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Ok, so as this is an album of two halves, I thought I would review each disc separately.

It’s been over 3 years since their second album ‘Join With Us’ topped our charts, but now The Feeling are back with their third album, ‘Together We Were Made’. There is a single and double disc version of the album, The two discs are referred to as ‘The Birds and The Bees’.

So, let’s start with the first disc – The Birds;

The album begins with the familiar sound of lead single ‘Set My World On Fire’ which has recently had a lot of airplay on Radio 2 and was the BBC’s soundtrack to the cricket world cup. As you may have seen in my recent review of the single, it’s a sun-drenched, catchy pop tune with a calypso beat you’ll be tapping along to all day!

The overall feel of the album seems much more slick and sophisticated than some of their previous material. The band have worked with producers The Bullitts on track 8 of the album, ‘Mr.Grin’, polishing the track to perfection, emphasised by the honkey-tonk piano outro. Freemasons also helped to produce the album, who’s influence is most noticeable on glitter covered dance track ‘Searched Every Corner’.

The band have claimed in several interviews that there is a more ‘grown-up’ and ‘experimental’ feel to the songs on ‘Together We Were Made’. One such song where this really comes through is ‘Another Soldier’, a heavy guitar-based track made to head-bang to. ‘Build A Home’ continues this experimentation, showing off the band’s spangly new omnichord, whilst ‘A Hundred Sinners (Come And Get It)’ is a typical Feeling song, and possibly the catchiest yet!

As well as working with The Freemasons on the album, The Feeling have also collaborated with the likes of Sophie Ellis Bextor and Roisin Murphy on the wistful ‘Leave Me Out Of It’ and disco-centric ‘Dance For The Lights’ (respectively). There is a lot of variation throughout the album in terms of style and genre. And like any good record, this comes with a variety of moods – you can be bouncing one minute and weeping the next!

For me, the highlight of the album has to be the ballad, ‘Say No’. For those who’ve read my review of The Water Rats gig from last year, you will know that this track has always been a favorite of mine, and they have just got the production spot on for the album. The guitar solo in the middle is phenomenal and the song builds up to such a climax, with the additional vocals of Sinead Quinn, Marva Lamey and Jasmine Denham. It still sends shivers down my spine just like it did the first time I heard it. Perfect.

Another highlight for me is ‘Another Life’. The twinkly piano, combined with the 12 string guitar give the song excitement that just makes you wanna bounce! I felt like a kid again this afternoon jumping up and down, punching the air and yelling ‘Hey Hey Hey Hey!’ at the top of my voice. Nothing beats that feeling.

‘Back Where I Came From’ is a really powerful and heartfelt track, filled with nostalgia, which is complemented by piano lead ‘Love And Care’.

The album closer ‘Undeniable’, is another epic, following in the footsteps of ‘Blue Piccadilly’ and ‘Greatest Show On Earth’ from the previous two albums. Having seen the song performed live before the orchestral arrangement for the album really completes the song.

And those who buy the physical version of the album are treated to bonus track ‘Hardest Stone’, a 60’s-esque acoustic song, at the end of the album.

It’s not often you get an album that you literally cannot stop listening to. By the fourth listen I was trying to pick favorites, and it has changed at least 26 times over the last 24 hours. There’s certainly a progression and variation of musical style throughout, but at it’s heart ‘Together We Were Made’ is still a typical Feeling record, with lyrics that can break your heart and riffs that command you to dance.

5/5

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My album of the month for October is another new release. It just goes to show that there really is some fantastic music coming out at the moment.

So October 2010’s album of the month is…

Brandon Flowers – Flamingo

Flamingo’ is The Killers’ frontman, Brandon Flowers’ debut solo album, released last month. From first listen, several of the songs have stayed with me, the most notable being ‘Was It Something I Said?’ ‘Magdalena’ and lead single ‘Crossfire’. For me this really is the mark of a great album – songs which easily enter your head, but don’t become irritating.

The album very much has a feel of The Killers, there’s a lot of synth, but perhaps less rock influence, certainly than The Killers’ older albums. You can tell a lot of it was initially meant for The Killers, but that’s hardly surprising as obviously that’s just Brandon’s writing style. Of The Killers’ albums ‘Flamingo’ is definitely most like ‘Day & Age’, but in places there’s also influence from ‘Hot Fuss’  – for example ‘Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas’ has some similarities with ‘Glamorous Indie Rock And Roll’.

Another notable song for me is ‘Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts’. In classic Killers’ style, it has a belter of a chorus, and fitting with the Vegas theme of the album, expertly uses gambling as a metaphor for love ‘Why did you roll your dice, show your cards’.

Brandon has been blessed with a powerful and distinctive voice. There is no way you can hear any of his songs and not know that it’s Brandon Flowers!

This is another fine example of an almost perfect album. There is not a single track that I dislike, and for me only a few other albums have truly managed to do this  – most notably The Feeling’s ‘Twelve Stops And Home’, Muse’s  ‘The Resistance’ and Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s ‘Trip The Light Fantastic.

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This is a new feature I’ve decided to bring in, to celebrate brilliant new albums released each month, or to just simply remember older classics.

This month’s Album Of The Month is…

The Hoosiers – The Illusion Of Safety

‘The Illusion Of Safety’ has a clear 80’s Dance influence, but through most of the album The Hoosiers manage to maintain their original odd-pop style with most tracks keeping pop/rock undertones.

Unfortunately this is something I felt that lead single, ‘Choices’ had very little of, but this is very much made up for with the likes of ‘Bumpy Ride’ and ‘Unlikely Hero’ which both stick to the band’s roots musically but also progress forward giving the band more versatility.

One of the (many) stand-out tracks on the album for me has to be ‘Glorious’. It certainly has something of the ‘Spitting-Feathers-Factor’ (see ‘Technical Terms’) from the second the track starts it sounds epic.

Overall the album is full of catchy tracks which command you to sing along. There are a few songs (mostly towards the end of the album) which I think need a little more time to grow on you, but there certainly isn’t a bad track on the album. And you can’t deny the power of Irwin’s voice – though used in different ways I think it could easily be compared to that of Muse’s Matt Bellamy.

Many have claimed that it’s not possible for The Hoosiers to top their debut ‘The Trick To Life’ but I think ‘The Illusion Of Safety’ has certainly equalled it’s predecessor and I would highly recommend it to anyone who does not yet own it.

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‘Looking Through You’ by The Yeah You’s was released Monday 28th September.

 
The Yeah You’s are two fantastic musicians, Nick Ingram and Mike Kintish, you can read my interview with Nick here.  Their music is instantly likeable, and ultimately, the audience can relate to it. This is something which I have always thought is important in good song writing – the best music always comes from the heart!

Looking Through You

‘Looking Through You’ contains some brilliant upbeat, classic pop tracks (with gorgeous harmonies!) such as ’15 Minutes’, ‘Getting Up With You’ and ‘Clifftop’. ‘Getting Up With You’ is a prime example of the audience being able to relate to the music – ‘I didn’t wanna get out of bed this morning’ is exactly the way everyone feels on a Monday morning!

‘Ready To Love Again’ (set to be the band’s third single) has what I like to call “The Spitting Feathers Factor”, so called because when I first heard ‘Spitting Feathers’ by The Feeling, I knew literally from the first few seconds that it was going to be amazing. This has since only happened with two other songs – ‘Resistance’ by Muse and ‘Ready To Love Again’. It’s difficult to describe the feeling you get listening to this song with any words other than YES! It also boasts some fantastic Queen-style harmonies.

The album also contains two ballads, ‘If I’d Only Said Hello’ and ‘It’s Happening To Me’, which could easily have been hits from Take That, or OneRepublic. In fact I’d go so far as to say ‘If I’d Only Said Hello’ could be the sequel to ‘Hello’ by Take That! Both tracks have a similar feel to songs like ‘The Circus’ and ‘I’d Wait for Life’.  The line “It always happens to someone else, but now it’s happening to me” from ‘It’s Happening To Me’ is another classic example of relating to the audience – it’s so true of the way people think!

The whole time I was listening, I was trying to think of how to criticise the album. The best I came up with is as follows: If you don’t like good pop music, this isn’t for you.

So basically, anyone who loves The Feeling, Queen, Mika, Take That, Supertramp,or any classic pop music, this album is definitely for you! It is a wonderful example of the perfect pop record.

5/5

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