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October 2001 
Pop/Rock

     
 


MERCURY REV


THE WHO

TIM FINN

THE BEARS

THE DAMNED

VANESSA DAOU
 
     
  MERCURY REV
All Is Dream
(V2)

Listen to RealAudio sample: The Dark Is Rising

The late great producer legend Jack Nitzche would have loved All Is Dream. Inspired by After The Goldrush and the first Crazy Horse album, All Is Dream was slated to be produced by Nitzche, but a week before the sessions were to begin, Jack left us leaving behind him a legacy of brilliant productions and sessions work with Neil Young, Phil Spector, The Rolling Stones among the lucky few. The follow-up to MRís great Deserterís Songs, their recent All Is Dream is actually a quantum leap over that stellar effort. Imagine Neil Young and Tiny Tim (seriously) jamming with Procol Harum and you may begin to get the drift here. Dramatic, mellotron inspired arrangements of orchestral dimensions bang a gong (get it on) with a strong psychedeli-sized pop beat. The songs and vocals from Jonathan Donahue and Sean "Grasshopper" Mackiowiak are amazing and the musicianship of all the players is also first rate. If anything, the album is little too sophisticated and cutting edge for the masses. Donahue reflects, "When I got the call that Jack was dead it was very hard and I think I spent the rest of the time trying to live up to some ideal Jack might have had for our music. Now that itís done I donít know." Looking upon All Is Dream as an album that could of been more brilliant with Nitzche at the helm doesnít take away anything about the fact that the disc is just as brilliant with old Jack simply smiling down from heaven. www.v2.com 


 
  THE WHO
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
(Image Entertainment)

Back in the Ď70s The Rolling Stones were always touted as Ďthe worldís greatest Rock Ďn Roll band, but many music fans in the know have often awarded that honor to The Who. Long after the Stones stopped making Ďinterestingí albums, The Who remained vigilant on that front up until (and after) the death of founding Who drummer Keith Moon in Ď78. Anyone whoís followed the recent activities of Who forebearers Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Roger Daltrey will be delighted with the new DVD of the final November 27, 2000 show from the bandís six month 2000 tour of North America and the U.K.. Delving into their extensive repertoire of rock classics, the band once again look and sound great reviving major rock milestones like "The Kids Are Alright", "Baba OíRiley", "Letís See Action" and "The Relay". All told, the double disc DVD of The Who & Special Guests At The Royal Albert Hall features more than 20 Who classics. Superbly filmed and recorded in DTS and Dolby Digital surround sound, the Image Entertainment DVD also adds in rehearsal and backstage footage while the concert is further enhanced by featured guest artists such as Bryan Adams, Paul Weller and Eddie Vedder. Simultaneously released on VHS, The Who & Special Guests At The Royal Albert Hall is affirmation of The Whoís continuing legacy. www.image-entertainment.com 


 
  TIM FINN
Feeding The Gods
(Periscope / W.A.R.?)
NEIL FINN
One Nil
(Parlophone)

The Finn brothers, Tim and Neil, can take credit for some of the finest pop music of the past 25+ years. First in Split Enz and later with Crowded House, the Finnís have maintained the highest level of pop perfection. Tim Finnís late Ď99 solo album, Say It Is So was skillfully produced by guitarist Jay Joyce and Tim once again calls on Joyce for his recent solo set. Filled with high energy pop bursting at the seams with that familiar Split Enz rock sound, Feeding The Gods is as great an album as any created by the older Finn. Employing a band of young turks eager to work with the legendary pop giant, Finn and Joyce tracked the sessions in Finnís native New Zealand. In the spirit of Say It Is So, Feeding The Gods is less obsessed with matching todayís bloated pop overkill than it is with crafting catchy, timeless pop and rock. Finn adds, "I love the classic combination of bass, drums and guitar. I can find a lot of richness within that. Thereís eclecticism there, but I wanted to rein it in and be more simple with it this time." A true treat for long time Split Enz fans, Feeding The Gods is another fitting tribute to Tim Finnís widescope pop imagination. www.war.com 

Once a roadie for Split Enz, Timís younger brother Neil Finn went on to become an incredibly prolific singer-songwriter and influential guitarist in his own right. Neil meets the challenge head-on with renewed spirit on his 2001 solo album One Nil. Amazingly, the album has (so far) only been released over in England on EMIís Parlophone label, one time home of The Beatles. Unlike brother Timís homegrown, indy outting, One Nil is a full blown major label affair pairing Neil with musical greats like drummer Jim Keltner, Mitchell Froom (keyboards), Finnís co-writer Wendy Melvoin (bass) and Lisa Germano (violin). Neil more than acquits himself with some tasty guitar work and another fine batch of pop tunes that more than lives up to the Finn pop trademark. www.nilfun.net 


 
  THE BEARS
Car Caught Fire
(The Bears)

In addition to his work in the current King Crimson, guitar wiz Adrian Belew recently bounced back with a new CD with his side group The Bears. Belew and The Bears date back to the Ď80s and the release of the groupís first album back in 1987. Despite favorable press and sold out gigs, the group went into hibernation after their second album Rise & Shine back in 1988. In the interim, Belew went on to release a number of fine solo albums, touring with David Bowie and later reuniting with King Crimson in the mid Ď90s. As Belew begins recording the 2001 King Crimson album, heís just put out the first new Bears album since the Ď80s. For Car Caught Fire Belew has written a bunch of fine new catchy tunes that reflect his affection for the jingle-jangle sounds of Ď60s pop, often tinged with complex Beatle-inspired arrangements and melodies. Belewís Bear-mates, including Chris Arduser (drums, guitar), Rob Fetters (guitars) and Bob Nyswonger (bass, keyboards), also contribute much in the songwriting and vocal department making the album very much a group affair. A solid pop offering sporting an abundance well crafted pop tunes, Car Caught Fire reveals another side of Belewís multi-faceted musical personality. www.thebearsmusic.com 


 
  THE DAMNED
Grave Disorder
(Nitro)

U.K. punk rock heroes The Damned burst onto the world stage back in 1977 and now 14 years after their last album, the group returns with a major new release. From the original line-up only lead singer Dave Vanian and guitarist Captain Sensible remain, although the new members help the pair carry on the anarchist spirit of the first Damned lineup. The groupís patented foreboding vocals, intense guitar work and melody-strewn approach to punk-rock remain in tact, yet with so much going on thereís much more to Grave Disorder than first meets the ear. With Vanianís sinister vocals and macabre lyrics leading the charge, The Damned at times come across like a modern day soup-ed up version of The Doors. Guitar buffs will be bowled over by Capt. Sensibleís outrageous fretboard work and phenomenal songwriting. A couple of spins and itís easy to surmise that the spirit of late Ď70s punk-rock is alive and well and living in the grooves of Grave Disorder. Extra points must go to the incredible CD cover art and revealing lyrics booklet. www.nitrorecords.com 


 
  VANESSA DAOU
Make You Love
(eq8r)

NYC-based songstress Vanessa Daou has a new album out and it's a good one. It's nearly ten years since she rose to fame with husband and producer Peter Daou as one of the leading forces of the underground dance music scene in NYC. The arrangements on her new album Make You Love are soft-core trip-hop while her sublime hooks and refrains will make the best songwriters sit up and take notice. But it's really in her softly seductive vocals and lyrics that Ms. Daou really shines. Her subliminal psycho-sexual innuendoes are not for the faint of heart but they take you where you want to go - to that turned-on state of musical nirvana. One listen and itís obvious Ms. Daou is a hopeless romantic in love with life. Expertly produced by Peter Daou and featuring Chris Daou on guitars, the disc is topped off by inviting cover art and complete lyrics. www.vanessadaou.com  / www.eq8r.com 


 
 
 
   
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