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Comment: SHACK Time Machine: The Best Of Shack (2007 UK 17-track CD album - Since their formation Liverpool legends Shack have been through countless trials and tribulations but have inspired critical praise at every turn andenthused a generation ofcontemporary heroes - Oasis The Coral and The Zutons among them. This career overview is a superb introduction to this band or just a timely reminder of some of the great songs from their catalogue. Issued in a SEALED gatefold card picture sleeve complete with picture / lyric booklet JDNCCD008X)
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Time Machine

3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 Sept. 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Big Brother
  • ASIN: B000UPCDWS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,497 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I Know You Well
2. Comedy
3. Cup of Tea
4. Al's Vacation
5. Pull Together
6. Meant to Be
7. Butterfly
8. Sgt. Major
9. On The Terrace
10. Undecided
11. Cornish Town
12. Miles Apart
13. Streets Of Kenny
14. Shelley Brown
15. Neighbours
16. Holiday Abroad
17. Wanda

Product Description

Product Description

SHACK Time Machine: The Best Of Shack (2007 UK 17-track CD album - Since their formation Liverpool legends Shack have been through countless trials and tribulations but have inspired critical praise at every turn andenthused a generation ofcontemporary heroes - Oasis The Coral and The Zutons among them. This career overview is a superb introduction to this band or just a timely reminder of some of the great songs from their catalogue. Issued in a SEALED gatefold card picture sleeve complete with picture / lyric booklet JDNCCD008X)

BBC Review

Whenever Shack are mentioned in print, invariably it's not long before phrases like 'criminally underrated' and 'lost classic' raise their clichéd heads. Formed in 1988, the Liverpudlian four-piece have always been lavished with critical praise in inverse proportion to their meagre record sales, but perhaps the best way to summarise their career to date is 'very unlucky'.

After an unremarkable first album, songwriter Michael Head and his band knew they had a potential hit on their hands with 1991's Waterpistol. Falling somewhere between the classic Merseybeat of the Las and the fluid, Byrds-influenced melodies of the Stone Roses' eponymous debut, it seemed perfectly placed to catapult Shack to stardom. But a series of disastrous events, including a studio fire that destroyed the master tapes, meant Waterpistol did not see the light of day until 1995, by which time the music scene had moved on. After a four-year split, 1999's HMS Fable emerged boasting a host of Oasis-like big choruses, but they jumped on the Britpop bandwagon just as it was grinding to a halt and the charts remained untroubled.

Unperturbed, Head and his sidekicks have continued to release great music ever since. Time Machine is a fine retrospective of their significant talent, featuring some of the best tracks from their four albums from Waterpistol onwards as well as several rare and previously unreleased songs.

The highlights are many, but the delicious yearning harmonies of 'Undecided' and 'Neighbours' are probably the pick of Shack's earlier work, while their evolution towards a more textured, orchestrated sound on 2003's Here's Tom With The Weather is emphatically captured on the epic 'Meant To Be', which employs scintillating mariachi brass and strings sections that would not be out of place on Love's timeless masterpiece Forever Changes.

Although new tracks 'Holiday Abroad' and 'Wanda' are rather disappointing, the hitherto obscure 'Al's Vacation' stands out as one of their best compositions, a quirkily tuneful little jaunt bringing to mind the lazy psychedelic folk of Pink Floyd's oft-overlooked post-Barrett, pre-Dark Side Of The Moon albums.

If you like Shack, you may already own much of what's here and decide you don't need this collection. But if you're an admirer of intelligent, imaginatively arranged guitar pop that's yet to discover their charms, then Time Machine is quite simply an essential purchase. --Chris White

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 30 Oct. 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are well known stories relating to the Head brothers who have been the nucleas of Shack since their formation in the late 80s following the demise of the Pale Fountains. These are stories dug up everytime Shack have released a record in the last decade - their bad luck, record companies folding, studios burning down, addictions, releasing singles about disabled folk getting it on in Amsterdam (where is Oscar?), and how they should have been as big as The Roses. Great gossipy stuff, but take that away and focus on what's left - a bunch of great songs from several great albums and here they are (mostly, though Ted Kessler's excellent sleevenotes address the point regarding the tracklisting - maybe they should have issued a double best of, like Flying High by Gene Clark?). Still, here are 16 tracks from 1990 onwards (nothing from Zilch as the production by Ian Broudie was of its time - hope they re-record some of those songs, or that they turn up on the projected live album), plus two newies in the form of Holiday Abroad and Wanda. My favourite song these days is Moonshine, and that's not here - still, I will point you back to the source records. As a primer this collection rocks and it's nice to have 69 minutes of greatness on one happy cd...

My first Shack album is one I still have a budget priced tape of - HMS Fable, which got some great reviews but didn't shift much - they were great supporting Beth Orton that year and it was a pleasure every few years to get a Shack album. Hope a new one appears soon...The mythic Waterpistol is the one people go on about, a much better album than either The LA's or The Stone Roses, it would be nice to see a tarted up/expanded version of it and the rest of the Shack back catalogue in the near future.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Janie on 25 Sept. 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
No band deserve a best of more than Shack - they've released some of the best albums in the history of pop music but had scant critical or financial reward (partly their own fault). With these albums there's always going to be a debate about what's been missed out - and with this it's a shame there are no tracks from the Pale Fountains or the Strands album, probably because of problems with different record companies. Nevertheless this is a wonderful collection of songs from the most undervalued band in the universe.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By pureunited on 19 April 2009
Format: Audio CD
This isn't really the best of Shack since it doesnt contain anything from Zilch which has tracks which are far superior to anything on the last couple of Lps( Emergency, Someone's knocking , High Rise low life, Faith) neither does it contain Mood of the Morning which is the best track on Waterpistol(definately not better than the Stone Roses debut by the way).
Still this does contain some top tracks.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
REM? - No way!!! 16 Nov. 2007
By James R. Parrett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Another reviewer mentioned Shack sounding like REM. Nothing could be further from the truth. Shack makes penetrating music that on the surface sounds almost blase but repeated listenings reveal s melodic depth reminiscent of quality bands like Love and the Byrds. This is not music to be played on toy personal stereos and then forgotten. You simply can't forget the haunting refrains and gorgeous hooks of this band. My only complaint is that this collection is not as good as the haunting majesty of the actual albums. However, Time Machine is a tasty sampler that will hook any discerning listener. Then, try the albums. H.m.s. Fable or Waterpistol One thing for sure. This is NOT disposable music.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
GREAT Band - "Best of..."? I Don't Think So! 19 Nov. 2007
By W. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
For me, there's no getting around it - since 2000, I have had to buy all of Shack's CDs and vinyl. And I'm glad that I had most of them before the release of _Time Machine,_ a so-called "best of" Shack. I may not get this simply because I have all but one song ("I Know You Well"). I live in the U.S., and _Time Machine_ is an expensive import.

Nonetheless, I genuinely hand it to Sour Mash, the band's current label fronted, I believe, by Oasis' Noel Gallagher, for providing this buffet. I hope that it will convert enough fans to at least keep Shack in cups of (nonspiked) tea and cakes.

The first track, "I Know You Well," holds up amazingly well despite its dating from about 1990; it's a bonus track on the Japanese import version of the band's first album, _Zilch,_ released in 1988 on the Ghetto label. I have read that this first album might be re-released in late 2007; not sure it will contain the many bonus tracks (including two other mixes of "I Know You Well") that appear on the expensive Japanese pressing that's out there now. We can also hope that it's been remastered.

Right away I have to ask why "Who Killed Clayton Square?" isn't on _Time Machine._

It's simple: Shack has too many great songs for even a representative slice of them to appear on one disc. No selection would be fair. (How about a box set then, eh?)

It's great that "Comedy," and several other tracks from arguably the band's best effort to date, _H.M.S. Fable,_ appear here. However, I tend to listen to _Fable_ all the way through. To hear the songs interspersed as they are on _Time Machine_ can be a little jarring.

I view _Fable_ as a set of two kinds of songs: ones that can stand by themselves (i.e., "Natalie's Party"), and a second group of loosely related songs about the ups and downs of two people trying to make it work: e.g., frustrations about getting on each other's nerves ("Pull Together"), "Lend's Some Dough" (getting money whatever way possible to satisfy an addiction), and "Captain's Table" (the rush of euphoria from scoring and using the drug...a sort of alternative universe "Comfortably Numb," without the Roger Waters theatrics). Then, "I Want You," and several other songs from the tail end of _Fable,_ seem like uneasy reconciliation between the two people in the preceding song stories. Again, not every track on _Fable_ is about the two people; it's not a concept album per se, but it has always seemed that way to me.

I'm not sure under what label the band was recording for the release of their single, "Oscar," but the omission of this song on _Time Machine_ is simply unjust, as is the omission of "Byrds Turn to Stone" from _Here's Tom with the Weather,_ as well as "Hazy" and "Dragonfly" - personal favorites of mine - from 1995's _Waterpistol._ I realize that copyright laws and permissions may have gotten in the way of including "Oscar" here. But one hasn't really given Shack a chance until hearing the tale of "Oscar" (a character that, oddly enough, reminds me of an amalgam of T-Bag and Haywire from the TV show _Prison Break._ Really, it is strange - wasn't Haywire trying to get to Holland?).

Shack's best songs are about anti-heroes and about the fascination with the everyday. Nothing in everyday life is too mundane for Michael Head's pen. And I hope to hell he keeps writing more songs in this vein. If there can be such things as antiheroes, can there be anti-"lifes" too? After all, isn't sitting in front of the TV with a cooked frozen dinner a valid choice, per the existentialists?

So, to sum, if you like the set on _Time Machine,_ you're likely to find even shinier gems when you listen to the entire albums from which these songs are culled.

Of course, you could always wait to see if a box set appears. Me? I'm not taking that chance, even if it means buying a CD for just one song. Maybe.
2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Pretty good overview 8 Nov. 2007
By Nobody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Don't have anything from Shack? Yeah, myself as well, not too many people do, they've lived without notice for a long time, despite producing basically solid music. One problem is that they sound so much like an English version of early REM (mixed with Jeff Airplane, XTC and Blur, if that makes sense) without the high points, songs like "I Know" and "Butterfly" would be decent REM B tracks. There's bits of everything in their music, I even picked up some Spirit in "Neighbors", maybe their best song. All good sources of course, but where is this band's own voice? New tracks "Holiday" and "Wanda" are okay, they fit right in, but break no new ground.

So what's the verdict on this, is two decades of their life worth a buy? Sure, everything they do is very pleasant to the ears, and at least would be a good choice for background music while you're doing something that takes a while in the kitchen some afternoon. But nothing really makes a solid impact either, and I'm afraid the Head brothers might have chosen different careers with more success.
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