What a great concept, take a famous band or album and put it under the microscope. Explore the origins, espouse on the meanings, and splice this with vintage footage from live and studio performances, and what you have, is a great hit series on your hands. With a distinctly British influence the Under Review series is ‘must watch’. We get to enjoy a critical analysis that is provided by an eclectic variety of ‘experts’. Some are music critics, some are musicians, and some are just pompous asses, but all are very entertaining.

Chrome Dreams and Sexy Intellectual are the companies behind this innovative set of DVD’s. Alas both of these companies are about as ‘out going’ as Howard Hughes on an off day. So I can offer little in the way of hard information about the wonderful team of people actually creating this series, all I know for sure is that they are based in the UK.

At the last count they have 33 documentaries under their belt. I have only had the opportunity to look at a few of these, and I have to say that each one has impressed me.

If you are looking for a concert, look somewhere else! But, if you love an album, or a band, you should seek the Under Review documentary version. Maybe the most appealing aspect to this project is that they are created without the official sanction of the band or musician, this is a truly innovative and independent approach.

Interestingly enough, some do contain interviews with the musicians involved, while others are devoid of anyone even remotely connected to the artist. Without doubt my favorite so far has been Pink Floyd-Meddle, although the focus is on that one album, the DVD spends a good deal of time exploring the roots of the band. And a curious story it is.

Meddle is the often forgotten album by Pink Floyd, it sunk into obscurity with the release of Dark Side Of The Moon. I must admit that I disagreed with the experts, I actually think that Meddle was the crowning moment for the band, rather than the stepping stone to Dark Side!

I also enjoyed Mott The Hoople, while many American music lovers may not recognize the name, they have all heard the song that many people call an anthem of a decade ‘All The Young Dudes’. Mott is a one of the great ‘Big Hair’ bands from the 80’s, with great showmanship, backed up with solid songwriting ability, these guys ‘Rocked’.

Do you remember Morning Glory by Oasis? It was a huge hit album, Brit pop at it’s finest. Under Review puts this group, and album under their musical microscope, it is revealing, to say the least.

I really like this series, and have several more bands on my ‘To Do’ list. You can find the whole list on the MVD web site.

Simon Barrett

http://zzsimonb.blogspot.com
 

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