- Audio CD (24 Feb 2003)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Strange Fruit
- ASIN: B000088NVE
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 401,759 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
By the time the first sessions on this disc were recorded, the original partnership of Mackenzie and Rankine was hitting its zenith. The first batch comes mainly from their masterpiece Sulk and displays exactly what made this pairing both exhilarating and frustrating. A re-titled track ''Me Myself And The Tragic Story'' (originally called ''Arrogance Gave Him Up'') demonstrates Rankine's canny way with a melody while still retaining a frantic arrangement that is vertiginous. Most of the gems from this period will have you worrying that the drummer is about to fall over himself. The most exhilarating example must be ''It's Better This Way'' where Billy's multi-tracked whoops and hollers echo Rankine's gloriously risqué guitar lines.
By the second visit to wonderful Radio One (as was) the partnership was fraying at the edges. Mackenzie's love of all things dance-oriented was pushing him away from the legendary excess-fuelled experimentation that had left their previous three albums sounding like pop produced in an alternate universe. His adaptation of ''Love Hangover'' (featuring Martha Ladly of Muffins fame) errs on the side of campness rather than plain old weirdness, and THAT voice is now intruding instead of intriguing. There is, however, a far lovelier early interpretation of ''Waiting For The Love Boat'' that outstrips its frantic final version.
By 1983 MacKenzie had parted with Rankine and with new partner Howard Hughes was setting his cod-surreal lyrics in a far less challenging musical landscape. This was still no ordinary band, however. Hughes' piano on ''Breakfast'' is swoonsome while Billy's delivery on ''God Bless The Child'' is half Mel Torme, half Orson Welles. Despite a couple of absolutely classic singles this outfit were always destined to be too left-field for mass-consumption. But listening to the oddball irreverence applied to these radio sessions reminds one that true innovators very rarely fit in. Remarkable and utterly unique. --Chris Jones
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