"Over the Rainbow" was originally a single LP made up of out-takes and bits and pieces from obscure and long gone early 80's compilations. At the time the tracks on this LP seemed rare, so given the 20 years or so since we are now talking real buried treasure. Expanded to 2 CDs worth it's pretty good value, but as I say, it has a pretty mixed bag of contents as a result.
There are only two real gripes I have with this release and they are both fairly minor I guess. The first is the most practical though. The original LP had great notes on each of the tracks written by Gavin and explaining a lot of the recording processes used to get the warped effects of "Mad Bird in the Woods" and "Third Secret". These notes haven't been included here so part of the wow factor of knowing how the tracks were created is lost. The other gripe is purely personal and relates to Dave-Ids demented ramblings. Much as I love these guys, I prefer the more psychotic outpourings of Gavin and Guggi to Dave-Ids oddball humour. Others may feel different so ignore that if it sounds picky.
The best thing here is the inclusion of all the tracks off their first two 7 inch EPs. These are as rare as radium and highly sought after (with auction prices to match), but now they are here for you in digitally remastered form and sounding real good. Some of their tightest and most direct music was contained on the early releases and "Moments and Mine", "In the Greylight" and "Twenty Tens" still kick. The other real bonus of the CD release is the sound clarity. The digital remastering has cleared much of the murkiness of the orignals, so much so that I can actually hear the piano in "Third Secret" without lots of turntable rumble drowning it out. Still can't hear the whispered prayers though, but maybe on headphones... Nothing is meant to be simple with these guys so keep that in mind.
Best tracks? That's up to you. There is such a variety here that you're really spoilt for choice, and it all goes to highlight the range the band was capable of. The dance(!) version of "Pagan Lovesong (Vibe-Akimbo)" is really out of place next to long atmospheric soundscapes like "Jigsawmentallama" but you can always programme a disc, right?
Still an unclassifiable act after 20 or more years, so don't look for any easily recognisable stylings. It's not punk, it's NOT goth and it's not easy listening, okay? 4 stars for the sound quality alone. 5 for the best tracks. 2 for the duds.