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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CD Reviews

    KT Tunstall is back this week with her new album release, Drastic Fantastic.

    Tunstall came on to the American music scene in early 2006 with her release of “”Black Horse and a Cherry Tree.”” Other hits followed, including “”Suddenly I See”” and “”Other Side of the World.”” Her debut album, Eye of the Telescope, sold more than three million records worldwide.

    Her sophomore album boasts a safer, more subdued side of Tunstall, comparable to the likes of Sheryl Crow or Sarah McLachlan. It was released in the United Kingdom on Sept. 10 and currently sits at the No. 3 spot on the BBC’s Top 40 Albums chart.

    Her first single, “”Hold On,”” was released July 16 and is not too impressive. Though it gets a lot of airplay and has a catchy Latin beat and semi-interesting lyrics, it is predictable and forgettable the minute the song ends.

    Drastic Fantastic
    KT Tunstall – Virgin Records
    4 stars!

    There are some songs with great potential on the album. The first track “”Little Favours,”” exhibits the classic Tunstall sound. It is upbeat and sweet, giving it the mass appeal that made her other songs hits.

    The fourth track, “”Funny Man,”” is a multi-dimensional song with an interesting subject.

    “”Beauty of Uncertainty,”” track 11, is another keeper. It possesses a sound reminiscent of Johnny Cash. It also features instrumental aspects other than guitar, which is a departure for the artist.

    “”Paper Aeroplane”” is the quintessential ballad, good for any jilted lover or depressing relationship junkie.

    The rest of the album is a mix of acoustic guitar riffs and smooth melodies. Overall, it is a well-written and nicely composed album. While there is nothing “”drastic”” about it, it has the word “”hit”” written all over it.

    Allison Warren


    Sometimes with an album, you can see the good intentions, but the execution is painfully lacking. Hot Hot Heat’s new album, Happiness Ltd., is a sugar-coated example.

    The Canadian quartet’s newest release is a clash of strings, organ pipes, chaotic piano, synthesizer beats, percussion, cowbell and a voice distorter that just screams “”overproduction!””

    I would honestly give people a dollar for every different instrument they could name in each song. Although a few of these elements are strong and may prove essential for other bands, Hot Hot Heat needs to realize that there can be too much of a good thing.

    The first and title track is almost promising in its unique intro, which dials in listeners and coerces them with smooth bass and slightly clever guitar work. But it’s all downhill from there.

    Happiness Ltd.
    Hot Hot Heat – Sire Records
    … 1 star

    By the second track, “”Let Me In,”” it’s hard to not be annoyed with frontman Steve Bays’ throaty wails. Although Hot Hot Heat stays true to its sound, it seems to have infused it with an overdose of random instruments.

    The fourth track, “”Harmonicas and Tambourines,”” sounds like the lovechild of New Order and Rooney – which is audibly offensive. I burst out into laughter when I came to the ninth track, “”Give Up,”” which sounds eerily like Barry Manilow’s “”Copacabana.””

    Hot Hot Heat obviously tried to deliver some sort of advanced concept but failed miserably. Let’s face it; there are only so many minutes of espionage-esque guitar licks that even Dick Dale can listen to without taking a large dose of Bayer.

    Kelli Hart


    The man solely responsible for bringing the word “”beautiful”” back into pop culture has returned this week with his new album All the Lost Souls.

    James Blunt, who released his first album, Back to Bedlam, in 2005, made his mark on the music industry with his romantic ballad “”You’re Beautiful,”” a song that left many girls swooning and many guys using it as a pick-up line.

    Don’t expect any surprises this time around from this former soldier of the British army. While his last album featured deeply haunting songs like “”No Bravery”” and “”Goodbye My Lover,”” this album is a little more predictable.

    The first single, “”1973,”” resembles something that Elton John could have written, with its upbeat, pop-like sound.

    All the Lost Souls
    James Blunt – Custard/Atlantic Records
    3 1/2 stars

    “”I’ll Take Everything”” is a great mix of percussion and piano and displays an inspiring message about carrying on when the road gets tough.

    Other songs include “”I Really Want You,”” with a good, syncopated beat, the inspirational “”Shine On”” and the romantic “”Carry You Home.””

    Overall, the album is a classic and pleasant to listen to. It seems that Blunt has found his “”happy place,”” for the time being.

    Allison Warren


    Is it bad if an album makes you feel like you just snorted Ambien off your roommate’s hand-held mirror, danced under a strobe light for 40 minutes and smoked a pack of Camel Turkish Golds to calm down from the high? In the case of The Go! Team’s sophomore release, Proof of Youth, the answer is no.

    Although most listeners have (hopefully) never experienced the above, the album sends you through such a fast-paced, nonstop ride that you can’t help but feel like you’ve experienced the best dance party of all time.

    “”Grip Like A Vice,”” the first track and single, triumphs as the shining star of Proof, as Ninja, resident female rapper, chants, “”To you!/ So what you wanna do?/ So do you wanna rock the house and turn this mutha out?””

    The chaos of “”Flashlight Fight”” also rules the album with its blaring sirens, wailing horns, strumming guitars and Chuck D of Public Enemy.

    Proof of Youth
    The Go! Team – Memphis Industries
    4 stars!

    Close to perfection, the album fails with the awkward instrumental interludes “”My World”” and “”Patricia’s Moving.”” And, although listening to the album is 40 minutes well spent and energized, life sets in afterwards, and the ensuing reality that the world isn’t as happy as The Go! Team portrays it is a bit unsettling. Oh well, I’d take listening to Proof of Life over snorting Ambien any day.

    Jamie Ross

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