Saturday, 1 October 2016

Love Zombies - Passionfruit (2016)

Genre - Pop / Rock / Punk
Label - Pledge Music

Track listing:

01. Oblivion
02. Lighten Up
03. Robots & Aliens
04. Spiders
05. Favourite Song
06. Big and Strong
07. Backwards World
08. Fast & Frantic
09. Birthday
10. Who The Fuck Are They?
11. Love Zombies Theme Song (Bonus Track)

 So finally the wait is over and the Love Zombies pledge final comes to an end with the release of the bands debut album. Not that I am complaining as there have been plenty of pledge bonus pledge's along the way with around six or seven pledge EP's whilst the band have been hauled up recording this little beauty. Now Love Zombies first came to my attention through singer Hollis Mahady's involvement with Ginger Wildhearts Hey! Hello! project, where she fronted the band last year for various live dates and even recorded an album with them only to leave the project on the eve of the albums release resulting in the album being pulled, re-recorded with new vocalists and released last month, some five months after its original planned release.
The album opens up with the fast paced 'Oblivion' which really sets the tone for the bands infectious blend of bubblegum pop / rock / punk. 'Lighten Up' follows and keeps things moving along as does the brilliant 'Robots & Aliens' before 'Spiders' slows the tempo down a little. 'Favourite Song' sees the tempo stay rather relaxed even though it does start to rock things up a little again before 'Big and Strong' throws us a curve ball with its weird laid back feel. A great song though. The tempo picks up a little with 'Backwards World' before 'Fast & Frantic' kicks in, which is a great put down to over eager lovers lol. The fun is at an all time high with 'Birthday', a song about not wanting to dump someone on their birthday,  before the albums closer sends a message to all the bands haters in the form of 'Who The Fuck Are They?'. We have a bonus track in the form of 'Love Zombies Theme' which is a good bit of fun.

Love Zombies are a great band, but they aren't really going to set the world on fire, but their music is a good old dose of solid fun to keep the listeners entertained.

Rating: 9/10

Meat Loaf - Braver Than We Are (Deluxe Edition) (2016)

Genre - Rock
Label - Caroline International S&D

Track listing:

01. Who Needs The Young
02. Going All The Way Is Just The Start (a song in 6 movements)
03. Speaking In Tongues
04. Loving You Is A Dirty Job (But Somebody's Gotta Do It)
05. Souvenirs
06. Only When I Feel
07. More
08. Godz
09. Skull Of Your Country
10. Train Of Love
11. I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Wont Do That) (Song Writers Demo)
12. Dirty Water (Song Writers Demo)
13. Prize Fight Lover (Song Writers Demo)
14. Who Needs The Young (Song Writers Demo)
15. Going All The Way Is Just The Start (Radio Edit)

Now Meatloaf albums have always a certain amount of hit or miss about them, but in general whenever Meatloaf has collaborated with song writer / producer extraordinaire Jim Steinman they have been hits. These collaborations have included the mighty Bat Out Of Hell and Bat Out Of Hell Two albums and Dead Ringer release. So I had huge hopes for this album, and even wondered why it wasn't being released as Bat Out Of Hell Four, but upon giving it a few good listens I understand them deciding not to tarnish the Bat Out Of Hell legacy. Don't get me wrong, Braver than We Are is by no means a poor album, in fact it is a bloody good solid album, but when it is compared to the previous collaborative releases of Messrs Meatloaf and Steinman it just falls short. The project also showcases another reunion with vocalists Ellen Foley and Karla DeVito (from the smash hit 'Paradise by the Dashboard Light') on the epic song and first single ‘Going All The Way’.
Put simply... Meat Loaf can't perform like he used to. The man is sixty-eight years old. His last few albums, 2010's Hang Cool Teddy Bear and 2011's Hell In A Handbasket have shown a massive drop in vocal quality. He just can't belt it out like he used to. His voice just simply lacks the power that it used to have, and that is such a pity, because had this album been recorded when Meat's voice was at its most potent then this album could have been truly great.
The ten tracks on the album are mostly songs pulled from musicals Steinman has written, and a rehashing of Bonnie Tyler's hit 'Loving You Is A Dirty Job', and I'm not sure how I can ever listen to 'Skull Of Your Country' without being reminded that it was turned into something so much better in "Total Eclipse Of The Heart". I understand Steinman recycles, but leaving in the "turn around bright eyes" motif, when it's already world famous in another song, is a decision that begs me to compare this album to ones that are worlds better. The larger than life character of Meat Loaf has been reduced to a singer who can't keep up with any of the women guesting on these tracks. He is flat out out-sung not only by them, but in places by his own backup singers. It's shocking how old he sounds, missing notes and lacking any of the power or passion we've come to know from him. And that is such a shame as had his voice been up to  the job then this album could have been something special. I love the fact that I get to hear Steinman tracks that I hadn't heard before such as a song written for the defunct project The Dream Engine, 'Speaking In Tongues' and 'More' which was written for the Batman musical.
Meat Loaf is a legend, but this new album sadly fails to live up to the high standards that Meatloaf and Jim Steinman have set with their previous collaborations.

Rating: 7/10

FREDDIE MERCURY - Messenger Of The Gods; The Singles Collection (2016)

Genre - Rock / Pop
Label - Mercury Records/ Universal / Hollywood Records

Track listing:

Disc 1:
01 - Living On My Own (Single Edit)
02 - The Great Pretender
03 - In My Defence
04 - Love Kills
05 - Barcelona (Single Version)
06 - Made In Heaven (Single Remix)
07 - Time
08 - Love Me Like There's No Tomorrow
09 - I Was Born To Love You
10 - The Golden Boy (Single Edit)
11 - I Can Hear Music
12 - How Can I Go On (Single Version)
13 - Living On My Own (No More Brothers Radio Mix)

Disc 2:
01 - Goin' Back
02 - Let's Turn It On
03 - My Love Is Dangerous
04 - She Blows Hot And Cold
05 - Living On My Own (Julian Raymond Mix)
06 - Stop All The Fighting
07 - Time (Instrumental)
08 - Exercises In Free Love (Freddie vocal)
09 - Exercises In Free Love (Montserrat vocal)
10 - The Fallen Priest (B-Side Edit)
11 - Overture Piccante
12 - Love Kills (Wolf Euro Mix)

The legendary Freddie Mercury was a man of many talents and many different sides. The songs he wrote for and with Queen filled stadiums around the globe and have rightly gone down in history, but he also embarked on a solo career that took him from the clubs of Munich and New York to the great opera houses of the world.
He was the ultimate showman, but he kept his private life away from the prying eyes of the media; a larger than life rock star who loved disco, classical music and ballet. He was a restless spirit, a true chameleon who revelled in his own contradictions.
All the different sides of this iconic musician can be found on Freddie Mercury: Messenger Of The Gods – The Singles. Fittingly released on Mercury Records for the world outside North America, and on Hollywood Records in North America, this box set brings together all thirteen of Freddie’s solo singles on individually coloured vinyl and two CD set.
From his debut solo single "I Can Hear Music", released under the name Larry Lurex, through the dance floor-influenced solo anthems of the 80s and up to his collaborations with legendary Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballé including the timeless Barcelona, this is a journey through the career of a unique talent.

Now for a man, no matter how much of a musical genius and legend he was, who only ever released two solo studio albums in his career, this is the seventh compilation release to date, and that included a ten disc box set back in 2000.
But saying that, this compilation is primarily based around the seven inch vinyl option so all can be forgiven.
Freddie Mercury was a unique talent, a soaring, powerful voice and superhuman grasp of showmanship. This was always evident with Queen but also in his solo career, and what you have here is a bumper collection of his seven inch single solo releases. In all, twenty five tracks. Yes, this includes three versions of "Living on My Own", two versions of "Love Kills", the hard to find "Time" and "Exercises in Free Love", but there is still more than enough to justify the asking price. And with "Living on My Own", the versions are different enough to warrant their inclusion. Throughout, Freddie's extraordinary vocal prowess shines through, and even when the material dips a little bit below excellent, his brilliant voice ensures that you remain utterly transfixed.
One thing that I have always admired about Freddie's solo work is the way he kept it fresh and adventurous, pushing musical boundaries (especially as per the Barcelona album that fused pop rock with opera!), and did not revert to using the Queen trademark sound. Very underrated music by a legend who may one day fully receive the credit he deserves.
The only real fault that I have is that I would have liked to have seen a couple of previously unreleased items, but then again this is a compilation of Freddie's singles, so I guess that can be forgiven.
Well worth checking out!

Rating: 9/10


(A) I Can Hear Music - Larry Lurex (1973)
(B) Goin’ Back – Larry Lurex 

(A) Love Kills (1984)

(A) I Was Born To Love You (1985)
(B) Stop All The Fighting

(A) Made In Heaven [Single Remix] (1985) 
(B) She Blows Hot And Cold

(A) Living On My Own [Single Edit] (1985) 
(B) My Love Is Dangerous

(A) Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow (1985)
(B) Let’s Turn It On 

(A) Time (1986)
(B) Time [Instrumental] 

(A) The Great Pretender (1987)
(B) Exercises In Free Love [Freddie’s Vocal]

(A) Barcelona [Single Version] (1987) 
(B) Exercises In Free Love [Montserrat’s Vocal]

(A) The Golden Boy [Single Edit] (1988) 
(B) The Fallen Priest [B-Side Edit]

(A) How Can I Go On [Single Version] (1989) 
(B) Overture Piccante

(A) In My Defence (1992)
(B) Love Kills [Wolf Euro Mix]

(A) Living On My Own [No More Brothers Radio Mix] (1993)
(B) Living On My Own [Julian Raymond Album Mix]