review

This tag is associated with 3 posts

Dashwood – Hurt/Heal Review

It starts with a slow pounding intro, then we’re thrown straight into a ferocious and angry record from hardcore punks Dashwood.

Clocking in at only 37 seconds Splinter is one of the three stand out tracks on the EP. It will make you want to break things – you can almost see the bodies flying across the pit whilst listening to this. Augury follows immediately, giving you no time at all to regain composure. A little more melodic, but no less furious than the previous track, this is a brilliant example of a hardcore punk song and many bands that call themselves hardcore should sit down and take notes.

Persist, another one of the shorter tracks (59 seconds) is a brilliant precursor to the fantastic final track Idle Minds.

However, it’s not all amazing. Interlude, is really, really annoying. We go from awesome hardcore punk tracks, to a more mellow piece. If you’re a hardcore band, don’t give your listeners any respite. Keep it fast, angry and brilliant.

Aside from this tiny niggle, this really is a brilliant EP, and if you’re a fan of Gallows, Ceremony or Never x Again , then this record is definitely something you should get hold of.

Hurt/Heal is available in CD format from Pornography For Cowards, and on tape from Honey Bucket Records from 5th February 2012.

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Punk Goes Pop : Volume 4 – V/A

I wonder, am I the right person to review an album of pop punk bands I probably won’t really like, covering pop songs I’ve probably not heard? Probably not, but I’m not going to let trivial things like that get in the way.

Most of it is utter wank, though

We start with some squeaky pop punk band covering “Just The Way You Are” (Bruno Mars). I spent most of the time listening to this song trying to remember the name of Coheed and Cambria, just in order to compare the voice of Pierce The Veil’s singer to. I think the song was ok, aside from Joe Pasquale on vocals, though.

Then there’s a song I haven’t a clue who it’s originally. The husky woman singing has a decent voice, though, and despite not having a clue who “Little Lion Man” is originally by (turned out to be Mumford and Sons), I fully enjoyed Tonight Alive’s cover… up until where it all went a little bit Paramore. Next on offer is Woe Is Me with a god awful performance of Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night”. Seriously awful, and the less said about it, the better.

Next we have a band called The Ready Set, with “I Roll Up” by Wiz Khalifa (who?). I’m confused. There’s nothing punk about this, and I don’t mean in a punk fascist, “that pop punk isn’t punk” way. No, I mean, this is actually just a straight up pop/urban song. I can’t hear a guitar, or a real instrument. Did they forget to record their own version and just sing over a karaoke backing track two hours before the deadline for submittal?

Things start to improve when we get to Sleeping With Siren’s version of Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You”. Not too bad at all, the strings were a nice touch and even took my mind off the overly intrusive drums. It’s nice to hear a few swears, too. In a bizarre twist of events, we get a second good song in a row with Go Radio’s cover of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”. It’s good, straight forward and no messing about, just a bit ballsier. The bridge was brilliant, hand claps, and then that key change. Nothing bad about this at all. Could this streak last?….

In short, no… For All Those Sleeping’s cover of “You Belong To Me” by Taylor Swift is stopped after 12 seconds, but then decided I should give it a longer chance. Another 12 seconds later, I’ve skipped to the next song, Chunk! No Captain Chunk! With Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R”. This is actually good, and I don’t even hate the screaming bits. It, works, y’know?

When I get to A Skylit Drive’s rendition of Eminem’s “Love The Way You Lie”, I’m torn. It’s got ups, and it’s got downs. It’s really quite 50:50. I don’t know whether I like the screaming bits, sometimes it works, and then sometimes it doesn’t, and then I’m annoyed by pop punk singer’s habit of singing in a key which is obviously too high for them to comfortably sing in. However, it’s not the worst thing on this album, but I can safely predict that nothing will be worse than For All Those Sleeping’s offering.

Auto-tune ‘o clock next, with Allstar Weekend’s cover of Yeah 3X, by Chris Brown. A big “meh” to this one. Moving on. I See Stars and we have a wall of sound, interspersed with with standard melodic hardcore bits in their cover of Britney’s “Till The World Ends”. It’s passable, I’ll give them that.

Do I really want to hear Silverstein playing a Kanye West song for 8 minutes? Not really, I’d rather run repeatedly into a javelin at face height. Still, without hearing the original version of “Runaway”, what I listened to of this song is very good, but just too long.

Punk Goes Pop Volume 4 closes with The Downtown Fiction’s take on Super Bass by Nicki Minaj. It wasn’t bad, no, I couldn’t say it was bad. But it wasn’t as awful as For All Those Sleeping… but it ain’t good, either. The worst thing is the repetitiveness, but I can hardly blame The Downtown Fiction for Nicki Minaj’s poor song writing, can I?

3/5

 P.S. I’d like to thank Google for helping me find out who the hell the original performers of many of these songs were.

Testing Treatments

Medical research is one of those areas where everyone thinks they know a little.  Images of lab rats, miraculous cures and money grabbing pharmaceutical companies compete with the day to day reality of patients and doctors trying to tackle illness.  A new edition has been published of a book that tries to shed a bit of light on to the subject.

Testing Treatments, by Imogen Evans, Hazel Thornton, Iain Chalmers and Paul Glasziou, is aimed at the informed patient and explains how new medical treatments are researched, and how that relates to the experience of the patient being treated.  The book strikes a tone that is halfway between academic text and pop science, and might seem intimidating to some, but the regular summaries of key points and personal stories mean that the reader will soon find themselves gripped.

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The book takes a long view over history, covering scurvy treatments in 1747 right up to cancer trials of the present day, advocating a partnership approach between patient and doctor, and includes calls to action for professionals, patients and policy makers to ensure that questions are asked and information is shared.  The reader is encouraged to look sceptically at the need for treatments and screening, and to try to see through marketing and media hype.

Ben Goldacre provided the forward to this edition, and the book continues in the spirit of his work – accessible without being over simplistic.  I would have liked to have more detail, but I’m not sure how that could have been achieved without losing the ease of understanding.  There is an extensive list of further reading and references at the back of the book for the reader who would like to know more, and I didn’t personally feel that the scientific knowledge was shied away from in the text.  Perhaps a scientist would disagree, but I went away feeling that I knew much more about the subject and that I would be a more informed patient.

The publisher, Pinter and Martin, provided me with a copy of this book for review in my personal capacity

Testing Treatments is available for £6.99 from Amazon

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