I was born in 1979, in Lower Hutt New Zealand. I grew up in a household where the main music was bagpipes and Christian radio. When I discovered pop music at the age of 12 it was new and exciting, and vintage acts like Simon and Garfunkel and The Beatles felt like my own.
All opinions are my own personal ones – I’m not claiming to be an authority, I just enjoy discovering music and like to quantify it and write about it. I started an album review site around the year 2000. This current website started in 2016.
These are some of my broad thoughts on music:
I like pop hooks.
Most of the time I’ll listen to an album at least eight times before I write about it and rate it.
I’m mostly covering music from the album era – so from around 1965 until the present.
There’s a lot of great music out there right now, as always.
I often prefer to write about an act’s peak period, rather than their entire discography, as I’d rather cover something else I enjoy rather than slog through dull post-peak releases. If you think I’ve missed a key album, please let me know.
What usually impresses me is creativity. When music feels like product, it’s usually a bad sign.
I don’t think there are objective standards for judging popular music. If you go down that road, you end up solely basing admiration on arbitrary criteria like professional slickness (Celine Dion) or instrumental virtuosity (Dream Theater).
Often the best indication of quality is that you want to come back and listen repeatedly. I think of my ratings like the concept of utility in economics – they reflect how much lasting enjoyment I get out of an album.
I enjoy other music like jazz and classical, but they’re outside my scope of knowledge and outside the scope of this site.
This site is still dominated by white men by guitars, but less than it was.
I like a lot of mainstream music – one of the best aspects of this site is that I cover high-selling but critically underexplored acts like Billy Joel, Carole King, and Neil Diamond.
I’m not an accomplished musician, although I play enough piano to know where there’s a routine chord sequence or something more creative. I don’t believe that musical virtuosity is a prerequisite to writing about music.
Aphoristic Album Reviews is a hobby website. It claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyrighted to their respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.
Aphoristic Album Reviews is almost entirely written by one person.
Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate both Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande. Based in Fleet Street (New Zealand), he's been writing this blog since around 2000. Aphoristic Album Reviews features reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.
Read about the discographies of musical acts from the 1960s to the present day. Browse this site's review archives or enjoy these random selections:
This page was largely written by a guest reviewer – I wrote the introduction and the review of The Holy Bible. Manic Street Preachers formed as a high school band in Blackwood, a town in South Wales. Singer/guitarist James Dean Bradfield and drummer Sean Moore are cousins, and shared bunks […]
Fairport Convention are the focal point for British folk-rock of their generation. While they started their career as a sixties folk-rock band, like a London equivalent to Jefferson Airplane, they started wading through the archives of British folk songs and electrifying them. With an impressive pool of talent, Fairport Convention […]
10,000 Maniacs have one of the most misleader monikers in popular music. From their name, you’d expect speed metal or punk, but instead, they’re a folk-rock band with socially conscious lyrics and Natalie Merchant’s oddly mannered vocals. The band were previously known as Burn Victims before deriving their name from […]
This page collects miscellaneous reviews for 1990s artists who I’ve just covered a handful of albums by: Eric Clapton | Dream Theater | Ben Harper | Various Artists: Heisei No Oto | Alanis Morissette | Nas | Oasis | Liz Phair | Primal Scream | Stone Temple Pilots | Teenage Fanclub | […]
Don McGlashan kicked around the arty end of the New Zealand alternative scene during the 1980s. He played the drums in Blam Blam Blam, providing lead vocals for the iconic and ironic ‘There Is No Depression In New Zealand’. On an OE in New York, McGlashan played drums for Laura […]
For a band, there are essentially two different career trajectories for a recording career. Like Radiohead or The Beatles, you can start your career with a promising album and work your way up to your masterpiece. Or, like Montreal’s Arcade Fire, you can begin with your masterpiece and spend the […]
I add new blog posts to this website every week. Browse the archives or enjoy these random selections:
Steely Dan were major album artists of the 1970s, releasing a string of quality records that blurred the lines between rock and jazz. They started the decade as a self-contained rock band and ended as the duo of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, supported by a revolving cast of session […]
Billed as “the only band that matters”, The Clash released their debut single ‘White Riot’ in the iconic punk year of 1977. But they weren’t constrained by punk – their debut explored the reggae they heard on London’s streets and they’d soon start exploring everything from disco to dub. The […]
Power-pop legend Matthew Sweet was born in Nebraska, but moved to Athens, Georgia, to join the local alt-rock scene. He recorded two unsuccessful records in the 1980s, before his 1991 breakthrough Girlfriend. The record showcased the brilliant lead guitar of Richard Lloyd and Robert Quine, as well as Sweet’s warm […]
Alex Chilton was already a star when he joined forces with the Icewater. Icewater’s members – singer/guitarist Chris Bell, bassist Andy Hummel, and drummer Jody Stephens – had been playing in Memphis garage-rock bands. Despite the city’s heritage of blues and soul, and Chilton’s history as lead singer of The […]
In tandem with Robert Forster, Grant McLennan was a vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist for literate Australian jangle-pop band The Go-Betweens. While The Go-Betweens were on hiatus during the 1990s, Grant McLennan embarked on a solo career, releasing four solo albums, two albums with The Church’s Steve Kilbey, and one album […]
Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire were founded in Montreal in 2001. The band is centered around the husband and wife duo of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, while Butler’s brother Will was a member until 2021. The current lineup, including touring members, has nine musicians, and they often incorporate […]