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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Back to main page

UB40
Getting Over The Storm (Virgin/Universal)

UB40There’s been some online discussion concerning the, erm, AOR leanings of the new UB40 country/reggae direction, but let’s be honest the harder edged political leanings of debut album Signing Off have been long gone since the massive pop hit 'Red Red Wine', and to complain that the lads have cornered an easy listening version of reggae sort of misses the point as they continue to sell bucket-loads of albums which, sadly, U Roy doesn’t. Expertly reggae-fying some smart country choices by the likes of Willie Nelson and George Jones (they even cover The Allman Brothers), this is another grown up instalment in a very successful career.
The Oracle

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Ulver
Messe I.X - VI.X (Kscope)

UlverWhilst the classical world waits for someone to make any sort of meaningful inroads outside of its own little gene pool (honourable mentions go to Brooklyn Rider) the world of electronica and rock continue to forge ahead with genre mashing efforts like this one by Ulver (who once again make a dramatic u-turn from their previous release). Recorded live alongside the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra in 2012, the band then took the results back to Oslo to buff into something else entirely. We could bombard you with words like dark, haunting, eerie and intense but you really do have to experience this meeting of electronica and orchestra for yourself.
Johan Wakely

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Urusen
This Is Where We Meet (Almighty Rooftop Records)

Urusen Apparently this lot are firm festival favourites, but as the old duffers in this office seldom venture near tents nowadays (it’s the knees you see, you just can’t get out of the bloody things), so we aren’t able to confirm or deny the veracity of this statement, we can however confirm that on shiny plastic discs they are a rather lovely mixture of Midlake and the Waterboys plucking, prodding, strumming and sawing away at a variety of ‘real’ instruments which place them firmly in the alt-folk scene but don’t go thinking this is a load of ningly-nongly finger in the ear nonsense, Urusen play proper, grown up, songs and we'll have to see them indoors.
Raft Thong

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Ulver
Childhood’s End (Kscope)

Ulver Ulver may have their roots in the Norwegian Black Metal genre but Ulver have far more about them than the gormless church burning oafs that gave the musical genre such a bad name. Mixing rock, electronica, classical and noise elements Ulver have always pushed beyond what is expected of them, and this time they have chosen to put classical psychedelic tracks through their, slightly unsettling, gothic grinder and the end results are pretty much across the board terrific versions of tracks by bands like The 13th Floor Elevators, Electric Prunes, Jefferson Airplane and The Pretty Things.
Ruby Palmer

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Uriah Heep
Into The Wild (Frontiers Records)

Uriah HeepWhat’s the difference between old school (I’m way too old to write skool) classic rock and that new fangled metal malarkey then? Well for a kick off the vocals are blues based rather than grunting simian death rattle and, whilst huge melodic choruses are liable to be found in either – Napalm Death accepted – you just can’t beat the older boys for dropping a nagging chorus into yer bonce before haring off to do some wibbly fast guitar bits. Buggered if I can work out where you might hear this on the radio nowadays (possibly Planet Rock), but if you like your rock ‘classic’ (like the mighty Demons And Wizards) you’ll love this..
Ray Harper

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UFO
The Best Of A Decade (SPV)

UFOThere’s something vaguely unsettling about hearing our esteemed editor singing (and I use the word loosely) ‘doctor , doctor pleeease’ whilst bopping around the photocopier and regaling us with, frankly alarming, tales of German tours – featuring the Michael Schenker line-up - and less portly days. Remarkably enough the current line-up, whilst Schenker free and also currently missing original bassist Pete Way (due to illness), is still pretty much intact, and even more remarkably this collection, cherry picking output from the previous ten years (plus a few live faves), proves the band are still a very melodically muscular proposition indeed.
The Oracle

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Uriah Heep
Celebration (Ear)

Uriah Heep OK, I admit it, I was a big fan of Uriah Heep back in the day when, between 1970-72, they managed to release five, count ‘em, five albums, all of which have their moments and nine of the re-recordings here hark back to that era when vocalist David Byron and bass player Gary Thain were still alive and when prog rock didn’t always have to mean ludicrously convoluted time signatures or ‘jazzy bits’. The only surviving member may be guitarist Mick Box (although Ex-Spiders bass man Trevor Boulder has been a Heep-er for eons now), but this is a great trip down memory lane, and yes, Bernie Shaw handles the Byron vocals with aplomb.
Ray Harper

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U2
No Line On The Horizon (Mercury Records)

U2Let’s be honest here this review is about as likely to influence your decision as to whether to buy this album or not as Bono is to join his local BNP chapter. U2 fans will already know it inside out and judging by the review section on Amazon the general consensus seems to be good. But assuming there is still one or two undecided types out there what you should know about No Line… is this is U2’s most experimental effort since Achtung Baby and Zooropa and, the Edge driven anthem ‘Magnificent’ aside, pretty much everything here pushes the U2 sound into pleasingly unfamiliar territory. Bloody awful cover mind.
Ruby Palmer

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U2
Joshua Tree (Mercury)

U2Still most peoples choice for best U2 album ever (opening four track salvo ‘Where The Street’s Have No Name’, ‘I Still Haven’t Found...’, ‘With Or Without You’ and ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’), this was the U2, Eno, Daniel Lanois axis in full flight. Not an easy album to make apparently – at one point Eno contemplated ‘accidentally’ wiping the tapes – the end results are nonetheless still astonishing, and whilst this is an album which needs no extra out-take/b-side padding fans will find plenty of fascinating extra material on the limited edition box set which boasts a book, pictures and an extra CD and DVD of material.
Ruby Palmer

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Underworld
Oblivion With Bells (Vital)

Underworld As most of their contemporaries have bitten the dust Underworld deserve points for just hanging in there, plugging away in the UK’s ailing dance scene, but this isn’t a story of grimly hanging on but one of reinvention, of moving forward, of proving their trademark trance-esque sound sculptures are as inventive now as they were back in the day. Tracks like ‘Beautiful Burnout’ and ‘Glam Bucket’ are easily as atmospheric as anything they have ever recorded and ‘Ring Road’ (a typically barmy stream of Underworldian consciousness) even sidles into Mike Skinner and Kate Nash territory.


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UNKLE
War Stories (Surrender All)

UNKLE Once home to notable beat merchant DJ Shadow nowadays James Lavelle and Richard File’s UNKLE tend to work with whoever takes their fancy which, given previous link ups with Thom Yorke, Richard Ashcroft and Ian Brown, would suggest they’re adept at enticing cool singers into the studio. Which explains Josh Homme’s inclusion but adding Ian Astbury to the list is surely not a smart move? Actually it is, lest we forget in his pre ‘I’m Jim Morrison’ days Astbury’s band the Cult made some great albums and his efforts here positively crackle with attitude, as Lavelle keeps the beats heavy, the vibe rocky and the guitars widescreen.


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Underworld
Riverrun Project Pt3 (Download Only)

Underworld‘I’m A Big Sister, And I’m A Girl, And I’m A Princess, And This Is My Horse’ is the third instalment in the download only Riverrun Project created entirely from new material and instigated to allow Karl Hyde and Rick Smith to get new material out to listeners almost immediately after realising it. The darkest of the three instalments to date ‘I’m A Big Sister...’ nonetheless builds up a fair old head of steam to kick off it’s thirty minute lope before dropping into moody pulses, ambient washes and spooked piano interludes. Download all three pieces and you’ll get a free ‘Misterons Mix’ of the entire series later this month.


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Underworld
Pizza For Eggs (Download Only)

UnderworldThe second in the duo’s groundbreaking series of releases they say should be viewed as listening experiences as they are neither singles nor albums (basically the guys dip into their huge great pulsating hard drive and pluck out, generally totally new and unheard, tracks which they then mix into a thirty minute-ish aural montage and then add loads of pics to a download package which you can pick up for just £5.00). The first release, Lovely Broken Thing, was typically hypnotic and upbeat, this release far more down-tempo and recreational tobacco friendly, both are well worth downloading, and there's more to come.


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Underoath
Define The Great Line (Virgin)

UnderoathAlthough largely unknown in the UK this is actually the fifth album by this Florida based post hardcore outfit (let’s not get into the whole emo debate) who have in the past exhibited a penchant for shedding members like a snake sloughing skin. Having not heard any of their previous albums it’s hard to say whether this is a stylistic leap in any new directions but, aside from being practising Christians who sound like they recorded this in the very pits of hell, Define The Great Line really is an exhilarating mixture of throat shredding hardcore, full on melody drenched choruses and prog style convoluted riffing.


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U2
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (Island)

U2 Another year, another U2 album and - the occasional lapses of momentum and mad over-reaching rock star behaviour (and Bono is nothing if not a mad over-reaching rock star) aside – yet another classy effort from the only genuine ‘gang’ left in rock (go on, you name a band that’s been around this long, share song-writing credits and still have the same line-up?). Naturally the parlous state of the planet is addressed, but How To…is also full of references to Bono’s recently departed dad and is… hell let’s stick our necks out, the best thing they’re recorded since Joshua Tree.

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The Unisex
White Days (Shifty Disco)

The UnisexThe splendid Oxford based Shifty Disco label have never made any secret about their love for proper ‘pop’ music as this collection of long deleted EP’s by criminally overlooked five piece The Unisex proves – indeed their increasingly impressive and diverse download singles club (more here) prove they are a particularly open minded lot. If you are enamoured by Coldplay, Athlete, Travis et al then you’re gonna love the Unisex, but this is no exercise in bandwagon jumping as The Unisex display equal parts gorgeous melodic pop nous and Roses/The LA’s swagger. Sod the Magic Numbers THIS is the sound of the summer


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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Back to main page


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