Review: Britney Spears feat. Iggy Azaelea – ‘Pretty Girls’

This article was originally published to The Edge on 15th June 2015

‘Pretty Girls’ is a funhouse mirror version of 2014’s ‘Fancy’. Taking every flaw, repetitive note, and icky message and amplifying them by a factor of 20, erasing all the charm and then adding an extra 15% of annoyance by giving it the past-it Britney and the unquestionably rubbish Azalea more play. Continue reading

Review: Spy

This article was originally published to The Edge on 7th june 2015

There are many films this year concerning the international men of mystery, the suave superheroes, tailored troublemakers, spies. All of them fronted by men. Trust in Paul Feig to bring us the first, and potentially only one, to have women as the protagonists, and the antagonists, while the men get to be comic relief in background roles. After last year’s abysmal Tammy, some may not be willing to risk seeing Melissa McCarthy in a lead role again, however they would be remiss to do so here. In Spy it’s all about her, and she leads it magnificently. Continue reading

Review: Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

This article was originally published to The Edge on 2nd June 2015

Maybe it’s because of the woman’s name on the marquee, maybe it’s her versatile vocals, or maybe it’s her flexible interpretations of alternative rock, but since her debut, comparisons of Florence Welch to Kate Bush (and surely Annie Lennox at some point by someone) have been omnipresent. It is a great shame. Modern mainstream listeners do not listen to Kate Bush. And that is fine. Because Florence Welch, along with her band (The Machine) and everyone involved in the writing and producing, is really good. So good that with their latest album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, she will become the new “Kate Bush”. There isn’t any artist like her on the same mainstream level. Male, female, solo, band, full scale orchestra. Continue reading

Review: San Andreas

This article was originally published to The Edge on 1st June 2015

San Andreas is a stupid movie, but that’s a given with the genre. When visual effects have evolved to the point where anything can be ‘realistically’ toppled and destroyed, there are no intelligent or realistic disaster movies. Big explosions, tidal waves, earthquakes: all real world threats, all equal parts terrifying and exhilarating. These barely ever feel like actual threats to the main characters, and the bigger things get, the lower the stakes are. When the only people shown dying from these incidents are either villains or nameless, faceless pixels, it drastically reduces the impact that a 9.6 magnitude earthquake can have. Continue reading

Review: Dara O’Briain’s Crowd Tickler Tour at the Bournemouth Pavilion (22/05/2015)

This article was originally published to The Edge on 26th May 2015

When Dara O’Briain walks out onto the large stage of the Pavilion theatre, without any support or warm-up acts, he strides straight to the front and centre of it all. Then, for the next two hours of his show, excluding a short 20 minute interval, he holds the attention of his audience. One man on one very big stage. Continue reading

Blu-Ray Review: Birdman

This article was originally published to The Edge on 18th May 2015

Birdman is the story of Riggan Thompson’s (Michael Keaton) struggle to get a Raymond Carver adaptation to succeed on stage. The former 90s Hollywood star of the superhero films ‘Birdman’ has sunk all his money into the play he writes, directs, and stars. In this attempt to claw back a reputation and some artistic respect, he has to contend with difficult actors, his post-rehab daughter (Emma Stone), and his own crumbling psyche. On top of all this, the director Alejandro González Iñárittu decided to shoot it as if it was one continuous take. Continue reading

40 Days of [Records] Rewind: Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (2007)

This article was originally published to The Edge on 6th May 2015

Let’s make this brief: Without Neon Bible, you do not know who Arcade Fire are. Without Neon Bible, to copy Arcade Fire’s style is not a thing critics say. This will continue when Arcade Fire are all dead, buried, and made saints in music’s electronic gospel database, all in bright shiny lights. When they are in their own… neon bible. Continue reading

Introducing: Benjamin Booker

This article was originally published to The Edge on 2nd May 2015

Crossing the Atlantic without drowning and then successfully exploding musically on the other side is notoriously hard to do. Sam Smith did it. One Direction did it. Many years ago, Coldplay did it. Must be something about white guys peddling easy pop music. Benjamin Booker on the other hand, hasn’t even quite hit the big leagues (in the indie league) made it in his native USA, so of course nobody in the UK knows who he is. Hint: You absolutely should. Continue reading

Review: Passion Pit – Kindred

This article was originally published to The Edge on 21st April 2015

Electro-pop is hot again, after recent years have seen new and old artists representing the genre. CHVRCHES dominated with their debut, Purity Ring’s sophomore album this year made waves, and now Passion Pit have returned with their third album Kindred. Michael Angelakos’ one-man band has shed a lot of the weirdness of Manners, while the darkness of Gossamer is balanced out in the latest album. If the timing is right, this could launch Passion Pit onto the A lists across the UK, and get them more recognition than ever. The music of Kindred is best adapted to that. The question is, is that a good thing? Continue reading

Review: Daredevil (Season 1)

This article was originally published to The Edge on 19th April 2015

Binge-watching a TV show is not the way to go if you want to come at it with some objectivity. At a point you develop a stockholm syndrome like relationship with it. Despite the flaws, you can only see what you like. With nearly all 13 episodes going above the 50-minute mark, Daredevil is exactly the show that Netflix deserved from Marvel (or vice versa). With the right mix of acting, writing, and a tone that sits well the show invites binge-watching. It is not however, the show that the audience or Marvel needed. Continue reading