EDucational REVIEWS (E.R.)

It's the middle of year 2009 and It seems that there are a lot of album releases by our Legendary NEW WAVE 80s icons lately. Mike Sutton invited me at a yahoo group two years ago and I got to know "ED WALLACE". Though, I'm not an active member of the group composed mostly of Americans who loves music, I find ED's album reviews very informative. He reviews any kinds of musical genres and so I asked him if It's okay with him that I'll feature his album reviews on my little blog "The Doctor Is In" especially those pertaining to the ARTISTS/BANDS that have existed wayback the NEW WAVE ERA. He was glad of that idea and so here it goes. Well, he decided to edit his reviews a little bit so that It would be very fresh as a daisy once published here on my blog. I've featured his BAUHAUS Album review here before so now I personally invite you guys to my E.R. (Emergency Room) este EDucational Reviews here on my clinic este my blog "The Doctor Is In" courtesy of ED WALLACE. Aside from the Album Reviews, I personally included the TRACKLISTS of the Album for additional information and of course the photos to spice up my blogpost too. If you're like me who loves to read album reviews then this would be great for you. On the otherhand, If you are those who are just interested to read reviews before buying the album then this would be a helpful tip for you. I hope you'll ENJOY reading the articles.

Hello, I'm Ed Wallace. I've worked with Sutton Music Group in its various incarnations , and I've been reviewing new alternative albums for the last ten years on Yahoo's Wavelength Message Group. I take no money for my reviews, which are strictly done for my love of the genre. I feel many of the bands I've grown up with are continuing to release some of their best work, but getting overlooked by an industry often biased towards teens and baby boomers.

Respecting that other fans may not share my taste, I try to provide objective facts and provide links so others can judge for themselves if an album is right for them, while still conveying my enthusiasm as a fan.

I'm honored to be invited here to post reviews on Doctor Stirring Rhod's 80s website.



ED Wallace Album Reviews:

(Interscope) ****1/2
Review by Ed Wallace

"Choose your enemies carefully cause they will define you/
Make them interesting cause in some ways they will mind you/
They're not there in the beginning, but when your story ends/
they're going to last longer than your friends" - U2, Cedars of Lebanon

The new U2 attempts to create a new sound by combining the dance club kitsch of Pop and Zooropa with The Unforgettable Fire’s grand, shimmering guitar, spiritual lyrics, and synthesizer sound smoke.
Occasionally, the results are oil and water, seeming like tracks from two separate U2 sessions thrown together.

Funkier drums by Larry Mullen evoke INXS Kick when Bono is shouting out stream-of-conscious lyrics “Every sweet tooth needs a hit / every beauty needs to go out with an idiot.” When bombastic pronouncements are made: “I was born to sing for you” or “it’s not that I believe in love, it’s love believes in me” he’s unashamed to order Queen cheese and ham. Stand Up Comedy is my favorite of these, urging individuality. Rest assured that nothing is funkier than the questionable Get On Your Boots single.

It’s the update of U2’s 1984 sound that works better.
The Edge’s guitar shines with Adam’s intertwined bombastic bass. Bono’s voice reliably whispers then soars. Brian Eno works as an essential fifth member, conjuring retro future keyboard magic on par with anything he’s done in past collaborations. Fez is a brilliant nod to their Passengers period.

Adam and Larry revisit some of the rhythms from Until The End of The World and Even Better Than The Real Thing on the title track, as the Edge pumps up the rock, making it a personal favorite and the single that should have been.
Subsequent tracks have Blessed Aktung Baby B-side touches like Gothic choir, techno, Middle Eastern music, and Blues rock. Moment of Surrender even opens with a little Irish violin.

U2 puts us in the place of lovers, partiers, weary pilgrims, and wartime observers, showing how in today’s non stop world we’re all forced to be all three. Still, Horizon seems a step behind the times. There’s a nod to the lost “two towers” and rising [!?]“Chinese stocks”, but no mention of the global financial collapse, and government change. There’s tanks in Lebanon not Gaza . It’s forgivable, but U2 albums have always been politically as well as musically cutting edge.

None of the new anthems have the perfection of One or With or Without You, but all are potential growers that will reward continued listens by patient fans not just looking for the next hit.

If No Line On The Horizon, ultimately ranks as a lower tier U2 album, it simply means it ‘only’ beats out 99% of its competition.

[June Update - the album has indeed grown on a lot me since I first bought it in March. Get On Your Boots seemed to tie in (by coincidence) with The Watchmen movie in an enjoyable way. And Magnificent is now lighting up the radio as a modern classic. I’d rank now rank the album above Atomic Bomb and Pop, and just below ‘Leave Behind. U2 continued to be my second favorite band of all time (after Echo & The Bunnymen)].

1)No Line On The Horizon
3)Moment of Surrender
4)Unknown Caller
5)I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
6)Get On Your Boots
7)Stand Up Comedy
8)Fez -- Being Born
9)White As Snow
11)Cedars Of Lebanon

(Mute,EMI,Capital) ****1/2
Review by Ed Wallace

“I could corrupt you in a heartbeat / You think you're so special, think you're so sweet? / What are you trying? Don't even tempt me /Soon you'll be crying, and wishing you dreamt me”
- Depeche Mode, Corrupt

I have a problem. Whenever I think of doing something naughty, Dave Gahan’s chant from his new single pops into my head: "WRONG!"
Should I go into debt on a new sports car? “WRONG!” Should I flirt with my girlfriend’s hot sister “WRONG!” You get the idea.
But when it comes to buying the album, the answer lies closer to another of its songs: “PERFECT”

For starters, this is a return to the dark pop mid 80s to 1990 heavy, Gothic keyboard heavy, but less industrial, electric Depeche Mode. It’s a follow up to Violator, with familiar dark themes of sexual and pharmaceutical temptation In Chains, coupled with relationship desperation Fragile Tension and ultimate spiritual triumph Peace.

Andy Fletcher’s and Gore’s combo playing is catchier than anything they’ve done in ages, yet still cutting edge. Along with the Pet Shop Boys, Franz Ferdinand, and Brian Eno’s work with U2 I declare 2009 a synth pop Renaissance - not a mere nostalgic rehash, but genuine advances in sound with that instrument.

Hole To Feed has an amazing Shriekback level rhythm: the best work of unsung drummer Chris Einger.

Gahan’s voice is sensuous, powerful and unaging. On Jezebel, Gore serenades a bad girl, knowing full well she can never belong to him.

The lyrics of SOTU are decent, though there’s nothing quotable enough to join black celebrations and blasphemous rumors in our collective lexicons.
I’m intrigued that Perfect may be about the insanity of Phil Spector: An unnamed character wishes for “a parallel universe” where his love wasn’t “shot down”, where a jury reached “a different verdict” all the while insisting that he didn’t “pull the trigger”.

I cherish every Depeche Mode album. This one’s my favorite DM of the 00s.
Depeche Mode is in constant battle with R.E.M. to be my third favorite band. On the strength of Sounds of the Universe, DM's retaken the bronze.

Try to find a version with the B-side ‘Oh, Well’ : It’s fast paced and pounding like Depeche Mode meets Tones On Tail.

If anyone missed it, the single Wrong has my pick for the year’s best music video so far, with a twist right out of The Dark Knight.

[June Update - Dave Gahan has recently had Cancer surgery to remove a “low-grade” malignant tumour from his bladder. He's expected to recover and my prayers are with him and his family] .

1. In Chains
2. Hole To Feed
3. Wrong
4. Fragile Tension
5. Little Soul
6. In Sympathy
7. Peace
8. Come Back
9. Spacewalker
10. Perfect 4:33
11. Miles Away / The Truth Is
12. Jezebel
13. Corrupt

THE CHURCH and It's members:
Steve Kilbey and Marty Wilson Piper
Steve Kilbey: PAINKILLER
(Second Motion) ***1/2
Review by Ed Wallace

"The wolf is sad / he can't run with the pack " - Steve Kilbey, Wolfe

Kilbey’s rocking epic Wolfe might be a better The Church single than Pangaea. [ Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjpC6zi2zWw
Otherwise, this album is like a 90s Church release, with more focus on bass (Kilbey’s instrument), drums, and a greater tendency to jam like cool, slower, stretched out versions of early Echo & The Bunnymen. (File Under Travel is like an instrumental extended trance mix of All That Jazz and Over The Wall).
The whole CD’s very psychedelic with watery guitar feedback and keyboards, with lyrical nods to his past sci-fi themes like “the real time being”. Sex, drugs, travel, and spirituality are featured as painkillers, in a swirling release that can perhaps help hypnotize one out of agony (or at least the pain of waiting for more from The Church).

I don't own Wilson-Piper or Kilbey's other solo albums to compare them. Painkiller & Nightjar are equally good. If you can only afford one - download the best five tracks of each. Overall, while solid, they're not quite at the level of a full line up Church CD (Which I'd all rank at four to five stars out of five).

1. Outbound
2. Wolfe
3. Celestial
4. Crystalline Rush
5. Song for the Masking
6. File Under Travel
7. Look Homeward Angel
8. Oenone
9. Spirit in Flame
10. Forever Lasts for Nothing

Marty Wilson-Piper: NIGHTJAR
(Second Motion) ***1/2
review by Ed Wallace

“I heard a rumor, God was coming back.” – Marty Wilson-Piper, More is less

The Church are my favorite Australian band. While waiting impatiently for their new album back in April, I found the latest solo release by guitarist Marty Wilson-Piper.

His voice is similar enough to Kilbey’s (but with a trace of his native Liverpool accent) to evoke a familiar Church vibe, and his opener, No One Is There feels like a Starfish classic. But Nightjar also finds one of new wave’s greatest guitarists exploring his folk roots with more strait forward tunes than his day band. For further variety, he has a female backup singer and tries his hand at what sounds like a mandolin.

Named after small hawks that (in legend) drink blood, the album explores contradictions in life. I Must Have Fallen is a sweet love song while Game For Losers is a cynical country heartbreaker. Feed Your Mind praises the way a drink brings people together only to have its protagonist disfigured from a drunk driving accident. With ominous bass, Sniper features an angry political assassin, while Song For Victor Jara (with South American flute) is a Neil Young-ish ode to a slain peace activist.


01. No One There
02. More is Less
03. Lullaby for the Lonely
04. The Sniper
05. Read Your Mind
06. High Down Below
07. I Must Have Fallen
08. The Love You Never Had
09. Song for Victor Jara
10. A Game for Losers

The Church: Untitled # 23
(Second Motion)
Review by Ed Wallace

“On our way to crush the revolution / campfire lit in the blackened land / dealing out love and retribution / dealing out the dead man’s hand.” – The Church, Dead Man’s Hand.

As the title indicates, The Church achieved twenty three albums in their twenty nine year history (not including great solo material by its members). Their talent still hasn’t run dry. And yes, every one of those albums is good. [They are my all time favorite Australian band and amazing live].

Like a typical Church outing, #23 has gentle, cryptic vocals over elaborate guitar networks by the classic line up of Steve Kilbey, Marty Wilson-Piper, and Peter Koppes. Tim Powles returns with steady drum-work.

This time we have more 70s Pink Floyd influence – haunting, drifting winds of sound that give way to rock or classical strings. The Blurred Crusade with the updated production quality of Hologram of Baal.

The band has stepped up its game with greater use of backing vocals and harmonies. Primed by his recent album, Wilson-Piper’s voice rings hauntingly after Kilbey’s on tracks like Happenstance.

As their 1990 Gold Afternoon Fix warns of a music industry Metropolis run by Pharaohs, #23 describes of an empire that “Has you by the balls”, a place of a Sunken Sun where Kilbey likens himself to a minotaur in a maze.
“I’ve got to jump on the clock/ I’ve got to find me some time.” Kilbey sings, as he soars over Pangea: a one world super-continent depicted on the CD cover.

Angel Street is unique and perhaps The saddest Church song ever: A metronome beats like a ghostly phone left off the hook, giving way to melancholy strums with hints of a New Orleans vibe. The drums fall like footfalls as you visualize a lonely man returning to his old haunts and thinking of better times. “You should change the message on your machine/ so sad, so strange baby, to hear my name…makes me cry when you say that we’re not at home.”

For the finale Operetta, Kilbey experiments with a deeper, David Bowie range while an amazing chorus intertwines the whole group’s vocals like it does their guitars to old school Echo & The Bunnymen style poetry. “See the men all dressed in black/ they are never coming back/ See the girls all dressed in red/ All are dancing with the dead.”

While every song is perfectly crafted, Untitled #23 may suffer from a languid pace compared to classics like Heyday. The mysterious diners gathered at a captain’s table in Anchorage are not stabbing an immortal beast, but simply sleeping. #23 is a place to chill out and reflect. The soaring, psychedelic romance Space Savior is the closest it has to a pop song.

Fans looking for their catchier side can find it on their latest two EPs.

Pangea EP has the single & three non album tracks: the epic So Love May Find Me; Insanity (Beatles type magic by Wilson-Piper) and the romantic LLC (A Skins & Hearts level sing-a-long by Koppes)

The Coffee Hounds EP (all non album tracks) has a cover of Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love that I still can’t get out of my head, and two versions of The Coffee Song a perfect vacation song with electric surf waves for drinks by the beach.

[I found them on I-tunes].

Songs from Untitled #23 can be heard here:

1. Cobalt Blue
2. Deadman's Hand
3. Pangaea
4. Happenstance
5. Space Saviour
6. On Angel Street
7. Sunken Sun
8. Anchorage
9. Lunar
10. Operetta

The Pet Shop Boys : YES
(Parlophope/Astralwerks) ****1/2
Review by Ed Wallace

“Who do you think you are, Captain Britain?” – Chris Lowe to Neil Tennant
Building A Wall

Most of my reviews require loads of guesswork. Understanding this one was easier thanks to a digital track by track commentary by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe.

Yes is an upbeat, pop album that reminds me most of Very. Their production team: Xenomania provides walls of backing synthesizers and vocals similar to Alphaville’s old albums and the last Franz Ferdinand (who Xenomania were also involved with). The single Love Etc. has distinctive Brit-punk shout outs – more like The Kaiser Chiefs than The Village People.

Later, disco and pop are paired up with old world elegance. Track two All Over The World blends The Bangles with Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. On the heartbreaking Way It Used To Be Lowe takes a Hollywood sounding romantic piano piece and layers it with it with virtuoso keyboard playing.

Beautiful People has a 60s Ronnettes orchestra swing, introducing a series of tracks with harmonica and guitar provided by The Smith’s Johnny Marr! Did You See Me Cominghas Marr playing Pretenders style rift over bubbly keyboards.
Between Vulnerable’s Spanish guitar and ‘Legacy’s’ French waltz, Pandemonium has an Ammi Stewart/Depeche Mode dance shuffle.

Yes’ theme of simple love trumping materialism is displayed in two halves. Early on, we have common people dreaming that wealth and beauty will give them happiness. But the later songs feature unloved powerful men from cold warriors to exiled monarchs feeling completely alone. While ostensibly a dig at the likes of Tony Blair, there are similarities to Cold Play’s more autobiographical Viva la Vida about a band past its heyday.

Indeed Neil’s voice is tender, yearning, and more vulnerable sounding throughout.
But if the duo is feeling their age, their skill and energy are every bit as vibrant as when they began.
Pet Shop Purists may find this their best album since at least 1993. I’m still especially partial to Release, but I liked Yes more than Nightlife, Bilingual, and Fundamental, putting it at Behavior level.

Preview songs on their site

1) Love etc
2) All Over the World
3) Beautiful People
4) Did You See Me Coming?
5) Vulnerable
6) More Than a Dream
7) Building a Wall
8) King of Rome
9) Pandemonium
10)The Way It Used To Be

Iggy Pop : Preliminaries
(EMI Music France )
Review by Ed Wallace

"It's nice to be dead/ It's nice to be underground/ Free of the ugly sounds of life," - Iggy Pop, Nice To Be Dead

I enjoyed the Stooges reunion The Weirdness and looked forward to more. Imagine my surprise when I saw that his next album was a French Jazz album(!?) My first thought was that this had to be some sort of revenge on his record company Ala Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. But according to interviews, Iggy insists he was bored and genuinely wanted to try something different. So we find him speaking the opening lyrics in French, his baritone voice accompanied by trumpets,horns and delicate strums: the ‘Idiot’ as a cultured Renascence man. It’s not for everyone, but to his credit, there’s never been an album like this before. Even speaking the language of love, he’s as rough and sad as Nick Cave as in the spoken word A Machine For Loving. He’s Dead/She’s Alive and She’s a Business feature riverboat blues music. Party Time is an electronic dance song, a shuffling, deadpan nod to his 80s days. Buried in the middle is Nice To Be Dead, a swaggering, grungy Iggy Pop rocker that’s one of his best and worth a singled out download.


1) Les Feuilles Mortes
2) I Want To Go To The Beach
3) King Of The Dogs
4) Je Sais Que Tu Sais
5) Spanish Coast
6) Nice To Be Dead
7) How Insensitive
8) Party TimeHe's Dead/She's Alive
9) A Machine For Loving
10)She's A Business
11)Les Feuilles Mortes (Marc's Theme)

Elvis Costello: Secret, Profane and Sugarcane
(Hear Music)
Review by Ed Wallace

“If you don’t know my hidden shame/ then you don’t know me.” – She Handed Me A Mirror
After a return to energetic rock with Momofuka, Elvis has returned to his fascination with American roots music: He teams up again with T-Bone Burnett (O Brother, Where Art Tho) who worked with him on Spike, duets with country artist Loretta Lynn, and covers Bing Crosby’s sad waltz Changing Partners. We’ve got bluegrass guitar, harmonicas, and fiddles with occasional use of electric strums.
All the songs are well crafted and competently sung, but I’ve never felt Costello’s voice lent itself well to this field. He’s incongruous as a sad cowboy, farmer or 1920s American bar crooner, coming across as a tourist rather than disappearing into character. We’re left with his wordplay where he’s subdued and thoughtful instead of his witty, angry best. A lower tier Elvis outing, still suitable for pleasant relaxing in the southern heat if you find it at a steal.

01. Down Among The Wines And Spirits
02. Complicated Shadows
03. I Felt The Chill Before The Winter Came
04. My All Time Doll
05. Hidden Shame
06. She Handed Me A Mirror
07. I Dreamed Of My Old Lover
08. How Deep Is The Red
09. She Was No Good
10. Sulphur To Sugarcane
11. Red Cotton
12. The Crooked Line
13. Changing Partner


WHEEEW!! FINALLY!! I GOT TO FINISH THIS BLOGPOST OF MINE!! He He He!! Wow!!! That's a lot of work I may say but It's worth it since these articles are worth reading. I wanna THANK Mr. ED WALLACE for this one. THANK YOU VERY MUCH SIR!! I tried my very best to be creative in making this BLOGPOST look good and interesting for you guys. YUP!! It's "The Dr. Stirring Rhod Way" again which is"OFTEN IMMITATED, NEVER DUPLICATED". We didn't make any song available for downloads right now since these materials are very new and also this is to prevent my blog on a DMCA issue of Copyright infringement. I also hope that you guys liked these articles the way I did. Who know's If there would be more NEW RELEASES from our favorite NEW WAVE/PUNK bands from the 80s maybe this "EDucational Reviews" would be a part of "The Doctor Is In". So what do you think guys? RIGHT ED? THANKS for dropping by again.

This Is E.R.
EDucational Reviews


eLf ideas said...

I've been meaning to start writing the HLHD article I still owe you, but I couldn't just begin it yet; perhaps because I, of course, know the entire story that I couldn't seem to know which chapters to highlight; but I'll write it soon. It's a personal challenge.

Anyway, here are some more new releases (others soon to be released) from classic New Wave / Postpunk bands we love:

Morrissey - Years of Refusal
The Lightning Seeds - Four Winds
Simple Minds - Graffiti Soul
a-ha - Foot of the Mountain
Howard Jones - Ordinary Heroes
The Wild Swans - The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years

DrStirringRhod said...

No problem ALFIE!! :-) THANK YOU VERY MUCH for dropping by again here on "The Doctor Is In". THANKS also for the added INFOS you gave regarding these NEW RELEASES of our NEW WAVE/POST PUNK/PUNK Idols.


DrStirringRhod said...


Message from ED:

"I'm very happy with your site and how the reviews were presented."