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Pop - Released January 5, 2015 | Parlophone

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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Parlophone

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Dance - Released June 11, 2010 | Parlophone

Further is the first Chemical Brothers album without a guest vocalist since their debut. Consequently, with no worries about crafting tracks around a Q-Tip or Richard Ashcroft, the duo has full freedom to focus on enveloping listeners in the sound world usually just experienced at its shows -- although, naturally, without the lights and atmosphere to accompany the music. After a beatless first track titled "Snow," the 12-minute single "Escape Velocity" approximates a rocket launch, the impressive effects continually rising over the first few minutes until the beat kicks in with full force. Still, as a single or an album track, "Escape Velocity" isn't a total success. The effects and distortion would certainly do Kevin Shields or Sonic Boom proud, but the lockstep beats, when they do come in, are practically an anticlimax. From there, Ed and Tom go in differing directions, with typically varied results; they seem to have learned lessons from the past, varying their tracks slightly. "Another World" is a perfect example, appropriately otherworldly and shimmering, an '80s throwback capable of provoking jealousy in chillwave maestros like Neon Indian and Washed Out. But the Chemical format of old is still rampant and still rather stultifying; the psychedelic distortion on "Swoon" sounds self-sampled (or swiped from Orbital's "Lush 3-1"), while "Horse Power" has very little to recommend it except a distorted vocal repeating the title and, wait for it, horse whinnies. The Chemical Brothers have remained in the stadium house category for a decade-plus due to their immersive music and vivid light shows, but from the stale beats and lack of new ideas on display here, they'd do better going beatless or hiring a drummer. © John Bush /TiVo
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Dance - Released January 1, 2010 | Parlophone

Dance - Released January 1, 2009 | Parlophone

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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Parlophone

Teaming with legendary Beatles obsessive Jeff Lynne, George Harrison crafted a remarkably consistent and polished comeback effort with Cloud Nine. Lynne adds a glossy production, reminiscent of ELO, but what is even more noticeable is that he's reined in Harrison's indulgences, keeping the focus on a set of 11 snappy pop/rock numbers. The consistency of the songs remains uneven, but the best moments -- "Devil's Radio," "Cloud 9," "Just for Today," "Got My Mind Set on You," and the tongue-in-cheek Beatles pastiche "When We Was Fab" -- make Cloud Nine one of his very best albums. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Parlophone

George Harrison is, except for the overdubbed London strings, a painstakingly polished L.A.-made product -- and not a particularly inspired one at that. It's an ordinary album from an extraordinary talent. "Love Comes to Everyone" leads it off on a depressing note -- it's a treadmill tune with greeting-card verses -- and there are too many other such half-hearted songs lurking here, although some are salvaged by a nice instrumental touch: there's a catchy recurring guitar riff on "Soft Touch" and some lovely slide guitar on "Your Love Is Forever." Compared to the original, tougher Beatles version that was left off the White Album, the remake of "Not Guilty" is an easy listening trifle, though it was a revelation when it came out (the original had to wait until 1996 and Anthology 3 for an official release), and the succeeding "Here Comes the Moon" is a lazy retake on another Beatles song. "Blow Away" would be the record's most attractive new song -- and a number 16 hit -- but "Faster," a paean to Harrison's passion for Formula One auto racing, probably better reflected where his head was at this time. There are a few quirks: "Soft-Hearted Hana" is a strange, stream-of-consciousness Hawaiian hallucination, and "Dark Sweet Lady" is a Latin-flavored tune written for his new wife, Olivia. Finally, the inevitable spiritual benediction "If You Believe" offers some thoughtful philosophy to ponder, even if it's not an especially memorable tune. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Parlophone

Having suffered the humiliation of being sued successfully over "My Sweet Lord," George Harrison turned the ordeal into music, writing "This Song," a Top 25 hit. Even better was "Crackerbox Palace," which would have fit in nicely on any Beatles album. The rest was slight, although Harrison covering Cole Porter's "True Love" is an interesting idea. This was Harrison's first album on Dark Horse, his custom label, formed after the completion of his contract with EMI/Capitol in June 1976 and initially distributed by A&M. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Parlophone

Somewhere in England had a troubled birth, for when Harrison originally submitted it for release in November 1980, Warner Bros. rejected it, claiming that four songs -- "Flying Hour," "Lay His Head," "Sat Singing," and "Tears of the World" (once available on the bootleg "Ohnothimagen") -- were not worthy of being issued. Harrison was forced to go back into the studio to cut four new tunes, delivering a bitterly barbed thrust at his record label in "Blood from a Clone" (which they did release) and a tune originally meant for Ringo Starr but rewritten as a remembrance after John Lennon's assassination ("All Those Years Ago"), as well as "Teardrops" and "That Which I Have Lost." As a result, the most compelling issue of this album is the contest of wills between the artist and the suits. Now how do the four deleted tunes stack up against the ones that replaced them? The four missing tunes are of generally even quality, even similar in sound, although "Tears of the World" is a strident attack against corporate and political masters that probably unnerved the executives the most. Actually, the six tunes that Warner Bros. spared should have been more likely candidates for the hook, including the curious covers of two Hoagy Carmichael songs, "Baltimore Oriole" and "Hong Kong Blues." Yet in general, the new ones are indeed superior and more varied, with more of a punch than the ones they replaced. The bouncy "All Those Years Ago" is a definite gain, being the most heartfelt song on the record as well as a de facto Beatles reunion (Starr plays drums and Paul and Linda McCartney overdubbed backing vocals), and it was justly rewarded with a number two showing on the singles charts. The official release is slightly preferable over the bootlegs of the original. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Parlophone

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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Parlophone

Richard Ashcroft deserves kudos for his, um, balls. But then again, a man who claims his last recording, 2002's Human Conditions, was the artistic equal of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On is tough to like, too. While many thought he had slunk into the murky depths after the critical and commercial drubbing of Human Conditions, Ashcroft was simply pondering what happened and deciding it was everybody else's fault the record tanked. Three and a half years later, the Verve's former frontman is back with a record not terribly different, though certainly more pastoral and perhaps more middle of the road. Those who fell in love with 2000's Alone with Everybody will have a tougher time here just as they did with Human Conditions. But really, it's not the record's fault. Ashcroft uses a burping horn section and a few layers of raw, rusty electrics on "Why Not Nothing," the opener on Keys to the World, a nefarious anti-religion rant. His snarling vocal riding down inside the rock & roll cacophony is such a breath of fresh air, it's a true departure from his solo work thus far. The messed-up fuzz tone guitar break is glorious. Ashcroft can strut and swagger with the best of them. At least here, Ashcroft reveals he can spit out the rage with the best of rock's big-time frontmen (Jagger, Stewart, et al.). "Music Is Power" reveals the true surprise. It's a Northern soul workout with -- are you ready? -- samples! from Curtis Mayfield no less. (Actually it's from Walter Jackson's "It's All Over," produced and written by Mayfield.) Yep, the guy who ripped off and got raked by Jagger and Richards lawyers for the royalties to "Bittersweet Symphony" has dipped his foot into the digital ocean once more. It's a cool groove, and he rides it well, though there is a bit too much sonic separation between singer and musicians (the set was produced by Ashcroft and longtime mate Chris Potter, who's worked with the Rolling Stones). "Break the Night with Colour" is full of strings, a concert grand piano, some synths (including treated backing chorus), and a patch of guitars to make it a beautifully layered soft rock tune. Nothing "indie" or alternative here, folks, except perhaps his disconsolate lyrics. It's a fine comeback single, but either of the aforementioned tracks would have fared better to lure punters to the album. Other standouts on this well, if leisurely paced, slab include "Words Just Get in the Way," with a set of lyrics that are near narrative (read: not mind-bogglingly nonsensical) for a change. It's a sleepy folk-rock tune with its lonely piano and vocal intro before the muted guitars enter. The strings come in on that second verse and one could close their eyes and picture hearing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as a bona fide rock song, or early-'70s Neil Diamond being a Brit. The programming blitz on the title track breaks the interior mood a bit and rocks it up. But the sampling is rather dreadful and boring. The rest of the disc simply follows a formula, though it's a pleasant one. Ashcroft introduces everything else here with skeletally placed guitars, pours on the strings, and keeps the tempo on slow, slower, and slowest until the final track, "World Keeps Turning," which is slick, mid-tempo pop/rock. There's nothing wrong with that; it's just a curious way to send a record off. It's got a fine hook, a cool guitar part in the mix, and Ashcroft's vocal is back to being the British Bobby Dylan. What was learned from Keys to the World is that after nearly four years, Ashcroft, despite his own proclamations to greatness, is at the place where he delivers almost entirely what you'd expect -- even if its execution is more attractive. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Parlophone

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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Parlophone

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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Parlophone

Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Parlophone

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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Parlophone

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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Parlophone