Reviews

Review: Far Cry 5 Rating 70%

Review: Far Cry 5

This, the fifth main entry in the stalwart first-person shooter series, is the first to sidestep concerns of Imperialist or disaster tourism tendencies by being located in rural Montana. You, as a silent character referred to as “Deputy” or “Rookie” (you’re given the option to choose your character’s gender and race), are initially involved in a chaotic attempt to arrest doomsday cult leader Joseph Seed, and soon find yourself picking up arms to take back Hope County from the messianic Seed family and their Eden’s Gate followers.

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Review: Alexis Taylor – Beautiful Thing Rating 74%

Review: Alexis Taylor – Beautiful Thing

Alexis Taylor, renowned for his disco beats for Hot Chip, and wavering vocals, has struck gold again with this solo album released via Domino Records, Beautiful Thing. A record of sumptuous piano playing and delicate vocals, wax lyrical in style, his highly produced haze of ten tracks will appeal to Hot Chip fans, and perhaps also those that follow the likes of the DFA label, particularly as UNKLE’s Tim Goldsworthy has had a hand in the production. It’s a bold delivery which often touches on the process of song-making, particularly with A Hit Song, and provides Alexis Taylor fans with a grounding in his talent.

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Review: Eric Chenaux Rating 69%

Review: Eric Chenaux

Sat in the Glad Café in the South side of Glasgow I felt like I had travelled back to my time in London at the Café Oto where you would encounter the most experimental yet pleasing sounds. This was one of those nights, with conceptual Canadian Eric Chenaux headlining. Performing tracks from new record, Slowly Paradise, he mapped out our feeling at the beginning of his set, so he ensured he left us with enough energy to get home with.

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Review: Scream For Me Sarajevo Rating 85%

Review: Scream For Me Sarajevo

Scream for Me Sarajevo is a documentary regarding Bruce Dickinson’s (of Iron Maiden fame) attempts to make it through war torn Bosnia to put on a heavy metal gig in the under siege city of Sarajevo. It is Bosnian directors Tarik Hodzic’s first feature length film and it offers a different slant on longest siege of a capital city in modern times. It eschews politics and, for the most part, even backstory and instead concentrates on what life was like for the city’s residents in the run up to the concert

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Review: Arcade Fire Rating 90%

Review: Arcade Fire

Win Butler and the rest of the band entered the arena like a prize fighter and his entourage. This isn’t some attempt at a clever metaphor between sports and music. I mean the stage was literally a boxing ring and at the start of the show they are filmed fighting their way through the crowd, a jumbo screen displaying each band members stats it reads: “Win Butler losses- none, not even one”.

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Review: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde Rating 85%

Review: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

Two men stare from a balcony at eye height with myself in the Dress Circle at King’s Theatre. They speak fluttery Victorian prose against a shadowy backdrop of street lights and yellow window panes. It’s a strange opening because there’s no fanfare – the lights go down and it starts. From the off it’s apparent it’s a wordy play where your concentration is going to be required. I’m not sure what I expected, maybe something akin to a pantomime, with a rowdy Phil Daniels blurting out Parklife to get cheap laughs.

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Review: Modern Studies – Welcome Strangers Rating 90%

Review: Modern Studies – Welcome Strangers

It was never going to be easy for the Glasgow-based chamber-pop band Modern Studies to follow their mesmerising debut album, 2016’s Swell To Great. However, with their new album, Welcome Strangers, the band has delivered a stunning set of beautifully-crafted songs, which reflect the considerable individual and collective talents, versatility and alchemy of this unique group of musicians. The delightfully creaking Victorian harmonium which was central to the sound on the first album takes a back seat here, as the song arrangements become ever more intricate, expansive and absorbing, featuring exhilarating flourishes of strings and brass and other subtle splashes of musical colour. Although remaining deliciously unconventional in structure, the new songs are perhaps more fully-formed than before, revealing more textures and layers with repeated plays.

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Review: The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan Rating 90%

Review: The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan

There are some themes developing in Kirsty Logan’s work: fairy tales, the sea, and pure magic. In The Gloaming, her second novel in a catalogue that also includes two short story collections, a contemporary fairy story ebbs and flows across many maritime references, focusing on the water that gives life and takes it away. The magic comes in the form of Logan’s bewitching prose – a partly mythical setting, unique description, poetic language and a thrilling voyage.

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Review: In Tall Buildings – Akinetic Rating 73%

Review: In Tall Buildings – Akinetic

Akinetic is Chicago singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Erik Halls’ third offering and most complete piece of work to date. That may not come as too much of a surprise having brought in producer/engineer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse/Iron and Wine) to produce and co-record the album.

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Review: Love From Stourbridge Rating 75%

Review: Love From Stourbridge

When music is mapped according to its origins, an unexpected hotspot of activity appears on the edge of the ‘Black Country’, courtesy of a few white boys around the late 1980s. Glasgow’s population of Stourbridge’s finest sons swells tonight as a twelve date tour arrives at the O2 ABC. Though The Wonder Stuff may have claimed more column inches over the years, it is Ned’s Atomic Dustbin who most feel the love tonight. The Pop Will Eat Itself part of the story completes the triumvirate on this tour only interstitially via the decks.

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Review: Ready Player One Rating 65%

Review: Ready Player One

Ernest Cline’s pop culture love letter/empty geek pandering is brought from book to screen by the man who, if Peter Biskind is to be believed, probably started the plasticity of modern cinema and culture in general: Steven Spielberg.

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Review: Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling Rating 80%

Review: Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling

Scottish Ballet’s production of Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling takes us to the urban back streets of Glasgow on the eve of a wedding. By ballet’s standards, the settings are gritty, although still a heavily sanitised, theatrically charming version of reality, that’s a far cry from actual tough and impoverished Scottish city life. James (Nicholas Shoesmith) and Effie (Roseanna Leney) are celebrating their upcoming nuptials in a rough and ready venue. Dance ensues: a mashup of contemporary, comic clubbing moves and a touch of the highland fling, an element reprised at the couple’s wedding reception the following day. Much is made of the comedy in this section, playing up the drunken behaviour of the revellers, achieving regular ripples of laughter from the audience along the way. It’s hard to emulate these kinds of goings on to a full orchestral soundscape, but here high brow meets low brow in a skilled and thoughtful way, under the careful direction and choreography of the master of ballet.

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