reviews

Goodreads review: Outcast, Vol. 4: Under Devil’s Wing

Outcast, Vol. 4: Under Devil's WingOutcast, Vol. 4: Under Devil’s Wing by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So we remember what I said about the first volume of this series? And the second? And the third? Again, we can spin it out to the fourth: developing, slowly, with enough subtlety in the presentation to keep me reading.

This trade brings us pretty much up to date: at the time of writing there’s been four additional issues, so we’re still two off another collection. The show based on the property has been and gone, and is seems Kirkman is interested in keeping the slow-burn nature we’ve become accustomed to thus far. But this volume seems to feature more explaining than previous collections, and ramps up the fuck-is-all-the-town-involved? weirdness level.


(more…)

Goodreads review: The Raven

The RavenThe Raven by Peter Landesman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I first read this book not long after it came out. I was still at university, and was still enamoured of study and reading between the lines enough to think that if a text was gnomic enough it must have been super-profound, and if I didn’t get it, it was my fault and not the book’s.

That was then. Now, I can go “eh, fuck that book” with impunity and not feel as if I need to turn in my Lit Nerd decoder ring or something. (more…)

The Fuzz: 100 Demons (2005)

This is an older review, rescued from the internet ether. I wrote it for a site I was involved with at the time, and I’m prompted to put it online as I’ve just listened to the band’s album and it still holds up OK if you’re keen on the whole garage-rock kinda thing. Excuse the writing: a lot has changed in 12 years – including lead singer Abbe May, who’s now out of the garage and into the spotlight. 

d74a214_4563After two well-received EPs, Perth quintet The Fuzz has upped the volume (and the dirt level) with their debut album, 100 Demons. What results is an album that’s got the sound of hunger nailed. With young bands, this keenness, this eagerness to rock isn’t unusual, but what marks this bunch of noiseniks out is the strength of vocalist Abbe May’s cords. They’re phenomenal, and bring to mind some kind of scientific experiment wherein Bon Scott and Adalita from Magic Dirt are somehow combined to create the Ultimate Rock Throat.

She’s that good. (more…)

PJ Harvey: ICC Sydney Theatre, Jan 22 2017

I suppose it’s the case that there’s no such thing as a bad PJ Harvey show. But it could be that there’s such a thing as an indifferent one. One that hits the right notes, but doesn’t have the emotional resonance you’d expect.

screen-shot-2017-01-29-at-1-05-11-pm

That was the case this evening. It wasn’t phoned in – not by any measure – but there was something curiously distancing about this evening’s show.  (more…)

PJ Harvey, The Tremors @ The Back Room Club, Byron Bay, 25/7/2004

This review is an example of my older writing. Eventually, I hope to have all my reviews archived here. The writing style is a little different, but then I suppose we’ve all changed in the past decade. (Yes, that means I’m cringing at that use of ‘incendiary’ too.)

Gigs where there’s some difference between bands are always good, and this evening’s show at The Back Room Club was no exception. The difference in this case was that the headliner, PJ Harvey, is the queen of come-close-but-stay-at-arms-length songwriting, at once embracing and spurning, while her support, The Tremors prefer to stay up close and personal; preferably trying to get a hand down your duds in the process. (more…)

Goodreads review: George Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of America

George Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of AmericaGeorge Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of America by Cory O’Brien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Look, this is a bit of a hard one for me to review. I’m not entirely sure why. I mean, I liked Cory O’Brien’s previous book about mythology, so it stands to reason that I would like this.

And I do, let’s not argue about that.

But it feels a bit weirder to be writing about actual people with the same pisstakery that’s perhaps reasonable for mythological figures. (more…)

The Brian Jonestown Massacre: … And This Is Our Music (2003)

The Brian Jonestown Massacre: ...And This Is Our Music (2003)

This is an older review of mine, presented here for archival purposes. The writing is undoubtedly different to the present, and the review style may differ between publications. Enjoy, if that’s the right word.

First things first. …And This Is Our Music is an album created by people who’ll probably want to kick in the heads of reviewers everywhere. Scope out the liner-notes and you’ll see that self-serving critics make a list of people officially put on notice that they’re “Officially uninvited to our party!!!” – replete with three exclamation marks.

That’s not very hippie, is it? In fact, it probably qualifies as a freak-out, baby. But that’s fine, because the music recorded here overtakes any attitude-based party exclusions that The Brian Jonestown Massacre (Anton Newcombe, boss man and chief sonic wrangler) could hurl. (Of course, the fact that elsewhere in the same notes – couched in a track-by-track commentary, revealing musical inspirations, drug information and touching rave-ups of guest vocalists – lies a thoroughly shameless attempt to pick up BJM-fancying ladies weighs a little in their favour, too.) (more…)

Goodreads Review: Preacher, Volume 2: Until the End of the World

Preacher, Volume 2: Until the End of the WorldPreacher, Volume 2: Until the End of the World by Garth Ennis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Until the End of the World, the second trade paperback in the Preacher series, gathers together issues 8-17 of the comic about the Texas padre with the Word of God in his skull, a failed-assassin girlfriend and an Irish vampire best mate. It’s also the trade wherein shit gets weird.

Well, weirder. (more…)

Peter Fenton: In The Lovers Arms (2004)

This is an older interview of mine, presented here for archival purposes. The writing is undoubtedly different to the present, and the review style may differ between publications. Enjoy, if that’s the right word.

Originally published September 2004.

R-5554611-1457749426-1151.jpeg[1]There’s a line in Peter Fenton’s debut solo album, In The Lovers Arms that accurately encapsulates its author’s thoughts on songwriting. On opener ‘The Song People’, appears the refrain

Song… Song… Song…
It’s where you’ve been

It’s also pretty apt for where the artist is at in his life. Song is, in some ways, a transcript, a record of where you’ve been. And for Fenton, it’s been quite a journey. In The Lovers Arms is the end result of recent ruminations on life, love and solitude, and it’s a welcome release.
The album is the singer’s first solo release since Crow – the best fucked-off-with-life band of dark-eyed troubadours since Nick Cave stopped writing Latin on his chest and decided to keep his suit-jackets on – imploded after the release of Play With Love in 1998. Since that time, he’s begun a career as an actor, and this album marks his return to the world of recording, after a period of disenchantment with the industry at large.

There’s two things to note about this return, too. Firstly, it’s a concept album. Secondly, it’s a product that makes the waiting worthwhile. (more…)