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Music Reviews: Saturna, Double Eclipse, Yes, Diamond Head, and Nils Lofgren

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The onslaught is upon me and I have to say it's great fun to be needed. This week we have a mixed bag of stuff with varying styles and degrees of success. Anyway enough jabbering let me "get on with it."

CD Reviews

Saturna: All Night

This is an EP of indie space rock from Seattle that occasionally has touches of Foreigner's riffs, Joy Division posturing, and even hints of Pink Floyd. This five track CD (the sixth is a radio edit of "Just for Thrills") contains some fairly mellow and laid-back trippy stuff that would be perfect when one is off your head after heavy night of partying and needs to mellow out. Now, not exactly heavy or even that original, it does have qualities that require repeated listens and appreciations. Then again Seattle and Manchester have a lot in common.

Double Eclipse: Eloquent Face Down

It seems at the moment that some bands in the UK are all nostalgic for grunge. Alas, this band has a few dabbles with grunge ("Save Me" for example is dreary in extremis… ditto "Learn") and its light alternative. However, there are a few rather good tracks on here that rise above the dross. "Sorry Wasn't Enough" drifts towards a pleasant form of AOR. It's quite a good song which has lighter in the air qualities about it. It's the track which features the best singing so why was it left as the tail-end track?

The band which comprises of the brothers' Hackney does possess talent (that is quite obvious) but it really needs to be a bit more focused. The guitar intro on "Don't Be So Low" is quite fun as well. This is certainly a curate's egg of a CD. Double Eclipse show a great amount of promise and are worth keeping an eye on.

Yes: Essentially

You got five albums that didn't sell too well when released and are now floundering. What do you do to give a kick up the sales arse? Well, if you are Yes you slap 'em into a box set and have Classic Rock writer Dave Ling do a nice write-up for you. This set is quite impressive looking and the sleeves for each CD are rather nice as well. The live album included "Live in Montreux" is not really one of their best, but that aside if you don’t have these albums, this a good way of completing your Yes collection.

As with many of Yes' albums, each one of the four studio CDs has some good tracks on it. For instance the title track to The Ladder was used in the game Homeworld and is rather good. The title track to Talk is quite good as well. The fact there is only one bonus track in the whole collection might irk some, it has to be said.

So if you don't have the albums in this set and you like your Yes, then it has worth. If you have more than say three it probably ain't worth it and this is really not the best place to start your Yes education if you are unaware of their talent.

DVD Reviews

Diamond Head: To The Devil His Due

Diamond Head, beloved by Lars Ulrich and beevies of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal fans, have had a rather patchy past with lame decisions and missed chances. That is not to say the band is without talent and their influence on metal should not be underestimated, whether it be the oft-covered "Am I Evil" to constant Headisms that show up in the music of Metallica, Megadeth, and oodles of others.

This is a live recording of the band's triumphant live gig at the Astoria in London in 2005. It is not the original line-up as their former lead-singer, Sean Harris, decided to sit things out. Nick Tart amply fills in and delivers the power with a dash of pomp needed by the tunes. As you would expect this is mostly a greatest hits show with "Am I Evil" and "It's Electric" taking prominence.

It's a pleasant enough CD that satisfies you DH hole. Still watching this you have wish there was footage of the band at their '80s peak.

Nils Lofgren And Friends: Live Acoustic

Nils Lofgren is quite a legend, it has to be said. And the amount of friends who show up to play this rather long gig is quite impressive. It includes one of my favourite musicians Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (guitarist, former Doobie, and defense analyst of Department of Defense).

You will probably know more of the man's work with Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, but his solo stuff is pretty impressive as well. The DVD is stunning both in audio and video with a five camera recording. If the main set is not long enough for you there are an extra cadre of tracks (six) including a Patti Smith "Because the Night", tune sung by the impressively voiced Mary Ann Redmond.

This is impressive no matter how you slice it. Mellow acoustic guitar performance with some awesome musicians in the company of the impressive Nils. An absolute must for fans as you might imagine and probably a damn good intro to anyone wishing to get into the man's solo work. And guitarists will delight in this DVD as well. One of the best gig DVDs I have had the pleasure of seeing… pure class.

And finally I have a bit of news that might surprise you, my readers. It seems Katie 'Jordan' Holmes and her hubby Peter 'Mysterious Girl' Andre have produced a CD that some are proclaiming to have healing powers and one of the greatest CDs ever recorded. I would recommend you head over and have a gander at some of the reviews for their new CD. It so impressive I almost forgot to tell this bit of news.

With that bit of info I end this column. As I was writing this, the post brought me three more CDs to add to the pile. As always stay safe, stay rocking, and check out live music where ever you might be.

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