...although One Step Beyond doesn't benefit from comparison.
The Inner Mystique is outstanding: a worthy follow-up to Choc Watch's classic first album, No Way Out. There's the same mixture of fuzzy garage psych and studio-created soundscapes. In this case the studio creations sit together in one opening triptych. If anything these tracks are even more spacious than their counterparts on No Way Out and some of the sonic techniques they develop are also present in the garage tracks. There's some first-rate song-writing and overall The Inner Mystique is a rounded, satisfying listen that has a few surprises up its sleeve, including a cool Kinks cover.
Sadly not as surprising is One Step Beyond. Don't get me wrong, the quality is high. The fidelity is better than on Choc Watch's previous albums and it contains some knock out songs. Not least of all `I Don't Need No Doctor', which - dare I say it - is as good as the much-praised `Are You Gonna be There at the Love In' (from No Way Out). There are, however, no experimental studio creations and there's been a change of singer. Due to these absences, One Step Beyond doesn't sound all that much like the Choc Watch we've come to love.
Nevertheless, this is a superb package offered at a bargain price. You'd be mad not to take advantage.