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|1. Happiness Is Easy (1997|
|2. I Don't Believe In You (1997|
|3. Life's What You Make It (1997|
|4. April 5th (1997|
|5. Living In Another World (1997|
|6. Give It Up (1997|
|7. Chameleon Day (1997|
|8. Time It's Time (1997|
This is a world away from their previous album, the multi-selling It's My Life, and it shows the kind of progression away from synthesised new-romanticism, to something more akin to their classic records Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock... a brief period when the band could really be described as the Radiohead of their day!! With this record, we find a transitional style - if it has to be compared to the modern-day spectacle, then it's this band's The Bends - with Hollis and Fries-Green creating some gorgeous melancholic melodies, with a sound that alternates between slow moody ambience and heavier other-worldly rock. Opening track Happiness is Easy finds Hollis singing his mumbled poems with the detached intensity of a recently broken man, as percussion, tinkling bells and a throbbing bass-line alternate between verse, bridge and chorus, in a way not too dissimilar to that later joy The Rainbow, from ...Read more ›
However, this probably won't be the last version. This is NOT SURROUND. Having invested in surround gear, I've been waiting for this album (along with Spirit of Eden), and I was very disappointed that a surround mix is not here. Such a shame (excuse the pun).
This album would be *bliss* in surround, one of the most worthy albums ever. I'm assuming that the band and EMI are still not talking, hence making a new mix would be tricky (and should always be done with the band's involvement). I hope that EMI realise what they've got here, and that it's not just laziness.
Anyway, should a surround mix be done one day, I'll be buying it a 5th time. I just can't stop myself!
While Mark Hollis manages to inject a huge amount of feeling and angst into the lyrics using his voice, he manages to wrestle most of the consonants out, leaving one of the most memorable sounds of the era. This band were definitely underrated in the UK - but I don't think they were in it for the fame, this is an artistic impression, not a bid for pop nototriety.
"Living in Another World", and "Life's what you make it" are the memorable tracks, but the better tracks close the album with a seemless segue between the avant-guard "Chameleon Day" and mellow "Time it's Time".
This is satisfying, mature pop of the highest calibre, not to be overlooked while the more tempting "best of" albums jump out at you when you go to replace your worn out tapes with CDs.