KOOP – Waltz for Koop (2001)

Review by: Jake Myers
Album assigned by: Jared Walske

Is any of this actually a waltz?  I mean, the rhythms feel pretty jazzy, but that classification just seems like a cop-out when there is so much more going on here.  Suffice it to say that such an intriguing fusion of jazz, world music, and electronic stylings is enough to interest a relative Philistine like me.  I know nothing about any of those genres, though, so pardon the myriad of ignorant comments I am bound to unwittingly make.
There is not a striking amount of variety on this album, but that’s only a problem when you have a hard time making it from the first song to the last without breaks.  No, this one actually benefits from the more subtle variations in its sound.  The consistency allows the album to flow as an unbroken stream of thought and feeling.  And that feeling, I’d say, is the feeling of lying back in a classy bar in some exotic land, maybe indulging in some slow and easy sort of hedonism, while still able to contemplate the deepest metaphysical musings of the guru across the room.
There are some really groovy segments, like the flute breakdowns in “Baby”, that are sure to remind the prog aficionados such as myself of similarly great moments in the Jethro Tull and early King Crimson catalogues.  There are the lazy numbers like “Modal Mile”, which remind me a lot of Soul Coughing—hell, the vocalist even sounds kinda like Mike Doughty.  And check out how in “Relaxing at Club Fusion”, they manage to marry a modern electronic beat with the smooth classic wandering of that saxophone, all with those minimalist verses drifting in and out.  Subtleties, again, but how rewarding those can be.
The prize has to go to “Summer Sun”, though.  That bouncy, carefree, yet knowing melody really is something else, and it’s wonderfully strange how a song (and an album, for that matter) can sound like both the past and the future at the same time.       8/10


Review by: Jeremiah Methven
Album assigned by: David Sheehan

I largely agree with George’s review on his old site of Per Un Amico – I’m new to this band, but I certainly hear elements of King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, ELP… all the prog rock greats. And to PFM’s credit, they don’t sound out of place next to those bands, showing a knack for keeping their songs interesting. Maybe because it’s largely instrumental (and when they do sing, it’s in Italian) but I have a hard time remembering which song is which after the album’s over, even after five listens. It speaks to the constant movement between themes, though I might also consider it a slight flaw in some regards. But at least with the first three tracks (slightly less so with the last two, which I find a bit more meandering), it’s all pretty great and entertaining. It doesn’t quite move me the way some of the aforementioned groups can – so I wouldn’t rate it as a masterpiece. But it’s definitely a strong album and well worth hearing for any prog aficionados. 8/10

PETER TOSH – Equal Rights (1977)

Review by: Eric Pember
Album assigned by: Syd Spence

This is one of the pioneers of reggae at his creative peak. There’s absolutely no way this isn’t good, unless you just can’t stand reggae at all. I’ve been steadily building up on passive music over the past little while, and this is a pretty nice addition to that. A choice cut to listen to is “Stepping Razor”.

MAGAZINE – The Correct Use Of Soap (1980)

Review by: Charly Saenz
Album assigned by: Jonathan Moss

A great surprise! Indeed I confirm here that early 80s, late 70s (78-82 approximately) is a territory worth investigating.

Magazine’s only album I listened to so far has really managed to capture me. It’s infectious pop and then something, which is exactly what you may expect for this adorable era – a gray area of Power pop/Post-punk/New wave. I felt that this music has aged well, it’s dynamic and concise and there are little details here and there that I enjoyed. 

“Because you’re frightened” starts out the album with a more edgy side (and a fantastic guitar riff) but then “Model worker” is such a perfect blueprint for some of the best pop I’ve listened (later!) in the 80s – that I can’t begin to describe it. Great single material.

“I Want To Burn Again”, a slow acoustic beginning, and then these eighties keyboards used wisely (that great bass is always on top), and the background vocals add colour instead of being predictable; before the end an out-of-nowhere guitar solo to complete another perfect pop bubble.
“A Song From Under The Floorboards” is probably my favourite of the lot, the keyboards and the bass lines really work their best here but the whole group really creates a little pop gem.

“You never knew me” is another great find, with its slow pace and a great vocal delivery from Devoto (and of course some quite direct lyrics) 
“I’m a Party” works too as its title indicates with an upbeat poppy mood (though still somehow punky), and those female background vocals which are a little odd.. Until the 3:00 mark where there’s a nice break until we get back to the original song. Fantastic.

“Sweetheart contract” pushes forward with its slightly psychedelic main keyboard riff (and a dangling guitar playing in the back). Great fun. Didn’t care much for “Stuck” (more funky) or “Thank You” (a cover) though on more listens who knows. 

A great great album for those like me who like pop/synth pop, but with a punk/rockier edge.


Welcome to Our Reviews, a collective blog created by a group of music fans that were inspired by the famous music critic George Starostin (only-solitaire.blogspot.com) and decided to write their own reviews, mostly of obscure and little-known music albums. Basically we assign albums to each other to review as part of a game but it looks like it started to grow into something bigger, as we thought the actual reviews were pretty good and decided to present them here for music lovers’ enjoyment.

So enjoy our reviews, have fun and feel free to comment!