Your candidate guide
Because democracy is sexy
Your guide to the Students’ Union Elections 2010 From February 28th to March 3rd you will vote to elect six student sabbaticals to run your Students’ Union. Who will you entrust with the power to shape your university experience? Your voting decision starts here in this special edition of the Scene. Don’t forget you can also follow all the candidates online at http://elections.susu.org
Derek Mallinson Joseph Belcher Martin Underwood William Fitzjohn Aris Tsontzos
ATHLETIC UNION PRESIDENT
Liam Tillett William Harvey Edward Wilkes
VP MEDIA & COMMS
Tom Stacey David Taylor Maximillian Hughes-Williams Charlotte Woods Liam Gallagher
VP WELFARE & SOCS
Harriet Collins Emily Rees Andrew Hart
Joshua Thompson has been elected
Chris ‘Pidge’ Pidgley Rob Stanning
Frankie Fry has been elected
EDUCATION & REPRESENTATION
Sam Russell Charlene Batchelor
Akhil Gowrinath has been elected
Dean Jones has been elected
Grace Allingham has been elected
& ETHICS OFFICER
Aaron Bali has been elected
UNION PRESIDENT I'M NOT JUST YOUR Can't find a space when you want to revise? Not enough big acts coming to the University? No recycling facilities available for that bottle you just threw away? Have no idea what the Union is doing for you? These are all big questions being asked by Southampton Students and Joe Belcher has the answer. My manifesto covers: Student Support, Environmental Issues, Entertainment and Events, Union Accountability and Support for Clubs and Societies. Find myself and my manifesto on facebook or email any questions: email@example.com
I'm not just your Average Joe â€“ Back Belcher FOR SUSU PRESIDENT!
BACK BELCHER FOR SUSU PRESIDENT
VP MEDIA & COMMS
VP MEDIA & COMMS
VP WELFARE & SOCS
it makes sense!
VP EDUCATION &
ATHLETIC UNION PRESIDENT
Iâ€™m Sam, when the Winchester school of art student union president nominations came available I saw the opportunity for change, change that will make your experiences at WSA far more stimulating both academically and socially. Utilizing the facilities already available at the main Southampton campus such as susu.tv a YouTube style video system, radio broadcasting, the Wessex scene newspaper, film screening and gallery spaces to enrich the possibilities within your practice. As well as having a more integrated personal relationship with
students, creating a space where students can socialize and collaborate with other like-minded individuals. Having your say every week, tell me what you want from your SU and the ways we can work together to achieve so much more. I will give the WSA SU the artistâ€™s community it deserves, keeping you up to date with monthly fanzines on everything from artist profile to the best places to get a cheap pint. Opportunities to display work within the student union and create a fraternity that will benefit your practice, continually updated on the website molding it into a invaluable resource to keep you on top of current events, with everything you could need right at your fingertips. I will dedicate all my time to improving the SU both academically and socially. I will utilize all of the facilities available bringing the power of the student ideas back to the students union, making it a place you can be proud of. Your vote counts so vote Sam Russell as your SU president and lets make change happen.
The University of Southamptonâ€™s Finest Entertainment Publication
18th February 2010
EDITORIAL WHAT’S GOING ON IN THIS ISSUE OF THE EDGE
- Lostprophets - You Me At Six - Hot Chip + More!
- Muse - Rise Against + More!
- Brothers - Up In The Air + More!
- Animal Kingdom - Amy Studt + More!
Clooney stars in the Bafta nominated ‘Up In The Air’
THE EDGE PLAYLIST What’s Been Playing On The Edge Radio Show..
- Assassin’s Creed 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 & Adam Vaughn
Edge Radio Playlist (Surge) - Saturday 1pm - 2pm
1. Ellie Goulding - Starry Eyed 2. Lostprophets - Where We Belong 3. Marina and the Diamonds - Hollywood 4. Delphic - Doubt 5. Two Door Cinema Club - I Can Talk 6. Kids In Glass Houses - Matters At All 7. The XX - Islands 8. Vampire Weekend - Horchata
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; firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t stop believing. Because occasionally, the hype gets it right. Glee really is very good. Yes, it’s a musical comedy, with all the associated baggage and stereotypes. Yes, the high school setting is far from original. And yes, because it’s American, there’s an annoying feel-good aspect to the series. But on the basis of the ﬁrst two episodes, this is one of the most exciting shows on television at the moment. The Glee Club characters themselves are probably the least interesting facets of the show. Most of them are amalgams of different high school clichés; there’s the conﬂicted jock guy; the Asian girl; the effeminate gay guy; the black girl with soul; the guy in a wheelchair; the great singer with a personality defect. Two-dimensional though they may be, the writers have still found ways to keep them fresh and amusing. Kevin McHale, playing the wheelchair-bound Artie Abrams, is a notable example; while he may only have a supporting role, his deadpan delivery is beautifully suited to the geekiness of his character. As for Cory Monteith as jock/
singer Finn Hudson, if there’s one thing the world learnt from the American Pie ﬁlms, it’s that premature ejaculation will never stop being funny. Most of the actors on the programme come from stage backgrounds; indeed, most of the singing has a fairly orthodox, stage-y quality to it, although all are more than proﬁcient singers, and the choreography is extremely impressive. Of course, the decision not to look for tried and tested television actors could have backﬁred, but all acquit themselves well. However, most of the funniest lines go to the show’s most recognisable face, Jane Lynch, star of many an Apatow comedy, who plays Sue Sylvester, the jealous cheerleading couch. Anyone tuning in to E4 in recent weeks will have heard her utter the words, “You think that’s hard? Try being waterboarded. Now that’s hard.” In fact, for a supposedly bubblegum-esque programme, Glee is littered with little references to current affairs, be it the wars in Iraq or the credit crunch and foreclosures. These little details, like the array of leaﬂets including one entitled ‘I can’t stop touching myself’ in the guidance counsellor’s ofﬁce, help to
set Glee apart from other comedies. However, what is most interesting is the central character of Will Schuester, played by Broadway veteran Matthew Morrison. The complex relationship between Schuester, his devious, materialistic wife and Emma, the mysophobic guidance counsellor, is sure to develop as the series progresses. The juxtaposition of Will’s wife looking for a new house, with a performance of Kanye West’s Gold Digger is inspired. Glee invokes a certain nostalgia for high school, a look back to simpler times, yet there is also a certain sadness; a sympathy for those whose lives peaked at the age of 17, and went downhill from then on. While the central message – choose happiness over money, try to make something of yourself, strive for greatness – is annoyingly American, it is not saccharine sweet like so many other transatlantic imports. Ultimately, Glee is a feel-good comedy with just enough edge to it to make it seriously watch-able. Duncan Smith
INTERVIEW SOME ACTS STOP FOR A CHAT WITH THE EDGE
“aren’t you her?” and I was like no!
How is the industry different this time around?
Does your new material get a good reaction?
It’s so different. Then it was all about singles - I’ve got a copy of one of my singles on cassette, that is how old that is. Now music is in the middle of a really weird time, an interesting time but quite a dangerous time I think, with downloading and everything. The value of music seems to be disappearing, and we seem to be moving into an age where music is everybody’s right to have free. That’s what it feels like. It’s all about songs rather than albums, and it’s all digital not physical. The consumption level is so massive, music is so disposable I suppose. A song that might take 6 months to a year and have someone’s heart and soul in it gets disposed of quite quickly. But I totally understand, on the other side its amazing to have access to all this music.
It seems to. I think because I’m older and a lot of my fans have grown up with me, their tastes have changed in the same way mine have. You get rid of all the production, you get rid of all the swishy noises and bangs, and actually the bone structure of the songs are really good. They’re really strong songs, and when I do these shows, because it’s acoustic, I’m just stripping it all back and rearranging them, so people get a chance to really hear it properly.
How do you feel you fit into the industry, not being labelled as one of the ‘young and pretty’ girl band types?
by Emmeline Curtis THE EDGE catches up with the English singer-songwriter, and talks influences, lack of regrets and uncommonly small hands. Why did you decide to take such a long break from the music industry? When my label dropped me I considered leaving my management company at the time because we had a lot of creative differences, and I just felt like the things they liked about me when they first signed me, they had just tried to change everything. You can see it with the succession of singles, and by the end I remember I had to do some kids TV programme and I thought this is so
humiliating. I had to get up and perform, and I thought at least I get to perform, but I turned around and there was a giant teddy bear dancing behind me, and I just thought this is not what I did this for! Anyway, a new woman got hired at my management company, and I had wanted to work with her for ages. She had worked with Portishead, and so I thought they said they can facilitate what it is I want to do creatively so I’ll try them out for the next album. And then it was just a case of years and years of writing, I just wanted to write and write and write till I had got a collection of songs I was really really happy with. The recording and mastering process then took forever as well, so it just took a long time. I suppose there was a small break, but actually I was working most the
Are you saying I’m not pretty? Thanks! The thing is I was never like that, which is why when I got signed they liked me so much because it was a constant fight with me. When they first met me, I scuffled into their office with baggy jeans and my hair in my face, and I was off the rails. Then it was a case of them having to tame me and put me together in a way that could be presented, but there was still that element of the wild thing in me that I think was still appealing. Even though I was put through the record company machine, it didn’t have the appearance of that, just shined up a bit and less spots than usual. I’m not too bothered about being in the charts though, I just want to keep making music that I’m proud of. I’m really enjoying this time where I can figure out who I am and figure what it is I want to do. I lost all my confidence because of the whole experience, I got real social anxieties and I couldn’t speak to people properly. It’s nice to just build myself back up now. I read that you first started performing again under a pseudonym - why is that? That was to do with the confidence. It was cool actually. I was convinced if I got on stage that I’d get booed off if people knew who I was. I was doing a lot of rock tours, and the people that used to give me the most s*** from my first album were people in that genre. It was weird for me, because these were the people I would have been friends with before I started doing what I was doing. I wanted to be heard by fresh ears, I wanted people to listen to it and make their own minds up rather than being like, “oh yeah, I remember her”. I did have some people go
Do you regret anything in your career? I don’t think there is any point in regretting anything in your life, I don’t think there’s any point in that at all. Just learn from it. I don’t regret anything that I did, it makes me who I am now. I’m still learning and I’m still changing, and they’re all important parts of my life. You have done a lot of press interviews, but has there ever been a question that you have never been asked but want to answer? Good question. I’ve got a really interesting family history, and I always wanted people to ask me about that but no one ever did. Do you want to tell us about your family history then? Yeah, why not! Well my dad is a violinist, and he’s played with The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, Shirley Bassey, and he’s on like every bit of film music from Star Wars to everything! He’s one of the violinists on the Snowman cartoon. Every time I see it on TV, I’m like “that’s my daddy!” So my dad is an amazing person, an unbelievable violinist. Before my dad there wasn’t that many professional musicians in the family, but if we go back to the 1700s there was a group of violinist called The Studts who used to play in the Royal Danish Court Orchestra, which is a really famous orchestra. There are books written about them and stuff. There are loads of mental stories from my family, like there was an old washer woman on my mothers side who shagged a Lord or a royal dude and had his illicit love child, so we always joke that our family is made of half royalty half wench. Which makes sense with me having a posh accent but being a shlag! Oh, and my family were also like musical funfair people, that travelled all around the world. Basically we were carnies, which is why we have small hands. But I don’t smell of cabbage, which is what The Simpsons say of carnies - small hands and they smell like cabbage.
By Tom McKenna Animal Kingdom are a four piece band from South London. Signed to major label Warner they picked up iTunes ‘Best New Alternative Act 2009’. Releasing their debut album Signs and Wonders in 2009 and supporting industry heavyweights Snow Patrol on several occasions, things can only get better for the band. The group are set to embark on a small tour of Southern England in February, to promote their new single ‘Two by Two’, including Southampton’s very own Hamptons on Feb 20th. THE EDGE talked with the band’s frontman Richard Sauberlich. For those who have never heard of Animal Kingdom, how would you best describe your sound? Atmospheric, melancholy, its always difﬁcult. (Shouts to other band members) “Guys its the what we sound like question again any ideas?” Guitars, piano, drums you know... On an album with so many good tracks
why did you decide to release ‘Two by Two’ as a single? It wasn’t really our choice, its kinda something our management decided really! I’ve heard so many people suggest you sound like Sigor Ros or Animal Collective. Are these inﬂuences? Who would you say was your biggest inﬂuence as a band? Yeah we deﬁnitely like Sigor Ros he has such a big sound. Not really heard much of Animal Collective, I think a lot of people misread our names we actually had someone turn up to one of our gigs expecting to see Animal Collective! But it was all good because they liked us too. In 2009 you were voted US iTunes ‘Best Alternative Artist of the Year’ and have had a lot of airplay in the states. I’m not sure why we’re so popular in the US, we seem to turn up in all sorts of dif-
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ferent places. Apparently we’re big in Peru and Poland as well. I’m not sure how they get the songs, I think DJ’s take them over. There’s a lot of people discovering new music out there especially on the college scene though, it’s really good. How did the Snow Patrol connection come about? Again that was just through our management so we deﬁnitely seized that opportunity, they tend to play slightly different sized venues to us. Its been a whirlwind year, what would you say was your best moment from the last 12 months or so? Stepping out at the O2 was a bit like close encounter with all the lights and stuff. Its been such a good year. Probably the album coming out, actually having our own album was great. First single to come out too, lots of ﬁrst time achievements like seeing your name in a music magazine or paper. But I’m
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yet to hear our song on the radio. When we heard ‘Signs and Wonders’ being played at the pub that was such a nice feeling. I recollect a blog last summer saying that Secret Garden Party was your favourite festival of the summer. Is there already a circuit of festivals set up? What would be the one you want to play at most? We haven’t had anything yet, they normally come through in about February / March but hopefully we’ll get a few in Europe too. We really enjoyed Secret Garden Party last year, amazing gig. Obviously you have the tour coming up but what’s after that? Any sign of aqlbum two on the horizon? Well its funny you say that I’m sitting in the studio now just writing. We’re doing a lot of writing in our downtime at the moment but not sure about exactly when the next album will be recorded.
FEATURES OPINIONS, OPINIONS, OPINIONS
by Dan Morgan
Tom Meighan: Glasto 2009
Editor Suggests: Wish You Were Here PINK FLOYD
Released in 1975, ‘Wish You Were Here’ was famously about Pink Floyd’s troubled founding member Syd Barret, who suffered a nervous breakdown and went into seclusion in 1968. Written by Roger Waters, the track wasmixed to sound like a lone guitarist playing along to a radio. Well known for its crackling radio intro, iconic guitar riff and raw vocals, this track showed the iconic band at its most thoughtful. The yearning tone encapsulates Waters’ feelings of loss through powerfully simple lyrics. “Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?” is a particularly effective example.
The word ‘legend’ is everywhere. Film, sport, art, indeed any field of activity have within them those individuals considered to be the complete epitome of what they do. Music is no exception to this rule; from the wannabe rapper scrawling lyrics with his mates to the 12 year-old indie kid rushing out to buy NME each week, everyone has their own idea of who makes the grade as a musical legend. Inevitably, the list of musical legends is dominated by frontmen (and women). Usually the vocalist, the frontman is the figurehead of a band. But what is it that elevates a frontman to legendary status, and what must he do to get there? If we look at great frontmen over the years, a number of key features make themselves obvious. First, and most obviously, the music they perform must be great. Paul McCartney may not be the most charismatic performer in the industry, but managed to become a legend through the music he created. It is arguable that music’s greatness can be measured by the influence it exerts over other artists, and if this is the case very few bands can come close to challenging the Beatles. McCartney is something of an exception, though. There are precious few frontmen who become legends purely through the greatness of their music; the majority have to have a unique charisma to set themselves apart from their peers. Noel Gallagher, Mick Jagger, Tom Meighan, Sid Vicious; there aren’t many frontpeople who I’d readily invite round to meet the grandparents. Certainly there is a great deal of anger amongst great frontpeople. Seeing the contempt with which the Oasis singer regards his crowd, watching Roger Daltry hurl his mike-stand across the stage or feeling Zack de la Rocha’s seething
Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright Bob Dylan
fury sweep across the audience epitomises rock n’ roll ‘cool’. Aggression is a key part of some bands’ acts; Kasabian, Eminem, The Stooges, all their live sets have an undercurrent of anger which can electrify a performance. It’s possible to be charismatic without being necessarily angry. Intensity can take many forms, and be no less infectious than bare fury. Mick Jagger is often credited as one of the sexiest men ever to stalk the stage, and as a result his stage presence is little short of awesome. Freddie Mercury was another artist (for many the greatest ever frontman) whose performance centred around flamboyantly sexual dramaticism. Other performers, like Morrissey or Dylan, can just about get by being really deep. Finally, the ambitious frontman should have an active, interesting and preferably f*****-up personal life. Tupac Shakur, Jim Morrisson, Hendrix and Marc Bolan are all legends, and all had more going on in one evening than a combined season of Hollyoaks. It definitely helps to die of an overdose (or get shot) before one has a chance to grow old and mediocre; the endlessly irritating Bono is testament to this. So here’s to the arrogant, funny, glamorous, sweaty, furious and just plain mental individuals contorting and swearing on our stages. Great frontmen (and women; I haven’t had space to properly mention legends like Debbie Harry and Karen O) are the embodiment of all that is great about contemporary music, and how it challenges and entertains us. In the digital age, when music can only flourish if it is bland enough to appeal to every listener, let’s hope we continue to see legends emerge and flourish in the charts. And can someone please hand Chris Martin a crack-pipe? This track was written a year before its release in 1963 on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, the folk master’s second album.It reached No.1 in the UK in 1964. Dylan wrote this song as something to say to oneself to make one feel better, although the content is mostly sad. It was accurately described by critic Tim Riley as “the last word in a long, embittered argument, a paper-thin consolation sung with spite”. Typically simple in style, the first version features only Dylan on both guitar and vocals. The simple melody allows the listener to concentrate on the beautiful lyrics. “I ain’t saying you treated me unkind; you could have done better, but I don’t mind” is touching on a very deep level.
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“The Betrayed is a mixed bag, with some tracks clearly designed for the softer tones of national radio.”
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Lostprophets After the bland melodies of 2006’s Liberation Transmission, Lostprophets lead singer Ian Watkins said in interviews that this new album would be a “darker” and “grittier” listen without losing the “catchiness” (read as profitability) of the financially successful but ultimately characterless Liberation Transmission. While the result doesn’t quite succeed in balancing these elements the album benefits from the attempt. The resulting album The Betrayed is a mixed bag with some tracks clearly designed for the softer tones of national radio, while other tracks are clear throwbacks to the more earthy days of The Fake Sound of Progress. The rest of the album is made up by some successful and some bizarre combinations of the two. The darker, heavier tone that Watkins
mentioned is immediately obvious from the first two tracks. A powerful opening track ‘If It Wasn’t For Hate We’d Be Dead By Now’ and a fantastic chorus from the vowel challenged second track ‘Dstryr Dstryr’ shows that the band can balance the heavier tones of the older albums with their recently discovered catchy pop persona. However, the album goes downhill from here. Dropping down the track list The Betrayed throws up some solid yet eclectic tracks with the considerably more mainstream and mature track ‘Where we Belong’ preceding a token attempted throwback to the Prophets of old in ‘Next Stop Atro City’. Middle tracks like ‘AC Ricochet’ and ‘Streets of Nothing’ offer weak verses relying completely on some impressive chorus pieces. The quality of these choruses makes the album frustrating as
Visible Noise and Sony Music RELEASED January 13th
we hear just short snippets of the stretched vocals and superior sound that disappeared after the opening songs. The album closes with a whimper, penultimate track ‘The Darkest Blue’ padding out the albums final minutes and final track, ‘The Light That Burns Twice As Bright’, offering a change with some experimental use of synth but ultimately offering too little too late. This album has a strong first half but collapses afterwards, containing a few great moments either as a token track or trapped in a chorus; sandwiched between dull indistinguishable verses. If you can put up with some boring tracks it’s worth a go, but this is an album indicative of a band that doesn’t know what genre it wants to be. The heavier instrumental will go down really well at gigs, but as an album, despite having more char-
acter than the previous iteration, it offers much but delivers little. Gareth Lees Good: A strong first half of the album promises a lot. Bad: Contrast throughout the album of radio friendly vs. live friendly songs grates badly.
TRACKS TO DOWNLOAD; ‘If It Wasn’t For The Hate We’d Be Dead By Now’, ‘Dstryr Dstryr’
One Life Stand Parlophone RELEASED February 1st After the success of Made In The Dark in 2008, with single ‘Ready for the Floor’ making a storm in the charts, Hot Chip had a reputation to uphold with the release of fourth studio album One Life Stand. The hype surrounding the release suggested that the Putney five-piece would regress to a style a bit calmer than previous records, a suggestion that probably worried some hard-core Chip fans and threatened the sterling reputation the Grammy-nominated quintet have constructed. On the one hand, Hot Chip have remained true to their promise. The album as a whole is a lot slower than previous releases,
and many tracks are much more sparse than the typical Hot Chip track. Yet, on the other hand, there is something quintessentially Hot Chip about this record. It may have a bit of a calmer feel to it, but at the same time the album is littered with dissonances that jerk the listener from the sublime feeling some of the tracks induce. It’s also a little darker than the sound Hot Chip have become known for, which is refreshing. Tracks that exemplify this apparent shift in tone come in abundance, and there some absolute diamonds on this record. ‘Thieves In The Night’ is sugary electro-disco at it’s best, with vocals of Alexis Taylor soaring
beautifully over synth that can only be described as glittery. ‘Brothers’ is also a personal favourite. In the space of a few songs, Hot Chip pluck the listener from the stars and immerse them in a watery wonderland, with the synth now echoing something of a bubbly whirlpool. But this record is not without its dance anthems either. Although most will cause a sensation that gets your toes twitching, tracks that will be heard in every club over the next few months are likely to be ‘We Have Love’, with all its heavy beats and synth riffs that hark back to the 90’s disco generation, and title track ‘One Life Stand’ is certainly one to listen out for.
Overall, it is a pretty flawless album, and I personally welcome the change of direction tthey have taken. There are some questionable moments in some tracks, (‘Slush’), but it is largely a very enjoyable record.
We Are The Ocean
Often described as a poor man’s version of Alexisonfire, We Are The Ocean have finally released this debut album Cutting Our Teeth. The band have been touring for what seems like forever and with this debut effort, 2010 looks to be the year We Are The Ocean takes the fight to a genre that’s very quickly becoming stale. 18 months ago it was not dead certainty that the band would live up to their own hype, but this album has allowed the band to grow past their crowd favourites. The album opens with ‘Look Alive’ which is a good taster as to what We Are The Ocean are all about, and will most definitely be a huge live hit. The growling screams of vocalist Dan Brown are contrasted yet complemented by the silky voice of singer Liam Cromby, which in turn floats above smooth guitar lyrics and energetic drums. Completed by Alfie Scully, Jack Spence and Tom Whittaker, We Are The Ocean have found a formula which suits them. Liam’s vocals make for great sing-along choruses, whilst
Dan’s scratchy screams lets the songs gain momentum and allow for a brilliant live experience. Moving through the album the brilliant ‘These Days I Have Nothing’ highlights the vocal abilities of both Brown and Cromby which sit above a complex, yet fantastic musical score. There is no way of pigeonholing this band, from sing along power rock songs to huge guitar solos (‘Confessions’), and this is what makes the boys so exciting. They have a sound which will no doubt resonate with Alexisonfire and Funeral For A Friend fans but We Are The Ocean are their own band. The album is fast paced, and a tribute to their energetic live show. Cutting Our Teeth nevertheless is aptlynamed. The album is crying out for a true stand out track, with most of the album sounding fairly similar. It feels like this band has a lot more to offer. A band to keep an eye on for the future. Kate Golding
Hayley Taulbut Good: Hot Chip break away from their usual sound. Bad: Some questionable moments.
Good: This album signifies a bright future for WATO.
Bad: No stand out track lets the album TRACKS TO DOWNLOAD; ‘These Days I Have down. Nothing’, ‘Are You Proud of Me Now?’
Cutting Our Teeth Hassel Records RELEASED February 1st
You Me At Six ALBUMS The last two years have been quite a journey for the Surrey quintet from the sleepy village of Weybridge. 2008 saw their debut full length album Take Off Your Colours reach the dizzy heights of 25th in the charts, and relentless touring saw their popularity grow outrageously fast. 2009 was another busy year for the boys, with even more touring and the completion of their second album Hold Me Down. This album has achieved Top Ten status, reaching number 5 in its debut week. I still find it incredible that these boys have come so far in what seems so little time, but I was a little nervous as to what to expect from their second release, were YMA6 just a one album band like so many of their genre seem to be? The album starts brilliantly. ‘The Consequence’, ‘Underdog’ and ‘Playing The Blame Game’ being probably the best tracks on the album. All the specfications for great songs have been met: Roaring choruses? Check. Catchy lyrics? Check. Great guitar riffs? Check. Singalongability? Check. The underlying theme of growing up and facing the real world really hits you in the face and is a sign that the boys have truly matured since the likes of ‘Save It For The Bedroom’. The first five songs are undoubtedly among YMA6’s best work to date and will be firm favourites with their growing crowds of fans. The overall feel of the album is that You
Me At Six have gone back, to an extent, to their old style, slightly heavier than Take Off Your Colours, as signalled with the inclusion of Sean Smith’s screams in ‘The Consequence’. If you listen carefully, this isn’t the only guest vocals on the album, with Kids In Glass Houses vocalist Aled Phillips soaring in ‘There’s No Such Thing As Accidental Infidelity’ which features as the penultimate song. This basically turns the song into a Kids In Glass Houses song and it feels like You Me At Six are merely a backing band. Although these guest vocals do add to the track, Aled really takes over and highlights how good a singer he is and how only betterthan-average a singer Josh is. ‘There’s No Such Thing As Accidental Infidelity’ is an example of the dip in quality in the second half of the album, with some songs not quite matching up to the no-doubtto-be-teenage-anthems of ‘Underdog’ or ‘Safer To Hate Her’. The formula is the same as the first few songs, with some good sing along choruses which will no doubt rouse the crowds, but from ‘Liquid Confidence’ to the end of the album, with the exception of ‘Contagious Chemistry’ perhaps, there is a lack of the ‘X-factor’, making these last few songs distinctly average in comparison to the beginning of the album. Hold Me Down is an exciting advertisement for the future of this band. It proves
Hold Me Down
Virgin Records RELEASED January 11th
“Roaring choruses? Check. Catchy lyrics? Check. Great guitar riffs? Check. Singalongability? Check.”
that You Me At Six are capable of producing songs which are both catchy, fun to sing along to, but also of quality which will see them rise to greater heights. It is a solid follow up album and far from merely a second version of Take Off Your Colours. Hold Me Down is the typical teenage ‘emo’ album, with tales of heartbreak and deceit, but then again, what else is there for a teenage boy to write about? Kate Golding Good: Some absolute gems which will prove to be huge hits with the crowds. Bad: A weak second half of the album lets the boys from Surrey down.
TRACKS TO DOWNLOAD; ‘The Consequence’, ‘Underdog’, ‘Playing The Blame Game’
Upcoming Headline Tour Dates 2010
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Stars In Her Eyes; Ellie Goulding
Ellie Goulding Starry Eyed Polydor
Ellie Goulding has been on the tip of the music industry’s collective tongue for some time now, and it’s starting to look like she might just live up to the hype. ‘Starry Eyed’ is the second single released off of the highly anticipated debut album Lights, and poignantly demonstrates the singers potential. From the offset ‘Starry Eyed’ shows off Goulding’s juxtaposed style of raw vocal talent versus exaggerated electronic production, the result being a dreamy soundscape that immerses the listener into its many layers of sound. Goulding’s siren-esque vocals are elegant yet powerful, and are offset perfectly by the serene essence of the backing track; it’s a fast paced amalgamation that comes across all rather simplistically. Those familiar with the demo recordings of this track will be pleased to know that the production quality has been much improved and Ellie’s vocals are stronger than ever. If you’ve been resisting the charms of Miss Goulding prior to this release, this could well be the time to admit defeat. It’s going to take a fleet of bandwagons to cope with the buzz around Ellie Goulding, and I certainly wouldn’t like to predict the limits of her potential. Tom Shepherd
Chapel Club O Maybe I Unsigned
The first thing which comes to mind when listening to ‘O Maybe I’ is that it could be The Smiths or Morrissey singing to you. In fact, Chapel Club are the ones doing the honours, a new band from London who are hotly tipped this year to be ones to watch. NME have announced Chapel Club will play a set at their awards show in London this month and the band are touring outside of London for the first time in February, which will no doubt see them rise through the musical ranks. The single is great. The vocals of lead singer soar throughout the song, his eerie voice reminiscent of Morrissey. Whilst the guitars ring out some catchy little riffs, the drums bring the song together perfectly. The single feels ‘real’, like this band have yet to be contaminated with the need to just produce music - this band feels music, as well as writes it. This single doesn’t get boring as with a lot of songs, with some great guitar effects ensuring the song peaks at the right time. All in all Chapel Club have succeeded in creating a single which is both interesting and enjoyable and should see the band increase its profile throughout the music world. Kate Golding
Owl City Fireflies Universal
I’m not sure I quite understand the British public’s choice in music anymore. Sure, there have been some terrible songs reaching the number 1 spot, but this song has not got the usual star singer behind it. ‘Fireflies’ is quite simply, awful. It’s synth-pop feeling is reminiscent of Hellogoodbye and although I liked that song, I can’t quite find the same sentiment for this one. The lyrics are annoying, his voice grates on me and the cheese level is through the roof. The song feels over-produced, with a lot of annoying little gimmicky noises filtering through, as well as Adam Young’s voice being dull and once again overly fine-tuned, giving the whole song a pristine finish but one which feels as though a computer has had far more involvement than Young himself. However, this song does have a happygo-lucky feel about it and clearly resonates with the usual young teenage audience. Having checked out the MySpace, the other songs are much more promising, which is why I can’t understand the thinking behind this as the single, although, what do I know? It got to number 1. Kate Golding
Uffie MCs Can Kiss Ed Banger
Uffie’s latest single ‘MCs Can Kiss’ released early this month, brought no surprises to those waiting for it. If you have managed to avoid the Uffie hype so far her singles (‘Ready To Uff’, ‘Pop The Glock’ and ‘Hot Chick’) tell you pretty much all you need to know about the fun electro-hop style of the sexy Parisian. The track is produced by electro maverick Mr Oizo who manages to successfully blend mutant disco (think Electric Six ‘Danger High Voltage’ meets Daft Punk). The single has Uffie flaunting the fact that she does not care about anything – including her music. The first noticeable problem with this single is just how dreadful her speak/rapping is. She barely rhymes, largely ignores the (good) Oizo beat, and continuously emphasizes her point: We the public are supposedly to blame for having let her career happen. Take aside the poor rhyming and lyrics - which we expect from her - this track overflows with a spirit of carefree fun and abandonment. Her unique entertaining electro-hop sound is light hearted, fun and worth listening too. Ed Kennedy
Well, good news! There are even more record reviews Want More? Course You Do! available at; www.wessexscene.co.uk/the-edge
Reel Big Fish, from left to right: Derek Gibbs, John Christianson, Scott Klopfstein, Aaron Barrett, Dan Regan, and Ryland Steen.
Reel Big Fish Only so many things can shake off the blues of a chilly January night. With howling winds and sub zero temperatures, I wanted nothing more than to curl up on the sofa and never poke my head outside again. As desirous as this was, I braved the cold of the Portsmouth sea front, and found a pick-me-up in the form of Reel Big Fish at the Portsmouth Pyramids. Up first were Sonic Boom Six, who somehow seemed a little over my head. A Ruff Guide To Genre-Terrorism – the title of their debut album - is so accurate it’s not necessarily a good thing. Their self proclaimed genre violence throws together reggae with ska, and punk with hip-hop amalgamating into a combination that gave me a headache. What I saw was horrendous, what I heard was even worse, but I seemed to be the only one whose senses were thoroughly offended. Virtually everyone else was jumping to music that was absent of a beat, singing along to lyrics that were indistinguishable from wailing, and enjoying an act that had as much appeal to me as the weather itself. Thankfully, Big D and the Kid’s Table seemed to have brought the sun from the US. The Bostonian septet were absolutely fantastic. The music was cheerful and full of depth, whilst the added dimension of the ‘Do Wop’ singers proved interesting and innovative. The girl’s synchronised dancing and skat singing somewhat resembled The Exorsisters (from the 90’s kid’s show Dr. Zitbag’s Transylvanian Pet Shop), but their style nodded courteously to a generation of skat singing long gone with style and class. Although they’ve been making and playing music for fourteen
PYRAMIDS CENTRE PORTSMOUTH TUESDAY, JANUARY 29
years now, Big D and the Kid’s Table are still as fresh faced and relevant to the skapunk scene as ever, and they produced a performance of epic proportions. But nothing can detract from the headline act this evening - Reel Big Fish were truly sensational! They were on top comedic form, with the banter between Aaron Barrett
“I had a glass of red wine...then threw up a delightful pinky colour!” and Scott Klopfenstein being simply hilarious, whilst the brass section excelled themselves with each track, souring through the notes with typical RBF grandeur and screech. The set itself was also fantastic – in just over an hour and a half, they crammed in just about every Reel Big Fish song you could wish for! They even managed to squeeze in a total of three covers: ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ from their latest album Fame Fortune and Fornification, the classic ‘Take on Me’, and the truly wacky but somehow excellent rendition of ‘Enter Sandman’. It really was a crazy hour and a half! Other personal highlights included Barrett hoisting his guitar over his head, and playing an astounding solo, whilst tracks ‘Where Have You Been?’ and ‘Trendy’ really got the crowd moving.
Yet, it was in the encore when RBF truly exceeded themselves. First, they launched into the many versions of ‘Suburban Rhythm’, showing their mastery of every musical genre by skirting through country and western to metal and everything in between. But what better way to round off a show that was perfect in so many ways, than classic drinking anthem ‘Beer’? Preluded by Barrett’s description of his last night drinking – “I had a glass of white wine, and then a glass of red wine, and then threw up a delightful pinky colour” – the night was concluded in a fun and raucous manner that suited the night’s happenings to a T. It was the perfect way to dispel the mid-exam January blues – guitars, trumpets, endless sex gags, and public butchering of Metallica. Superb! Hayley Taulbut
Good: The many versions of SR, delectable banter and super-happy ska! Bad: SB 6 singer ruined a version of ‘She Has a Girlfriend Now’.
Did you know...? Only founding member Aaron Barrett (pictured above) has been in the band since the beginning in 1992 - since then Reel Big Fish has had over eighteen different members, with only horn player Dan Regan and Scott Klopfestein coming close - their tenure has lasted over 12 years!
BRIXTON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21 Rise Against take the power and heft of today’s openers, Poison the Well, and the emotional sensibilities of the other support act, Thursday, and combine them to produce catchy but powerful punk songs. And it’s because they take the best of both which is why they are the band headlining tonight’s gig. Poison the Well are well regarded in the hardcore scene, but understandably carry little crossover appeal. Not many of the audience are here to watch them, and this is disappointing as they turn in an earnest performance, the poor Brixton sound not hampering them as much as it does the act which follow; Thursday’s performance isn’t lacking in energy, but the intricacies of their sound are lost. Despite finishing on the indelible ‘Jet Black New Year’, the band’s short set is ultimately not as memorable as they would have desired it to be. By the time Rise Against come on the sound is fine, and they certainly make the most of it. The band’s logo on an enormous backdrop and two upside-down American flags at either side at the front mean the stage is visually striking. Opening with a one-two punch of ‘Collapse’ and the brutal ‘State of the Union’ to a rapturous reception, it is clear that this is Rise Against’s time. The
But Wait! There’s More!
latest album, Appeal to Reason, was well received, and the band appears extremely confident on the biggest stage they have played in London in their ten year career. The band played a few songs from that album, ‘Re-Education (Through Labor)’, ‘Audience of One’, and the popular single ‘Savior’, but large chunks of the setlist was derived from popular album The Sufferer and the Witness: ‘Drones’, ‘The Good Left Undone’ and ‘Chamber the Cartridge’ whipping up a storm in the sold out Brixton Academy. The band’s stage presence has gone from strength to strength, frontman Tim McIlrath able to keep the crowd in the palm of his hand, ably supported by Zach Blair and Brandon Barnes. The only disappointments of the night are perhaps the lack of songs from their first two albums (save for ‘Blood – Red, White, and Blue’) and also how the normally brilliant ‘Paper Wings’ sounds a little flat tonight. This is more than made up for though, by the rest of the set, including a double encore. First Tim comes out with an acoustic guitar and plays the grab-your-neighbour-and-singa-long ‘Swing Life Away’, before the video screens are turned back on, for another
semi acoustic song, ‘Hero of War’. This is accompanied with images of battle on the video, and the rest of the band resuming their instruments at different points through the song. With these it certainly feels a lot more effective live than it does on record, where it seems slightly obvious. The second encore features ‘Dancing For Rain’, ‘Give it All’, and finally, the excellent ‘Ready to Fall’. Echoes of the catchy chorus in that last song are still darting around the academy by curfew time. Rise Against played a great set tonight, consummate stage performers and musicians alike, solidifying their position at the very top of the melodic punk genre. Rik Sharma
Good: Fantastic stage presence, and very catchy songs! Bad: A little off key at times, and lukewarm support acts.
That’s right! You can find even more live reviews and upcoming gig news at; www.wessexscene.co.uk/the-edge
EXPOSED BRINGING YOU THE SOUTH’S BEST NEW MUSIC
Viva Sleep Sleep is for the weak
Welcome to our brand new Exposed section; alerting you to new and exciting bands in the South. We’re kicking off the section with the band Viva Sleep. Viva Sleep are a progressive pop punk band who are on the verge of releasing their debut ep. Interestingly, the band have opted for a very original and personal approach to the aesthetics of the record, in which each member of the band (and owner of their record label, Tom!) has taken their own pictures to be used for the ep’s cover. (Examples shown below.) Sound interesting? Then read on..
bands, but in general there’s a big spread. The Mars Volta, Hundred Reasons and Jimmy Eat World are probably the most shared inﬂuences. In relation to current music I think we have things in common with bands like Tubelord and Biffy Clyro, but we still have a more ‘Rock’ vibe than them.
Talk us through your sound. Fast, urgent, layered rock music; there’s obvious hat tips to punk, prog, hardcore etc but really I think we’re a rock band.
What do you think of the South’s music scene at the moment? It’s pretty vibrant. I work within the music community and I’ve been impressed with the current crop of bands coming through. I think a few years ago it was very good, then there was a distinct dip a while back which we’re now riding our way out of. I think bands like Burn The Fleet, The Moullettes and Wise Children have a genuine shout at making waves on a national level.
Who would you cite as your inﬂuences and how does that come across in your music? I think we all share inﬂuences from a few
Tell us about the new ep. The House of Viva Sleep began as a Double A-side single, but we hit a blue streak and wrote a bunch of songs which we were
really happy with, so we threw them into the equation and added our two favorites from the demos from the cut last year and made a proper record out of it. Where did the idea for the front cover for the ep come about? I think it was Tom from Walnut Trees (records) idea which we all knocked heads on and came up with the ﬁnal product idea. We don’t see ourselves as a band trying to ‘make it’ our goals are simply to write and record the music we enjoy making and play some good shows, so the DIY idea suited us down to the ground. There are some very interesting pictures taken! Was there any criteria in mind when taking the pictures? Absolutely not, they’re a mix of pics taken speciﬁcally as they looked good and just pics which we liked. They’re all taken by us though. I put forward pics of my old pets and a lot of pics from holiday, good memories
basically. Could this be a continuing theme. Without trying to jump the gun, could this idea be expanded for future releases? I don’t see why not. It could become our ‘thing’. Finally, what is in the pipeline for the band in the not too distant future? Play some shows, we have a show on the 10th of Feb with Twin Atlantic and Canterbury (Joiners) and then on the 13th of March we’re doing a joint launch show at the Joiners with our buddies Burn the Fleet. I think we’re going to look at doing a little jaunt at some point if the release goes down well! Viva Sleep’s debut ep, ‘The House Of Viva Sleep’ is available for preorder now from Walnut Tree Records. Interview By Tom Shepherd
Straight talking from KPMG. Graduate Programmes All degree disciplines When it comes to what we do, thereâ€™s no need for spin. We offer audit, tax and advisory services to everyone from oil companies to music gurus. And when you join us, youâ€™ll do the same. Simple really. For more straight talking, visit www.kpmg.co.uk/careers
WATCH OUT FOR THESE FILMS
Up In The Air
George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick RELEASED January 15th RATING: 15 With a great script, immaculate performances and stylish cinematography, Up In The Air is a return to an old Hollywood style of movie making. That is to say that, it is the acting of George Clooney himself that wows us rather than his blue C-G, 3-D counterpart. If this be the case however, why was it that I left the cinema feeling a little dissatisfied and slightly underwhelmed? Ryan Bingham (Clooney) is a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened with the arrival of Nathalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) to the company, and her innovations in video conferencing. Motivated only by constant movement and the obtaining of frequent flyer miles, Ryan loves the nomadic nature of his job. In order to prove the error in Nathalie’s logic and retain his in-flight perks, Ryan takes her on a series of trips to show her the realities of firing employees. Whilst Ryan advocates the need for human interaction in his profession, his prefers a somewhat isolated personal life, until he meets Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga). The female version of himself, Alex proves to be Ryan’s perfect opposite. It is in his relationship with these two women that, Ryan gradually begins to question his isolated existence. The credentials of the film rest almost en-
tirely on the slick performances of Kendrick, Farmiga and particularly Clooney. Kendrick and Farmiga counteract each other perfectly; Kendrick portrays the hopefulness of youth, whilst Farmiga exudes an older-and-wiser cynicism. It is Clooney however, who brings the sassy-Cary-Grant-esque elegance to the film. To watch George Clooney in this film, is to be reminded of the beguiling pleasures of cinema. He is both suave and graceful in a particularly difficult role. At the end of the film, however, I stumped. For one I wondered about Clooney’s character. Would he really continue to lead the same banal and isolated life? Would his revelatory journey not deter him from the job that he had so loved? Perhaps that is entirely the point, that a man in that situation had nothing else but to continue on with the
“Clooney shines in an otherwise fairly banal and mediocre film.”
same lonely existence. But for another - the ending of the film is ridiculous. The company stands to save millions of dollars through the new video conferencing scheme, but because Nathalie leaves, they abandon her innovation. In reality, the company would continue with the cost-cutting exercise, and Ryan would be taken off the road and maybe even fired himself. Besides Clooney, the topicality of the film is the key to its success. Considering the current economic climate, Up In The Air seems to have more resonance now than it could have done in its original novel form, written in 2001 by Walter Kirn. To cast former employees who’ve recently become victims of the recession is a stroke of genius. However these moments of realistic brilliance are not only brief but also rare. If only the rest of the film had felt so honest, Up In The Air might’ve offered something more special. Despite its numerous Academy Award nominations, for me Up In The Air was disappointing. Jason Reitman hasn’t managed to conjure up the kind of old-school ‘moviemagic’ that I had expected. Clooney simply shines in an otherwise fairly banal and mediocre film. By Amy Steadman
Good: A great script.
Bad: A rather unrealistic and disappointing ending.
Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllanhaal, Natalie Portman Released January 22nd RATING: 15
Based on a Danish film directed by Susanne Bier, starring Americans Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman, and now helmed by multiple Oscar nominee, Irishman Jim Sheridan, Brothers arrives in cinemas with an international pedigree. Captain Sam Cahill (Maguire) is devoted to his army regiment, his country and has a happy family life. He learns that he is to be shipped to Afghanistan. His brother Tommy (Gyllenhaal) has been let out of prison, much to the disgruntlement of their father who favours his upstanding and patriotic military son. However, Sam’s helicopter is shot down and he and a fellow soldier are taken hostage. Sam’s wife Grace (Portman) is informed that her husband has been declared missing and presumed dead and Tommy takes responsibility to take care of his brother’s family. Tommy and Grace grow close as he becomes an increasingly present fixture in the family, and a surrogate father for Sam’s daughters. Meanwhile, having been rescued by American troops after months of captivity and torture, Sam returns. He is a changed man, both physically and psychologically. Paranoid and disillusioned, Sam begins to suspect of his brother’s and wife’s infidelity with violent consequences. Due to the current conflict in Iraq and Af-
Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllanhaal portray brothers in this film. In real life the pair are often mistaken for one another and have even reached the point of signing autographs for one another.
ghanistan, war and its effects are socially relevant topics for films to depict. Most recently Kathryn Bigelow showed us with visceral intensity and claustrophobic horror, the experiences of a bomb disposal unit in The Hurt Locker. Before that Ari Folman, in his superlative animated, semi-autobiographical documentary Waltz with Bashir, depicted soldiers’ complete repression of the atrocities of war; a shared amnesia. Sheridan shows both in Brothers. Sam’s capture in Afghanistan is captured through handheld camera shots that visually excavate the confined underground cell he inhabits. And the torture he is subjected to is rendered indescribable through language when, on his return to his home, Grace persistently asks him, “What did they do to you out there?” He stares back, unable and unwilling to recall events and responds, “What happened with you and Tommy?” In these tense exchanges, the film deals with psychological trauma caused by war in a reserved and mature manner. It would be impossible for film to ever come close to depicting all aspect of war as they are actually experienced, which is why Sam’s transformation may have been more powerful if we had not been shown what happened whilst he was out there. The other half of the film deals with Tom-
my and Grace growing closer. He and his work friends build her a new kitchen, and his father finds a new respect for his other son, who is finally taking responsibility for something. Tommy, assuming that his brother is gone, is beginning to act more like him. It is now his duty to care for his brother’s family; the final memory of Sam. All of the performances, for the most part, are played with sincerity and restraint and against type. Jake Gyllenhaal is surprisingly good as the black-sheep brother and convincingly portrays his own transformation from criminal to caring father-figure. Natalie Portman does enough with a script that only really requires her to mourn for her husband. But it is Tobey Maguire who often impresses as Sam, even if the end climax scenes are played a little melodramatically and it takes a bit of effort to see him as a high-ranking army officer. He was Peter Parker after all. By Adam Vaughn Good: All performances are noteworthy in this well-crafted piece of fim. Bad: A bit of overacting on Maguire’s part in a misjudged climax.
Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup Released January 22nd Rating: 18
In the last issue of The Edge, Stephen O’Shea in his review of Avatar, was faced with a dilemma: ‘How do you start a review about the most expensive movie ever made and the most anticipated film of the last year?’ And so it is that I find myself in a similar quandary with A Prophet. How do I begin a review of one of the most laudedover and universally praised films of the last twelve months? Jacques Audiard’s French prison drama clinched the Grand Prix award at Cannes, was crowned Sight & Sound’s Film of the Year, and won the London Film Festival’s inaugural Best Film prize, not to mention its other award triumphs and nominations, and heaps of critical commendations. It was lucky then, that I went into the screening without having read any reviews and without having heard any opinions. And in response to my previous predicament, I think it’s best I start with a synopsis. Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim), a young Arab man, has been sentenced to six years in prison for, possibly, assaulting a police officer, although no explicit allusion is made. Whilst inside he is called upon by the prison’s Corsican king-pin, Luciani (Niels Arestrup) to ‘waste’ a fellow prisoner, Reyeb (Hichem Yacoubi), who may have ties to the mob boss. In one of the most harrowing scenes in the film, and in any recent film, Malik practices his execution technique. He stands facing his cell mirror and rehearses concealing a razor blade in his mouth. Wincing, he reposi-
tions it with his tongue, occasionally spitting out blood into the sink. Subsequently, having earned the protection of the Corsicans, Malik starts to manufacture his own criminal business from inside the prison. Illiterate, he begins learning how to read and speak Corsican, thus allowing him to slyly study the make-up of Luciani’s criminal enterprise. He gradually becomes entrusted within the prison crime syndicate and, due to his own business, begins to live comfortably inside. Haunted by supernatural visions of Reyeb, and able to move freely between the Corsicans and the Muslim community in the prison, Malik is christened as a prophet. A Prophet is one of those films, like last year’s Let the Right One In, that appear as if from nowhere, able to blow you away with their audacious storytelling and reassurance that the director knows where the story is going to end up. Yes, Audiard’s film enters screens with a trail of gold and critical praise behind it, but it certainly hasn’t received as much high-profile publicity as say, Avatar. With A Prophet, it truly is a case of the film itself doing all the talking. The story reminded me of modern masterpieces like The Godfather and Goodfellas, and their narratives of small-time criminals rising through the mob ranks. The film plays out with an air of inevitability where, in such a hostile environment, crime is seemingly inescapable. In this way it is reminiscent of Fernando Meirelles’ City of God, where life in
the favelas of Rio is its own prison and crime is the only thing that its inhabitants know. In A Prophet, Malik is given days of leave for him to conduct Luciani’s business overseas. In a sequence that captures the inexorable grasp of crime, Malik walks through an airport metal detector sticking out his tongue, unconsciously mimicking the prison’s search procedure. Part of the film’s strength comes from the central performance by newcomer Tahar Rahim, whose total embodiment of Malik and growth from petty crook to criminal entrepreneur is always engaging. Arestrup’s performance as Luciani is also effective. He portrays both an intimidating and unpredictably aggressive crime boss, and a man scared of dying in prison alone. Bold, tense and ambitious, A Prophet is an original, uncomfortable yet endlessly watchable film. If not quite perfect, as some scenes play out a little too leisurely, it gets ever so close. By Adam Vaughn Good: Newcomer Rahim’s outstanding performance and Audiard’s direction. Bad: Some slowly placed scenes that are only a minor quibbles.
Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Gerard Butler, Michael C. Hall RELEASED 16th September 2009 RATING: 18 When Gamer and its trailers first hit our tv screens and entered our lives all the way back in August/September this reporter was quite intrigued by the premise of the film and
what it was trying to achieve, but with a busy schedule and other films to see I never got round to viewing it. That was until I recently watched the action thriller on DVD. And to be more than quite frank I now wish I hadn’t bothered. Gamer is set some time in the future where two new games have swept across the world and taken it by storm. ‘Society’, a Sims like game but those playing it control actual people rather than fake computer images, and ‘Slayers’, a similar game which sees gamers take control of death row inmates who have to survive thirty rounds of the game to be set free, but of course no one gets that close. The story of Gamer is concerned with one Slayer in particular, Kable who is played by Gerad Butler and his attempts to achieve that thirty game prize. But as the story and the film unfolds all is not what it seems and it appears that computer game designer Ken Castle, portrayed by Michael C. Hall, is hiding an extremely dark plan for all of us. At first glance Gamer would appear to have some pretty good ideas about challenging the world in which we live in. These ideas are evident throughout the film, but they are expressed in such a shocking fashion that one is inclined to forget about them and simply cringe in disgust. The entire film paints the human race as game and sex obsessed monsters who crave destruction and nudity. The movie can barely make it five
minutes at a time without something exploding or providing rather overly graphic shots of women. And while the message is obvious and poignant from the start it soon becomes repetitive and overwhelming. The action shots are often quite cool but even they become monotonous and boring by the end. Gerad Butler is capable once more in what has become a generic action role for this Hollywood favourite. The only real star of this film is Dexter star Michael C. Hall who shines as the evil genius Ken Castle. He is both believable and extremely creepy throughout the film, providing Gamer with most of its intrigue and its intensity. All that remains to be said about Gamer is what I’ve said throughout this article and that is that it attempts to tackle some interesting issues all be it in a rather confusing way, but ends up going way to far and instead of getting us to question our own humanity we are left questioning the disturbing imagination of writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. By Stephen O’Shea Good: Some decent action sequences. Bad: Offensive visuals.
Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder RELEASED 26th July 1991 RATING: PG “His scars run deep.” Tim Burton films always have a sense of the extra-ordinary about them, but the trailers for his latest creation, Alice in Wonderland, indicate that he might have surpassed his previous achievements in weird and wonderful film-making. For over three decades Tim Burton has brought us classics ranging from Batman to The Nightmare Before Christmas, to Coraline, but perhaps none has been more crucial to the process which has led him to Alice in Wonderland than his 1990 classic, Edward Scissorhands. Edward Scissorhands envelopes everything that is now a must for any Tim Burton film, stylised sets and characters who are
caricatures of themselves, outlandish but pristine hairstyles and pastel coloured landscapes. The beauty of Edward Scissorhands however, lies in Edward himself (Johnny Depp) whose gothic and tragic appearance makes for an overwhelming antithesis to the sugar frosting sprinkled on the community in which he comes to inhabit. Edward Scissorhands’ life begins in a gothic, run-down mansion at the top of a hill, where he is found by the community’s kindly Avon lady, Peg Boggs (Dianne West), who takes him down the hill and welcomes him into her family. Initially, Edward adapts perfectly, his skills with haircutting and hedge-trimming making for the light relief moments in this film. However, things begin to go wrong for Edward as he falls in love with Peg Boggs’ daughter Kim (Winona Ryder). Kim’s jealous boyfriend, Jim (Anthony Michael Hall), tricks the innocent and eager-
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to-please Edward into committing a theft, and further incidents afterwards convice the townspeople that he is a dangerous monster. The moment at which Edward’s fate is sealed indefinitely is one of the most poignant and distressing moments in the film. Kim finds Edward alone in the garden making an ice sculpture of an angel, which creates ice shavings that fall around Kim like snow. Snow has never been seen before in the community and Kim dances underneath it. As she dances, Kim’s boyfriend Jim appears, at which point Edward accidently cuts her as he turns round. With this single move, Edward’s fate is decided; he will never be accepted, and he flees back to the mansion as the mob of townspeople, led by Jim, rise against him. The police convince the mob that Edward has died, but Kim, refusing to believe this, follows Edward into the mansion, where she is unknowingly followed by Jim. Inevitably, a fight ensues which ends in Jim being killed. With this, Kim kisses Edward and returns to the bottom of the hill. As the film closes, we move forward many years, to an elderly Kim telling her grandchildren the story of Edward Scissorhands. When asked how she knows
Edward is still there, Kim’s response that it never snowed before Edward came, and the following cut to snow pouring from the mansion as Edward sculpts ice, alone and having remained as young as when he first left the mansion, is one of the most affecting images in cinematic history. The stylisation of Tim Burton films that we are now so familiar with was not the only trend to be fostered by Edward Scissorhands. Burton’s casting of Johnny Depp in the role of Edward assured Depp a career as one of the foremost actors of the decade, through a role that was as far removed from his typical bad-boy style as it was possible to be. The relationship between Depp and Burton has continued through many of the films which followed Edward Scissorhands. Edward Scissorhands boasts just the right blend of the cooky, the frightening and the beautiful to be hailed as Tim Burton’s finest film –it remains to be seen if Alice in Wonderland will be stealing that crown. By Charlotte Woods
If you love films as much as we do, you can find even more film reviews at; www.wessexscene.co.uk/the-edge
LONDON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12
GIGS, CONCERTS, SHOWS ETC
Muse Muse have a reputation, well deserved most would agree, for being one of the best live bands in the world! Not too shabby for three chaps who grew up in Teignmouth, Devon. I feel I have to add that I’m a massive Muse fan and watching them headline at 2008’s V-festival was one of the best live performances I’ve seen. It must appear odd then, that despite boasting for weeks to whoever would listen; deep down I had strong concerns that the evening just wouldn’t measure up. Their latest album The Resistance was met with mixed reviews, often seen as being too self-indulgent and overambitious: after all it closes with a three part fifteen minute rock symphony. These were sentiments I partly shared, and worries that the set-list would be dominated by this persisted throughout the support. As The Big Pink wrapped up their set, having done an admirable job warming up the packed out crowd belting out tunes, especially their hit ‘Dominoes’, all eyes stayed glued to the stage as the audience eagerly awaited Muse. When the lights dimmed three giant towers reaching as high as the arena itself lit up to the sound of marching and shouting, setting the scene of a totalitarian state. Then out of nowhere the veil was dropped and the towers were revealed to contain the band elevated in midair imme-
diately plunging straight into hit single ‘Uprising’. This was followed immediately by ‘Resistance’ and the excess only continued to grow as I was treated to enough lasers to give the whole crowd 20:20 vision. Even right at the back the sound was unreal, effortlessly filling the Arena. In a swirling mass of lyrics about unproven crimes, thought police and love as resistance I was worried I was having so much fun I was committing a thought crime! All my fears instantly disappeared as everything that was criticized about the album seemed to become meaningless. Over the top, chaotic, over ambitious - yes. But perfect at full volume. For me this encapsulates what Muse are all about, and what elevates them above other bands: not content playing an incredible gig they also bring to bear a mind-blowing visual experience leaving everyone in the arena wondering how such a powerful sound and presence can come from only three people. Not that I minded, but for those not partial to Muse’s latest tracks the new material was sufficiently mixed up with classics such as ‘Plug In Baby’, ‘Hysteria’ and ‘Time Is Running Out’, as well as favourites from their last album, namely ‘SuperMassive Black Hole’ and ‘Starlight’; all enabling guitarist Matt Bellamy to prove his status as guitar hero has in no way
diminished. By the time the signature piano and loud-hailer appeared for favourite ‘Feeling Good’ the audience couldn’t get enough. Instrumental interludes provided a break from moshing long enough for bassist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer Dom Howard to showcase their musical talents before heading back into the action. As the encore closed with ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ and the mighty ‘Knights of Cydonia’, I wondered how I ever could have doubted them. If I had to put my finger on any negatives it would only be that classics like ‘Butterflies and Hurricanes’ had to be dropped from the set-list in favour of the new material. This is just me being really picky; for me they never really disappointed, and Muse are never more at home than playing a stadium filled to the brim with their massive, insanely eccentric and deliciously over the top sound. If I had to sum up this latest tour in three words... A-MAZ-ING! Adam Ford Good: Epic sights and sounds.
Bad: Perhaps too much from The Resistance?
Breed 77 TALKING HEADS SOUTHAMPTON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19 For a band that have been around since the early 90’s, I was unsure what to expect from Breed 77. Combined with the fact their music fuses together the disparete genres of metal and flamenco, I travelled to the Talking Heads with mixed feelings of anticipation and intrigue. But my worries were soon quashed. Supported by emo-rockers Cars on Fire, and London based quintet Symphony Cult, the Talking Heads brimmed with excitement and energy. And Breed 77 did not disappoint! The Cuban five-peice burst onto the stage with a menacing fury to the ticking introduction of ‘Wake Up’, perfectly exemplifying their flamenco-metal style. This swiftly gave way to the classic ‘Blind’, surely one of their best tracks, with even Bruce Dickinson (vocalist, Iron Maiden) placing it within his top five songs from the year of release. Breed 77 then followed with ‘ New Disease’, a brand new track from their latest album Insects, kicking up the pace with a fantastic Mediterranean breakdown. Despite the Talking Heads being a little empty, the gig was going well: the band
were energised, the sound was crisp and there were some die hard metal fans giving it their all at the front. Yet it was a rather bizarre performance in many ways, littered with hiccups and oddities. Drummer Os-
car Preciado suffered some tecnical difficulties throughout the entirity of ‘Alive’, spending the whole song signalling to people off
“They are definitely a band worthy of greater success.”
were blasted over the sound system as little interludes whilst the band were off stage, and at their reappearance, they worked the material into the live show almost seemlessly. To add to the problems, vocalist Paul Idola had a sore throat. But all credit to him - he battled through the whole performance with such determination that the little flaws in his voice were barely detectable. They closed the gig with an excellent cover of The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’, giving this song a new lease of life, the Breed 77 way. They topped off the 12 song set with an encore of the classic ‘La Ultima Hora’ to great applause. After sincere thanks from the band, Breed 77 vacated the stage after a great performance on the whole which showed their song writing prowess and versatility. They are definitely a band worthy of greater success.
stage. Just as they were about to break into Alex Payne another song the gig came to an abrupt stop. It turns out he had played a whole song minus a snare drum, splitting the skin halfway through under the Good: Varied set, weight of his drumming. Nevertheeclectic musical fusion, energetic less he made up for it with an excrowd. cellent drum solo, involving a lot of drumsticks being thrown in the air. Bad: A few minor To add to the oddities, Breed 77 mishaps, but nothing spent a lot of the set playing preto ruin the night. recorded tracks in addition to their live performance. Album tracks
Breed 77. From Left to Right: Stuart Cavilla, Pedro Jose Caparros Paul Isola, Danny Felic, Oscar Preciado.
Vocalist Paul Idola
CULTURE Obituary: J. D. Salinger (1919 - 2010)
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” J. D. Salinger, famous as the man who did not want to be famous, died of natural causes at his New Hampshire home. The 91-year-old had spent the last 50 years living in quiet seclusion there; he is survived by his two children from his second marriage and his third wife. Remembered as the author of one of the
most famous and celebrated novels of the Twentieth Century, The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger’s disillusioned yet innocent 16-yearold hero Holden Caulfield became the voice of thousands of students across America. His tale of adolescent angst and rebellion made them realise that they were not alone in their alienation; it was ok for them to be disdainful of convention and conformity, yet self-conscious and uncomfortable in society. Born Jerome David Salinger to a Jewish businessman father and a Scots-Irish mother in 1919, he grew up in Manhattan, New York. After dropping out of the exclusive McBurney School on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, he was sent to the harsh world of a military academy in Valley Forge, Pennsyl-
vania. While there he edited the academy’s yearbook, Crossed Sabres, and also began writing stories, publishing many of them in magazines during the 1940s. During 1938 he travelled to Europe to learn about his father’s meat business, but had “a happy tourist’s year” there instead. He attended three universities (New York, Ursinus College and Columbia) but never received a degree. When America became involved in World War Two following the attack on Pearl Harbour, Salinger was drafted into the army. He was stationed in England, at Tiverton, Devon, and was part of the landing at Utah Beach on D-Day in 1944. It was during the war that he met his first wife, a German woman named Sylvia, whom little is known
about except that she was a member of the Nazi party. They divorced less than a year later. Throughout this time Salinger was writing stories and publishing them at regular intervals. They received some interest, but it was not until the publication of his first and only novel that Salinger gained critical and public acclaim. The Catcher in the Rye became a bestseller, and continues to be to this day. Reading it is seen as a rite of passage for many young people who did not want to be ‘phoney’, and the voice of disenchantment is as pertinent today as it was in 1951; it captured the mood of a generation, and of every generation that followed. Salinger’s next book, Nine Stories, was published in 1953, and it was also during this year that he settled in New Hampshire and became a recluse to the outside world. He requested that his photograpth be removed from the cover of his books and refused all interviews and questions. His only other works included Franny and Zooey in 1961, and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour in 1663. His last published work appeared in The New Yorker in 1965, ‘Hapworth 16, 1924’. Most of the short stories contained in his works concerned the fictional Glass family, whom Salinger’s daughter believed he loved more than his own children. In 1955 he married his second wife Claire Douglas, with whom he had two children, Margaret and Matthew. They later divorced in 1967. He had a notable relationship with writer Joyce Maynard, a 19-year-old Yale student who dropped out of her freshman year to live with the 35-year-old writer after an article she had written for the New York Times Sunday Magazine caught his eye. Nine months later he grew bored and sent her away. In 1988 he married nurse Colleen O’Neill, 40 years his junior, who survives him. An aura of mystery surrounded the reclusive writer because he did his best to thwart any attempts to write an autobiography of him. He so hated being recognised that he would run away from people who tried to approach him in the street, and would eat in the kitchens of restaurants to avoid people. Although it is 45 years since he last published any writings, friends have revealed that his home contains a locked safe protecting at least 15 finished manuscripts, all concerning the Glass family. They will either be published or destroyed upon his death. Hopefully it is the former. Emmeline Curtis
Assassin’s Creed II
ALL THE BEST GAMING RELEASES
PS3/360 Ubisoft’s much anticipated sequel to 2007 surprise hit Assassin’s Creed on Xbox 360 and PS3 has arrived. Let’s take a look at what the history students will be complaining about in 2010... Assassin’s Creed 2 begins by busting out of the original’s futuristically decorated templar prison with help from modern day assassin, Lucy. For those who played the first game, the vengeance felt while kicking one of your captors as he lies prone on the ground as white hooded assassin descendent and former bar-tender Desmond feels very satisfying. The escape provides an exciting opener, (re)introduction to the simple combat, and opportunity for exposition about the ongoing templar-assassin war. We arrive at our new hideout where new friends, tomboyish engineer Rebecca and sarcastic, sidelined database managercome-assassin Shaun (voiced by Danny Wallace) show us an S&M style chair which will be our home for the next 20+ hours, the animus 2.0, before shunning us “to do some work”, making this new area as much a prison as the last one for those of us keen to see the modern assassins in action before rushing back to the Renaissance. The developers want us back in the chair, we oblige. We step into the worn boots of brash young banker’s son and assassin descendent, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, in the late 15th Century. He’s womanising, violent and agile to a fault, but has a lot to learn during the following decades fighting against his Italiano passion and righteous bloodlust. The starting approach already makes a lot more sense than being stripped of your equipment (acceptable) and skills, like THE ABILITY TO DEFEND YOURSELF (what!?) as Altair was. The opening credits as young adult Ezio shows the setting sun over Florence with your brother, Federico, sitting satisfied at your side on a rooftop, and their honest warming dialogue, “we lead a good life, brother”, “the best” you reply. It fills you with awe at how good a choice of location, geographically and chronologically, Renaissance Italy is. New tricks provided by Leonardo Da Vinci, acting as your ‘Q’ and Alan Turing rolled into one, include the one shot firearm, smoke bombs, the poison tipped wrist blade,
and finally the beautifully realised double wrist blades for those of you wondering, “Why aren’t I able to really kill that conversation those two guards are having?” Many of the niggling flaws have been fixed; the beggar who pushes you into a guard just as you make your move on a long-watched target has been replaced with a minstrel who can be distracted with cash. Other problems remain: archers still fall from rooftops after you spend careful minutes sneaking up to quietly remove them, alerting the target below and forcing the question of why you can’t lay them gently down or push them to a death which doesn’t have your name written on it in neon: “It could’ve been an accident, I heard he drinks on the job and has balance like a see-saw with a brothel on one end.” Everybody laughs, back to guarding, etc. etc. Vehicle travel has been improved but it may be not enough, the wilderness and endless sprint between cities has been removed leaving much less need for horses, but the wild coach run, Da Vinci’s glider and the serene gondola feel like, at best, gimmicks or, at worst, annoyances and breaks in the game’s otherwise seamless flow. Despite the same sort of gripes as the first, Assassin’s Creed 2 is not a game I could put down. It has its faults, probably more glaring that in many other games, but you won’t care when you look up from the building you were surveying with your free-runner’s eye to see the sun glistening on the water beyond a gondolier, shadows dance on the roof tiles, a thief clambering up a balcony with a skill you recognise as your own, courtesans fanning themselves waiting to be called upon and fire breathers playing to the entertained crowd. You can’t help but enjoy the simplicity of the thing; the visuals are stunning, the missions short, sharp, and satisfying, the whole thing feels polished and the sci-fi aspect doesn’t detract from your belief in this immersive world of templar conspiracy. This game is such a leap past the original concept that if they can use this as another seemingly impossible stepping stone on the free-run to perfection, then Assassin’s Creed III may well be the game of our lifetime. Harry Campbell
Good: Free running is as good as ever.
Bad: Fumbled final mission set-up.
Midgar @ Joiners 19.30
Amy Can Flyy @ Joiners 19.30
Joey Cape @ Joiners 19.30
Fight Or Die @ Joiners 19.30
22 ExLovers @ Joiners 19.30
The Drums @ Talking Heads 19.30
1 Lisa Mitchell @ Joiners 19.30
8 Coco Montoya @ The Brook 20.00 AIM Society Presents Soma High + The Sharps @ Bridge Bar 20.00
Tristram @ Hamptons 20.00
THURSDAY Girls @ Talking Heads 20.00
Lulla Violet @ Joiners 19.30 Bad For Lazarus @ Hamptons 20.00
4 A Loss For Words @ Joiners 20.00
26 Fever Season @ Joiners 19.30 Lostprophets @ Guildhall 19.00
Pretty Visitors @ Hamptons 20.00
Errors @ Joiners 19.30
The Queue @ Joiners 19.30 Animal Kingdom @ Hamptons 20.00
BeatBullyz @ Unit 22.00
SATURDAY Virtue @ Joiners 19.30 So Many Dynamos @ Unit 22.00
Danny Connors and the Ladders 19.30
Pronghorn @ Talking Heads 19.30 Imperial Leisure @ Hamptons 20.00
Paper Aeroplanes @ Hamptons 20.00
CasioKids @ Joiners 19.30
Alex Hadaway @ Joiners 19.30
Rachael Dadd @ Hamptons 20.00
First Aid Kit @ Hamptons 20.00