging on the
boy-band. How very wrong I
was. From the minute the band
came on stage the atmosphere
in the packed out Guildhall became electric. Having pushed our
way through the crowd, many of
whom were sporting plain white
t-shirts, and being only a few
rows from the front I wasn’t quite
prepared for the ground beneath
me to literally start shaking from
the force of the Plain White T’s
audience jumping up and down.
The crowd mainly consisted of
teenage girls, and therefore the
front few rows quickly became a
mosh pit of screaming fans. Turning to look back at the rest of the
audience it was amazing to see
everyone dancing and clearly enjoying themselves. Everyone in
the Guildhall was actively participating in the music of The Plain
White T’s.
11TH fEBRUARY 2008
The Plain White T’s sang all of
the songs from the album ‘Every
Second Counts’. The live versions
were defi nitely more ‘rock’ than
the album’s renditions of the
songs. In fact The Plain White T’s
live versions of their songs were
much more energetic and enthusiastic than the recorded versions, and in many ways preferable. Perhaps they might take the
lead of stars such as Paolo Nutini,
who have successfully released
live editions of their albums. The
Plain White T’s also did a few
songs from their fi rst album including ‘Lonely September’.
The charisma of the band, in particular of Tim Lopez, one of the
guitarists, and Tom Higgenson,
the lead singer meant that they
had a powerful hold over the
crowd. At one point Tom Higgenson leapt into the crowd to meet
his audience, to the delight of the
waiting female fans. The band
obviously enjoyed performing as
much as the Guildhall enjoyed
seeing them perform. Several
times they stopped to talk and
interact with the crowd, striking
up an instant repertoire, as well
as engaging in some banter with
a fan on the topic of ‘man-love’.
After apparently finishing the
gig there was much clamour for
more from The Plain White T’s.
The band came back on stage
giving their eager audience not
one finale song, but two. The encore of ‘Delilah’, the single that
brought The Plaint White T’s to
the attention of the British public, was particularly impressive.
The audience, showing their admiration of the band, sang along
to all the lyrics of ‘Delilah’. The
Plain White T’s were visibly overwhelmed by this. The gig ended
with ‘Take Me Away’ and a promise from The Plain White T’s that
after they had finished recording
their new album in America this
summer, they would be back in
England touring for their fans.
Natasha Harding
Further Listening....
Albums ‘Every Second Counts’ - 2006
‘All That We Needed’ - 2005
Download‘Hey There Delilah’
‘Hate (I Really Don’t Like You)’
Live
18th May 2007
Alter Bridge
Southampton Guildhall
24/1/08
After meeting the band earlier
on in the day, and realising just
how lovely they were, I started
to really look forward to the gig.
My excitement heightened when
my flatmate agreed to escort me,
and being her fi rst-ever gig, I
could not wait to open her eyes
to the thrill and excitement that
accompanies at least the start of
every performance.
We arrived and headed straight
towards the stage, albeit hesitantly on Wendy (my fl atmate’s)
part. I promised a speedy exit
further back after she had at
least experienced the outskirts
of a mosh pit. After the customary chanting of ‘Alter Bridge, Alter Bridge,’ the band arrived on
stage and started making their
noise. While I am sure the band
kicked off to a great start, my attention at that moment took a diversion. Right in front of Wendy
and I, the fi rst fi ght of the night
erupted. A man intent on crowdsurfing half jumped on a fl oppyhaired 10-year-old, and this got
the back of his fl oppy-haired
father up. My new best friend,
the head of security, who I had
spent twenty minutes talking to
Hundred Reasons,
Exeter Lemon Grove
14/01/08
before the interview, stepped in
and dragged the almost-surfer
out, pausing only to say hi and to
wish me a good night. I turned
and looked at Wendy, who
looked a little surprised that this
type of behaviour seemed to be
a usual occurrence.
The band played ‘Ties that Bind’
to great rapture. At this point I
decided to lead by example and
scared Wendy with my passionate jumping and head-throwing.
Slightly surprised by this ‘side’ of
me, she hesitantly joined in until I pointed out other women
doing the same to show her, in
case she was in any doubt, just
how ridiculous we looked. It was
at this stage in the evening that
my opinion on female moshers changed. After a particularly
scary experience, I now believe it
is only acceptable if precautions
are taken and sports bras are
worn.
A few songs later and we hear
the opening riffs of ‘Blackbird;’
the title of the current album
and a beautifully written song
by Myles Kennedy (lead singer,)
about a friend who’s fight with
a long-term illness was coming
to an end. The crowd calmed in
appreciation to the well-known
importance of the song to the
band. The few people in the
crowd with lighters held them up,
a little swaying ensued, and the
song sounded just as incredible
as I had hoped live. With what
was certainly the highlight of the
evening over, I decided it was
unfair to keep Wendy rammed in
amongst a variety of new smells
to her for any longer, and we
headed towards the back.
The band were good and gave an
enjoyable performance, but the
best part for me was reliving and
recapturing the true spirit and atmosphere of my very first gig.
Carla Bradman
Further Listening...
Albums ‘Blackbird’ - 2007
‘One Day Remains’ - 2004
Download ‘Stand Here With Me’
‘Watch Over You’
‘Blackbird’
‘Ties That Bind’
Hundred Reasons
emerged onto the stage and
completely dominated the stage,
with an imperious, fun, and
highly energetic performance, of
their modern rock songs which
they transfer from the studio to
the stage with a vibrant, uplifting party feel. The first few
songs in particular are blasted
through, with an uplifting, wild
energy that the crowd shared,
as they sang along as one.
They had been waiting for this;
the crowd response was much
larger than it had been for From
Autumn to Ashes; which is a
shame, because they delivered
a solid set and deserved more.
Before FATA were the crowd
warmers ‘Flood of Red’, whose
act was reasonable, although
very few people were there to
see the benefit of it, as the room
began to fill slowly, a long time
after they had departed.
From Autumn to Ashes
had put a lot into their act, and
with a setlist that encompassed
most of their best material,
could not be said to have done
anything wrong, but their style
of music differs a lot from the
much lighter and more upbeat
band they were supporting,
perhaps why the audience did
not take to them as much as one
would have thought.
The setlist that Hundred
Reasons delivered left few
complaints, with a variety of
songs from their albums, the
most popular ones seemed to be
from their third album, ‘Kill Your
Own’, and indeed, one of the
songs of the night was the title
track for that album. That track
followed ‘Feed the Fire’; another
off of that disc, and it ended a
powerful opening segment.
The middle segment of
the gig interestingly seemed to
lose some of its energy; perhaps
the crowd had grown tired,
but soon enough as the band
claimed that ‘No Way Back’
would be their last track, the
enthusiasm picked up, and the
crowd chanted for an encore,
which was duly delivered. ‘Broken Hands’, the opening track
on KYO was raucously received,
and the crowd loved it.
The new material was
used sparingly, but not ignored,
as the band opened with ‘Break
the Glass’, showing they respect
their fans in that they won’t just
tour behind a new album, omitting all the fan favourites.
All in all, Hundred Reasons
delivered a high tempo, very
good performance, their sing-along-able songs and their skill in
translating the records to stage
with a lighter demeanour definitely one of the many positives
this gig had. Hundred Reasons
come definitely recommended,
next time their around on tour,
just be prepared to bring a lot of
energy, and leave feeling happy
yet tired.
Rik Sharma
WE NEED YOUR
CONTRIBUTIONS!
Send your gig reviews to
[email protected] and see your name
(and your article) in print!
Records
18th May 2007
The Feeling- I Thought It Was Over
By Gareth Brading
Year upon year, The Feeling have
been consistently growing in
popularity. Since they debuted in
2006 with their EP Four Stops and
Home, they have continued to
churn out some great songs, such
as “Never Be Lonely” and “Fill My
Little World” last year, the latter
of which was nominated for Best
British Single at the Brit Awards.
“I Thought It Was Over”
is no exception. Already getting
high airtime on radio stations
across the country, the song
The
Wombats Moving to New York
By Jess Francies
When reviewing the latest single
from the Liverpool three-piece I do
have to admit to a certain amount of
bias as my younger sister would like
to believe she is an unofficial mascot
for the band and if she were to
discover any bad mouthing I would
no longer be welcome in the family
home.
However all sibling blackmail
aside the song is a huge delicious
slice of indie pop with added medical
advice, suggesting the only cure
for insomnia is a swift relocation
to the Big Apple. With previous
singles suggesting that one should
either dance to Ian Curtis’ suicide
notes or excessively repeat ‘this
is no Bridget Jones’ there is clear
element of immaturity throughout
the groups repertoire. Yet the
childlike quality to their music only
emphasises the success of their
naughty and cheeky catchiness.
As a self-confessed critic of the rerelease, it is my usual code of conduct
that a band should only try once yet
for The Wombats there is still a great
sense of freshness and newness to the
track that it is merely a treat for those
lucky few that heard it first time round.
By Jess Francies
Like so many bands in today’s
indie world it appears to be a
necessary requirement that
the band name should be utterly ridiculous and difficult
to pronounce. Obviously this
band has no trouble filling that
quota however their music also
unfortunately reflects that absurdity. ‘Pretty Girl’ is a standard
boy sees girl, boy develops
‘I Thought It Was Over’ is out
February 11th on Island.
By Danielle Richardson
Perhaps best known for their 90’s
club classic ‘Born Slippy’, that is still
insanely popular today, the DJ duo,
Underworld, are back with a new
single. ‘Beautiful Burnout’ is unfortunately nowhere near as addictive
as their former hits, but definitely
has it’s own charm about it. With
a much more chilled out - even
mature – sound, and trademark
surreal edge the last three minutes,
in particular, of the mammoth
eight minute LP is very listenable.
The track prior to this point sort of
seems like more of an elaborate
introduction. All in all, I do like the
song, it doesn’t generate much
excitement but it would be perfect
for any classy London club’s ‘chillout room’…just not so much for the
down and dirty raves.
Amy MacDonald
- Run
By Gareth Brading
Although Amy MacDonald has
only been in the public eye for a
short time, she is already taking
Britain by storm. Her first album
This Is The Life, was released back
in July 2007, but only rose to number one in the charts in January
2008.
I am therefore slightly dis‘Beautiful Burnout’ is out now on
appointed by Amy’s latest single,
Underworldlive.
“Run”. Her frankly superb voice,
which excels on songs such as
her previous single “Mr. Rock and
Roll”, is let down here by a tedious
track with his sinister preacherand slightly pretentious tune. You
like vocals. Raw, spoken word
get the feeling that MacDonald is
style verses build to a chant-like
press release Cave explains how
moving out of her own wonderful
chorus, edgily delivered over
the story disturbed him as a child, heavy bass. Dig, Lazarus Dig’
brand of folk-pop, into an overly
an element incorporated into the
majestic and melodramatically
is the follow up to 2004s
sweeping creation here; somedouble offering Abattoir
thing which really doesn’t suit her.
Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus
The soft acoustic guitar is often
and returns to the heavier
lost amongst a plethora of electric
side of the split. With the
same producer, the new sin- strings, though her singing does
gle suggests the new album remain strong throughout. So,
while this isn’t the beginning of
will be as good as the last.
the end for Amy, it might be the
end of the beginning.
‘Dig, Lazarus, Dig!’ is out
February 18th on Mute Records. Nick Cave uis touring ‘Run’ is out 18/02/2008 on Vertigo. Amy MacDonald is on tour
the UK in May.
throughout February.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Dig, Lazarus, Dig!
By Holly Kilner
After his success with Grinderman last year, Nick Cave
returns with the Bad Seeds
to release their fourteenth
album. The new single - and
album title – ‘Dig Lazarus
Dig!’ sees the return of their
melancholic hybrid of blues
and rock.
‘Dig, Lazarus, Dig’!
takes the biblical figure
‘Moving To New York’ is out now Lazarus and places him in
New York, giving a dark,
on 14th Floor.
contemporary spin. In the
Vincent
Vincent
and The Villains -
is extremely catchy and quite
memorable. Dan Gillespie Sells
emotionally sung lyrics are mostly
the typical love story, but the
setting is 1989 and the fall of the
Berlin Wall. Whilst the song is
grossly lacking in originality, no
doubt it will still sell like hotcakes.
Featuring 1990’s synthesisers,
good drumming and taught electric guitar mixed over a modern
dance beat; it will be played on
dance floors for years to come.
Underworld Beautiful Burnout
girl next door crush kind of tale
however put to what only can
be described as desert island ska
with a dash of alternative guitar
noise. The intro conjures images
of poor Baby from ‘Dirty Dancing’
attending her dreaded Acapulco
lessons to the sounds of absolute
vomit worthy…….
However the star-crossed love
story between Baby and Johnny
is substituted for Vincent Vincent
meeting his dream girl in the
frozen section of Tescos.
The ‘This record must be played
loud’ instruction on the front
instrumental half way through, I
of this single should in fact be
recommend this track to no one.
changed to ‘This record must
be put in the bin’. Completely
‘Pretty Girl’ is out now on EMI.
pointless with an unnecessary
Turin Brakes- Something In My Eye
By Phil Reynolds
Restyled folk rock duo Turin
Brakes unleash the second single
this month from their fourth
album Dark on Fire. Following the
development of their earlier folkpop sound, the duo’s new single
inclines towards smooth, fully
fledged indie rock.
Sounding both dense
and reflective the new Turin
Brakes have matured a great deal
since the poppy silliness of ‘Pain
Killer’ The new single is a tightly
constructed piece of shimmering
indie guitar work complete with
dreamy synthesisers and soaring
vocals, that see the band reconfigure themselves as something
closer to indie rockers Thirteen
Senses, or ‘Rush of Blood’ era
Coldplay. One to watch.
‘ Something in My Eye’ is out now
on EMI (download only) . Turin
Brakes are are touring the UK
throughout February, and are
playing Portsmouth Wedgwood
rooms on 19/02/2008.
Records
Goldfrapp A&E
By Heather Steele
Goldfrapp’s latest single, A&E, is
not the typical electro- beats and
pop-infused dance music that
you’d expect from Will Gregory
and Alison Goldfrapp. However,
it is a great way of showing off
lead singer Alison Goldfrapp’s
huge vocal range, while also
demonstrating how they can
produce both stomping dance
tunes and beautifully melodic
songs too. A&E is perhaps not as
infectious or as much of a club
anthem as some of their previous
singles, such as 2006’s Ooh La La,
yet its haunting vocals and lyrics,
merged with the backing of soft
piano and guitars would be the
perfect theme tune for a teenage
TV show.
‘A&E’ is out 11th February on
Mute, with new album ‘Seventh
Tree’ out the 26th. Goldfrapp are
playing various dates across the
U.K. between March and June.
The Maccabees - Toothpaste Kisses
By Jess Francies
Sweet, simplistic and sublime,
my positive alliteration for this
track is never ending. Totally
different to the usual warbling
voiced guitar Maccabees repertoire, do not let the band’s Jack
Penate affiliations put you off as
‘Toothpaste Kisses’ is a beautiful
love song that will cause many a
‘heart shaped bruise’ on women
throughout the country.
Literally saving the best till
last, the track comes in at number 13 of the 13 tracks included
Kat Flint Go Faster Stripes
11TH fEBRUARY 2008
Turncoat Wasted On You
on their debut, an undeniable
gem that is definitely worth waiting for. If any man that tells me he
will win my heart with a ‘woohoo
woo’ (cue whistling), I am most
certainly theirs.
The one and only thing that
deeply saddens me about this
track is that it has been used for
a mobile phone advert. Musically
far superior to any endorsement
deal, I only hope that no Aquafresh/Colgate affiliations follow
suit.
By Danielle Richardson
Those of you who went to Glastonbury 2007 may already be familiar
with this Brighton-based band who
played the Leftfield Stage there,
but they are completely new to me.
‘Wasted On You’ has a pretty interesting mix going on, with modern
sounds reminiscent of the likes of
‘Toothpaste Kisses’ is out now on
Fiction.
Maxïmo Park, combined with Paul
Weller-esque vocals from The
Jam days, and a couple of sudden
intense guitar outbursts that
sound like The Foo Fighters have
just invaded. A perhaps unlikely
combination, you may be thinking, but somehow it really works,
creating a catchy Indie-Rock hybrid. Definitely worth a listen, and
a band to keep an eye out for!
‘Wasted on Yoy’ is out February
25th on Regal. Turncoat play
Southampton Hamptons on Saturday February 23rd.
Jonah Matranga Not About a Girl or a
Place
precious and hopeful little gem
from the optimist declaring that
‘the best things grow from the
worst disasters’.
A refreshing addition to the
By Jess Francies
female singer/songwriter faction,
By Gareth Brading
Flint contains the mystery of
Imogen Heap and the quirkiness
of Regina Spektor with her own
Described as wonky and wonderful, personal touch of fairytale folk. I have never heard of Jonah Matranga before, and based on this song,
I can’t quite detect any imbalance in A far more promising recommendation for 2008 than the
I’m not surprised. The 38-year-old
Kat Flint’s music, however ‘wonapparent critics choice Adele,
singer-songwriter from Massachuderful’ I can. Kat Flint is a whimsiany musician that lists sellotape, setts has been with two little known
cal artiste from the North-East of
Scotland, and ‘Go Faster Stripes’ is a pennywhistle and a Fisher Price bands in the US during the 1990’s,
Happy Apple in their list of
Far and New Line Original, and after
percussion is a winner the solo project onelinedrawing he
with me.
is now striking out on his own.
Please, please, please
“Not About A Girl Or A
either buy her music Place” tries to be a Rock ‘N’ Roll
or add her to your
throwback song incorporating
myspace friends as
several heavy rock elements, but
you will make a dedi- unfortunately fails miserably. As this
cated folkie extremely highly irritating song isn’t about a
happy and proud.
girl or a place, I don’t know what it
actually is about. The lyrics are just
boring and ill-fitting, Matranga’s
‘Go Faster Stripes’ is
vocals are weak, and though the
out now on Albino
guitar tune isn’t terrible, none of
records. Kat Flint is
it is in any way memorable. Please
playing various UK
avoid.
dates throughout
February and March.
See myspace.com/
‘Not About A Girl or A Place’ is out
katflint for more.
now on Xtra MIle Recordings.
Stephen Fretwell Now
By Jess Francies
There is an element of pain and
rawness to Fretwell’s music that
sometimes you feel guilty for
listening to it as if you are discovering his innermost deepest secrets.
Yet, by allowing the listener to this
right of passage to his private emotions, it truly adds to the uniqueness of his work. It just seems such
a shame that ‘Now’ doesn’t quite
reflect that like his other tracks
have. Slightly monotonous and a
like less drunken, less Irish version
of Damien Rice the single lacks
something yet I still believe there
is more and better to come from
the melancholic songster.
I really do hope he doesn’t get
associated with the like of the
James Morrisons and James
Blunts (we all now how we would
really like to pronounce his surname) of the music world, as not
only does he have something of a
personality his music is of a much
higher calibre than the usual
‘singer/songwriter’ criticisms
and he deserves all the praise he
receives.
‘Now’ is out now (!) on Fiction.
Films
18th May 2007
C L O V E R F I E L D
Director: Matt
Reeves
Starring: Lizzy
Caplan, Jessica
L u c a s , T. J . M i l l e r,
Michael StahlD a v i d , M i k e Vo g e l ,
O d e t t e Yu s t m a n
Easily
the
most
hyped film of last year and
the beginning of this one,
Cloverfield has finally burst
onto cinema screens across
the country… and burst it
most certainly does. I’ll start
by saying I don’t think I’ve
ever seen a film like it, possibly
this is due to my own lack of
complete filmic omnipotence
and other watchers will see a
direct correlation with an 1980’s
Korean horror, but I didn’t.
On those merits alone this is
worth seeing, if you were at all
sat on the fence about making
the gut-wrenching decision
between a cinema ticket and
enough money for two pints
then pick the former (you can
just eat less; I don’t want to
be an advocate for sobriety).
It is impossible to
mention Cloverfield without
talking about the marketing.
Around the middle of
last year images of a
decapitated Statue of
Liberty started showing
up all over the place
with nothing but a
date attached, not even
a title. These threw the
Internet film community
into speculation chaos with
only drips of information
coming out here and there.
Blurry shots of wrecked
vehicles on set, a
cavalcade of different possible
titles and possible plots,
everyone wanted to know
where this was all going but
only J.J. Abrams (creator of
Lost, director of MI:3, writer/
producer
of
Cloverfield,
general king of big and small
screen) plus his crew knew. It
is incredible to think that a film
where the majority of people
have no clue what it is about
can be so hotly anticipated.
This should be a lesson to
the Hollywood studios – as
we unfortunately now have
retarded “celebrity magazines”
that market themselves to
people with half a brain and
only enough of an attention
span to read the explicit details
of what anyone famous (or
infamous) did the night before
- mystery is a commodity.
Perhaps shielding the big stars
from the pathetic leeches that
work for these magazines like
they did in the golden age
will bring
the
magic back to cinema, or perhaps
not, who knows, but I thought
it was a point worth making.
filmmaker for using the
current cultural environment
to
his
full
advantage.
nightmare
stalking
New
York will endure in the same
manner as Japan’s nemesis.
So what is Cloverfield?
Fortunately it is quite easy
for me to sum it up without
spoiling anything. It is a big
F*&K OFF monster movie, shot
on handheld camera (using the
“found
footage”
premise),
focusing on the
little people. We
aren’t dealing
with the
decisionmakers
h e r e ,
w e ’ r e
following
the scared
civilians,
the
guys
you see running
for their lives in
Godzilla
flicks.
The situation our
protagonists are
in is the same
one we’d be in if
a giant beast started
tearing Southampton
apart (of course that
would
be
nowhere
near as impressive as
the beating New York
takes), powerless. This
definitely ratchets up
the intensity and
as the situation
holds a mirror
to the current
“climate of fear”
regarding terrorism
the effect is even
more
successful.
Would this film be
so relevant if 9/11
never
happened?
Maybe
not,
but
you can’t blame a
There
have
been
criticisms about the acting in
Cloverfield with the players
being compared to overambitious
GAP
models.
Personally I think this is too
easy a line to take and there
are definitely some worthwhile
performances here. T.J. Miller
as HUD, the dull but witty
cameraman/narrator of the
whole affair is highly amusing.
The level of his comedy seems
to escalate as the danger of
the situation increases and this
is probably why I didn’t think
much of his character during
the somewhat serene opening
party sequence, but this is
someone with good comedic
timing. As for the rest of them,
they definitely do a solid job
and I don’t think they should
be degraded just for being
easy on the eyes. Even though
the running time is a brief 85
minutes no-one wants to spend
that long looking at ugly people.
Cloverfield lives up to
the hype. There I’ve said it.
It’s a rollercoaster ride, once
things get started they never
stop and when it ends you by
no means feel short changed
by the minimal running time.
However, don’t listen to Empire,
who gave it 5/5, because in
my opinion this is never a film
that set out to get a score
like that. There is virtually no
character development which
is fine for this adrenaline
surge of a flick but you’ll
never get a classic without
enduring characters and that
is what 5/5 implies… a classic.
I am not in the habit
of spoiling so don’t expect
to find a description of the
monster here, but I can say
the visual effects are generally
impressive. Due to the more
intimate than usual story being
told here the lack of constant
high-end special effects isn’t
a problem. When we do see
the monster and the raging
destruction it unleashes, it is not
disappointing. The only slight
let down is the beasties lack
of “iconness”. Obviously the
parallels with Godzilla are clear
but I very much doubt the
I
couldn’t
help
throughout but be reminded of
a videogame (possibly the best
ever), Half-Life. The handheld
camera viewpoint giving a
first-person perspective on
all the action, which despite
what people say is only really
a negative at the beginning,
before the hurt is brung.
Coupling this with the classic
obstacle jumping scenes and the
beating of monsters with a pipe
(if only it were a crowbar my
comparison would be perfect)
and to me you have a definite
overlap
of
awesomeness.
This is definitely a cinema
outing, wait for the DVD and
unless you have something
a bit special setup at home
the experience will be greatly
reduced. Go to see it and not
just because everyone else has.
Dean Read
4/5
Films
Director: Michel Gondry
Starring: Jack Black, Mos
Def, Mia Farrow
Release Date: 22nd
February
Surrealistic director Michel
Gondry, it seems, is a man to
do things by halves. His latest
offering, Be Kind Rewind which
hits the multiplexes this February,
is an admirably torn film. Half arthouse meditation on the power
of narrative, heritage and artistic
integrity and half mainstream
blockbuster, Be Kind Rewind is
nothing less than Michel Gondry’s
independent epic; a sweet,
wholesome film that punches
far above its meagre weight.
11TH fEBRUARY 2008
act, bouncing haplessly through
the story with an arsenal of
silly expressions and ludicrous
dialogues that are actually some
of the film’s strongest moments,
surpassing even the masterful
parodies, and Michel Gondry’s
ever present doses of surrealism.
Gondry’s penchant for surreal,
shifting realities, lots of cardboard
and weird camera trickery would
always be difficult for the average
Odeon attendee to swallow,
but somehow Gondry juggles
strangeness
and
sobriety
with aplomb. Gone is
the somewhat selfindulgent weirdness
of
Eternal
Sunshine, or the dark, intentionally
confusing layered realities of
The Science Of Sleep. Instead,
all of the pent up peculiarity is
leaked out in the films that Jerry
and Mike remake (or ‘swede’
as they call it) - all recognisable
blockbuster
hits,
including
Ghostbusters, Robocop and even
The Lion King, which are remade
with intentionally ropy props
and effects. The sight of Black
and Def chasing elderly librarians
with tinsel covered fishing rods
is masterfully strange, as is Jack
Black wandering around in a
robot suit, and a truly warped
edition of Rush Hour 2; but
these are moments of
charm, rather
t h a n
Be Kind Rewind tells the story
of video store owners Mike
and Jerry, who must remake
their shop’s video catalogue
using only a handheld camera
and props scrounged from the
local neighbourhood, after Jerry
accidentally wipes the tapes.
Phil Reynolds
5/5
trying to sabotage the power plant that
he believes is melting his brain and
accidentally erases all the tapes in the
old-fashioned video store where his best
friend Mike (Mos Def) works. To keep
the few customers happy, Jerry and Mike decide
to remake one of the erased movies in Jerry’s
junkyard. To their astonishment, their unique
version of the movie is a hit. Mike, Jerry, and
soon, friends from the neighbourhood are in
full-time production, re-making movies, from
Ghostbusters to King Kong, and in the end
revitalize not only the business, but the entire
community
Calling All Film Fans: remake
your favourite film in 2 minutes
or less and win a trip to Hollywood
To celebrate the release of Be Kind Rewind,
Pathe is inviting film fans across the UK to remake
their favourite films for a chance to win loads of LG
entertainment equipment and a trip to Hollywood, the
home of moviemaking.
Your homemade remake can be a shortened
version of any film, just the trailer, or just a scene,
but must be under 2 minutes in length. The best films
submitted will be judged by a special celebrity judge,
who will select the winner based on its creativity
and humour.
To enter your film, and for full competition details / terms and
conditions, please visit www.bekindrewindyourmovie.co.uk
In Be Kind Rewind Jerry (Black) becomes magnetized while
But Be Kind Rewind is much
more than a series of spoofs,
or moments of highly creative
surrealism. At its core, Gondry’s
film is a surprisingly touching
homage to the role film
stories have in our lives. From
the cameos from latter day
Hollywood greats Sigourney
Weaver, Mia Farrow and Danny
Glover, the noticeable absence
of DVDs anywhere in the film
and Gondry’s marvellously
weird, ‘home made’ visual
aesthetics, Be Kind Rewind is
a film that’s deeply enamoured
with the past, a view message
touchingly conveyed by the
film’s surprisingly sweet, but
never
saccharine
climax.
Both very simple, but also
strangely complex, Be Kind
Rewind successfully walks the
tightrope of maintaining a
coherent, family comedy plot
for the popcorn munchers
among us, and a wry, satirical
swipe at the blockbuster
film for the indie fans, and
film lovers. A masterpiece.
The film is carried admirably
by strong performances from
Jack Black (Jerry) in full
‘charming loser’ mode, and
Mos Def (Mike) as his likeable
straight man, together the
pair are a kinetic double
As well as a trip to Hollywood, Pathe has
also lined up a great selection of prizes- a range
of goodies from LG, including their 5.1 Home
Cinema System; HDD/DVD Recorder, Plasma
screens and Viewty camera phones. Also on offer,
courtesy of Skillset, is a career advice session with an
experienced
film professional – perfect for any budding film-makers wanting to kickstart their career.
unfamiliar strangeness, as
everyone is in on the joke.
Check out the Be Kind Rewind
trailer to see some of Hollywood’s
greatest blockbusters given the
D.I.Y treatment: http://www.bekindrewindthemovie.co.uk/
*******
Be Kind
Rewind is released in cinemas nationwide on
February 22nd 2008, with previews on the 20th and 21st February
2008 and is distributed by Pathe Distribution.
For further information please contact Sublime:
[email protected]
0207 317 9290
Films
18th May 2007
Sweeney Todd: The
Demon Barber Of Fleet
Street
latter
segment
of
that admittedly odd
comparison, although
there’s a fair share
of grease and grime
on
show
here.
Burton’s gothic style
is a perfect fit for
the cobbled, gas-lit
streets of early 19th
Century London and
helps
immediately
set the tone for the
gruesome
events
set
to
unfold.
Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny
Depp, Helena
Bonham Carter, Alan
Rickman.
Approaching a Tim
Burton film is like
entering a chip shop,
you know you’re going
to get chips, but you
always run the risk of
getting some hideously
greasy ones instead of a
bag salted to perfection.
After
fifteen
years
in
forced
exile
Benjamin
Barker returns to
the capitol reborn as
the psychopathic barber
Sweeney Todd (Johnny
Depp). There he learns of
the grave fate of his wife and
the kidnapping of their daughter
both at the hands of the evil
Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman).
With the help of the eccentric
Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham
Carter) Sweeney rekindles
his passion for his former
profession with a malicious
twist, imbued with the
intent
to
violently
dispose of those who
destroyed his life.
In
film
terms
Sweeney
Todd
enters
the
positive
What strikes most
about
Sweeney
Todd is Burton’s
incredible
use
No Country For Old Men
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel
Coen
Starring: Tommy Lee
Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh
Brolin
The Coens return with
bloody, brutal vengeance...
It has been three long years
since the Coens’ last directed
feature. Perhaps a strategic
break after the, what can
only be described as ‘sub-parCoen’, double-whammy of
Intolerable Cruelty and The
Ladykillers which were not well
received by most critics. But the
brothers Coen are back with
this unforgiving tale of evil.
This tale is based on the
book by the Pulitzer-winning
novelist, Cormac McCarthy,
of the same name, a man
who is perfectly at home in
constructing violent character
studies. And thus, this is what
No Country For Old Men is.
The film involves a hunter and
Vietnam war veteran, Llewelyn
Moss (Josh Brolin) who stumbles
across a Mexican drug deal gone
wrong in the Texan desert, and
from it takes $2 million. Moss
lives with his wife Carla Jean
(Kelly Macdonald) in a trailer
park, and so one thinks he will
use the money to give them both
a better life. However, a man
chasing up the missing money
has different plans. This man is
Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem),
a man who is so unfeeling and
set in his ways, he is pure evil.
A character later in the film will
remark upon Chigurh as
not having a sense of
humour, and having his
own set of principles.
These
are
the
understatements
of the century.
Chigurh
lives
by one specific
principle; if you
see him, you die. Or if you
prove yourself to be sufficiently
deserving of your life, he will
grant you the courtesy of a coin
toss to decide your fate. “Call it.”
The story revolves around
three main characters; Moss,
Chigurh and Sherriff Ed Tom Bell,
played by a brilliantly cynical
Tommy Lee
Jones.
It
is
odd
though
t
o
of colour. The most obvious of
which is red, which comes almost
entirely from the endless gallons
of blood on display. Claret (as
well as the odd pie) is the order
of the day in Sweeney’s world
and my oh my does it flow.
This is a gory adventure from
the off as our anti-hero sets off
on his implacable quest. Even
during a longingly poignant
ballad the sight of throats being
slit is unashamedly explicit.
Which of course, brings us to
the songs. If you hadn’t heard
(and it’s pretty hard to tell from
the trailer) Sweeney Todd is a
musical. An adaptation of Steven
Sondheim’s darkly comic 1979
Broadway production no less.
Each song is truly magical, with
each noticeably different from
the last, but while Sondheim can
take the writer’s credit for this it
is the entrancing performances
that make them so utterly
entertaining. Depp blows away
doubters with a style that
brilliantly fuses the lulling croon
of David Bowie with the angsty
growl of Iggy Pop. Carter also
holds her own adding a zany
charm to her quirky ditties.
And it is these two that hold
our attention for the majority of
the film, not least because their
story is the most interesting. The
young lovers Anthony (Jamie
Campbell Bower) and Johanna
(Jayne Wisner) get shoved aside
in order to make way for the
more intriguing pairing of Mrs.
Lovett and Sweeney Todd. A
surprisingly memorable musical
harmony simply adds to their
warped relationship as Mrs.
Lovett yearns after Sweeney
only to find his affections have
already been stolen, by his
razors no less (the subject of the
musical highlight ‘My Friends’).
Despite notable performances
elsewhere, especially from the
hilariously pompous Sasha Baron
Cohen, Depp and Carter are
the bleached soul of the film.
A fantastical sequence with
Mrs. Lovett imagining a future
with Todd stands out thanks
to Burton’s inspired placement
of two washed-out fruitcakes
on some idyllic but somehow
garish
seaside
backdrops.
Filmed almost in total black
and white Burton’s noirish reimagining of the popular story
of the maniacal barber of Fleet
Street is a bleak production
where scarlet is the only escape
from the gothic world he creates.
Sweeney Todd is an unflinchingly
gory melodrama with elements
of black comedy that have gone
oddly unnoticed by many a critic,
but most poignantly this is a Tim
Burton film to the very core and
showcases him at his stylishly
dark best. A savage success.
Oliver Cragg
5/5
consider that these three almost
never share a scene with one
another. It is a chase movie
without much chasing. It can
be more accurately described
as a stalk movie; for every
step Moss takes away from
his pursuer, his pursuer always
seems to be two steps ahead.
images, and his mix of Spanish
and American accents almost
make him seem otherworldly. It
is enough to induce perspiration
to the palms of even the most
hardened cinema-goer, and
whenever he is on screen,
there is a tangible uneasiness
as to what he will do next.
One of the most attractive
elements of No Country is
its dialogue. It is so darkly
humorous, and poignant it will
leave you wishing you could
hear more. Sound seems to be a
key part to the film’s ingredients
of greatness (and great is indeed
what it is), or lack of as the
case may be. The score consists
largely of atonal drones and the
haunting sounds of wind on the
plains that does not distract
your attention from the all
round good performances
of the cast. Bardem is the
man that steals the show
however. The glimpses you
see of Chigurh in reflective
surfaces are truly iconic
The conclusion to the film
is necessary, if not totally
satisfying given the neo-western
genre of the film and it ends
a truly violent, unstoppable,
poetic Coens Brothers movie
which should surely be a
big 2008 Oscar contender.
Verdict: It is ironic how a film
with quite limited dialogue and
music can render you speechless,
but that is what No Country
does. This is violent, unforgiving
cinema. The Coens are back...
it’s like they’ve never been away.
Adam Vaughan
5/5
Films
National Treasure 2: The
Book of Secrets
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Starring: Nicolas Cage,
Diane Kruger, Jon Voight,
Justin Bartha
Towards the latter end of
December last year, I was
fortunate enough to be invited to
a press screening and conference
of Disney’s National Treasure 2:
Book of Secrets. ‘A free movie’,
I thought, ‘why not?!’ Of course
I was understandably a little
keener when I discovered the
likes of Nicholas Cage, Diane
Kruger, Justin Bartha, director
Jon Turteltaub, and the producer
with the Midas touch, Jerry
Bruckheimer would be attending
the conference afterwards. As
you can imagine I spent most
of the time during the press
conference in some sort of starstruck comatose. Indeed having
one of the world’s biggest
producer’s alongside one of
Hollywood’s most famous of
sons a mere ten feet away from
you is an enticing prospect for
any would-be reporter, especially
since it was only his second outing
for The Edge. It’s hard work,
but somebody’s got to do it.
Grossing over $347 million
In the Valley of Elah
Director: Paul Haggis
Starring: Tommy Lee
Jones, Charlize Theron, Jason Patric, Susan Sarandon
“Find me a script that nobody
wants to make”. Such is the controversial nature of writer and
director Paul Haggis. In the Valley of Elah marks his directorial
return to the big screen, having
been on leave since 2005, a wellearned break after the multi-Oscar-winning Crash. But don’t get
me wrong, he’s kept busy. With
screenplay and producer credits
for the likes of Million Dollar Baby,
and Letters from Iwo Jima, not
to mention churning out scripts
for Casino Royale and Flags of
our Fathers, it’s clear Mr Haggis
hasn’t simply been at home attempting to become biologically
similar to a pork scratching whilst
mindlessly flicking through reruns of QVC. Not that I’d care
if he had, because quite frankly
what he’s created with his lat-
worldwide and inspiring kids to
once again retrieve their history
books from under the short leg
of the couch, I had high hopes
for the second instalment of
Disney’s up and coming franchise
National Treasure. The first
was a surprisingly entertaining
outing for both parents and kids
alike. Why I remember it as one
of the few occasions when my
dad actually remained awake
for the whole film, an admirable
promo for any picture looking
for the respect of its fellow piers.
But the question remains: will
National Treasure 2 live up to
expectations or simply be
another in a long line of
film sequels
that failed to
impress?
T h i s
t i m e
round the treasure-hunting
history buff, Ben Gates
(Nicholas Cage), is on a mission to
clear his family’s name, potentially
tarnished by an accusation of coconspiracy in the assassination
of beloved American President,
Abraham Lincoln. Along with
usual suspects, Abigail, Riley,
and his father, Patrick Gates, Ben
must travel the globe in search
of a supposedly mythological
treasure, one that can prove his
ancestor’s innocence. However
est outing would forgive a lifetime of obesity and idle play.
Based on a true story, In the
Valley of Elah sees retired military police officer Hank Deerfield (Tommy Lee Jones) team up
with local police detective Emily
Sanders (Charlize Theron) in the
hunt for his son (Mike, played
by Jonathan Tucker), who, having freshly returned from Iraq,
has been reported AWOL from
his base in New Mexico. What
begins as a missing person’s case
soon turns into a murder investigation as the body of Hank’s
son is found charred and dismembered in a nearby field.
Although on the surface Haggis appears to have given us
yet another example of the of
the ‘who-done-it’ genre, what
we get is the story of, as Haggis puts it, “a blind man opening
his eyes”. From the start we see
that the soldier in Deerfield is still
very much alive, from the way
he makes his beds to the way he
shines his shoes. However by the
end of his investigation we see a
11TH fEBRUARY 2008
their efforts are hampered by
the ever-villainous Ed Harris,
who plays the part of Mitch
Wilkinson, a descendent of John
Wilkes Booth and the one who
originally made the accusation.
Now the integrity of The
Edge is pinnacle to our widely
regarded reputation so I have
to be uncompromisingly honest:
not brutal, just honest. This is
a shame in a
sense because
it means, for
me and any
trusting
readers at
least, the
National
Treasure franchise will be forever
ruined (only to be redeemed by
what I hope to be a stunning third
instalment). National Treasure 2:
Book of Secrets, is, I’m sad to
say, a horrific disappointment.
Normally if you put enough wellscripted action on screen I’ll be
quite content to sit in a cinema
for up to, but not exceeding,
three hours. However here I find
an exception: too much action.
remarkable change in his character: the patriot inside him damaged and sickened by the onslaught of incomprehensible, yet
undeniable, savagery committed by the armed forces in Iraq.
And yet this is exactly the point
you feel Haggis is trying to alert
us too, or at least his fellow Americans: the truth behind the lies.
In the film Hank’s heroic image
of his son is destroyed through
the short, distorted glimpses
of the very real, very horrific
military life in Iraq that we see
through Mike’s mobile phone.
Although over here the media
at least appears to be far more
liberal, in America, where you’d
hope this kind of film would
have an impact, you get the
impression this may be the first
time the ‘movie-going’ audience
would be awakened to the horrors of Iraq. As Haggis was quick
to acknowledge in the press conference afterwards, the majority
of Americans are only recently
recognising the mistake that is
George Bush. Although born in
The film itself darts from city
to city, fleeting between Paris,
London, and the U.S. Its locations
are diverse and impressive,
ranging from Buckingham Palace
to the Library of Congress.
When asked how difficult it is
to attain permission to film on
all these locations, director Jon
Turteltaub replied frankly: “the
key is to have sex with all the
right people”. An honest answer
and one you’d rather not dwell
on too long, especially when you
consider the various scenes that
were shot at Buckingham Palace.
However therein lies the
problem: there’s simply too
much going
on.
One
minute
you’re
in Paris
admiring
a scaled-down replica of the
famous Statue of Liberty,
and the next you’ve shot off
to London to raid Buckingham
Palace. There’s very little
time for plot development.
for parents with young kids, or
couples who fancy seeing some
mindless fun then it’s certainly
right up your street. Although
some of the plot seems a tad
far-fetched at times, the comicrelief from Riley (Justin Bartha)
and that generated by the
on-screen chemistry between
Gates senior (Jon Voight) and
ex-wife Emily (Helen Mirren) is
endearing, often compensating
for
any
slack
writing.
So yes, we may see how
relatively easy it is to race through
central London shooting guns
whilst completely avoiding any
contact with the police. And sure,
once you put your mind to it a
team of historians can - with little
difficulty - kidnap the President
of the United States at his own
party. But when you look past the
corny, low-brow, scripted-action,
you do get an entertaining two
hours, and as producer Jerry
Bruckheimer says, “We’re in
the entertainment business, we
like to entertain people.” Well
Jerry, mission accomplished.
But does this mean I wouldn’t
recommend it? God no! When
dealing with a film like National
Treasure 2 we have to be aware
of the target audience. I’m not
saying it would necessarily be a
great night out for students, but
Alex Jenkins
Canada, Haggis is an American
citizen and maintains that he is
still a patriot. However at the
moment he refuses to recognise his country because of the
“heinous acts” they’re committing in his name, and you really
feel this is the kind of message
he’s trying to alert others to.
with solid performances from
Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon make for an enticing moral
quest, at the heart of which lies
the truth behind the Iraq war.
This is a film that truly all
should see, especially those of the
American persuasion. Against the
torrent of American propaganda,
Haggis has produced a film that
cries of truth. It was clear at the
press conference that this was a
film inspired and largely made
out of pure passion. Indeed many
of the actors (such
the characters
of Bonner
and Long)
are
former Iraq veterans who
were eager for the story to be
told. Tommy Lee Jones’ performance as Hank is nothing short
of awe-inspiring; no doubt the
best of his career, and anything
less than an Oscar-nomination
would be a crime. This coupled
Rating 3/5
Alex Jenkins
4/5
ENCORE
Arts & Societies Guide
14th February to 6th March
Investment Society
JP Morgan Networking
African Caribbean Christian
Fellowship
Meet with top executives of JP Morgan
Tuesday 19th February, starts 18.30, Bridge Bar
Contact: www.usis.co.uk / [email protected]
The Cultural Night 2008
‘The Rise of Private Equity’
Saturday 1st March, doors open 6.30pm
Turner Sims Concert Hall (B0: 02380 595151)
Please buy your tickets in advance!
Tickets £10, concessions £8
Christian Union
Guest Speaker from Nova Capital Management
Tuesday 26th February, starts at 6pm
Management Building (2) foyer, Free drinks
Good News? What about other religions?
‘Foreign Exchange Markets’
African Carribean Society
Thursday 14th Feburary, 1pm to 2pm
Marquee on Highfield Green
Strawberry & Chocolate
Good News? Jesus and Love Actually
Saturday 6th February, 8pm til 1 am, Bridge Bar
Contact: [email protected]
AlphaSoc
Thursday 14th Feburary, 6.30 - 7:30
Marquee on Highfield Green
Jazzmanix
Encounter
Jazzmanix Spring Concert
Good News? How can we trust the Bible?
Isn’t it full of contradictions?
Light Operatic Society - LOpSoc
Thursday 14th February, 3.30pm - 4.30pm
Marquee on Highfield Green
New Alpha Course
Tuesday Evenings starting 19th Feb at 7pm
41 Roselands Gardens
Contact: Pieter & Suzanne (023 8055 8192)
New Christianity Explored Course
Wednesday afternoons starting 20th Feb at 2pm
53 Harefield Road
Contact: Steve & Debs McClure (023 8067 7557)
Website: www.soton.ac.uk/~alphasoc
Conservation Volunteers
Brownsea Residential Weekend
Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th February, 8am-5pm
£15 including transport, food, and accomodation.
All levels of expertise welcome
Contact: [email protected]
Geog Soc
Noahs Ark Fancy Dress
Tickets available 11th February from Stag’s Head
Stags 9pm, then onto Fat Poppadaddys 10pm
Contact: Sarah-Louise, [email protected]
Hellenic Society
Greek Dancing Class
Thursday 14th & 21st February,
6-7pm Beginners, 7-8pm Advanced
Small Meetings Room, SUSU Building, Level 1
Contact: [email protected]
Greek Dancing Club Dinner
Thursday 28th February, 7.30pm
Fat Fig Restaurant, Bedford Place Event
Contact: [email protected]
Guest Speaker Mike Fawcett from HSBC
Tuesday 4th March, 6pm
Management Building (2) Foyer, Free Drinks
Friday 15th Feburary, 1pm - 2pm
Marquee on Highfield Green
Unite - “Good News?”
Friday 15th February, 7.30pm, B32 EEE LT1
CU Does Church
Sunday 17th February, 2pm - 3.15pm
Marquee on Highfield Green
Unite at the Cube
Monday 18th February, 9pm - 1am, The Cube
Contact: [email protected]
Sunday 2nd March, 7pm
Weymouth Baptist Church
The Beggar’s Opera
Wed 13th to Sat 16th February, 7.30pm,
plus 2.30pm Saturday matinée.
The Nuffield Theatre, Tickets from £7
Available: The Nuffield Theatre Box Off in person,
(02380 671 771) or www.nuffieldtheatre.co.uk.
Conatct: [email protected]
SUJO (SU Jazz Orchestra)
SUJO with Byron Wallen
International Cafe - Origami
Friday 22nd Feburary, 7.30pm
Turner Sims Concert Hall
Contact: [email protected]
Afternoon Tea With JC
Southampton University Sinfonietta
Monday 18th February, 8 - 10pm, The Chaplaincy
Contact: [email protected]
Thursday 21st February, 3pm - 5pm
Clubs & Socs Room
Unite - What are you living for?
Friday 22nd February, 7.30pm, B32 EEE LT1
International Cafe - Shakespeare Evening
Sinfonietta Concert
Friday 29th February, 7.30pm
Turner Sims Concert Hall
Contact: fl[email protected]
Monday 25th February, 8 - 10pm, The Chaplaincy
Contact: [email protected]
Theatre Group
Afternoon Tea With JC
Wed 5th March to Sat 8th March, 7.30pm
The Annex Theatre (Arts H, next to Nuffield Theatre)
Tickets available: Nuffield Theatre Box Office
Thursday 28th February, 3pm - 5pm
Clubs & Socs Room
Unite - What are your priorities?
Friday 29th February, 7.30, B32 EEE LT1
International Cafe - Welsh Night
Monday 3rd March, 8 - 10pm, The Chaplaincy
Contact: [email protected]
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Symphonic Wind Orchestra
Spring Concert
Sunday 2nd March, 7.30pm, St. Mary’s Church
Contact: [email protected]
WANT TO HAVE YOUR SOCIETY LISTED? IT’S FREE!!! Email: [email protected]

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