REVIEW: ORISSA – RESURRECTION 50

The sound of what sounds like chains which makes up intro piece “Circle X”gets Orrisa’s new album off to an interesting and atmospheric start and makes a refreshing change from the usual piano based interludes several albums in recent times have opened with, but when “Tara”, complete with impressive vocals and strong instrumentation kicks in, the collection shifts –albeit only for a few minutes – into high gear.

The rather sombre guitar of “Shades Of Grey” begins the closest thing to a ballad that the album features, while at the same time showcasing Orissa’s versatility– it’s a simplistic little number, but it says one hell of a lot. “Dissolution” brings back the heavier guitar and deeper vocals which rock fans will lap up however, clocking in at almost 8 minutes in length, the song is far too long and runs the risk of being cut off or skipped over completely.

“Psalm 1”, at 7 minutes and 12 seconds, has a similar problem, not at all helped by the lullaby-like introduction and a vocal which is surprisingly soft – at least until 5 minutes in when the tempo and the power with which the lyrics are delivered are both upped considerably. It’s not a bad track by any means, but it’s also not one likely to find itself put on repeat very often.

“Primordial” might as well have been left off the album all together. Consisting of little more than breathy air sounds and the odd rumble, its inclusion on the collection is likely to baffle listeners as much as it did myself. Fortunately “Verse V” gets things somewhat back on track thanks to a guitar lick sure to have many air-strumming to, however it is also the third number on the album to come in at more than seven minutes long. Once again, the piece is longer than necessary and distracts from the strong musicianship presented to those who hear it.

It’s also a shame, although admittedly not that surprising, to find that closing number “Blue Communion” is yet another long track – in fact it’s the longest on the album by some considerable margin. While it works as a showcase of Orissa’s talents, its length once again means it runs the very likely risk of dis-interesting – perhaps even boring – those who check it out.

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REVIEW: MAROON 5 – RED PILL BLUES 17

As one of the few (at least few I can name) bands of the modern age to have a career lasting more than a decade, Maroon 5 were once the dominant force in pop-rock charts around the world and now, they’re back to try and reassert said dominance with their sixth album Red Pill Blues.

There’s a glint of humour to Levine’s voice on opening number “Best 4 U” which makes the vocal seemingly shimmer on a track that’s as catchy as it is lyrically simplistic – (very). Follow up “What Lovers Do” featuring SZA, fares batter, upping the tempo somewhat and bringing back that almost infamous Levine falsetto that made the band so noteworthy back in their heyday.

“Wait” adds an R’n’B vibe to proceedings, something which doesn’t quite fit with the bands’ usual sound, but they should be commended for experimenting at a time when many of their artistic counterparts refuse to do so. “Lips On You” slows things right down, which is a shame as it disrupts the albums’ rhythm up to this point, however it does allow Levine’s vocal to take centre stage without distraction caused by guitars and a thumping drum beat. Nevertheless, it is the album’s weak point thus far.

“Bet My Heart” picks things up somewhat, certainly in terms of the tempo, although the track is far from anything special, while Julia Michaels’ guest vocal on “Help Me Out” is the best thing about the track and makes the song worthy of repeat listens and of its status as a current single. “Who I Am” meanwhile has a toe-tapping rhythm which is enjoyable enough, but its lyrically basic enough to have been written by a pre-teen.

A$AP Rocky’s appearance on “Whiskey” doesn’t fit with Maroon 5’s style or the album they’re unveiling to those who listen to it and so his vocal talent is lost among lyrics that make little to no sense such as “she kissed me like a whiskey.” That part of the song is memorable, but sadly for all the wrong reasons. “Girls Like You” is only marginally better, helped by its considerable club feel which “Closure” attempts to recreate, but it’s “Denim Jacket” that returns the album to somewhat stronger and more stable ground, and brings back Levine’s (much missed at this point) falsetto, before “Visions” injects a rather reggae twist to proceedings, although, despite being so different to anything else featured so far, works rather well.

It’s a shame therefore that “Plastic Rose” undoes most of the hard work delivered by its two predecessors, but the ‘mistake’ is rectified somewhat by the arrival of 2016 ‘s lead single “Don’t Wanna Know”, featuring Kendrick Lamar, although the song would work perfectly well without his input.

Closing with “Cold” which features Future, the collection ends on a surprisingly positive note as the instrumentation and vocal blend impressively well and while the album is no modern-day classic a la Songs About Jane, and is certainly more experimental, notably thanks to Levine and THAT vocal ability, Red Pill Blues certainly won’t see Maroon 5 fade into obscurity any time soon.

YOUR GUIDE TO UPCOMING TV APPEARANCES 20

Here is your guide to the upcoming TV appearances, from X Factor to Strictly, awards show to chat shows.

SOUNDS LIKE FRIDAY NIGHT – FRIDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2017
Tonight’s star co-host is Craig David.

The Ivor Novello and MOBO Award winner will be chatting about what he’s been up to, including a forthcoming album. Along with his co-hosting duties and singing live in the studio, Craig will be introducing the performances from The Killers and British singer-songwriter, Anne-Marie.

THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW – FRIDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2017
Making his first appearance on the show, Oscar-winning film-maker and actor Mel Gibson joins Graham. Plus hilarious star of Anchorman Will Ferrell; actor and producer Mark Wahlberg; and multi-award-winning stage and screen star John Lithgow. With music from singer-songwriter Kesha, who performs Learn To Let Go.

MICHAEL McINTYRE’S BIG SHOW – SATURDAY 25 NOVEMBER 2017
Albert Square favourite Danny Dyer hands over his phone in celebrity Send To All, and there’s a very special appearance from Gary Barlow. Plus there’s music from Grammy Award winners Clean Bandit and stand-up comedy from Russell Kane.

THE X FACTOR UK SEMI FINAL 1 – SATURDAY 25 NOVEMBER 2017
Global Award-winning megastar Ed Sheeran performs his new single Perfect

THE X FACTOR UK SEMI FINAL 2 – SUNDAY 26 NOVEMBER 2017
2012 X Factor UK winner James Arthur gives us a world exclusive of his new single Naked

STRICTLY COME DANCING THE RESULTS – SUNDAY 26 NOVEMBER 2017
Amongst all of the sequins and sparkle, American superstar Kelly Clarkson will be performing

THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW – FRIDAY 1 DECEMBER 2017
Together on Graham’s sofa: legendary rock star Sir Elton John; actor and writer Stephen Fry; Oscar-nominated actress Carey Mulligan; pop star Robbie Williams; and singer-songwriter P!nk, who performs What About Us.

MICHAEL McINTYRE’S BIG SHOW – SATURDAY 2 DECEMBER 2017
Featuring music performances from Jessie J and Welsh rock heroes Stereophonics. Premier League legend Alan Shearer hands over his phone in Celebrity Send To All, and Michael sneaks into another house in the jaw-dropping Midnight Gameshow. Plus new comedy material from Michael himself and one unsuspecting member of the public gets the surprise of their life when they become the Unexpected Star.

STRICTLY COME DANCING THE RESULTS – SUNDAY 3 DECEMBER 2017
There will be a spectacular music performance from the Leading Ladies, Beverley Knight, Amber Riley and Cassidy Janson.

THE CHASE CELEBRITY SPECIAL – SUNDAY 3 DECEMBER 2017
Greg Wallace, Denise Lewis, Mark Pougatch and Gina Yashere come together to work as a team in the hope of winning thousands of pounds for their charities.

THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW – FRIDAY 8 DECEMBER 2017
With Oscar-nominated star of The Help and Zero Dark Thirty Jessica Chastain; comedian and writer Dawn French; Pitch Perfect actress Rebel Wilson; and the stars of Jumanji: Welcome to the JungleDwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black. Plus, music from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, who perform Holy Mountain.

MICHAEL McINTYRE’S BIG SHOW – SATURDAY 9 DECEMBER 2017
TV presenters Marvin and Rochelle Humes both hand over their phones in the first ever double Send To All and there’s music from pop rockers The Vamps.

THROUGH THE KEYHOLE I’M A CELEBRITY SPECIAL – SATURDAY 9 DECEMBER 2017
Keith Lemon is back with a fifth series of Through the Keyhole. Kicking off with an I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! special.

Join Keith as he rummages around three mystery celebrity houses unearthing clues for the studio panel to guess ‘who habitates in a house like this.’

On this week’s star-studded panel are Comedian Jimmy Carr, former Queen of the Jungle Stacey Solomon, TV Presenter Myleene Klass and legendary DJ Tony Blackburn.

THE CHASE CELEBRITY SPECIAL – SUNDAY 10 DECEMBER 2017
Bradley Walsh hosts as four celebrities try to pit their brains against one of the country’s finest quiz brains.

But have Sam Quek, Basil Brush, Andi Peters and Charlie Higson got what it takes?

CELEBRITY JUICE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL – THURSDAY 14 DECEMBER 2017
Joining the panel this week is actor and TV presenter John Barrowman, musician and songwriter Alex James, TV personality and actress Denise Van Outen, popular Kaiser Chief frontman Ricky Wilson and Loose Women host and singer Stacey Solomon.

THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW – FRIDAY 15 DECEMBER 2017
Among the guests on Graham’s sofa: the stars of the hotly-anticipated Star Wars: The Last JediDaisy Ridley, John Boyega and Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill; together with award-winning singer-songwriter Sam Smith, who performs Pray.