Album Reviews: August 2007

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Marcia Salomon - Bossa Nova From Brazil and Various Artists - Spirit Mountain - Authentic Music Of The American Indian (CookingVinyl) 27/08/2007

T: Two albums from Cooking Vinyl's International Music series, both released on the same day.

N: The first of these albums appears to be Latin American chillout, cafe culture coming fast and furious at the listener. While the second, an album that takes in music from the American Indian, is a sound that is clearly spiritual, where pan pipes echo and American Indians chant, almost as if their feet are dancing around your living room. But exactly why would I sit and listen to this? Certainly albums the listener has to be in the right mood to accept.

T: True, but didn't you feel almost humbled by the whole thing, as I did? We're used to our creature comforts here in our Western world, and within this music there is a kind of - as you say - "spiritual" being that is really quite moving. Sure, the Brazilian music is a lot easier to embrace, but the American Indian expressionism probably has more depth to it.

N: I know exactly where you're coming from. Why shouldn't this have its place, just as any other form of artistic expression. 7/10

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Sum 41 - Underclass Hero (Mercury Records) 23/07/2007

T: Apparently Sum 41 were rescued from bombs and gunfire by a United Nations worker recently, while they were filming a documentary in the Congo with the non-profit group War Child Canada. The album is named in honour of their mortal saviour, but would he have been better off leaving them there? To be fair, Sum 41 have never been a band who have instilled a great deal of wrath in me. Their brand of punk pop is upbeat, carefree and a million miles away from the oh-so-serious attitude put across by other bands of a similar ilk. Whilst I wouldn't choose to listen to this myself, they are undoubtedly great connoisseurs of the power chord and would probably be good company at the local.

N: Using the new Swingometer, as we are today, that being whether or not the music scares the cat. To gauge a benchmark, we took Sash's 1997 album "It's My Life", where I'm afraid she took an immediate dislike to, promptly leaving our listening room. She'd probably heard it before. Now in the case of Sum 41's "Underclass Hero", this was a slow burner, and it took three songs before she withdrew to the patio and took shelter underneath the barbecue, but in human terms, when I first heard this album, it immediately threw images of scenes from Hollyoaks, and I agree with Tone. It's not absolutely nasty, well written songs, albeit in a teenage mindset and actioned well. However, after being sustained to an almost full album, my senses were beginning to wear.

T: What a load of waffle.

N: You'll be grateful to know that the cat has now left the building.

T: What's that you're cooking on the barbecue? 6/10

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