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Friday 02 May 2008
Nine Lives continues in the vein of 2003's About Time, with Steve Winwood still mining a catalogue of bland homilies regarding such things as hope, faith and persistence for songs such as "I'm Not Drowning", "Fly" and "We're All Looking".
More happily, the album also extends his association with the jazz guitarist José Pires de Almeida Neto, whose neat, interior-sprung figures furnish the hooks to many of these songs, lending a cyclical, desert-blues feel to "I'm Not Drowning", a Pablo-style soukous tinge to "Hungry Man", and a samba-pop flavour to "Secrets" and "At Times We Do Forget". Lyrically, Winwood is more effective on the dystopian social unease in pieces such as "Hungry Man" and "Dirty City", but the album's too awash in new-age blather: the effect is to skew the arrangements too much towards dinner-party blue-eyed soul, somewhere between Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, particularly when the flimsy, fusion-lite sax appears. He can still deliver even the limpest of lines with compelling conviction, for all that.
Friday 25 April 2008
The mighty English roots duo Show of Hands attracted a loyal audience of cutthroats, crooks and conmen to their show at London's Bloomsbury Theatre. "Is there anything left in England that's not for sale?" blasted the band's front man and singer-songwriter, Steve Knightley, flanked by the multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer and the pair's regular guest, the fiery-haired Miranda Sykes, on double bass.
Thursday 17 April 2008
Here Is What Is is the soundtrack to a documentary in which the acclaimed producer of Dylan, U2 and Peter Gabriel tries to reveal “the source of the art, rather than everything that surrounds the art” – an impossible task, but one he comes close to fulfilling at various points here, most notably in enabling “Lovechild” to blossom into a complete song from the initial root of Garth Hudson’s piano improvisation.
Sunday 06 April 2008
Whether trilling wordlessly, singing her own poetic lyrics or enacting personal interpretations of jazz standards, the voice of Norma Winstone has created a uniquely sensitive sound-world for five decades.
Wednesday 05 March 2008
Tuesday 29 January 2008
With a name likeVampire Weekend, one would not be expecting to see a band comprising Upper West Side Ivy Leaguers, best known for their affection for deck shoes, yachting and cardigans. Something spooky is going on when a band member's father standing at the side of the stage looks sharper than his son. One of the most hotly tipped bands for 2008, whose self-titled debut album has only just come out, Vampire Weekend don't carry much of the cool of their forebears The Strokes. Not that the audience mind: the up-to-the-minute young indie fans, from punks to skinny-jeaned rockers to bearded folksters, along with some of the band's old mates from Columbia University, are already bitten.
Wednesday 09 November 2005
Friday 06 August 2004
Monday 07 June 2004
Until recently, Peter Gabriel has not been prolific. Now, he's back already, updating last year's Grown Up stage show, rechristened as Still Growing Up. It's a collaboration with the director Robert Lepage, performed in the round and making imaginative use of lighting effects to create radical changes of mood.
Sunday 30 November 2003
Tuesday 24 June 2003
Friday 23 May 2003
Friday 18 April 2003
Friday 21 February 2003
Wednesday 27 November 2002
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
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