Music Review: If You Wait, London Grammar

londongrammar__albumpackshot-lo

If I’m thankful for anything listening to this debut album, it’s being introduced to Hannah Reid, a vocalist almost beyond compare, whose soaring vocals are undeniable. However, what the band gains in this department lacks in the all important lyric quality. The words are rather pedestrian, which decreases the impact of most of the songs If You Wait has to offer. Some moments of brilliance (Sights, Strong, Nightcall) offer some relief, but I can’t help feeling disappointed by the overall piece. Wasting My Young Years easily sits shoulders above the rest, while If You Wait eventually delivers thanks to Reid’s heavenly singing prowess. Some great individual songs, but otherwise a little mediocre.

Rating: 3/5

Download: Wasting My Young Years

Game Review: Lego Harry Potter 1-4

-1931913578

My first foray into Lego gaming was a delight, to say the least. A fun and engaging adventure awaits the player as Harry and his friends navigate the terrific but sometimes scary world of wizardry. Gameplay is easy (except for certain parts where you have to perform spells on a specific angle), the graphics bright and colourful, and Hogwarts realised in Lego will give you a genuine thrill. Recommended for kids 12+ (some sections are tricky and rely on the player’s knowledge of the movies), Lego Harry Potter 1-4 is a delight.

Rating: 4/5

Music Review: Days Are Gone, Haim

HAIM-Days-Are-Gone

What a brilliant foray into pop music from these sisters. Catchy but never cliche, Haim have announced themselves with strong beats, clever lyrics and gorgeous harmonies. Album opener Falling immediately gains your attention, and it is pretty smooth sailing from then, even though two of three tracks fail to engage the listener as the others do. Lead single The Wire greets you with alt-pop aplomb, and is the perfect introduction to this three-piece. Don’t Save Me, If I Could Change Your Mind and title track Days Are Gone also deserve attention. A worthy pop debut.

Rating: 4/5

Download: Falling

Music Review: AM, Arctic Monkeys

Arctic-Monkeys-AM-Album-Cover-Art-Large-Wallpaper

Not since The Kooks’ Inside In/Inside Out have I been so excited by a classic rock and roll record, but the Arctic Monkeys’ fifth studio release impresses on all levels. It starts strongly with Do I Wanna Know?, a retro winner reminiscent of The Kinks, with some of the best lyrics of the record. It is followed by surprises One For The Road and the jaunty Arabella, before taking a slight decline musically. Not that the middle tracks are poor, per se, they just don’t have the impact the first five songs do. Thankfully, the last few tracks rise to the standard set by the opening, with sexy number Knee Socks leading into the stunning I Wanna Be Yours, arguably the best song on the record. Punchy and bright, AM is a must for 60s rock and roll fans.

Rating: 4/5

Download: Do I Wanna Know?, I Wanna Be Yours

Caught in The Middle

images

As far as comedies today are concerned, The Middle has to be one of my favourites. Not only is it funny, it is genuinely fun for the whole family, something Jerry Seinfeld once claimed was impossible. The acting is terrific, particularly with the young cast (who hold their own opposite power-houses like Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn), and a rather relevant social issue is addressed – youngest son Brick clearly suffers from some for of anxiety. What Brick battles with humour and heart is typical of a significant percentage of children in America, and it is humbling to watch and understand his plight. I hope everyone who watches this show has learnt something from this family’s efforts, and that Brick’s somewhat funny tics lead to a more serious discussion about mental health.

Nails on a chalkboard

Back in 2000, a 14-year-old girl went to school with all her nails painted one colour, except for one finger, which was painted a different colour. She got teased and called ‘weird’. Fast forward 13 years, and every second fashion victim is copying that girl.

That girl was me. Miffed, to say the least.