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The University of Southampton’s Finest Entertainment Publication

Issue 7

11th March 2010


EDITORIAL WHAT’S GOING ON IN THIS ISSUE OF THE EDGE

INSIDE.. Records

- Alphabeat - Ellie Goulding - Marina And The Diamonds + More!

Live

- Jamie T - NME Tour + More!

Film

- Princess And The Frog - Oscars Special + More!

Features

- Abbey Road - Chuck Ragan + More!

Games

Marina and the Diamonds shows off her Family Jewels

THE EDGE PLAYLIST What’s Been Playing On The Edge Radio Show..

- Bioshock 2

The Edge Team.. Editors - Tom Shepherd & Emmeline Curtis Features Editor - Dan Morgan Records Editor - Kate Golding Live Editor - Hayley Taulbut Film Editor - Stephen O’Shea Games Editor - Joe Dart Editor-In-Chief - Jamie Ings

Sub-editors - Will Hayes

Edge Radio Playlist (Surge) - Saturday 1pm - 2pm

1. Uffie - MC’s Can Kiss 2. Futures - Boy Who Cried Wolf 3. Tinie Tempah - Pass Out 4. Fun. - Be Calm 5. Hot Chip - One Life Stand 6. Los Campersinos! - The Sea Is A... 7. ExLovers - You Forget So Easily 8. We Are The Ocean - Look Alive

We are constantly on the look out for new writers that want to get Want To Get Involved? involved with The Edge. For more info email; theedge@soton.ac.uk


ENTERTAINMENT

True Blood

Television With A Little More Bite..

Sky TV is a good thing. If you don’t mind giving Mr. Murdoch £20 of your student loan each month, you get to watch enough Brit Cops, Top Gear and Dog the Bounty Hunter to raise your testosterone levels to dizzy new highs, and then restore balance by a few minutes of Sex and the City or GodTV if you feel you need saving. However, the real benefit of satellite TV is the availability of some of the best TV to come over the Atlantic in years, in the form of True Blood on FX. For those of us who watched the first series on Channel 4, True Blood proved to be a brutal, bloody, gothic black-comedy that showed that tired formats like 24, Lost, Prison Break and Heroes now have serious competition. Season 2 of True Blood started this week (a couple of weeks back by the time you read this), and I can tell you that this latest installment is even darker, sexier and more ecstatically entertaining than the previous series.

To set the scene, True Blood (which is based on novels by Charlaine Harris) is set in the Deep South of America, in the fictional Louisiana town of Bon Temps. After centuries of denying their own existence, vampires have started to openly integrate into society after the invention of a synthetic blood that renders drinking actual gore unnecessary. Unsurprisingly this transition is not without its challenges, and as the citizens of Bon Temps try to get their heads around living with bloodsuckers it soon becomes apparent that vampires are not the only supernatural problems they have to worry about. The narrative follows Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress desperate to keep her gift secret, and her relationship with Bill Compton, a 173-year old vampire. The cast brings together some of the best talent in television, lead by New Zealander Anna Paquin and Brit Stephen Moyer. Alexander Skasgărd, a lead role in the excellent

mini-series Generation Kill, plays Eric Northman and is one of the highlights of the show, and Michelle Forbes, another renowned TV actress, is powerfully malevolent as the mysterious Maryanne.

“This installment is even darker, sexier and more ecstatically entertaining than the previous series.” The potential for this programme is almost impossibly huge; even the opening sequence, a gothic tableau of death, decay and human degradation set to Jace Everett’s gritty single ‘Bad Things’, has been nominat-

ed for an Emmy. Combining exactly the right proportions of humour, action, superb acting and pleasingly steamy sex, True Blood also manages to be genuinely thought-provoking. The obvious parallels between the immediate aftermath of the Civil Rights movement aside, ideas of religion, human weakness and alienation are constantly being explored by the exceptional script. One of the main characters, Sookie’s brother Jason, is arguably the most interesting of the lot, as he battles with his own ignorance and assumptions searching for something concrete. If, like me, you are so exhausted by the mire of Lost’s incomprehensible storyline and the complete detachment from reality shown by 24, not to mention the increasingly useless scripts in Heroes, True Blood is the show for you. Let’s just hope that any following installments live up to the precedent set by the first two series. Having said that, if the characters continue to rip each other’s clothes off and throats out as much as they do at the moment, I won’t need much further incentive to watch this exceptional programme. Dan Morgan


FEATURE JAZMIN SHERMAN FUTURE OF FAMOUS STUDIO IN JEOPARDY sees the light...

SAVING ABBEY RD. Abbey Road Studios have featured prominently in the news over the past weeks, after it was reported that the record label who own the studios, EMI, would be selling the legendary building to settle their debts. The announcement of this shocked music fans throughout the world, and led to public outcry and campaigning to protect what is widely acknowledged as the most important and well-known recording studio in the world. On 17 February 2010, reports emerged that EMI were considering selling the studios to private investors, a step that would likely lead to the building’s demolition and subsequent building of flats or offices. Fuelled by public concern, prominent figures such as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Paul McCartney, as well as the National Trust, were seen to be considering either buying the studios or intervening in some way. Within a few days, English Heritage had recommended to the government that Abbey Road be listed as a Grade-II building, a move which would not completely prevent the site from being demolished, but would make it much more difficult for developers to make any changes in the future. Music fans were relieved when on 21 February, EMI announced that they were not going to sell the studios, only to bring in investors to ensure its survival. To someone unaware of the studio’s history, it raises the question: what is all the fuss about? Surely Abbey Road is just like any other studio, with the big names in music going through its doors every day? This may be so, but no other studio can boast a history that comes anywhere near that of Abbey Road’s. Not only has Abbey Road hosted a wide range of top-class musicians, but for what was definitely the best decade of music, it was home to The Beatles; one of the greatest bands who we have ever had the pleas-

Editor Suggests: Take Me Home, Country Roads John Denver

‘Country Roads’ is arguably the most well known country song ever recorded. The distinctive plucked intro is instantly recognisable, and immediately transports the listnener to the ‘almost heaven’ that Denver describes. Initially drafted by Denver’s co-writers Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert, the song received a 5 minute standing ovation when it was first performed in Washington DC. This song captures a great deal of what Country is loved for: love, the simple life and the land. Twanging acoustic guitsrs, walking bass and Denver’s overwhelmingly gentle voice complement each other perfectly in this iconic song.

ure of hearing, and ever will. They recorded almost all of their albums and singles there, between 1962 and 1970, developing new studio practises such as playing recordings backwards over a song (‘I’m Only Sleeping’), bringing the sitar into the world of pop music (‘Within You Without You’), or intentionally recording guitar feedback in a song (‘I Feel Fine’), to name but a few. Even to someone who isn’t a fan of their music, the unprecedented level of success that they achieved cannot be ignored. From 1963 to 1966, Beatlemania took hold of the world, with people everywhere obsessing over the four boys from Liverpool, pushing their record sales to previously unknown levels and filling the charts with multiple Beatles songs every week. On top of being the biggest act in the world in these years, they managed to write, record and release an album almost every six months between 1963 and 1970, which went straight to the top of the charts every time, refusing to move. Without a doubt, they were the decade’s biggest product and still remain huge over 40 years later.

“Behind its doors was where this historical band was developed.” Abbey Road was the home of The Beatles for eight years, and is the most important place in the world in terms of the band’s recordings. From 1962 to 1970, far too much happened in its rooms for it now to be demolished and forgotten. Behind its doors was where this historical band was developed, where it performed its magic, and

Wildwood Flower The Carter Family

“No other studio can boast a history that comes anywhere near Abbey Road’s.” where this was captured on record; it must remain standing. Moving away from The Beatles, in more general terms the studio is so important as it provides a snapshot of the history of popular music over the last 60 years. Shortly after its creation, Abbey Road hosted the sweet, up-beat sounds of big band jazz in the 1940s, as one of the last greats of the genre, Glenn Miller, recorded his last pieces there. As rock ‘n’ roll became the next big thing in the 1950s, Abbey Road welcomed in Cliff Richard, with both his backing bands, The Drifters and The Shadows. Again, history was being made as England was producing its first native rock ‘n’ roll artist, an American export up until then. On into the 1960s and the studio helped produce the growing number of British rock/pop groups, such as The Zombies, and the now Cliff Richard-free Shadows. Towards the end of the decade, Abbey Road helped bring the idea of concept albums into the popular mind, first with The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, and then other such concept albums as The Pretty Thing’s S.F. Sorrow Is Born in 1968. This continued into the 1970s as Abbey Road hosted another legendary band, Pink Floyd, recording what is without a doubt the most famous concept album: 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon. The studio kept up with the annoying pop sounds so characteristic of the 1980s with their recording of Duran Duran in 1986, but later redeemed themselves with their capture of Britpop at its best, with the recording of Oasis in the 1990s. However deep your interest in The Beatles is, or however much you like the greats listed above, you cannot deny that Abbey Road has taken such an important role in the production of popular music over the past 60 years. It stands today as a reminder of what is possible when a musician or group assemble together and perform the ancient art of music. This is what all the fuss is about. This is why Abbey Road must stay alive and continue to record the music of generations of talented musicians. Will Hayes This song is hardly known outside the Midwest, but it has been credited by critics as being one of the key moments in the popularisation of country music. Woody Guthrie, the inspiration behind much of Bob Dylan’s work, was the first well-known musician to record the track, but it’s best rendition was recorded by the Carter Family (including June Carter, future wife of Johnny Cash) in 1928. The Carter Family’s original recording of this song is truly exceptional, similar in its simple power to Dylan’s early work. This is music in its rawest, most emotiveform.


FEATURE

A CLASSICAL MUSIC REVELATION JAZMIN SHERMAN sees the light... Never before have I heard four strings make as much sound as I did Friday night. I entered the Barbarian Hall and instantly felt inferior; the hall was simply magnificent, and far bigger than I had imagined. Placed on the beautiful wood stage was only a grand black piano, its stool, and a chair. I sat no further than 15 feet away from the stage and anxiously waited for cellist Yo Yo Ma and pianist Emmanuel Ax to emerge from backstage and begin the recital. I knew I was out of my depth and far away from my comfort zone but my curiosity kept me calm. Having never seen a classical performance before, I had no comprehension of what was about to ensue, however, I knew it would be

great. The sound of clapping echoed in the hall as the two men, dressed in suits, walked on stage, said nothing, and sat down. They were not there to chat; they were there to perform. Once the hall became silent, the music began. It was passionate and incredibly full. No longer was the hall bare, it was now crammed with the sounds of a piano and a cello. Emmanuel Ax’s emotions overflowed onto the piano and were expressed so artfully by his fingers. It seemed that no matter how intense the sound became, he still possessed incredible grace. The cello had previously been a mystery to me, an instrument that was so attainable to play and difficult to grasp, yet Yo Yo Ma’s performance subsequently made it sound,

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even masked in its complexity, simple. I sat there mesmerized, breathing in every note so tenderly and joyfully. Each movement flowed elegantly into the next. It was stunning and I was transfixed. Yo Yo Ma and Emmanuel Ax put a hold on anything that had happened before, and prevented any thoughts about ‘after’. You could not escape a single moment whilst they played. How was it possible for only two instruments to make more noise than an orchestra? How was it possible that the hall, so large, seemed unfit to contain the beautiful sounds of the piano and the cello? I was baffled. When I closed my eyes, I was somewhere far away and as the movements progressed, my consciousness slipped away. The sounds pro-

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duced by Ax and Ma and their respective instruments transported everyone in the hall to somewhere better, somewhere so peaceful, so clear, and full of nothing but sound. The music created that night was overwhelming for the mind, ears and soul alike. It was enthralling and gripped me ever so tightly. The sheer talent of Emmanuel Ax and Yo Yo Ma was so powerful it was utterly incomprehensible. The music was moving and as each musician hit a note, it would hit the audience too. Their sound was captivating and thrilling - two words I would have never associated with classical music previously. However, now I simply cannot think of two better words to describe it. Jazmin Sherman


INTERVIEW CHUCK RAGAN CHATS TO THE EDGE

CHUCK RAGAN

to it? No question. Frank’s a great fella and I really enjoy working with him and am honored that he asked me to come over. I’ve been playing with him here in the States but am anxious to make our way there to his stomping grounds! How do shows in the UK differ from those in America for you? Not too much different really. That’s one thing that I feel very lucky and blessed for. Our fans. I feel like the folks that support our shows are absolutely amazing and there’s something similar and family-like about them no matter where we are. Is your preparation any different? It’s only a bit more extensive when heading overseas, as far as the prep for the tour goes. Gold Country has a particularly ‘American’ sound to it, does it surprise you how well received it was over here in the UK? I’m surprised when it’s received well anywhere! Are there any UK acts that you’ve got your eye on at the moment? There’s always something for sure. Leatherface, Blocko, The Magnificent, Solutions, Crazy Arm...

Hey Chuck, how are you? Fine thanks! Where in the world are you right now? At the moment we’re home. We just did a short Canadian run recently and since have been home recouping, writing and working on our home. Gold Country has been out for a while now, were you pleased with the reception? Absolutely. I was pleased with how it ended up and the whole session in general in the first place, but the fact that we’ve received such a supportive response has really been something else and just more fuel on the fire. Is there any word of a follow up in the pipeline? I’m always writing. Sometimes a little, sometimes non-stop, but there’s usually al-

ways something I’m working to lay down. Right now I’ve been writing some songs for a record that Brian Fallon from Gaslight Anthem and I are working on. I’m quite excited about that one! Brian Fallon? Is that for Chuck Ragan projects or Gaslight Anthem? We’ve been writing since October. We plan on recording a record together of simple songs and just plain have some fun and see where it takes us. I love what we’ve been writing and am really looking forward to working with him. Do you find it hard looking for new inspiration this far into your music career? Not at all my friend. Inspiration isn’t something that I feel like I have to look for at least not yet! It’s more so everywhere and in everything. Just the drive and influence I find within my friends and the artists that I’m able to travel and play with is enough to keep me on fire for years. The only problem I see is not having, or should I say making enough

time to accept it all. That as well as my limited vocabulary to tell it all! What influences you when writing? In all honesty, just about anything that moves me in a positive or negative way. If it does so, most likely it’s worth writing or telling a story about it. As far as when, from the moment I wake to the moment it’s time to rest and slip away. Your sound seems to be a very organic and natural one, what is your writing process like? Simple. Most of the time it just starts with a simple melody. That or a few words or a phrase that I’m not able to shake. Who else would you like to work with musically? Leadbelly! You’re coming over to the UK soon to tour with Frank Turner, looking forward

A Chuck Ragan interview rarely goes by without a Hot Water Music question being asked.. and this one’s no different! Well, perhaps slightly...and that’s with the announcement of UK HWM shows just announced, should fans of your solo stuff be concerned about it being put on the back burner? Not much is on the back burner these days! I believe we’re all cooking full force right now and there’s not much intention to slow down at the moment. HWM won’t be full time like it was years back but we will do our best to get out there as much as we’re able. Finally, what does the rest of the year hold for you? Just more of the same really! Livin, lovin, writing, cooking, working and hopefully fishing! Seriously though we’re aiming to do some more runs for Gold Country as well as keeping The Revival Tour running in the states as well as overseas. Tom Shepherd


RECORDS NEW AND UPCOMING MUSIC RELEASES

Los Campesinos! It’s a great thing to discover an exciting new band; it’s even better when you get to see them growing up alongside you. Such is the case for Los Campesinos!, one of the brightest bands to come out of the British indie scene in recent years. Brightest not just in terms of potential, coming to fulfilment here on their third album; but also in terms of sheer intelligence. Los Campesinos! cram more ideas, both lyrical and musical, into one song than some bands manage on a whole album. Romance Is Boring is no different; like their previous two albums, it is filled with verbose, self-conscious lyrics, backed up by their own, original brand of noisy pop music. In that sense then, Los Campesinos! remain a kind of musical Marmite; for those who thought that the buzz generated around their previous work was a lot of fuss about nothing, just praise for another indie band playing wordy, snotty, self-referential music, Romance Is Boring is unlikely to bring about a Damascene conversion. Indeed, there is obvious continuity in evidence on Romance Is Boring. The lyrical ob-

session with sex, relationships (which often end badly) and drinking all remain; from the very first track, ‘In Media Res’, Gareth starts singing about the two v’s, Vodka and Vomit. ‘Straight In At 101’, one of the album’s standout tracks, displays the group’s trademark quick wit, with the wonderfully rendered lyric: “I think we need more post-coital, and less post-rock/ Feels like the build-up takes forever, but you never get me off”. Spiky, urgent guitars contribute to an evocative portrayal of omnipresent sexual tension. Elsewhere, a massive chorus, led by synthesizers and a chanted chorus, powers the title track and second single; the album is full of shout-outloud moments, destined to become fan favourites on forthcoming tours. Los Campesinos! have always had a great understanding of what translates to the live setting, with this record being no exception. However, no band wants to stand still, and Romance Is Boring displays evidence of real progress from the group. Musically, they seem to have recognised their strengths; in particular, the vocal duets between Gareth

Wichita Recordings February 10

and Aleksandra soar, especially on ‘A Heat Rash In The Shape of the Show Me State’, the melody of the horn-led chorus contrasting effectively with the angular enunciation of the verse. The intro to ‘I Just Sighed. I Just Sighed, Just So You Know’ recalls The Dillinger Escape Plan playing with a string section, but manages to retain control of the apparent dichotomy of styles, harnessing the spastic energy to great effect. That is not to say that everything works; ‘Plan A’ falls flat under its own noise, overwhelming the song. Lyrically, the bitterness and self-deprecation of previous outings is still in evidence, but with a more mature flavour. The undoubted highlight of the album is ‘The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future’, a poignant plea to an anorexic, depressed friend. The band builds a mournful atmosphere with E-Bow-ed guitar, while spo-

ken lyrics mix with impassioned yelps. Both lyrically and musically, the song is beautifully evocative, displaying a willingness to look beyond the self-conscious approach of old, reach outside of themselves, and, ultimately, grow up. Los Campesinos! are still an enormously exciting band, and Romance Is Boring merely serves as confirmation of their talent. Here’s to growing up with them. Duncan Smith

tracks that the dark hearted lyrical imagery that really gave the band traction in their early days comes through well, really well. The band doesn’t wholly abandon their recent mainstream deviation though, and complements the album’s pangs of nostalgia with some more upbeat and instrumentally impressive tracks such as ‘Draculina’, ‘Dead On The Floor’ and ‘Eating Me Alive’. While well polished and easy listens, their embrace of the overproduced synth which singer and guitarist Matt Skiba has fallen so in love with contrasts unfavourably with the old sound rekindled in this album – something the band must have noticed or they wouldn’t have returned to those roots. It’s not all nostalgia and slick production though, with the album having its fair share of non events. Second track ‘Dine, Dine My Darling’ offers up some of the most generic lyrics you could care to imagine, while ‘Lead Poisoning’ takes a good thing and repeats

it ad nauseam. These may be the two main culprits but there is a lack of consistency throughout the album leaving you feeling a little underwhelmed at times and letting the album down. Not perfect by any means and by gunning for nostalgia it invites comparisons against the band’s heyday, a battle where despite these improvements this album loses hands down. It’s a solid revisit to the old days peppered with some of the better offerings the band has chucked up recently, but let down with some boring tracks. A worthy listen, commendable for its return to the older styles and very much appreciated in a six hour queue. Gareth Lees Good: Alkaline Trio regress back to the old days. Bad: Still can’t live up to earlier albums.

Good: Los Campesinos! continue to excite and deliver what we have come to expect and love. Bad: Very few complaints on this one, bring on the next one!

8.

Alkaline Trio

This Addiction Epitaph Records February 23 This Addiction is an album made by a band that has had a shot at the bright lights of the mainstream, not quite hit their target and come back home. Alkaline Trio’s seventh full album introduces several strong cases of nostalgia as the band seek to recapture the earthy, simpler sounds of their earlier albums. You might think any music would be a

Romance Is Boring

blessed relief when sitting in the queue for Grad Ball tickets, but the sound of a band going back to their roots is always especially welcome. Even if the execution is a little off the intention is there and that goes a long way. The bouts of nostalgia come through best in headline track, ‘This Addiction’, fantastic return to form ‘American Scream’ and midway track ‘Off The Map’. It’s in these

7.


ALBUMS good for Ellie, who is on a ‘gap year’ from Kent University to enable her to focus on her music career, and she’s certainly not intimidated by the big guns, she contacted Frankmusik through MySpace to help develop her sound. The album is stunning. Ellie’s voice is relaxing yet intriguing, eerie yet warming. Opening with ‘Guns And Horses’, Lights immediately introduces the listener to what Ellie Goulding is all about - intricate lyrics and a light underpowering musical ensemble behind - sort of electroacoustic. It’s easy listening yet still has that danceability factor. Following the opening track comes ‘Starry Eyed’ which has been sitting on top of the play count in my iTunes for some time now - quite the feat. This song is simply fantastic and has been the subject of many a dance remix already. However, this is far from being a stand out track because the rest of the album lives up to this high standard. Moving through the album, it is difficult not to mention ‘This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)’ which presents Ellie as philosophical beyond her years with her inventive songwriting skills. Goulding presents a mature and engaging sound. Next up is the song which has brought Ellie her good fortune. ‘Under The Sheets’, the debut single, gained heavy airplay on Radio 1 since its release in mid-November and has proved to be her making. Another song which cannot be left unmentioned is ‘The Writer’ which is a dazzling song, encompassing emotional vulnerability and the search for identity beautifully, and is clearly the writing of a young expressive woman, and a talented one at that.

“Ellie’s voice is relaxing yet intriguing, eerie yet warming.”

Ellie Goulding Lights Polydor March 1

Ellie Goulding is the new kid on the block. She has already won critical acclaim by winning the 2010 Critics’ Choice Award and has been tipped by Radio 1 to be this year’s next big act, winning the BBC Sound of 2010 award. So it would seem things were looking

Next up are ‘Wish I Stayed’, ‘Your Biggest Mistake’ and ‘I’ll Hold My Breath’ which again are all lyrically and musically strong - something which is rare to find in today’s mundane and samey music scene. This ability to write and produce such uniqueness with such quality is probably the reason for the buzz surrounding Ellie Goulding at the moment and behind her success in bursting onto the scene. ‘Salt Skin’ is the final track on the album and one which really finishes Lights well and shows off Ellie’s distinctive voice to its full potential. Overall, Lights is stunning. It is faultless. The album is consistently of a high standard with no obvious weaknesses to highlight. With beautiful, intelligent lyrics and a sound which feels entirely unique and genuine, Ellie Goulding has certainly left me wanting more. Kate Golding Good: Entirely faultless, full marks to Ellie Goulding. Bad: If anything the album is too short!

10.


ALBUMS Alphabeat

The Beat Is... Polydor March 6

Who could forget Alphabeat’s debut album, with its extremely naff and cheesy songs? They were performed with such happiness and enthusiasm the music industry found it too difficult to hold back and resist them. You will probably remember them dominating the radio with songs such as ‘Fascination’ and ‘10,000 Nights’. Their follow up album The Beat Is... sees Alphabeat move away from the pop routes of their last album, in favor of popular dance acts of the 1990s. Of course, it is not uncommon to use the sounds of the past, but was it really necessary to resurrect the annoying sounds which you would probably find on a Now That’s What I Call 1993 singles compilation? This shift in style has replaced the fun and happiness we would expect from Alphabeat, with new songs over-shadowed and swamped by a never ending synth/piano riff. New songs ‘The Spell’ and ‘Hole in My Heart’ are good examples of that 90s dance from yesteryear. Out of all the new Ibiza sounding songs, ‘Heart Failure’ is probably the closest example of the euro-nonsense we loved in Alphabeat. What makes it worse is it seems Alphabeat were at points struggling with their new style - especially with the second half of the album. This is proven regularly through really poor song lyrics. The song named ‘Chess’ is the best example which sees the band repeatedly singing: “I can’t do this anymore, come on baby lets quit playing chess”. Some might say that the new album shows that Alphabeat have matured, grown up, and have occupied a sector of the electro genre that not many artists are combating at the moment. They have successfully

TRACKS TO DOWNLOAD; Heart Failure, Spell

The

brought us back to the glory days of Ministry of Sound…but do we actually want this? In my opinion the move away from the up-beat cheesy pop to the tacky 90s dance was completely unnecessary. Despite the disappointment with their new sound, the album is surprisingly a ‘grower’the more you listen the catchier the beats

“What makes it worse is it seems Alphabeat were at points struggling with their new style.” become. Throughout the album, (despite their new style) you can still feel their overthe-top enthusiasm which many of us had come to love. Because of this I can see The Beat Is... gaining commercial and radio-play success, but for anyone hoping for another ‘Fascination’ or ‘Boyfriend’ the album will leave you feeling utterly disappointed. Ed Kennedy Good: If you’re into the 90s dance scene this album is for you. Bad: Alphabeat fail to move their original sound forward and struggle with their new one.

6.

Marina & The Diamonds The Family Jewels 679 Recordings February 22

2010 is already looking to be another year for the girls in pop music. But you won’t find any less ladylike than Marina And The Diamonds. Sure, she may have the image of a commercial pop goddess and the wardrobe to match, but beating underneath all that is the heart of an alienated brute. The anti-pop heroine’s debut album, The Family Jewels, is an eclectic mix of anti-societal ranting, introspective piano ballads and bouncy school disco anthems; sometimes all in the same song. It’s an odd formula that shouldn’t really work, but does for the most part. Noteworthy tracks include previous singles, ‘I Am Not A Robot’ and ‘Mowgli’s Road’, both offering up non-linear pop melodies in a dazzlingly abstract fashion. Meanwhile ‘Obsessions’ steals the show for its hauntingly

elegant portrayal of a modern day psychosis. Unfortunately the album fails to remain this potent. Several songs appear to be rushed and underdeveloped. Interesting ideas fall flat on their face due to careless execution. At points it’s hard to believe that it’s the same Marina throughout, the tracks are that disparate. This isn’t exactly helped by some rather sloppy wordplay on choice lyrics: “You stick to your yoghurt, I’ll stick to my apple pie.” Yuck. Despite these setbacks Marina Diamindis (and you thought it was just a stage name) should still be considered a rare talent. Her unique falsetto vocal style and upfront nature towards her own music is particularly refreshing in amongst her modern day contemporaries. As for The Family Jewels, you’ll find that the rough is very much overlooked by the smooth; the good tracks more

Want More? Course You Do!

than making up for the not so good tracks. A wittier reviewer might take this opportunity to make a ‘diamonds in the rough’ type conclusion, unfortunately they’ll be nothing of the sort here. An exciting debut from Marina, but with plenty of room to grow. Oh go on then... let’s just hope that diamonds are indeed forever. Tom Shepherd Good: Marina shows potential for the future. One to watch. Bad: An inconsistant album means some disappointing songs.

7.

TRACKS TO DOWNLOAD; Obsessions, Mowgli’s Road, Are You Satisfied?

Well, good news! There are even more record reviews available at; www.wessexscene.co.uk/the-edge


SINGLES

The first rule of Bombay Bicycle Club is you don’t talk about Bombay Bicycle Club

The Maccabees. Empty Vessels. Fiction Records.

8.

Faithless. That was the first band I thought of once ‘Empty Vessels’ began. I knew I had heard something similar to this before. The lads from South London haven’t mimicked Faithless’ sound, but they’ve got the prophetic, foreboding characteristics and tone that Faithless are well known for. The track ‘We Come One’ springs to mind. Don’t get me wrong though, this track is much more than a rip off of something already established. The track starts slowly and you feel you’re forced to concentrate on the lyrics. They are foreboding and threatening. You’re supposed to pay attention. The tempo picks up, and suddenly you’re drawn into listening to the instruments. The lyrics and instruments finally complement each other. The instrumental near the end of the track is fantastic, with a great guitar solo. The one downside to the track is that it lacks a catchy chorus. There’s some repetition, but this isn’t a song you’ll be singing to yourself. The lyrics are effective but ‘Empty Vessels’ won’t be on a party playlist. Other indie tracks have got that covered. However, The Maccabees aren’t about conforming like that. Enjoy this song. You should. Just make sure other people hear it before you start preaching how good it is. James Ash

Bombay Bicycle Club. Evening/Morning. Young And Lost Club.

6.

A band on a fairly rapid rise at the moment, Bombay Bicycle Club should be releasing music of a high calibre on a fairly consistent basis. Their début album I Had The Blues... is out and they’re currently performing around Europe, so arguably they’re doing well for themselves; unfortunately their single ‘Evening/Morning’ does not seem to capture this success. ‘Evening/Morning’ is rather devoid of the artistic brilliance of some of their earlier tracks. It has its charms, as do all Bombay Bicycle Club tracks, with the distinct warble of front-man Jack Steadman, and an ensemble of relaxed melodic riffs that change pace and rhythm throughout the song. However it is a rather distinctly average effort in terms of a released single. It’s simple, but unfortunately rather ineffective in its simplicity, with repetition in terms of both the music and lyrics that really just serves to make it uninteresting. Still, it’s not a song that by itself would be called ‘bad’ by any means. Musically it’s tight and it definitely grows on you with a few listens, but it doesn’t have the necessary pull of a single to get listeners hooked. James Miller

Deaf Havana. Nicotine And Alcohol Saved My Life. Wolf At Your Door.

6.

Deaf Havana are a five piece ‘post-hardcore’ band from Norfolk who have been making waves in the music underworld. Constant touring and some early releases saw them develop a strong fanbase in the UK music scene. Their debut full length effort was released last October and was warmly received from the music scene critics. The song opens with some light guitar and the melodic yet gravelly vocals of guitarist Veck-Gilodi, and on first listening it sounds promising. However do not be fooled. Although totally enjoyable, Deaf Havana are just another band trying to get somewhere, but there is no distinct sound which will allow them to go that step further.The song overall is good, with some nice guitar riffs, bolshy screams (Ryan Mellor) and intense drumming contrasted with little breakdowns and a reintroduction of the talents of Veck-Giolodi. Overall this song is pretty solid. Hopefully it’ll gain the boys some much deserved attention. The band are clearly full of potential and are obviously talented; producing a record which isn’t just about how loud or heavy they can go, but indeed presents some delicate touches as fundamental to their sound. Kate Golding

Arctic Monkeys. My Propeller. Domino.

8.

The third single from Arctic Monkeys’ new album Humbug is due for release on March 22nd, entitled ‘My Propeller’. The song is a nice evolution of previous Arctic Monkeys’ songs, but it seems to be a bit far from their usual style. The song has a relaxed tempo, and instead of scratchy guitar track layers, the song is very much bass-driven. It sounds pretty awesome on a good sound system as the beat slowly thuds away. This being the third single from the album, there isn’t really a need to hook people in, after all, the record breaking band need no introduction, and as such it’s not really a full-throttle single that’s going to blow you away. That’s not to say that it’s not a very good song in it’s own right. All the components are there and they all work together nicely. Worth particular note are front-man Alex Turner’s vocal efforts. It’s a far-cry from the heavy Sheffield accent of previous releases and is far more melodic, even with the rather macabre style of the song. It’s a great song; nicely melodic and macabre, with great singing and instrumental prowess, well worth downloading (the band don’t release their singles on CD’s any more) if you like the band, and even if you’ve not been a fan of their work before. James Miller


LIVE

THE BEST GIGS DOWN SOUTH

Imogen Heap

02 ACADEMY

BRISTOL THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10th I am going to be a little biased, as I’ve been a bit in love with Imogen Heap for as long as I can remember, and couldn’t believe it when my sister got me a ticket for Christmas to go see her. With a growing fan base and her recent Grammy success, her latest album Eclipse received the best-engineered album award; she is most definitely worth a listen. It’s hard to pin her style to only one genre of music, as she crosses many boundaries, her own unique sense of flair and sound. The O2 Academy in Bristol is a fairly small venue, so it promised to be a really up close and personal gig. We managed to squeeze our way to the front to get all the action. One thing I thought really unusual was that she came on to introduce her two support acts, Back Ted N-Ted and Tim Exile, to say why she liked them and why they were with her. Both were fantastic. Tim Exile was a mash of sound and effects, making a lot of his own equipment, doing some crazy things with a joy-stick and a microphone; whereas Back Ted N-Ted had a more mellow sound, which really got you in the mood for what was in

store. Both had relatively short sets, only three or four songs, but they came on to play with Imogen in her epic one. The whole gig was one massive improvisation, rocking out on her see-through piano, recording the sounds of glass, gongs, bells, throat harps, as well as some weird and wonderful contraptions, some of which were homemade, but Imogen’s favourite by far were her ‘whirlies’, swinging them round her head at any opportunity. There was a real mix of old and new songs, with so much energy and enthusiasm going into everything. She really does have a perfect live voice, and loved every minute of her performance. There was a lot of interaction with the audience, question and answer time as well as talking in between songs, which made it feel really personal. She wanted the crowd to enjoy her performance, and to have as much fun as they were having up on stage. However, the crowd were rather unenthusiastic, which was disappointing, but I’m positive they were enjoying themselves. It was odd to be at a gig and have everybody

around you standing still, not really singing or dancing. Luckily, it didn’t spoil it too much, as what was on stage was energetic enough. The only people that seemed to want to get into it were myself, my sister and the crazy big haired Bristol phenomenon that is Big Jeff. He is everywhere, head-banging to everything, and genuinely having an awesome time. He was fun to dance with. Even if the crowd wasn’t feeling it, there was a real atmosphere in the room. The lights, the unique sounds, the improvisation, the crowd involvement, my favourite song being played, as well as having the opportunity to see such an amazing artist at work, the ingredients for my best gig experience to date. In a word: Epic. Emily Blacker Good: No words she was amazing! Bad: Distinctly unethusiastic crowd.

9.


E M

N

r u o T

LIVE

Y M E AD

16th H C Y T A MOU UAR

02OURNE Y, FEBR B SDA E U T

The Drums, The Big Pink, Bombay Bicycle Club, and The Maccabees

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performance. Although they were evidently suffering from the same sound issues as the preceding act and the show suffered slightly, overall it was a performance that left the audience in complete awe, rounding off their set with the chart-topping single from their debut album, A Brief History of Love. Bombay Bicycle Club Considering the band won the hotly anticipated ‘Road to V’ competition whilst still at school, Bombay Bicycle Club have come an awful long way since GCSE’s and school dinners. They were confident and charismatic, whilst Jack Steadman’s vocals soared over the melodic accompaniment with brilliance and ease – the haunting and woody timbre of his voice resounded around the venue, and was crisp enough to hear every word. However, if I were to have one criticism, it would be the set. Granted, the material they have to work from is relatively limited, only having two EPs and an album to their name, but it seemed to me that they made every attempt possible to elongate the gaps in between tracks, making the set overall somewhat clipped. This being said, they crammed in all the fan favourites, with a personal highlight coming in the form of the gritty ‘Always Like This’ and ‘Dust on the Ground’. The Maccabees Anticipation was high as the London five-piece The Maccabees sauntered onto the stage. Amidst flashing lights and mu-

sic from the apocalypse, their demeanour was somewhat bizarre, far too laid back for the anticipation they had created. In a similar vein, their choice for opening song was also a bit subdued. ‘William Powers’, though a great song, is hardly a way to start the show with a bang, taking nearly two and a half minutes for it to kick in at a suitable pace to even dance to. Thankfully, they kicked the set up a gear with ‘One Hand Holding’. Seeming to have found their feet, they danced around the stage with an enthusiasm that threatened never to appear during the opener. It really got the crowd moving, with the catchy refrain of “kill it” being sung back to them from every audience member. From then on, The Maccabees were fully in forward motion with the pace maintained

The encore, comprising of a cover of Orange Juice’s ‘Rip it Up’, and chart success ‘Love You Better’, was outstanding. The music was energetic, loud, and pitch perfect, and really ended the gig on a high. Overall, it was a fantastic set, and a great night too. As a band, they are really suited to small venues like the Bournemouth O2 Academy – with a capacity of just over 1000, the nuances of the vocals could be communicated to every person in the room, which would be drowned in the void of a larger venue. I would thoroughly recommend going to see The Maccabees. Hayley Taulbut

Good: The Maccabees and The Big Pink stood out. Bad: Mediocre set from BBC, whilst sound issues plagued the set.

throughout the remainder of the set. For me, the real highlight of the set came in the form of ‘Can You Give It’, which appeared about halfway through: upbeat and cheerful, it was perfect for a wet February night. From a personal perspective, the set had got as good as it was ever going to. Or so I thought.

6.


LIVE Hot Chip

O2 ACADEMY

BOURNEMOUTH MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd I’m fed up of February. For the shortest month it seems to drag on forever, and on a particularly cold and miserable evening leaving the house was the last thing I wanted to do, but the promise of hearing Hot Chip live and their fantastic new album One Life Stand was certainly enough to tempt me outside. So how was it? Fantastic, awesome, incredible, flawless, brilliant? Pick any word because they all apply as Hot Chip delivered the best night I’ve had in ages. The most obvious thing I can say is that it was a night of surprises. As a band, Hot Chip are rapidly becoming something of British electropop superstars, but you couldn’t guess from looking at them. I’ve heard they can appear very awkward onstage, and refreshingly they seem to have lost some of this, appearing simply as down to earth. Tey did still look like

they walked on accidentally and would be just as happy at home playing Xbox though. As you’d expect there was the typical mix of teenagers, students and twenty somethings, but there seemed to be just as many older people obviously drawn in by the band’s love of synthesisers. Yet Chip are certainly no 80’s throwback and there’s something very unique and current about them. I suspected Hot Chip would not disappoint but I wasn’t prepared for just how good they would be. Singer Alexis Taylor displayed some really quite amazing vocal talent. Their sound was faultless, effortlessly showing why they are so popular,

and yet they delivered something very different to their albums. Their live sound, with more focus on guitar and drums is much bigger than what they create in the studio, especially on their dance tracks. The material from the new album, which is much slower and more melodic than previous offerings, didn’t disappoint the crowd in the slightest. Title track ‘One Life Stand’ and personal favourite ‘Thieves in The Night’ had the room moving as much as their classic dance floor hit ‘Over and Over’ and 2008’s ‘Ready For

The Floor’.

“Trumpets, steel drums, tambourine all feature, and often the band are playing more than one instrument at a time.” This shows not only their true talent, but also a depth to their music, and highlights many subtle layers and melodies easy to miss on their album. The support from CasioKids surprised me as much as Hot Chip’s musical depth, simply because they were so good. Their upbeat brand of electro-pop was perfect to set the mood and their tendency to regularly switch instruments showed their ability and that they knew exactly what they were doing to the crowd. Overall Hot Chip truly delivered a night to remember and I can’t really find anything to fault. I’m sure they’ll be dominating my iTunes for many months to come. Adam Ford

Good: Absolutely everything... Bad: I drink...?

spilt

my

10.


LIVE

Jamie T GUILDHALL

SOUTHAMPTON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2nd For me, Jamie T had a reputation to live up to. His debut Panic Prevention was nominated for the prestigious Mercury award, whilst latest musical offering Kings And Queens has been making waves on the airwaves and in stores, reaching number 2 in the album chart – I was ready to be impressed. To say the show was not what I expected would be an understatement. I was anticipating a raucous set, crammed with as much anti-everything banter than humanly possible. Yet, as Jamie T trotted on stage, with a huge grin and a relaxed countenance, I realized I had misinterpreted him. Expecting something that belonged in Skins, with attitude a-plenty, I was more than pleasantly surprised to see a man who is clearly not angry at the world. Opener ‘The Man’s Machine’, a pseudocelebration of concrete jungle cities, filled the Guildhall with a feel-good sound that would continue for the remainder of the night. Even slightly slower tracks such as ‘So Lonely Was The Ballad’ was tinged with a sense of

self-assured satisfaction that extended over the audience like sugar – his enthusiasm truly was infectious. There was something beautifully simple about the show – absent of complicated light shows, or show-off graphics, it really was a gig all about the music. Although far from perfect, there was something raw and pure about the occasional note off key or guitar screech – you got the feeling that Jamie T was a real musician, not a vocal machine. He was not there to show off his vocal talents, but to give the audience a good time, which he certainly did - every lyric was really sung from the heart, and stuck a chord within every person in the room, made evident from the jovial screeching and dancing surrounding me. Even between songs, there was no ulterior motive to his show – unlike many current musicians, Jamie T’s set was absent of any political agenda. Instead, you genuinely got the feeling that Jamie T was honored to be playing, demonstrated by his copious thanks after every song. For me, highlights

But Wait! There’s More!

of the show were tracks that really subverted my expectations of Jamie T – recent acoustic single ‘Emily’s Heart’ stood out, whilst ‘Earth Wind and Fire’ was outstanding. Of course, the best tracks by far were chart successes ‘Sheila’, and ‘Sticks n Stones’ the latter concluding the encore with an energy and enthusiasm that had the audience begging for more. Expectations successfully subverted, I thoroughly enjoyed Jamie T, and would safely say I’d take a trip to see him again anytime. Next time don’t miss out! Hayley Taulbut

Good: Enjoyable and suprising performance. Bad: Maybe needed a little more crowd interaction?

7.

That’s right! You can find even more live reviews and upcoming gig news at; www.wessexscene.co.uk/the-edge


EXPOSED NEW MUSIC FROM THE SOUTH... AND FINLAND

The Retake, The Currents & Pelan When you think of what you may consider to be typical indie rock, you may first immediately think of Oasis as the pinnacle, with an array of bands falling second to them like Kasabian, Blur, and anything else that will have its own twang, but will still fall under the genre. Somehow, that’s how it works, and with regard you would dress according to how masculine the vocalist is. Crazy. That’s the general perception, but with so much musical cross breeding, sub genres are being recreated all the time. Southampton indie rockers (somewhat of a loose term in current times) The Retake are five guys (Adam Humphries – guitar/vocals, Lee Tillyer – guitar/vocals, Onion Arthur Ringo – bass, Russ Diapper – drums, Sam James – keys) with different roots in their music, namely Britpop, blues, classic rock, jazz, and they weren’t too sure about the other one. But this Ready Steady Cook approach delivered a unanimous vote to their kitchen, and you

realise when looking into their history, you could potentially be looking at the new purchase on your iTunes account. The timing and tempo of their melodies coupled with lyrics that submerge your mind into realms of depth have an intrigue that pulls you in to listen again, whilst additional sounds of live synth encapsulate you within a lucid atmospheric shell.

“This Ready Steady Cook approach delivered a unanimous vote to their kitchen.” Take a snap back to reality and suddenly you’re rocking to a new wave of anthems, of which James McCartney (son of Paul) has become a fan after he gave them a support slot on tour, and with an expansive variety conjured up from the varying balance of five

simple ingredients. You can bite at the cake bespoke for thee, but the one next to it could have just the right ‘je ne sais quoi’ you previously hadn’t considered. So who produced The Retake? They did, but with a little help from another producer, Juha Sarkkinen of Finnish britrock supremacists, The Currents (Juha – guitar vocals, Matias Kilpiö – bass/vocals, Joonas Kaski – drums, Jonne Kokkonen – guitar), who are incredibly reminiscent of musical predecessors such as The Beatles, The Smiths and The Jam, but with a remarkably refined sound and composition that will turn the lights out indefinitely on the entire bottom half of the current commercial scene whilst taking a well earned seat somewhere at the Presidents’ table. The songwriting is simply exceptional from these Finns. Subjects are tackled with great levels of intellect, and it’s reflected in the tightknit and beautifully sculpted sounds of everything Britrock built a musical heritage on. Their music videos say it all when you admire the absolute quality from director Joni Valkama, and just marvel in the achievement of such great works of art; not just another average cut and shut highlight reel of their best gig. A very high recommendation if you see these guys in the UK, which you may expect during festival season this year.

But if you took Matias and put him on the drums, shifting Jonne across to the bass, leaving Juha on sole guitar responsibility, then opening up a percussion section with Joonas, introduce Asko Pennanen on the keys, then top it off with a popular Finnish hip hop MC (who just happens to be the other producer working with The Retake), you have Pelan! This outfit employs the same musicians, but with responsibilities switched, the new balance of ingredients takes on an entirely new persona in funk, and at the front of it is Pelan himself, boasting vibrant energy which is simply infectious to any set of ears within listening vicinity. For reasons unknown your feet are stomping in time with the live beats and quirky voiceover samples, and whilst the vocals are all Finnish, your mind is always on the music and the complete feel and picture it allows you to paint using your uninterupted imagination, and draw your most perfect picture with the colours they give you.

“With different roots in their music: Britpop, blues, classic rock, jazz, and they weren’t too sure about the other one.” I have no idea how they did it, but they came to England, started a song and won over an instant crowd. Imagine the reception they will receive when they venture back to Finland to tour again over the Easter holidays! If you happen to be around, you’ll be able to catch Pelan, The Currents and Southampton’s The Retake in what are expected to be sell out shows. Arthur Ringo


FILM

FILM RELEASES THIS MONTH

Ron Clements John Musker Anika Noni Rose Released February 5th Rating: U

In 2004 Disney announced that it was no longer going to make the 2D animation films it was famous for, and with the arrival of Pixar leading light John Lasseter to take over the animation department this seemed a definite. He made the surprising decision however, to take a fresh look at old fashioned hand drawn animation with their new film The Princess and the Frog, to spectacular results. Animators who had left Disney with the closure of the studios were rehired, and the film is directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, whose previous work includes timeless favourites The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. Featuring numerous references to Disney’s back catalogue, big musical theatre-esque numbers, a little bit of magic and the human touch that is missing from CGI films, Disney succeed in taking us on a nostalgic walk down memory lane, reminding us why we loved their films so much as children. The film made headlines even before its release when it was unveiled that it would feature Disney’s very first African-American heroine. The new Princess joining the Disney ranks is Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose), a hardworking waitress in 1920s New Orleans, desperate to save enough money to own her dream restaurant, something her Father didn’t quite manage to achieve before he died fighting in the Great War. The film does not hide away from issues relating to

The Princess and the Frog having an African-American heroine living in the American South during the time of segregation; the separate seating areas on the bus Tiana takes home is shown, but in true Disney fashion they do not highlight it by making race an issue. In contrast to the hardworking heroine, the film’s Prince is a foreign playboy prince who has been cut off from his parents and needs to marry a wealthy American lady, to the excitement of Tiana’s filthy rich friend Charlotte. Naveen of Maldonia is too lazy to work hard in life; he wants an easy way to carry on living a life of luxury, and sees America as the perfect place to find it. Disney have been criticised for Prince Naveen not being as dark skinned as Tiana in a bid to appease white audiences, but to my mind this is criticising for the sake of it.

“ Memorable & Engaging; the screen is alive with sumptuous, vibrant colour and vivid magical fantasy.”

The two meet after Naveen has been turned into a frog by the chillingly sinister Dr Facilier, but the traditional tale takes an unexpected twist when her kiss meant to turn him back into a human has the opposite effect, and turns Tiana into a frog! The two amphibians then take a wild journey into the bayou in hopes of finding Mama Odie, the only person powerful enough to reverse the voodoo used on them, along the way making friends with a jazz playing alligator called Louis and the lovelorn firefly Ray. Naveen’s suave and relaxed attitude contrasts nicely with, and infuriates, the feisty Tiana. The dynamic between the two is lively, and in the end you will be joining the hopelessly romantic Ray in wanting the two frogs to be together forever. Keith David’s Dr Facilier joins the ranks of the most evil and terrifying Disney villains, topping the nightmare inducing Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. He slinks around the screen with such cunning and menace that it is almost as if he will slide out of the screen the way his shadow slinks away from his body with spirits from the underworld. He has “friends on the other side”, and is not afraid to use them to get his way on this side. And what would a Disney film be without talking animals to help the heroine? Louis may not be the most helpful and intelligent alligator but he does play a mean saxophone when he gets the chance, and Ray will have you crying along with him at his unrequited love for Evangeline. The score is composed by none other than Randy Newman, whose musical style fits in perfectly with a jazz filled New Orleans setting. Standout songs include ‘Almost There’, which launches the film into the stunning golden paradise of Tiana’s dream art deco inspired restaurant, and the gospel influenced ‘Dig a Little Deeper’. The only downside to the soundtrack is Ne-Yo’s contribution, which appears over the credits. Leave to avoid hearing it. The Princess and the Frog may follow the standard fairy tale formula and offer us nothing new in the story department, but the characters are memorable and engaging and the screen is alive with sumptuous, vibrant colour and vivid magical fantasy sequences. It’s reassuring to know that Disney still knows how to make great heart-warming films the way they used to, once upon a time. Emmeline Curtis

Good: A return to hand drawn animation brilliance. Bad: Ne-Yo’s song over the credits.

9.


Valentine’s Day FILM

Garry Marshall

JESSICA ALBA, JULIA ROBERTS, JAMIE FOXX Released 12th February Rating: 12 A Superficial, shiny and sanctimonious, Valentine’s Day is a large canvas of intertwining

stories of love, loss, betrayal and romance, that unfortunately have the emotional capacity, originality and charm of a tired Mills and Boone novel. Director Garry Marshall once created two of the most inventive, tasteful and endearing fantasies of love on the silver screen; Pretty Woman and Frankie and Johnny. The universal and emotional arsenal associated with such a holiday should have given screenwriter Katherine Fugate something substantial to work with, yet instead we are left with empty portraits involving a plethora of vapid and beautiful people. Ashton Kutcher opens the film as Reed Bennett, a florist who proposes to his beautiful girlfriend (Jessica Alba) in their naturally stunning LA Home. Her response sends him soaring onto the balcony and screaming in ridiculous tones, as Kutcher’s unbecoming and irritating style of acting has become somewhat defined by. Meanwhile, across town, the impossibly beautiful Jennifer Garner is lounging on a bed in skimpy underwear whilst her impossibly dreamy doctor boyfriend (Patrick Dempsey) is all too easily charming her – it’s all so cloyingly, obviously, perfect – and also so obvious that ‘disaster’ will unfold. Meanwhile, the film attempts to charm with the story of an old, married couple (Hector Elizondo and Shirley Maclaine), who must re-define and test their lasting marriage as an admission of adultery unfolds. Each of these stories should convince of the complications of love and the heart-wrenching realities of sustaining a prosperous romantic

relationship. Yet, even as tragedy seemingly unfolds, Fugate seems afraid to let us believe that love can in fact disappoint. These stories are each resolved with such elaborate, impossible and blatant gestures that the complications underpinning them seem almost non-existent. One of the most nauseatingly frustrating segments of the film arises from the characterisation of Jessica Biel’s character; an already un-likable actress in the role of an uptight, single businesswoman, lying on the floor of her office and gorging herself on chocolates, hysterical concerning the prospect of loneliness on Valentine’s Day. It sincerely angers me that in the 21st century women of prosperity and power are portrayed as desperate, irrational morons, suffering from a panic attack because they can’t get a date. To make matters worse, the issues of this tragic stereotype are neatly solved in a romance with Jamie Foxx. As a woman, am I supposed to feel that a man is the only solution to comfort my insecurities? Why are these films constantly reverting us to pathetic caricature’s who need to be rescued? Valentine’s Day has two stories that are resolved with some potential emotional depth. The first is of a young teenage couple who deliberate losing their virginity to one another. The second concludes Julia Roberts’ six minute appearance (for which, ridiculously, she earned millions of dollars) and was the only real bond of love that I detected in this so-called showcase of modern-day romance. However, the inclusion of

Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner as a quintessential High-School couple quite possibly culminated in the film’s most embarrassing segments. The two try to inhabit some kind of dumb-teenager stereotype, but do so to such a terrible degree that watching them both trying to act, and furiously pretend to passionately kiss, becomes highly disturbing, rather than intentionally farcical. Perhaps Valentine’s Day was intended to be little more than a money-generating ploy, ironically, like the holiday it exposes. The film almost resembles a present; elaborately and beautifully wrapped – in a hollow, shallow and empty box. As the end credits roll, you honestly feel like the scenery of Los Angeles will have more of a lasting effect than the ‘complicated’ lives of any of these people. Valentine’s Day displays a lack of taste; these tired, clichéd depictions of love are like being hit with a shovel that just didn’t quite have the force to make any impact. My advice: Go back and watch Julia Roberts as the world’s most beautiful and far from poverty-stricken hooker, saved by a dashing multi-millionaire. Now that’s a love story you can believe in. Good: Some emotional content garnered by a young teenage couple. Bad: else.

Everything

2.


FILM Stephen O’Shea and Charlotte Woods give their Oscar predictions for Best Picture ahead of the prestigious awards... The Oscars. Quite simply the biggest night in film. It is the night when all A-list celebrities from Hollywood and around the world don their best tailored outfits and stride down the red carpet towards the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California. However this year something has changed. The regular format of five nominations for each category has been entirely shifted in the Best Picture category to ten nominations. This move has been taken to ensure that all films worthy of recognition receive it. And so to mark this momentous occasion The Edge has picked and trawled its way through all of the candidates for Best Film and given a guide to the hopes, expectations and down right rank outsiders for this, the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. An Education Saving the true Awards titans for the end we will start with the British connection and a new actress on the block in An Education and Carey Mulligan. Now we may hope and wish but the real truth of this nomination is that although Miss Mulligan has received huge praise and a BAFTA for her part in this drama, An Education still remains little more than a blip on the Oscar radar and a clear beneficiary of the new ten nomination system. Although nominations have been heaped upon this film and its leading lady, nothing more has come of them, and the BAFTA for Carey Mulligan would appear to be little more than us British rewarding one of our own. Despite the relatively bleak outlook for An Education’s chances, the future looks extremely bright for the young lady from London who is set to star in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps and who will undoubtedly be back amongst the Oscar contenders sooner rather than later.

The Academy

Best P

this film has the emotional depth to carry it all the way. Though that really would be a Hail Mary pass.

The Blind Side Another film which has garnered acclaim and a Best Picture Nomination due mostly to its leading lady is The Blind Side. Sandra Bullock stars in this film based on the story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player. It would seem that Bullock is the only thing providing this film with any Best Picture legs. Oscar tradition is also not on her side as sports films rarely do better than a nomination at the Oscars, although perhaps

Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire If its emotional weight and depth that the academy are looking for this year, than they need look no further than Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. The film has a huge amount of clout behind it in the form of Oprah Winfrey and has been building up its Oscar claim since its conception. Mo’nique has clinched every Supporting Actress award of the season for her portrayal as the abusive mother of Precious. However one powerful performance is not enough to clinch the most coveted award in film. This film is definitely the most likely rank outsider to cause an upset this year with its hugely powerful and emotive content. But on the other hand this potent nature could have in fact worked against it as the Academy like an intensive film but one that’s just a little more easy on the eyes, see Crash. District 9 On completely the other side of the coin and as far as one can get from Precious lies the Neil Blomkamp directed and Peter Jackson produced District 9. The world of apartheid South Africa is mirrored in this inventive and creative story of Aliens who have come to earth and instead of being welcomed with open arms are instead thrown in shackles and placed in slums. Although the academy may love racial dramas, see Crash again, they rarely like them with a science fiction twist. Furthermore, with an extremely fresh director at the helm Oscar glory might definitely be one step too far. However with Peter ‘Oscar’ Jackson assisting nothing is beyond belief. Despite its credentials, though, Distrct 9 seems to be another success story of the ten nomination system and has a completely unrealistic chance of Oscar glory, even being overlooked in the writing category.. A Serious Man Peter Jackson may be running out of room in his trophy cabinet but the Coen brothers have already filled two, and with another nomination for A Serious Man they may have to put a down payment on another. However they may want to hold off for now as their new film seems almost too Coen even for an academy that has lavished

The Results; Best Film: The Hurt Locker, Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, Animated Film: Up,


82nd Awards

FILM debut of Melanie Laurent to English cinema is sleek and stylish and one that has been overlooked in the supporting actress category. The Hurt Locker Starting the final two nominations with Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker is simply because this film has managed to not only get it’s hands on the top prize but also gain a Best Director win for the only woman present in it’s credits. Bigelow has presented us with the best Iraq war film to date with this tense, suspenseful thriller. The entire cast from Jeremy Renner as the leading actor to the two excellent cameos of Guy Pearce and Christopher Eccleston perform brilliantly throughout the film and the entire chaos of the situation these men are thrown into is completely believable and enthralling. A win for The Hurt Locker in the Best Picture category is nothing short of what the film deserves. The film’s box office takings are its real let down though, making meager millions.

Picture

so much praise on them before. Hard to understand jokes and quirky dialogue can only get you so far guys. Up In The Air But if quirky comedies are out then Jason Reitman and his film Up In The Air could be in serious trouble. With George Clooney up for awards and a topical story about the economic crisis, Up In The Air appeared to be a shoe in for Oscar glory, but as the season has gone on the drama/comedy has lost a huge amount of steam and now comes home empty handed. However, with nominations for all its leading cast it including the veteran Clooney and the two new girls on the block; Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick it would be fooloish to ignore this films prowess.

the Nazi bigwigs, is a surprisingly successful mix of comedy, emotional intensity, and gratuitous violence. A surprise contender for best film in the eyes of some viewers, Inglorious Basterds is the alternative to the slick, glossiness of the big hits like Avatar and Up in this year’s competition. Inglorious caters for everyone and combines the perfect mix of the whimsical, the tragic and the ‘glorious’. In this sense, combined with its massive box office success, Inglorious is a worthy contender for the best picture statuette. Certainly, Christoph Waltz’s performance has added to the stature of Inglorious, but the cast in its entirety took this film to a new level. The

Avatar Perhaps the most hotly anticipated film of the year, Avatar did not fail to impress cinema-goers. Although criticised for failing to hit the mark in terms of storyline, Avatar’s cinematography alone was enough to change the course of film history. Its box office success was such, that Cameron now boasts the two most successful films of all time amongst his directing accolades; grossing well over 2 billion worldwide, Avatar became the most successful film ever. Since the Avatar hype reached its peak at Christmas, both the criticism and the excitement have died down, even as the Oscars have approached. This has taken away somewhat from the epic cinematic achievement that is Avatar, but there is no doubt that the release of this film will go down in history as one of cinema’s defining moments.

Up Up In The Air isn’t the only airborne nominee this year with Pixar’s Up becoming only the second animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture after Beauty and the Beast 1992. For an animated film to actually beat the big boys however, would be a feat far greater than even a flying house with balloons tied to it. And of course Up will has its consolation prize of Best Animated Film. An upset from an animated film would never happen and will never happen but to see it once would be truly special. Inglorious Basterds One truly special individual is attempted to cause an upset this year. Quentin Tarantino’s fantastical account of the mass murder of

Best Actress: Sandra Bullock, Best Visual Effects: Avatar

Calling All Film Buffs!

If you love films as much as we do, you can find even more film reviews at; www.wessexscene.co.uk/the-edge


CULTURE OUR VERY OWN CULTURE CLUB

EXPOSED Art Exhibition The weather was unmercilessly cold on the evening of Wednesday 17th February. At around 9pm, I was walking across Highfield towards the Bridge Bar, as I was to be a guest at the art exhibition, EXPOSED, held by the University’s own Art Society. Thankfully reaching the entrance of the Student Union, my ears had sharply become attracted to the sounds of bombastic instrumentals protruding from inside the event’s venue seeping through the doors of the Bridge to intoxicate the building’s walls. Before my first impressions of tonight’s activity had formulated from this sense of ambience, I wondered, “what sort of art exhibition is this?” Subsequently sighting a bold and extravagantly coloured banner displaying ‘ART SOC’, I strided towards the doors of the Bridge Bar. The following must be said: I immediately felt like I had stepped into what I can only describe as a materialistic vision of an energetic, thriving artist’s imagination. Works of art in various styles lighted the wall I first came parallel to, and I was also faced with an impressively organized palaver of art that awaited my now rapidly progressive degree of eager observation and analysis. After reciprocating the soothing and enthusiastic greeting from the Art Soc committee, I began

exploring. Indeed, I was certain that it was an exploration I was to undergo; a number of small paths and spaces to trail across all led me to neatly presented collections of art that left me rather shell-shocked, baffled, for I was confronted with the realization that a vast number of students at University of Southampton who do not study art have produced pieces of such distinction and quality in their spare time. To digress a little - I had static clones of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe gazing at me sensuously, landscapes and architecture of such depth in illustration to them I felt inclined to outstretch my arm into the canvasses and become an extra character having his own special adventure, still life that was so richly textured that I swear a glass of wine had droplets twinkling off the paper, and anonymous sketched subjects whose facial expressions were so convincing that I felt a foreboding bite of inner guilt lurking inside me as I studied the startled and slightly anxious expression of a young child alone before a woodland backdrop. Overwhelmed by the array of artwork that ignited what I would interpret as their carefully constructed narratives, I also found myself confronted regularly by pieces of art that released surreal qualities of an ambigu-

ous nature. Such pieces drew me in with a charm that signaled the absence of objective evaluations, replaced by the subjective freedom of openended opinions that would take hold of the looker, looking.

“I immediately felt like I had stepped into what I can only describe as a materialistic vision of an energetic, thriving artist’s imagination.” Trespassing around the Bridge, I made frequent visits to the stage where several bands, from Southampton and Finland, were playing indie rock and rap. “This is absolutely splendid”, I thought. The artists all possessed a jovial yet dominating presence, which enhanced the influence of their music as a vital and zesty aspect of the evening.

Starting to settle into what EXPOSED had to offer me, I suddenly discovered a long stall of work produced by the Pottery Society - vases, bowls, and jewellery that was all to be sold for as little as 1p! Realizing that EXPOSED still had other sensational surprises awaiting me, my expectations were satisfied once I beheld a life-size mannequin, decorated with exotic accessories, bearing the female genitalia of what I quickly assumed was an ape-like figure, and with a bold sign plastered across its chest with the emblazoned words, ‘BEATNIK EMPORIUM’. In addition to this spectacle was my intrigue in being told that students from the Winchester School of Arts had also contributed to EXPOSED. Such finely detailed work delivered by Mike Reda and others had left a profound impression on guests. With the evening coming to a close, I walked my way back to the bus-stop taking away something final: EXPOSED was a pivotal occasion for students to immerse themselves in the world of artistic creativity that lies around and behind the studying and the general partying that this university is highly regarded for. I feel inspired after this event, and now wish it to be my task to participate in this world that should not be habitually unsought of, firstly by dusting off the paintbrushes I know are currently piled in the corner of a drawer. They summon me! Emily Dixon


GAMES WELCOME BACK TO RAPTURE

Bioshock 2 360/PS3/PC

Returning to grim and rusty Rapture had been pushed back to spring, and now that it’s finally here can the latest creation compete with 2007’s smash hit original? This time around, you play prototype Big Daddy, Subject Delta, starting ‘only’ with the giant drill, so straight away you can get wailing on the insane survivors of dystopian underwater city, Rapture. Compared to your nimble foes you stumble around pretty clumsily; grazing a wall with your sleight half tonne frame will send up a shower of dust and terrifying noise as you crash around the silent halls. Upgrades are made by genetically mutating yourself with a substance called Adam, which the creepy Little Sisters ‘gather’ from corpses under the watchful eyes of fellow Daddies and the new, agile, and powerful Big Sisters. Favourite plasmids (mutagenic ‘hand-held’ elemental weaponry) like incinerate and insect swarm return with the addition of the new cyclone trap which you can set on fire, freeze, electrify or, you guessed it, fill with bees. There are many more tonics available too and as before, your personal tactics will dictate your upgrade choices. The learning curve is steep to begin with; adjusting to dual wielding a plasmid and gun will

take some time and a few regenerations in a vita-chamber. There’s opportunity to make each battle different but it’s not tempting enough. Only after lowering the difficulty (or increasing the lighting) is the pressure off to restrain yourself from your favourite plasmid combo and be a bit more creative. What makes Bioshock 2 scary is the sudden breaking of the eerie dripping-tap silence into moaning, screaming, flames, gunfire, and chaos. And bees. Even veteran FPSs will be off their game after the first tuxedo and bunny masked addict runs screaming at you with a pipe. You’ll back up into a wall or a blinding waterfall or another shrieking psycho. As a metal giant, you’d expect effective close combat, flinging enemies aside like rag dolls and snapping them like breadsticks, but you seem little more bullet/wrench/beeproof than the crazies in torn party outfits; your melee attacks don’t carry the weight you’d expect from the fearsome protectors of the first game. Later however, you’ll fashion yourself into an invincible artwork, charging in and firing bees wildly at fleeing foes. Given how much thought you’ll put into planning an ambush, puny splicers seem to be a bit lacking in AI and charge at you in small numbers

to irritate you as you scavenge and explore. The diving suit allows you a breather outside occasionally but without any enemies or puzzles, it seems like a lot of programming time wasted for a short visual break. The questionable morality of killing innocent children is back, but no more complicated; with four endings available (all decided hours from the finish) it’s worth replaying from the start to see what you might have been.

“Is it a step up from Bioshock? Just.” New characters include your ‘daughter’, Eleanor, Rapture’s self-declared saviour, Sophia Lamb, and con artist ally, Sinclair, but old voices like Rapture’s visionary creator, Andrew Ryan, make an appearance in audio diaries giving background to those wanting to know how a beautiful art deco city and its happy population could decay so quickly and badly. There’s a new multi-player mode too. It won’t be why you buy the game, but it’s a nice addition, with its own story set on the

brink of Rapture’s fall. Bioshock twists on classic capture the flag and king-of-the-hill modes are fun if chaotic and guilty of filching from Team Fortress 2. Is it a step up from Bioshock? Just. While the combat and visuals are still way above par, the story is unsurprising, and it just isn’t as scary as the first; there’s nothing to compare to shivering at the maniacal laughter of an obsessed plastic surgeon while wading through knee high water in a pitch-black, gore splattered operating room. It has great moments but they seem borrowed from the first, as well as Max Payne 2’s ‘fun’ house, and Half Life 2’s abandoned Ravenholm. These are definitely not reason enough NOT to buy it, unless your cash is already taken by several other amazing games recently released. If you liked the first it’s definitely worth playing to experience more of stunning Rapture and its still flourishing ecosystem. Harry Campbell Good: I like my enemies like I like my coffee: covered in bees! Bad: Underused physics engine.

8.


TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

(Hed) p.e @ Talking Heads 19.30

17

Below Defect @ Joiners 19.30

WEDNESDAY

WEDNESDAY

31

The Lawrence Arms Solo Acoustic @ Unit 19.30

24

The James Clever Quintet @ Joiners 19.30

TUESDAY

TUESDAY

Light Effect @ Joiners 19.30

30

Turin Brakes @ The Brook 20.00

Babybird @ Joiners 19.30

23

Zebrahead @ Talking Heads 19.30

16

March TheGigGuide

MONDAY

15

22

For The Fallen Dreams @ Joiners 19.30

MONDAY

Sion @ Joiners 19.30

MONDAY

29 The Computers + Outcry Collective @ Joiners 19.30

THURSDAY

11

FRIDAY

12

Black Daniel @ Hamptons 19.30

The City Calls @ Joiners 19.30

General Fiasco @ Joiners 19.30

Ledlight @ Talking Heads 19.30

The Skints @ Unit 22.00

Chumbawamba @ Talking Heads 19.30

FRIDAY

Dreadzone @ Joiners 19.30

26

Tim Stickland @ Talking Heads 19.30

The Program Initiative @ Joiners 19.30

19

FRIDAY

18

THURSDAY You Me At Six @ Guildhall 19.00

The Colour Movement @ Joiners 19.30

25

Kunt & The Gang @ Talking Heads 19.30

THURSDAY Paloma Faith @ Guildhall 19.00

The Joy Formidable @ Joiners 19.30 No Through Road @ Talking Heads 19.30

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

Karnivool @ Joiners 19.30

14 Lauren Pritchard @ Unit 22.00

The Stranglers @ Guildhall 19.00

13

Burn The Fleet @ Joiners 19.30

SUNDAY

Circus Sands @ Hamptons 19.00

28

Johnny Winter @ The Brook 20.00

22 21

SUNDAY

20

SATURDAY Delphic @ Students’ Union 19.30

Luke Leigh�ield @ Joiners 19.30

Heartbreaks @ Unit 22.00

The Retake @ Talking Heads 19.30

SATURDAY

27

Nick Harper @ Joiners 19.30

Plugfoot @ Joiners 19.30


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