Tuesday 8 January 2008

Reviews: the good and the bad(ly written)

Had a couple of high profile reviews in English magazines in the last week or two: a nice one by Geoff Barton in Classic Rock (7/10, 'finely crafted and acutely involving') and a rubbish one in Power Play (5/10, 'progressive rock lite'). To make matters worse, the BBT review in Power Play was on the same page as a review of one of my daughter's favourite bands, Nightwish. Nightwish are a Finnish emo band. They sound like Abba, with heavy metal guitars. And they got 10/10. This amused my daughter (Ellie) no end.

I know it's sensible not to get annoyed by bad reviews, but having a couple of years' work dismissed in a hundred words of badly written prose is a tad irritating. And, really, I'm not just being bitter; the reviewer can't write. Consider this sentence, for example:

'If your (sic) a Big Big Train fan, then I guess your (sic) probably used their sound (sic) and will get a huge amount out of this release.'

Call yourself a journalist? Journalism lite, that's what I call it.

ps - on the same page as our Classic Rock review, one of Ellie's other favourite bands, Bullet For My Valentine* had their new album reviewed. They got 5/10. Ha ha!

* Bullet For My Valentine are a Welsh emo band. They sound like Tom Jones, with heavy metal guitars.


Anonymous said...

Tom Jones and heavy metal guitars - that's a brilliant review. Sounds more like 10/10 to me (sic)

Barrie Sillars said...

I have heard of Classic Rock mag, in fact i buy it, but not Power Play. I think Classic Rock has a better reputation and Geoff Barton definately. I remember reading his reviews in Sounds back in the 70's. How old is he now!!

Good to see your album getting a thoroughly well deserved mention and also Guy Manning,s which is very, very good indeed!!

Jem said...

lol, don't worry Greg, we all get reviews like that. I call it bedroom journalism. I got into terrible trouble for saying that at the time. But I figured if they are free to write what they like about us, so we are free to do the same right back at 'em! So I sub edited the review, pointed out all the typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and then wrote some examples of how to write with a bit more imagination.

It went down like a cup of cold sick obviously... ;-)

See you soon mate,


Anonymous said...

My bedroom journalism (based on recent first-hand research) leads me to say that Poole rocks and he doesn't get anywhere near enough credit in these reviews! 10/10 for production and... of course the original artwork idea!

Anonymous said...

Like Bambis mother said, "If you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all".

Did she really say that?

I know she said "Run Dambi Run - It's a Power Play journalist, they'll shot you down, ba****ds"

The Difference machine is my favourite album of all time. The imagery in the songs is brilliant and allows the music to work on two levels. a very personal reflection of love and life and a wacky story of star crossed events and fate. The playing is brilliant and it's a little sad that the glory goes to the big names when the best songs are played by the band. Saltwater is the most original piece of writing in years - like Mogwai doing Supers Ready. Post Rock has finally discovered harmony and what a discovery.

Anonymous said...

He Greg,

You should check out Andy Thompsons www.mellotronplanet.com for an excellent review of The DM! And more importantly, he's offering you use his real Tron for your next album!

Gregory Spawton said...

Good spot Leo, hadn't seen that review.

I like Andy's site, but he's wrong about the high choir note. M-Tron is simply a direct sample of various Mellotrons. You only get the notes from the original Tron tapes - it won't let you go higher or lower in pitch (and you just get the 8 second note length.) Can be a bit frustrating when you run out of notes or note length, but there we go.



Anonymous said...

Would be interesting though to hear a real Tron on your next album. Nothing beats the real Tron (says an M-Tron user ;--)).