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"...Counting Down The Hours...On The Long Journey Home..." - Change Everything by DEL AMITRI (2014 2CD Remasters)
on 10 February 2014
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2014 2CD REISSUE ***
Hailing out of Scotland as a sort of Soulful Indie band with great Rock tunes - I first heard del Amitri pump out "Kiss This Thing Goodbye" in the Summer of 1989 off their "Waking Hours" album. And that's when the love affair started. I've subsequently bought maybe twenty CD singles by them over the years - because like Love and Money, The Bible, The Fat Lady Sings, Deacon Blue, The Big Dish and The Silencers - their B-sides were often as good as (if not better than) the album tracks. Now fans are being treated to a "Re-Presents" reissue series of their three albums on A&M Records - "Waking Hours" (1989 and 1990), "Change Everything" (1992) and "Twisted" (1995). Here's the beer-stained/used-condom details...
UK Released 20 January 2014 - "Change Everything" on Universal/Mercury 3755684 (Barcode 602537556847) is a 2CD reissue (in a jewel case) of their 3rd album first issued on A&M Records 395 385 in June 1992 (50:58 minutes). Disc 2 (68:38 minutes) gathers up a whopping 18 non-album studio tracks from multiple variants of 4 single releases. The mastering has been done by GEOFF PESCHE at Abbey Road and the 16-page liner notes (which feature interviews with Justin Currie and Iain Harvey along with press clippings) are expertly handled by TERRY STAUNTON.
Like it's A&M predecessor "Waking Hours" - the 12-track "Change Everything" was chock-full of radio friendly hits. "Always The Last To Know" (May 1992), "Be My Downfall" (July 1992), "Just Like A Man" (September 1992) and "When We Were Young" (January 1993) were all released as singles with each sporting 7", 10", 12" and CD single formats. Unfortunately for die-hard fans (and unlike the "Waking Hours" reissue which has at least two tracks on it that were exclusive to vinyl) - all 16 on Disc 2 are from the CD singles. So if you're like me and you've collected the lot - all you're getting here is a slight sound upgrade. But as just under seventy minutes - Disc 2 is still stonking great value for money especially given their quality of the tunes. Even the live variants are fantastic with a really witty intro from Paul Whitehouse as mock DJ Mike Smash...
Speaking of the remaster on the album itself - it's hard to notice it. The original was a full-on live-in-the-studio feel recording and was beautifully produced by Gil Norton in the first place. A slight amping up is the best way to describe this version - nothing radical - but then like U2's "Achtung Baby" from 1991 - it doesn't need a remaster. What is impressive is the sheer song quality and sonic blast that accompanies them. Hooky as Hell and lyrically brilliant - lead singer, bassist and principal songwriter Justin Currie could pen a tune. Amongst the B-sides genius crops up four times - the "a girl who had a hundred ways to hurt you..." folksy jaunt that is "Whiskey Remorse", the band sounding like a Tom Petty outtake on "Don't Cry No Tears", the acoustic love song "The Verb To Love" and my absolute fave - the gorgeous "Long Journey Home" which could easily grace the end of a movie and leave you tingling as you leave the aisle (lyrics from it title this review). I even dig their cover of "Cindy Incidentally" - a band and time-period they clearly worshiped.
Never hip and somehow derided in some circles as a poor-man's Faces - I loved del Amitri with a passion. OK this reissue isn't going to set die-hard fans on fire - but they produced yet another corker in "Change Everything" and this cheap double CD re-boot is a reminder of that brilliance. Both an album and a band that deserve major reappraisal and a ten-spot of your hard-earned.
I'm off now to pine for girls who do you wrong and live on the wrong side of the London to Glasgow tracks...