Black Sands by Bonobo (fellatio review)

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(Oooh, such pretty artwork!)

Those who know me personally and engage me about the music I actually like will know to expect three names; Radiohead, Duran Duran and, my love of all loves, Bonobo. In my previous review I stated that the life of a music critic is relatable to that of a prostitute, and if that’s the case then Bonobo is the man I freely offer myself to without the faintest request of compensation. He pleases me in ways few can and he has held my adoration and constant attention since I first discovered him. Spotify failing to load was all the encouragement I needed to rant on this absolutely flawless display of audio mastery.

My experiences of forcing this incredible orchestra of sound to others has proven that the music is something of an acquired taste. Either you can appreciate the subtlety in dynamic shifts, the finely crafted moods and ambience, phenomenal groove and remarkable combination of Lo-Fi and Hi-Fi production or you’re clearly lacking the mentality to comprehend and relate to this stunning display of audio orgasm. We all know of my ability to find fault in an album or piece of work, it’s just a byproduct of being such a fantastical cunt, but I can honestly say I can find no fault in the the album which isn’t better attributed to mentality and personal taste.

Where I usually compare an album I adore to that of an incredible fuck, this album transcends this metaphor to a frankly concerning degree! Were I to relate this to a mere fuck, I would have to count it as a glorious, passionate affair under the influence of both MDMA and viagra for the incredible measure of serenity and spiritual ecstasy the album encourages. The album resonates deeply in me and encourages a resurgence of physical feelings I felt at some of the happiest points in my life.

Where I would normally take time to ram my overly-critical flesh-warrior into every available hole in the album at this point, I struggle hugely with this album. I suppose certain mentalities wouldn’t appreciate this album and people demanding a relatable novelty or a catchy chorus would fail to access this album as it is. It’s not structured or written as one would construct a regular style of music but that’s part of the undeniable charm of the album and the artist himself! To complain the lack of traditional style in Bonobo would be like complaining that the guitar tone in a metal song is too overdriven or that there’s too much blatant Pablo Honey influence in Origin of Symmetry.

Were I to engage in sexual acts with only one person for the rest of my life it would likely be Bonobo. He stands in my eyes as the finest representation of music as an art form, releases a consistent stream of high quality and perfectly crafted music and stands as a beautiful night sky, constantly reminding me of the potential beauty to the musical universe. As stated before, those seeking the novelty and simplicity of a traditionally structured song will not appreciate this to the same level and I would certainly not recommend this to the kind of asshole who’s first defence against any musical opposing opinion is “you clearly know nothing about Metal”. Those with an appreciation for incredible ambient feel, dynamic flow and immaculate production should prepare a delicious cocktail, relax and just embrace the exemplary display that is Black Sands. 


Rubba Band Business by Juicy J (album review)

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(I think this photo may legitimately be more interesting than the album)

The life of a critic isn’t dissimilar to that of a prostitute. With a total lack of investment in everything I approach, I live an existence of spreading my tight, wet earholes for everything that drunkenly stumbles my way. A pitiful and much regretted exposure to Kanye West’s music had me concerned that Kendrick Lamar may be the only product of quality in Hip-Hop. Rubba Band Business brings my opinions of the genre to an equilibrium.

I initially decided to review Juicy J on the basis that his name has the potential for some easy sexual connotation and the incorporation of some well chosen pre-fixes can add a throbbing and penetrating contribution to my ongoing theme of fucking, but it’s hard to muster that much enthusiasm in the album. Though not lacking in production quality and structural understanding, I find it difficult to get too excited about this album. It’s just another totally serviceable fuck to get you through the day and the mediocrity makes it difficult to form any real attachment or opinion. 

Rubba Band Business is the slutty but still attractive girl you hooked up with at that bar that one time after your ex-girlfriend dumped your loser ass for that sensitive and understanding classmate you always thought was trying to “steal yo’ girl”. It’s just a cheap thrill that you probably won’t remember half as much as when you cried your sissy eyes out over your ex’s updated profile picture with that uppity tory wanker. But I digress…

Depressingly, I was left wishing for a bit more juice from this artist. I feel like a drunkard at a party who concerned my friend with my incredible alcohol consumption and now the bastard is just serving me piss-weak drinks out of fear I’ll throw up over his new suit. Yeah, the drinks taste better but I just want something with more balls

A great album should inspire particular feelings or leave me in profound thought and my lasting thought of this album was thus; “Can Hip-Hop artists stop throwing out the N-bomb so much?” I don’t know if it’s more embarrassing for a crow-faced honky like me to censor myself or not.

As You Were by Liam Gallagher (Raunchy Review)

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In my review of Who Built the Moon by Noel Gallagher, I inadvertently speculated at Liam Gallagher being the “Fuckboy brother you wish you hooked up with instead” but I feel I misjudged the man. As You Were feels like the fuckboy you hooked up with to spite his brother, only to later realise he’s actually a really nice guy at heart. Though at first your calamitous nature brands him as much a pig as any other man, you come to appreciate him from a deeper, more emotional perspective and begin to look to him with a newfound respect and admiration.

In relation to Noel, Liam seems to stand with modesty wielding an impressively sized lemon-scented cock and presents it in a manner which simply invites you in for a fellatio you can actually enjoy giving. Of course, the work doesn’t compare to the fifty minute foxy three-way fucking the brothers gave in the golden days of Oasis with their album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, but it carries more than enough style to keep you fixated on the sex, I mean album. 

Entering the experience, your slutty, self-destructive mind expects just another fuck. Whilst the album appears much the same at first, it swiftly shows its class and respectability with a dedicated and well-practiced minimalism which just builds the foundation of a great time. It treats you like the lady you are, and works beyond the call of duty, spending more time than most satisfying the desires most others dismiss. Certainly, his brother never fucked me like this! The experience throws out variety with great incorporation of various techniques and positions, but works them together in a way where it all makes sense and flows with a well-considered fluency. 

The album is the kind of fuck you initially intend to provide a simple physical thrill, but after the deed you find yourself laying in his arms, watching movies and really getting to know each other until you both fall asleep. He shows his heart in a respectful and nonthreatening manner that leaves you confident in the man and the time you had. I feel almost ashamed to jump on the hype-train with the rest of the Mancunian shit-munchers, but this is a pretty great album and is well-deserving of a recommendation, so check it out! Or don’t, I don’t really give a shit.

Who Built The Moon by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Raunchy Review)

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(above is the promotional artwork, as I’m sure your clever brain could deduce)

Great writers attest to the point that you should be able to summarise your opinion in a single sentence, and mine is thusly; the album hits with less impact than a cum-filled Super Soaker. I wish I could say the experience was comparable to the thrill of being caught in the middle of a homeless shelter sex party, but it lacked even that much liveliness. Did I say thrill? I meant experience. I definitely meant experience.

The album is like a forty-three minute fuck with only a few effort-filled thrusts to pleasure those saucy earholes of yours, complete with a lasting feeling of degradation and disappointment both in the fuck and in yourself for volunteering to it. It’s the kind of fuck where you regret not putting in the legwork to fuck the guy’s much hotter fuckboy brother instead. This actually isn’t a comparison to Liam Gallagher’s new album, but with Manchester audiences claiming that his most recent album is like the second coming of Christ, or more importantly, Oasis, it wouldn’t surprise me if this comparison was fair. But I digress… 

The album makes attempts to add an air of colour, but, to return to my mature and intellectual theme of intercourse, there’s only so much interest you can bring by painting your body blue before the “physical act of love” and, without more than a few good poundings, the experience just isn’t going to be a particularly great one. Like a dull fuck, the album doesn’t demand too much attention or involvement and can be a great time to organise your weekend and maybe catch up with the drama on your newsfeed, but you’re probably best just finding a more enjoyable cock to jump on.

Gathering of Strangers – Gathering of Strangers (EP Review)

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(Photo credit – Jessica Holt)

After long last, I have finally been impressed by a musical release by a band from the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music! Too often am I exposed to acts trying to capitalise from the success of their influences in shameless tributes to Mancunian indie legends and pointless imitation of other existing acts – a trend which leaves me horrifically bitter and in a seemingly endless pursuit of something original and interesting. Despite relentless flattering towards this band, I felt as a cow might as she awaits the final bolt in the head until the moment this glorious act eased forwards with majesty and grace to release me from the confounds of my miserable existence. At long last, I’m faced with something with heart, variety and imagination and I am all the overjoyed for it.

Gathering of strangers are difficult to characterise, drawing influence from a seemingly endless source and including a glorious contribution from a wide range of instrumentation and effects, my personal favourite addition being the versatile and often bold input from keyboardist, Callum Witts. The instrumental composition never falls below a very high bar throughout the entire EP, with everything working within its rhythmical and tonal range to truly optimise the ability of every musician whilst providing relevant atmosphere and space to truly support the heartfelt and emotionally devastating voice of frontman, Conor Rabone.

The contrast in tones between tracks shows a wonderful appreciation and respect for dynamics and the most evident display of this exists in the bass guitar in opening track Something in the Water where the tone varies between a heavily driven and punchy tone and a balanced and spaceful tone which works into a slightly overdriven voice towards the end of the song, this working in tandem with the wonderfully creative guitar work and brazen sound of the keys combines to create a truly wonderful dynamic and remarkable climax to a truly epic track.

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(Live photo from Gathering of Strangers Facebook page)

Criticisms are difficult to find with this EP, with most aspects working far above the level I would expect from this scale. The most outstanding negative point I can make being in regards to the use of harmonica in War and how I feel it seems out of place with the tone of the song, I understand this may be an artistic decision, but I find it too distracting from the rest of the song and feel it draws too far in timbre from the rest of the EP – this issue with timbre also extends towards the keyboard in the earlier sections of the same track to a smaller extent, though this is easily redeemed by the beautifully smooth and tasteful use of keyboard in the following track, Lies. Another aspect I would like to hear is a more extensive use of a darker bass tone in some of the more haunting sections to help capture a more emotionally desolate feel which may better accommodate the deep and profound vocal style of Rabone.

The EP is very well balanced and versatile and the structure of the tracks is absolutely flawless. Though lacking in structural complexity, there exists an incredible flow between every track and this flow which extends to the entire compilation of tracks. The songs scream from a personal part of your own buried past and lead you through events long forgotten through use of such personable and relatable lyrics and the use of atmosphere truly benefits this experience. There is so much to appreciate about this musical release and the reputation the band has amongst the few I respect indicates a body of work which could appeal to anybody.

Flights of fancy aren’t in my style when discussing music and I’m never one to over-compliment something, but Gathering of Strangers demonstrate a level of musical mastery which should serve an inspiration to other fledgling bands. The band show true vision, creativity and professionalism and deserve the utmost of respect and admiration and I feel we all owe it to ourselves and the smaller-scale music scene to support this incredible act and help launch them into the success they clearly deserve. If ever there was a time to care for a score let it be now: the EP scores five stars, 10/10, 176 golden cocks out of 176 golden cocks – I don’t care, just listen to it!

Automaton – Jamiroquai (album review)

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(official album artwork from the Automaton album)

And so I return! With an abnormally long absence from writing, I return to write about one of my more anticipated albums of the year and my closest connection to contemporary Pop Music (read into that as you like), Automaton by Jamiroquai! I imagine that Jamiroquai isn’t a name that stands in high regard to most, but as a die-hard fan of anything cheesy and funky, it appeals heavily to me and I am happy to declare that this album flies the same banner as all of their preceding albums – with beats and grooves teasing my adoration for the genre.

To detriment of my dear neighbours, I have decided to review this album at 12:30am and, regardless of social decency, I can’t help but to crank it up and feel the groove as intended by mister Jay Kay. Jamiroquai have long held a place in the hearts of people who respect and love the Funk and Disco genres and they have produced a great many songs which have brought influence in many areas of the Pop scene – with tracks such as Little L and Cosmic Girl still considered classics, despite their diminishing audience.

Discussing this band has always been a bit difficult for me on the basis that they cater perfectly to me as a musician and an individual and few others. Though I love many styles of music, I naturally gravitate towards Funk and cheesy 80’s Pop music – and I can’t expect this niche to appeal to many in the current musical world we live in. I would gladly give a recommendation to this because, in spite of the flaws the album may have to some, it strikes a chord in my heart and I just love it unconditionally. My recommendation would be as shallow as “Do you like Funk, 80’s music and/or a heavy snare sound? If yes then yes!”

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(more album artwork from the Automaton album)

If I were to criticise the album, and I am going to, I would say that much of the album is fairly difficult to connect to on a personal basis, but I feel like it’s not supposed to be a personal experience – it’s supposed to be a groove you flow to and something completely inoffensive that anybody can enjoy. A fan and newcomer alike may claim that the album does little to establish its own voice and do anything fresh, but a fan of the band might instantly protest this in claims that the band never aimed for complexity and depth, with only a handful of songs coming close to communicating a deeper and more thoughtful perspective.

Despite my history with the music, I would totally understand if somebody accused the music of being fairly flat and lacking in humanity, but I would never declare this a reason to dismiss the album. In my eyes, this music represents a different period of society and art in general – a time where we didn’t have to bow to any of the expectations of art that modern society and culture encourages. Maybe I share the opinions of out-of-touch pre-millennials, but I believe we live in a world where all media is monetised and everything is made with the purpose of being sold – when we watch a movie it is being written in the most simplistic and dumb way possible, and contemporary music seems more like some kind of cheap candy than anything else – with each Pop hit being the most blatant off-the-shelf object a song can be. Where older music can be simple, nothing of a previous era feels as much of a product as what is shovelled to us today.

What I mean with that rant is that music of previous musical generations had more heart to it and far more ideas than our current mainstream pop culture allows, and though one might come to such a conclusion when listening to the Automaton album, I believe that the instrumentation and feel of the album does much to imply a more caring and thoughtful approach. The album draws heavy influence from the synth feel of a different era and I would say the album should be commended for not losing sight of what the music was always supposed to be.

My final word in this review would be that it isn’t as worthwhile as their previous albums as a listening experience, but nobody should go out of their way to avoid this album. I can’t sing the praises of Funk Odyssey enough and their entire discography holds a great number of classics, and the character behind albums like Space Cowboy makes for a fantastic investment for one with an interest in Funk and Fusion music – but for those more demanding of complexity and a stronger message I wouldn’t recommend this, I would divert you to OK Computer, like everybody else with a snobby mentality and unchecked ego.

To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar (shameless fangirling)

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(album artwork for the To Pimp A Butterfly album)

Yeah this album didn’t come out this year, but I’m sat in my room now just grooving to the sly and sleazy feel of the To Pimp A Butterfly album and I just wanted the chance to run my mouth about how much I love this album. I have a very long list of albums I should be looking at, but after the travesty that was Tony Conrad I felt like I had earned the chance to write about something that I actually know I enjoy. I have a request to review the Automaton album by Jamiroquai (which I am very excited about) but right now I am more interested in rambling about something I couldn’t stop blowing if Lamar himself asked me to stop.

Where do I even start with this? Well a brief overview, I suppose! Kendrick Lamar is a shining star amongst many right now, as far as I know he has only been in the mainstream eye for a couple of years now and his reputation is doing nothing but grow. The music itself is just a joy to describe, or it is in this album at least: the album combines various aspects of Jazz and Fusion with a smooth and sexy modern R&B vibe to incredible effect. Like Thundercat, my previous musical obsession of this year, it’s more or less a Best Of from all Soul, Jazz and Hip-Hop through the years – a glorious exhibit showcased in a beautiful, state-of-the-art casing.

There is so much to sing about with this album. With ideas and variety and a mass combination of genres, it really does scream colour in a way nothing of its kind does – the only thing coming close being the aforementioned Thundercat, who actually appeared on this album. One seductive bass groove and creativity behind lyrical content is normally enough to make me like a track, but when you use these aspects in conjunction with Parliamentstyle bass imaging and soulful vocal harmonies? Well you have me swimming in the palm of your hands! Lamar performs this frequently throughout the album, the only times I’m not creaming over that glorious Funk being the times I explode violently over the incredible incorporation of Jazz. Serious, the saxophone in tracks like Alright will burn through you.

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(image sourced from the official Kendrick Lamar Facebook page)

Thinking of Alright also brings up the point of the rhythm and the way instruments are suddenly cut out. It’s pure mastery. The way he uses the silence between certain notes, does so much to force the impact of a returning drum beat or bass line and does so much to accent the incredible flow to Lamar’s rapping. Rap and Hip-Hop have always been inspiring genres for me and I respect the rhythmic quality to so many great rappers, but one thing that sets Lamar aside is the way he raps throughout the entire album – incorporating his voice and using it as one would use a percussive instrument to drive the entire ensemble. The creative genius extends to how it benefits the melodies of the harmonies and lead lines by retaining a monotone, freeing space for the phenomenal backing vocals and soundscaping to really soar and experiment to glorious result.

The mentality behind this album feels amazing. Lamar himself feeling less like the star of the show and more of a part of a larger product, making use of the incredible skill, experience and imagination of the incredible musicians he involves. The whole album possesses a wonderful tongue-in-cheek vibe with some parts sounding outright silly, but in a way that enables nothing but pure enjoyment, as evident in For Free? – Interlude and the intro to Wesley’s Theory, however, it seems to resolve in a deeper and more meaningful concept of unity amongst black people in a way that riveted me, held me and wouldn’t let me go until I truly understood the intensity to it.

My only issue with the album is nothing to do with the music itself, but society’s view on appropriation – the amount of times I want to rap along with the album almost seems to ruin the experience when I remember that my own ethnicity allows me little chance to relate to the lyrical content and, regardless of any opinion of appropriation, there is no justification for a geeky white Cornishman to drop the “N-Bomb”.

Regardless, this album is easily one of my favourite discoveries of the year, to the point where I’m saving my first listen and sub-sequent review of the DAMN. album until my birthday. With a combination of great-feeling music and some deeper, heavier concepts in places, this album has so much heart and music like this should be cherished and celebrated. With that I cannot give it a higher recommendation – listen to it, feel it and just fall in love with it.

And did I really make it through this entire review without explosively ejaculating over George Clinton’s phenomenal character, feel and skill? Of course not.