Whilst the previous Complete Works (Vol.1) Disc chronicled this seminal band on the way up, the new collection highlights a fantastic composer at the peak of his powers.
Disc 1 opens with a trio of tracks from the Let it Flow single. When released in 1995 there was nothing in music that sounded so alien, fractured and beautiful and there still isn’t today. The lead off song and Don’t Go / Stay With Me form a beautiful couplet about love and loss, which then merge into the spectacular Sun-Ra fused free jazz of ‘The Individual’.
The majority of first CD contains rarities from the ‘Ladies & Gentlemen…’ period, perhaps the finest and certainly the most original and visionary album of the 1990’s. The lazy haze of ‘I Think I’m In Love’, the pure gospel beauty of ‘Cool Waves’ are particular highlights but ‘Broken Heart’ is the pinnacle of the collection. Contained here in three versions, instrumentally it is like the most melancholy moment of a Michael Nyman Soundtrack, whilst with lyrics it will send shivers down your spine.
Disc 2 concentrates on the ‘Let It Come Down’ period, perhaps Jason Pierce’s most ambitious project to date. Whilst the album was somewhat of an anti-climax the tracks here are still fine, particularly in their live forms. B-Sides from the time, ‘Rock & Roll’ and ‘Amazing Grace (Peace On Earth)’ showcase the more orchestral song-based direction that was taken.
This collection isn’t merely B-sides and outtakes for fans only. Along with Volume 1, it provides a perfect introduction to the band, and in particular to a man, who has been creating amazing music for nearly 20 years.