An unsentimental tribute to the silent era...It is very easy to become consumed by a cosy nostalgia for the silent era. We all know Gloria Swanson’s anguished protest as the ageing silent queen from Sunset Boulevard: “We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces!” We’ve seen Chaplin’s bow-legged walk, Keaton’s stony-faced escape-artistry and Harold Lloyd dangling from the clock face.
Ten years into the game, Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach add funk and soul to their potent blues-rock brew, with triumphant results...Of all El Camino’s many achievements, the most easily overlooked might be the fact that it exists at all. Ten years and seven albums is, after all, an impressive distance to travel on the back of The Black Keys’ consciously primitive manifesto. It’s partly a matter of providence.
Fired up by disco and punk, Jagger’s swagger returns, with a disc of unreleased songs...Wrongly or rightly, the allegations against the Stones came thick and fast in 1977. They’d lost their edge. They’d become gluttonised, lazy, too rich and bored to care. Some of them had the temerity to be in their mid-thirties (NME called them “The Strolling Bones”). The urgent sound of punk had made their jet-set rock seem passé.
The final album, compiling offcuts into heartbreaking shape...This is, perhaps, the most gruelling album review I’ve ever had to write. It’s a record by a dead person who I met, and really liked, and fully expected to meet and like again. The Amy Winehouse I interviewed in late 2003 was an insanely charismatic and shamelessly frank 20-year-old who looked like a Jewish punk Jessica Rabbit and wore pink ballet shoes so worn her toes poked through.