Listeners looking for soundalikes to the Mish, the Neph and the other titans of post-punk's Eeyorish half-brother should look elsewhere: this compilation is a survey of the roots of the Goth sensiblity, rather than the sound. As such, it's an absolute hoot. How can you not love something which moves from Chuck Berry to the soundtrack from The Seventh Seal to Mel Torme?
The Goth sensibility covered here incorporates a fascination with death, the occult, madness, inexplicable mystery and, of course, massive self-pity. The music chosen to convey this is insanely eclectic, ranging through folk, the more outre corners of the classical repertoire, film soundtracks, blues, country, rock and roll, pop, Gregorian chant and Eamonn Andrews. The sequencing defies any kind of logic. Apart from the segue noted above, on disc one we slide from Schoenberg to the Sons of the Pioneers, while, on disc two, three Joe Meek classics are followed by an extract from Stravinsky's Firebird.
Another reviewer noted that it looks like an out-of-copyright compilation, and it's over-priced. Well, it IS an out-of-copyright compilation. As for the price, caveat emptor. It's certainly more expensive than many out-of-copyright sets, but I'm more than happy to accept that on the basis of the thought and ingenuity that have gone into the selection (most out-of-copyright sets being exercises in stating the bleeding obvious).
Why not five stars? Partly because it's SO eclectic, listening all the way through will pretty much do your nut in, and turn you into a mindless, drooling, noisome THING. And also because the sleeve notes, by Alan Clayson, though well-informed, are written in such a convoluted, knotty style as to be almost incomprehensible. Though they probably make sense if you go down into the cellar and read them by candlelight at midnight.