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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 100

Date:- 24 May 2003

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Music Reviews
By Dominic Bonner
 
Andy Stochansky - Five Star Motel
(BMG Records)

*****
CANADIAN born Andy Stochansky may not be the best-known name to appear from across the pond in recent years, despite having almost 10 years in the frame. But like rare gems and their value, his work has always been an eclectic affair – Five Star Motel ebbs and flows in similar fashion.

Five star motel certainly could not be accused of complicity. The relaxed approach of this album rides nomadically from song to song, in which a key element of purpose appears blatantly missing.

The relationship of the songs are often at odds where it would seem that Stochansky cannot get to grips with what his aims are – Particularly the arrangements whereby the influences of coldplay and contemporary rock override just about everything on the album – Especially on the magical ‘Stutter’ or the opposing mind numbing experience of Miss USA.

Some touching moments are provided given the totality of ‘Everest’ and a sense of dreaminess overrides any sense of Stochansky’s nauseous voice in which simplicity of ’22 steps’ draws in a totally joyous sensory experience.

A lack real direction lyrically opens a quagmire of missed chances on Five Star Motel only leaning to pretension, which leads to a somewhat gaudy piece of music hitting or missing the target in no particular order.
 
Kealer - My Own Worst Enemy
(Zomba Records/BMG)
*****
 
FRAGMENTS or shards of a life led in broken pieces of distortion are often difficult or indescribable life events for most of us. Front man Jason Kelly manages to complete his mission impossible with his insatiable lust for experience etching an autobiographical album that describes a never-ending but well catalogued lyrical cyclone.

Tinges of dirt rock from the Liverpool band open the album with a Manchester sound dated a decade ago yet sounding remarkably fresh with the cross-city musical influences. The shadow influence of Ian McCulloch is very evident from the Bunnymenesque ‘Out of a Son’ setting subtle tones and style for the rest of this 11 track ditty. 

This is not a monotone affair of an album. A catchy ‘Superman’ bites the nose from the face with its pot noodle appeal and mixes with several hard faced rock tracks – including some difficult but touching ballads. 

Adult orientated rock took to the back stage a few years back when REM’s popularity waned slightly, but the illustration lyrically and musically from ‘my own worst enemy’ is that anthemic music has still a refreshing creative edge where other parts just do not reach.
Marilyn Manson The Golden Age of Grotesque
(Nothing/Interscope Records)
*****
BRILLIANT masterpieces show genius, zeal and creative levels that set a milestone to achieve in the years to come. However, a burning sensation of achievement appears bereft with little left to insult or shock from an artist that has thrived on keeping us all in awe of his levels of depravity - But this ministry nu-metal offering serves only to send the message that Manson has peaked.

Sadly, this has little musical creativity and the invective contents of the bowls and bladder. This absurd farcical show has to stop and reassess its drive if it is show the force of resurgence shown on Anti-Christ superstar and Holywood. Nevertheless, the track ‘This is the new shit’ points only to paradox from a celebrity immersed in illusion who will no doubt laugh all the way to the bank with this release.

Travesties to his former genius are obvious as ‘Ka-boom Ka-boom’ yields the album to a generation of archetypal computer gamers listening to their music as they play – pointing to a rather bland and uncreative offering that remains flatulent throughout . Rarely moments of brilliance are shown and the album title track only serves to illustrate sparks of the brilliant experimental piece of art that Manson has become. 

Controversial as ever, Manson achieves confusion but in a few years time, the suggestion that ‘Golden age of Grotesque’ is nothing short of a wet rag based on depression may be laughable or that it is a genius at work that made a horrible faux pas.

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