Author Archives: Andres Kabel

Real singing: Music review of Brutalist Bricks by Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

The exuberance of Ted Leo on ‘The Mighty Sparrow,’ the opening track of Brutalist Bricks, the fifth album from Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, is enough to sweep away all those lingering thoughts of the death of rock. This man goes for it! His brand of punk/pop is old-fashioned, somehow a cross between XTC (in [...]

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Spy romp: Book review of Rupert Thomson’s Once a Spy

Rupert Thomson’s Once a Spy is a vibrant spy romp, the genre equivalent of that Brad Pitt / Angelina Jolie movie, Mr. & Mrs. Smith. An American spy, described by a colleague as a natural, begins to succumb to dementia and is saved from a hit squad by his down-and-out gambler son. The book begins [...]

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Comic book cinema that works: DVD review of Iron Man

Movies based on comic books are almost always bad, ruined by sappiness beyond even what the original comic stretched to. Nonetheless I’m a sucker to try the ones I recall from a childhood spent nose in comic. Iron Man was in my second tier of action heroes, never original enough to really excite me but [...]

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Genuine arty art-rock: Music review of Sisterworld by Liars

I bought Sisterworld, the fifth album by American three-piece art-rock band Liars, because I’d read the band proclaimed itself ‘free of influences’. And an otherworldly cocktail of rock, post-rock, jazz-rock and chamber pop Sisterworld proves to be. Never conventional, the band takes each song down odd, disjunctive roads, alternating dissonance, guitar squalls, moody melancholia and [...]

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GFC satire at its peak: Book review of Jess Walter’s The Financial Lives of the Poets

It’s funny how literary fiction often throws up doppelgangers, two concurrent novels whose storylines appear to be twinned. A week after reading Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask (see my review), I found that Jess Walter’s fifth novel, The Financial Lives of the Poets, offers a very similar tale, that of a modern young man heading for [...]

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Virtuoso stylistics: Book review of Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask

Sam Lipsyte is one of those authors you discover late and immediately commence locating his entire catalogue. On the basis of his fourth novel, The Ask, he is a virtuoso stylist, capable of funny and sad and serious, often on the same page. His language is worth savouring for itself. Milo Burke, the hero of [...]

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Beauty and intensity: DVD review of Last Ride

Several friends have been at me for ages to watch Last Ride, the road movie of a violent father fleeing across the vast expanse of Australia with his ten-year-old son, but somehow I’ve felt the need to be in a certain mood to finally rent the DVD. (Far better would have been to see it [...]

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Grandiose sci-fi that sings: Film review of Inception

I’m in a backlash frame of mind, keen after focusing on the high and mighty to indulge in my great genre loves, crime and sci-fi. Luckily the science fiction scene keeps throwing up wonderments to latch onto. None speaks louder than Christopher Nolan’s over-the-top futuristic thriller Inception. What a brilliant concept, straight from the pen [...]

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Dissipated brilliance: Book review of Paul Harding’s Tinkers

I’ve always found the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction a reliable marker of top quality, indeed I can’t recall the last winner that disappointed me. So it pains me to report that this year’s winner, Tinkers by Paul Harding, is ambitious and brimming with literary brio, but ultimately a rather ordinary read. Anchored by the last [...]

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Melbourne’s own public transport guru: Book review of Public Transport for Suburbia by Paul Mees

Paul Mees, passionate campaigner for public transport and researcher into transport planning, is back with his most cogent, convincing work yet, Public Transport for Suburbia: Beyond the Automobile Age. After being sacked by Melbourne University for criticizing Victoria’s archaic, petrol-focused transport bureaucracy, Mees has found a home at RMIT, and a real sense of peace [...]

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