Review by Irfan Hidayatullah
Assigned by Dominic Linde
I haven’t got any information for the band except for two things: 1) the band describes their music as “punk-gypsy-spaghetti-surf-rock” and indeed they sound exactly just like that, and 2) they did a cover of Super Mario Bros’ “Overworld Theme” which is fun!
Apart from that, the band pretty much lives on its description, and much more. The good news is for supposedly “jokey” nature of their music, they spend enough time and effort to craft their song into something worthwhile. The tracklist here is pretty endless, divided by shorter tracks and few longer ones, with three short interludes thrown in for good measure.
Discussing tracks here is pretty difficult, to put it short, every tracks on here provides something to hold your attention to, be it martial/music hall-ish rhythm of “Seven Shades of Winter”, paranoid driving riff battling with synths on “Girls Running from Bullets”, tempo changes in “Il Bacio”, hilarious latin rhythm of “The Woman in Question”, and so on, to name a few. Note the relatively huge styles they’re throwing in—surf guitars, punk rock chainsaw buzz, a few bluesy licks here and there, music hall, martial rhythms, lullabies, etc. Songwriting is generally good throughout. Some songs are more memorable than others, and some of the longer tracks doesn’t hold my attention throughout, but overall there are enough musical ideas to warrant excitement.
Minor drawbacks, apart from the longer tracks, is the singers—not exactly bad, not exactly good, not too emotional, just kinda ‘eh’. In fact, emotional resonance is not the word I would associate with this album—except for the some of the crushing moments near the end (the second part of “Schadenfreude”). But these are minor nitpicks and does not significantly detracts my enjoyment for the album.
Review by: Dominic Linde
Assigned by: Charly Saenz
Subdued but powerful, soft but rocking, basic but not simple, and thoughtful while being emotive and down-to-Earth. These are the descriptive phrases that kept running through my head while listening to Terry Reid’s the Other Side of the River. Originally released as just River, the album has been reissued several times—with dubious reasoning, as far as I know, other than it being a good album. I feel compelled to say that usually I’m not very into roots rock (I mean, it’s OK and occasionally thrilling), but there is a lot of heart in this record while maintaining an earthy and unassuming tone. The opening track “Let’s Go Down” sets the record up perfectly: slight interplay between the lead and rhythm guitars, a simple counter melody to accompany the admittedly lackluster vocals. But the vocals still carry a certain amount of expression and interesting timbre (maybe something like a cross of Rod Stewart and Ryan Adams, though Terry Reid was recording long before Adams ever did), saving the voice from being a downfall. And how about that electric violin? And the bassist who knows exactly when to get busy with the instrument and when to lay it back. Just one of those unexplainable songs where there’s nothing new or spectacular in particular. It just works together in a totally satisfying way.
And really, that’s how the album as a whole works: unspectacular but satisfying, not revelatory but gripping. You’ll come back for more. My only complaint is that it starts to wane toward the end. Track-by-track, the album is a collection of strong songs, but there is a certain amount of sameness that comes out not only in execution but in the style of the songs. Granted, this disc is not only comprised of the River album (in the first seven tracks) but also what I assume were outtakes or B-sides. And really, it is around where the bonus tracks start that the disc starts to lose its quality streak. Still, the bonus tracks are far from duds and are worth the listen. They’re just not as strong as what came previously. Recommended.
Review by: Ed Luo
Assigned by: Dominic Linde
The title pretty much says it all: seventy-one minutes of Faust doing what they do best, making noisy, raucous jam/sound collage mixtures. This album is actually a compilation of two earlier LPs, Munic and Elsewhere and The Last LP, both albums consisting of outtakes and alternative versions from their tenure in the seventies, taking out one track of each. Even so, this is a fun album for Faust fans that showcases all the various random shit the band does, albeit possibly not an album for newcomers of their music. Personal highlights include ‘Munic/Yesterday’ which sounds like their take on the Soft Machine’s ‘We Did It Again’, the totally fuckin’ wacked-out synch-grunting jams ‘Don’t Take Boots’ and ‘25 Yellow Doors’, the sixties garage deconstruction ‘Baby’, and the extended version of ‘J’ai mal aux dents’ from The Faust Tapes.