no-man – love you to bits album review

4 10 2019

no-man have released love you to bits, the duo’s first studio album for eleven years. The album is made up of two connected five-part pieces (love you to bits and love you to pieces).

The album marks a return to the more beat-driven electronica of Loveblows & Lovecries – A Confession and parts of Flowermouth, but with a tempo consistency missing from previous albums.

On first hearing the finished album, I was surprised by the sense of urgency, and how some of the performances are quite visceral. I heard echoes of Trent Reznor / nine inch nails and at times, Outside era David Bowie, before the songs took on a real identity of their own.

The album should not be surprising to long-time fans of no-man – my CD single of Only Baby sits close to Donna Summers Once Upon A Time double-album in my CD rack, occasionally throwing coquettish glances in its direction. So whilst love you to bits feels influenced by the urgent sequenced riffs of the “father of Disco” Giorgio Moroder, Bowness and Wilson have developed so much as writers and musicians since the early days, and this is clearly evident as there is so much more to this album than high-energy electronics.

There are two remarkable performances that leap out of the speakers from guest players. On love you to bits guitarist David Kollar delivers a white-hot manic solo that is one of the highlights of the album, and on love you to pieces Steven Wilson band member Adam Holzman serves up a fusion electric piano solo that is dripping with passion (and a fair amount of reverb).

Other guests include Ash Soan (The Producers / Trevor Horn / Downes Braide Association), who adds powerful live drums on top of the drum machines, giving a real push to sections of the album, plus some damn funky synth basslines from Norwich’s finest low notes rumbler (and half of Burning Shed) Pete Morgan, plus a surprising but emotive appearance from The Dave Desmond Brass Quintet (Big Big Train).

The first track (or suite), love you to bits, is driven by deep synth lines and Bowness’s sardonic lyrics surveying the shattered wreck of a relationship. As the live drums kick in, Wilson’s guitar processing harks back to the sound of early no-man, and at times the music draws from the mood of Only Baby and Bleed.

love you to bits contains one of no-man’s finest choruses, and even with the aforementioned I Feel Love / Moroder / Belotte influences, the album feels very current, and will surely appeal to fans of most forms of electronic / electronic dance music.

“I love you, like I don’t love you at all”

Just before the 6 minute mark, one of my favourite moments kicks in. Featuring a short guitar and bass interplay that is pure Platinum era Mike Oldfield, the section breaks down to an Underworld / Born Slippy motif that leads to a vocal and instrumental refrain that sums up the beauty of no-man, with a subtle nod to lighthouse (my favourite no-man song). The music then picks up, with wild Bowness vocals and beautiful lead guitar lines from the boy Wilson. I will let you discover the unexpected ending to love you to bits yourself, which sees out the first five part piece.

love you to pieces is a darker, more twisted cousin of the first half of the album.

“our sticky love just left me weak”

Opening with a dub-like, slow it all down continuation of the theme, the song takes a detour and again draws on the DNA of no-man’s past.

“There’s no need to look for answers
To the questions never asked
There’s no need to make a shelter
from your versions of our past”

A heavily vocodered, processed vocal breakdown leads to the aforementioned Adam Holzman solo section and I’m reminded a little of some of the instrumentation of Bird Shadows, Wolf & Moon, an earlier mostly vocal-less piece credited to no-man on the Drop 6 compilation.

As the synths sparkle like diamonds on the mid-section, and as the pace drops, I love the production touches on Tim’s vocals – reminding me of the tape decay of The Disintegration Loops and The Caretaker. It’s the most moving part of the whole album, and is like having pure, unadulterated no-man shot through your veins. I have no doubt that long-time no-man fans will be deeply moved by the mid to end section of love you to pieces.

The decay and melancholy of the end section reminds me a little of the darker parts of 10cc and Godley & Creme, feeling like a Mogadon infused I’m Not In Love, as the melody is scraped away to reveal the bare bones of the piece.

love you to bits is a world away from the most recent no-man albums, but even if you are not usually a fan of the more electronic side of the band, I think there is plenty here to savour. The album touches on the band’s earlier sound palette, but is so unlike anything else in no-man’s catalogue.

Although often jokingly teased as the band’s “disco epic” when mentioned in interviews, love you to bits is in fact one of the most progressive albums released under the no-man name. Not as a genre, but progressive as evidence of no-man changing, evolving and progressing onto something new.

I hope the album is heard outside of the Bowness / Wilson audience, as it will surely appeal to anyone with a love of electronic music. Prepare to be surprised and you will not be disappointed.

Buy the album

Buy love you to bits (CD / Vinyl / packages) from Burning Shed

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Buy love you to bits on CD from Amazon

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Buy love you to bits on vinyl from Amazon

Stream the album (and then buy it!)

love you to bits details

love you to bits (Bits 1-5) (17.03)
love you to pieces (Pieces 1-5) (18.54)

Tim Bowness – Vocals
Steven Wilson – Instruments

Ash Soan – Drums
The Dave Desmond Brass Quintet – Brass on love you to bits
Adam Holzman – Electric Piano solo on love you to pieces
David Kollar – Electric Guitar solo on love you to bits
Pete Morgan – Synth bass on love you to bits

produced and written by no-man
mixed by Bruno Ellingham
mastered by Matt Colton





Fader – In Shadow album review

24 09 2019

Fader are Neil Arthur (Blancmange) and Benge (John Foxx & The Maths / Gazelle Twin). In Shadow is the follow-up to their 2017 debut, First Light.

Neil Arthur is clearly experiencing a creative streak – along with Fader he has also recently released the debut of another duo project, Near Future, as well as delivering two new Blancmange studio albums, including one of the finest in the bands career in last year’s Wanderlust.

Summoning the spirit of early John Foxx, Always Suited Blue is a tale of the personal and the mundane, jostling with an upbeat, pure 1981 synth-pop soundtrack.

“Lost a tenner, found a pound”

An early album highlight is Midnight Caller, a distopian dismantling of picket-fence suburbia, with a hint of menace that offsets the addictive chorus.

Arthur’s often unsettling lyrics are underpinned by the warm electronic textures provided by Benge. Everyday objects become enemies in What Did It Say – which has one of the most disturbing lyrics coupling with one of the album’s sweetest and most mesmerising tunes.

Youth On A Wall bubbles and pulses, with a wonderfully treated vocal that has its own distinctive, delayed rhythm. A little bit of politics creeping in here.

“May is fading from our view”

The saccharine synths of Whispering echo the softly delivered vocals, that are delivered with such lightness of touch that you have to really concentrate to hear the message being delivered.

Aspirational is an ear-worm of a song, and is followed by one of my favourite tracks on the album, Enemy Fighter with its inventive, haunting vocal arrangement that is topped off with layered, frenetic percussion patterns.

The title track has sparse instrumentation, that builds slowly as the song progresses. Every Page feels the most current of the songs on In Shadow, with vocals scattering in and out of the chorus.

“Heading home now, if home still exists”

The album comes to a close on it’s bleakest song, Reporting, that seems to flit through the ages in a lyric about time and travel. The lyric reminds me a little of the time-travel premise of Kate Bush’s Snowed in at Wheeler Street, but that’s where the comparison ends. The lightest of touch backing makes you concentrate fully on the lyrics, and then the album is over.

“Pressure drop, pleasure stop.”

In Shadow is released on 25 October 2019.

Buy Fader – In Shadow on CD from Amazon

Always Suited Blue
Midnight Caller
What Did It Say
Youth On A Wall
Whispering
Aspirational
Enemy Fighter
In Shadow
Mindsweeper
Every Page
Reporting





News: Prince 1999 super-deluxe edition

12 09 2019

Prince’s 1999, his fifth studio album, is being given the expanded deluxe edition treatment, with a lavish super-deluxe edition.

The remastered album, which was originally released in 1982, also includes single / promo edits, two discs of unreleased material from Prince’s legendary vault, and two live performances (one audio and one on DVD).

Watch 1999 from the DVD below. Bear in mind that this is a recording from late 1982, so will not be up to current visual standards, but the performance is still electrifying.

https://youtu.be/udkRI514KSI

Pre-order the Super deluxe https://amzn.to/2Q7mjqL (5 CD & 1 DVD)

Pre-order the Super deluxe vinyl https://amzn.to/2NbLIgM (10 LP’s plus DVD)

Tracklist for new 1999 super-deluxe release, released 15th November 2019

CD1/LP1&2 (Original Album with 2019 Remaster)

1999

Little Red Corvette

Delirious

Let’s Pretend We’re Married

D.M.S.R.

Automatic

Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)

Free

Lady Cab Driver

All The Critics Love U In New York

International Lover

CD2/LP3&4 (Promo Mixes and B-sides, 2019 Remaster)

1999 (7″ Stereo Edit)

1999 (7″ Mono Promo-Only Edit)

Free (Promo Only Edit

How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore

Little Red Corvette (7″ Edit)

All The Critics Love U In New York (7″ Edit)

Lady Cab Driver (7″ Edit)

Little Red Corvette (Dance Remix Promo Only Edit)

Little Red Corvette (Special Dance Mix)

Delirious (7″ Edit)

Horny Toad

Automatic (7″ Edit)

Automatic (Video Version)

Let’s Pretend We’re Married (7″ Edit)

Let’s Pretend We’re Married (7″ Mono Promo Only Edit)

Irresistible Bitch

Let’s Pretend We’re Married (Video Version)

D.M.S.R. (Edit)

CD3/LP5&6 (Vault Tracks Pt 1, recorded between November 1981 and April 1982)

Feel U Up

Irresistible Bitch

Money Don’t Grow On Trees

Vagina

Rearrange

Bold Generation

Colleen

International Lover (Take 1) [Live In Studio]

Turn It Up

You’re All I Want

Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)

If It’ll Make U Happy

How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore? (Take 2)

CD4/LP7&8 (Vault Tracks Pt 2, recorded between April 1982 and January 1983)

Possessed (1982 Version)

Delirious (Full Length)

Purple Music

Yah, You Know

Moonbeam Levels (2019 Remaster)

No Call U

Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got

Do Yourself A Favor

Don’t Let Him Fool Ya

Teacher, Teacher

Lady Cab Driver / I Wanna Be Your Lover / Little Red Corvette (Tour Demo)

CD5/LP9&10 (Live In Detroit at Masonic Temple Theater, Masonic Hall (Late Show) – November 30, 1982, Previously Unreleased)

Controversy

Let’s Work

Little Red Corvette

Do Me, Baby

Head

Uptown

Lisa’s Keyboard Interlude

How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?

Automatic

International Lover

1999

D.M.S.R.

DVD (Live at The Summit, Houston, TX, – December 29, 1982, Previously Unreleased)

Controversy

Let’s Work

Do Me, Baby

D.M.S.R.

Keyboard Interlude

Piano Improvisation

How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?

Lady Cab Driver

Automatic

International Lover

1999

Head





News: David Bowie – Conversation Piece 5 cd box-set & Space Oddity 2019 mix CD / vinyl

5 09 2019

The David Bowie website released details today of a new 5 CD box-set – David Bowie Conversation Piece, which collects together home demos, BBC radio sessions and studio recordings from 1968 and 1969, and also includes a new 2019 Tony Visconti mix of the David Bowie (aka Space Oddity) album, which is also available to buy separately from the box-set, on CD & vinyl.

Visconti had this to say about the 2019 Space Oddity album mix “It was so much fun to find hidden gems of musicianship with more time to mix the second time around, a guitar twiddle here, a trombone blast there, Marc Bolan’s voice in a group choir and more detail in general that we overlooked all those years ago when the label gave us a week at the most to mix this album. And in the details you will find 22 year old David Bowie, who would soon take the world by storm.”

The Space Oddity album (2019 mixes)

  • Space Oddity (5.20)
  • Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed (6.18)
  • Letter To Hermione (2.32)
  • Cygnet Committee (9.28)
  • Janine (3.21)
  • An Occasional Dream (2.57)
  • Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud (4.50)
  • Conversation Piece (3.11)
  • God Knows I’m Good (3.16)
  • Memory Of A Free Festival (7.14)

Released on November 15, 2019.

Pre-order Space Oddity (2019 Mix) vinyl from Amazon
Pre-order Space Oddity (2019 Mix) CD from Amazon





News: Sutherland Brothers & Quiver box-set

5 09 2019

Cherry red are releasing an 8 CD Sutherland Brothers & Quiver box-set on September 27 2019. The 103 track box set covers all of the releases by Sutherland Brothers & Quiver during the period 1971-79, for both Island and CBS Records.

The box-set includes their most well-known song Arms Of Mary, as well as Sailing (which became a huge hit for Rod Stewart in 1975) and 1975’s Reach For The Sky album, which featured Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour on one track.

The box-set consists of:

  • Sutherland Brothers – produced by Muff Winwood
  • Lifeboat – which includes seven bonus tracks, four taken from the USA version of the album. Also included is the track Sailing which though not a hit for the band, gave Rod Stewart an international chart topper
  • Dream Kid which includes a non-album cut as a bonus
  • Beat Of The Street includes two non-album cuts
  • Reach For The Sky – featuring the hit single Arms Of Mary which reached No. 5 in the UK, No. 17 in Germany and the top spot in both Holland and Ireland. Two non-LP tracks have been added as a bonus, and Dave Gilmour guests on the track Ain’t Too Proud
  • Slipstream – from 1976 which includes the UK hit single Secrets
  • Down To Earth – featuring six non-LP bonus tracks including rare tracks from the USA version of the album
  • When The Night Comes Down – which features the No.50 UK hit single Easy Come Easy Go.

Buy The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver box-set from Amazon.





News: The Jam – Snap! 2019 heavyweight vinyl reissue

1 08 2019

The Jam are re-issuing their long out-of-print vinyl compilation Snap! in October, for the first time on heavyweight vinyl.

Snap! is my favourite compilation from The Jam, and is made up of a mix of singles, b sides and album tracks. Released by UMC / Polydor on 25 October 2019, the double vinyl also includes a 7″ single containing live tracks.

The 2019 re-issue of Snap! is housed in a gatefold sleeve, with original artwork, printed inner sleeves and the original ‘free’ live 7” EP.

This 2019 version has been remastered at Abbey Road, and for the first time is available on heavyweight vinyl, with a download card (well-done record label – this always helps sway me towards a vinyl release).

Buy the vinyl album on Amazon

7″ – Side A
Move On Up (Live)
Get Yourself Together (Live)

7″ – Side B
The Great Depression (Live)
But I’m Different Now (Live)

LP1 – Side A
In The City
Away From The Numbers
All Around The World
The Modern World
News Of The World
Billy Hunt
English Rose
Mr. Clean

LP1 – Side B
David Watts
A’ Bomb In Wardour St
Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
Strange Town
The Butterfly Collector
When You’re Young
Smithers-Jones
Thick As Thieves

LP2 – Side A
The Eton Rifles
Going Underground
Dreams Of Children
That’s Entertainment
Start!
Man In The Corner Shop
Funeral Pyre

LP2 – Side B
Absolute Beginners
Tales From The Riverbank
Town Called Malice
Precious
The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)
Beat Surrender

Buy the vinyl album on Amazon





News: Teardrop Explodes vinyl reissues

20 07 2019

UMC / Mercury are releasing the first two Teardrop Explodes albums on vinyl in August 2019.

Kilimanjaro (originally released in October 1980) features:

Ha Ha I’m Drowning
Sleeping Gas
Treason
Second Head
Reward
Poppies
Went Crazy
Brave Boys Keep Their Promises
Bouncing Babies
Books
The Thief of Baghdad
When I Dream

Pre-order the Kilimanjaro 2019 reissue on Amazon

Wilder (originally released in December 1981) features:

Bent Out of Shape
Colours Fly Away
Seven Views of Jerusalem
Pure Joy
Falling Down Around Me
The Culture Bunker
Passionate Friend
Tiny Children
Like Leila Khaled Said
…and the Fighting Takes Over
The Great Dominions

Pre-order the Wilder 2019 reissue on Amazon








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