Reviews

Review: Of Time and the Sea Rating 45%

Review: Of Time and the Sea

Technically masterful but narratively opaque, Australian director Peter Sant’s Maltese-language debut feature Of Time and the Sea (Ba?ar ?mien) is steeped in enigma so thick you can’t see through until the end. Part post-apocalyptic fable, part avantgarde rumination on existential themes, Sant’s struggle to create a meaningful message is both hypnotic and rambling.

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Review: David Keenan – A Beginners Guide to Bravery Rating 90%

Review: David Keenan – A Beginners Guide to Bravery

Having first emerged on the music scene in 2015, David Keenan’s debut album A Beginner’s Guide to Bravery explores existentialism, the muse and the changing face of Ireland. Following on from a string of single releases and EP collections, the singer/songwriter from Dundalk draws inspiration from the likes of Dylan and Cohen, setting tales to music and tapping into a distinct Celtic consciousness that sets him apart from all others in his field.

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Review: Keb’ Mo’ & The Jellyman’s Daughter, Celtic Connections 2020 Rating 77%

Review: Keb’ Mo’ & The Jellyman’s Daughter, Celtic Connections 2020

Tonight a real sense of longing and satisfaction lingered in the air of Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket, as many waited in anticipation for an hour and a half set from Delta Blues musician, Keb’ Mo.’ With The Jellyman’s Daughter on support, a folk band from just up the road (Edinburgh), there was not the same rapport with the crowd. However, they did whet the appretite for a Celtic Connections gig, and well, that it was with a heavy portion of extra blues.

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Review: Makar/Unmakar Edited by Calum Rodger Rating 65%

Review: Makar/Unmakar Edited by Calum Rodger

makar/unmakar is a new poetry anthology published by Tapsalteerie and edited by Calum Rodger. It is a collection that introduces the reader to twelve contemporary poets who although very different from each other have one thing in common: they are not afraid to push poetical boundaries. It is important to say here that this reviewer is not a poetry expert but rather a reader who wants to get our of their comfort zone so this review is just the personal ruminations of a keen, just-introduced-to-poetry reader.

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Review: Uncut Gems Rating 90%

Review: Uncut Gems

It feels a somewhat unlikely fit for Adam Sandler, star of varying quality comedies, to take the lead in the new Safdie Brothers film as a fast-mouthed gem dealer Howard Ratner but it is a perfect piece of casting with Sandler emerging as the infuriatingly reckless chance taker. The film is a nail-biting whirlwind of undermined opportunity, ridiculous risk and missed chances. Head in hands, groans of frustration and elated whoops came from all around the cinema as Howard’s attempt to get the life-changing score he seeks gets increasingly desperate. The stress level of the audience mimics the onscreen action as you simultaneously root for Howard to dig himself out of the mess he has created and grabbing his gaudy lapels shouting ‘for crying out loud cut the crap, stop endangering your family and reconcile with your soon to be ex-wife’ pitch-perfectly played by Idina Menzel.

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Review: Fred Deakin – The Lasters Rating 70%

Review: Fred Deakin – The Lasters

The Lasters is an ambitious new solo project inspired by classic concept albums like the narrative witin The Who’s Quadrophenia and Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds. A wholly original and truly out-of-this-world sci-ii concept record to consider with the aforementioned, The Lasters tells the tale of Earth’s final family.

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Review: Pictish Trail & Rozi Plain, Celtic Connections 2020 Rating 78%

Review: Pictish Trail & Rozi Plain, Celtic Connections 2020

It’s been a while since I have looked at a Celtic Connections programme and not seen at least one Lost Map artist on there. It felt only right to bill two artists, one with a new album out and another with a an album due oh so soon on the second night of the festival in Glasgow’s East End, in the majestic St Lukes. Recently signed to Memphis Industries, Rozi Plain displayed her loyalty and friendship with previous label, Lost Map, supporting Johnny Lynch, AKA Pictish Trail, who is dropping Thumb World on 21st February. Sadly there were no advance copies for sale at this event.

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Review: Night Theater by Vikram Paralkar Rating 75%

Review: Night Theater by Vikram Paralkar

A poor surgeon flees a scandal in the city and accepts a job at a village clinic. He buys antibiotics out of pocket, squashes roaches, and chafes at the interventions of the corrupt officer who oversees his work. This new novel from Vikram Paralkar, Night Theater, delves into a spiritual depth, exploring afterlife and mortality.

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Review: Poppy – I Disagree Rating 71%

Review: Poppy – I Disagree

It’s still shocking that the Poppy who released Moshi Moshi – a sunny dose of electronic pop from an extremely online artist – would go on to sign with Sumerian Records. It might end up quite the coup for a label best known for its technical metal and breakdown-enthusiastic roster. This current iteration of model / YouTuber / actress Poppy has lots of eyes on her, in large part thanks to her corpse-painted face on I Disagree’s cover, a far-cry from her trademark genteel vocals.

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Review: Little Women Rating 89%

Review: Little Women

In my review of Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird I wondered whether we might see Saoirse Ronan’s eponymous character in a future film. To an extent, playing Jo March in Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women, Ronan is embodying another incarnation of the same character, insofar as the film seems to be another veiled autobiography for this writer-turned-director. Casting Ronan a second time, if the gossip is correct, was not Gerwig’s original intention, but since the actor insisted on playing her, it was such a ‘Jo’ thing to do that the director couldn’t say no.

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