Friday, September 28, 2012

Top Albums of the Year 2001, Part 2: Others

Other Albums from 2001 Worth Listening To:

NO-MAN Returning Jesus

A very nice album from Mssrs. Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness that, in my opinion, stands head and shoulders above the Together We're Stranger (probably due to the rhythm contributions of drummer/percussionist, STEVE JANSEN). I love the stripped down to bare bones song compositions--they work so well with Bowness's plaintive, breathy vocals.

Album favorites: the BRIAN ENO "And Julie With..."-like 6. "Returning Jesus" (5:20) (9/10) (Jansen's amazing Balinese gamelan percussives, the sparse keys and guitar soli); 5. "Outside the Machine" (5:47) with Jansen's brush work, Steven's sparse, RYUICHI SAKAMOTO-like piano work, Colin Edwin's fretless bass work (9/10); the beautiful opening ambient instrumental, 1. "Only Rain" (7:25) (9/10); the 1980s PT-sounding "Lighthouse" (8:13) (9/10); the tense and cinematic, 7. "Slow It All Down" (3:42) (8/10), and; the SIMPLE MINDS-like "Close Your Eyes" (8:26) (8/10). Nice effort at creating music over sparsity and spaciousness.

82.22 on the Fish scales = a four star album rated up for the awesome contributions of Steve Jansen.

ANATHEMA A Fine Day to Exit 

A "Experimental/Post Metal" band that has, in my opinion, worked at a very high and consistent level throughout their career. A Fine Day to Exit despite the opinion of others, is my favorite Anathema album of the Naughties. The sound of A Fine Day to Exit foreshadows the arrival of another English band to the prog scene--though this one is somehow thrown into the "Psychedelic/Space Rock" subgenre: OCEANSIZE.

5 star songs: 3. "Looking Outside Inside" (9/10), 4. "Leave No Trace" (9/10), 8. "A Fine Day to Exit" (9/10), and; the fake epic, 9. "Temporary Peace" (9/10).

4 star songs: 1. "Pressure" (8/10), 2. "Release" (8/10),  6. "Barriers" (8/10), 7. "Panic" (7/10), 5. "Underworld" (7/10).

82.22 on the Fish scales = four stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.


HAMADRYAD Conservation of Mass


Albums from 2001 that Are, IMHO, Over-rated

MOSTLY AUTUMN The Last Bright Light 

The much touted voice of Heather Findlay and the guitar play and compositional skill of Bryan Josh, and yet there is much more male lead singing, and a whole lot of familiar folk/Celtic folk or standard rock/R & B song structures. The brilliance is too little and too far between. Album highlights: the beautiful environmental advocacy folk song, "Eyes of the Forest" (9/10) and the Celtic folk song, "Shrinking Violet" (8/10). The rest is just cinematic melodrama or folk or rock rehash.


Unfortunately, three GREAT songs ("Tiny Tears" [10/10], "Nobody's Here" [10/10] and "Earth Day" [9/10]) does not a masterpiece make. The rest is music that I don't care if I ever hear again. Yet Devin sure does have a following out there. Other than the hilariously entertaining Ziltoid the Omniscient, I don't get it. His over-the-top HEAVY guitar sound never changes (is he using the same chord throughout?) and it's hard to figure out if he ever takes his music or lyrics seriously or is it all just meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Does he really want us to recycle or is he just melodramatizing the environmental cry? Does he really like being alone or is he just being facetious?

Is this album really "essential"? I'm not even sure it's "an excellent addition." It may be a good album--or perhaps its just "for collectors only"? 2.5 stars for me. Recommended only for the above three songs.

PICCHIO DAL PAZZO Camere Zimmer Rooms

MAGENTA Revolutions

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