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A very solid collection, but too many repeats from earlier CDs
on 4 September 2007
In my opinion, Beach House was the most consistent series on Hed Kandi. However, the 2005 edition was a major let-down, and I found the 2006 edition of Beach Angel lacking.
I'm happy to see that this year's instalment is back on track after the last couple of releases, but as a previous reviewer said, there are far too many repeated tracks.
The first disc is extremely consistent and enjoyable. "Everybody Wants To Rule the World" is a great remix of the 1980s Tears for Fears track, "Reasons" harks back to the early Beach House compilations, and "Washes Over You" has beautiful sun-kissed female vocals and a really good bassline. Watch out for the piano about halfway into this track: classic stuff.
With "Twisted by the Pool", Mark admits to shameless self-promotion with a new remix of this Fac15 track, but with vocals like these (and top lyrics, I might add) I think the self-promotion can be excused. "So Far" has a nice intro, a funky bass guitar line with a bit of acoustic guitar thrown in, and yet more great female vocals. Later on we have "Universal Love", which starts out nice enough, but after the first minute it really takes off. Absolutely wonderful vocals and melody, lovely harmonies and some utterly unforgettable chords. A real grower.
Peyton is back with "Holiday" - at over 9 minutes, it's long, but brilliant. A slow build-up that lures you in and grabs you after 2 minutes with a classic riff. Then the vocals start at 2:30 and you know he's struck gold yet again. Highly recommended.
Lesser tracks include "Illuminate", which benefits from a bright and melodic female vocal that holds everything together perfectly, but the melody is a bit overdone. "Shining Your Way" goes on a bit, "Answer My Prayer" doesn't have enough variety and is definitely one to skip. I just can't get into "Never Ending" - it's just not that great a tune and gets annoying too quickly. Mediocre really.
Verdict: This is definitely one of the best Beach House / Angel discs I have ever heard. Unfortunately it just misses top marks for having a few mediocre tracks. There's still room for improvement, but this is a big improvement over the Beach House / Angel instalments from 2005-6. Very good. 4/5
The problem with this disc is not the quality of the music, but the sheer volume of repeated tracks. We have "Forgiveness", "Safe", "Rise", "You You You", "The Answer", and "(You're Putting) A Rush On Me". That's SIX out of eleven tracks. The last one of that list was only JUST released on Es Vive 2007. A bit cheeky if you ask me.
It wouldn't bother me as much if CD 3 wasn't the "classics" disc. "Safe" sums it up perfectly; perhaps Fierce Angel should take a risk and try out some up-and-coming producers instead of remixing the old tracks when there's already a separate classics disc in this collection! Just a thought. But when all's said and done, the repeated tracks are some of the best.
Elsewhere we have "Surfacing", and I'm with Mark on what he says about this track: it's an absolute classic. The lyrics are great, but the slight downshift in the chorus is simply sublime. And then we have something that almost always wins me over: a piano bit! Then there's "Pacific", a remix of "Pacific State". It's a brilliant remix, with a really enjoyable spin on the original music (particularly the sax) and a wonderful build-up to "that melody". To be honest, I used to think the original was a bit overrated, but this is a vast improvement.
Later on, "Misunderstanding" has a good vocal but the music's a bit boring; "Dig the Vibes" is overly repetitive with unexciting music and average vocals, and "Alive" is a bit of a mess - particularly the bass, which is all over the place and not in a good way. The chorus is pretty good though.
Verdict: Musically this is mostly excellent, but there are SIX repeats / remixes from previous compilations on this disc. I think that's pretty unfair to the faithful followers who buy all of the Fierce Angel releases (I don't have Digital Angel or the sampler yet, but I have the rest). Especially when you consider that this is the second disc, and it's the THIRD disc that's the "official" classics disc. I'm giving this disc a good rating because I liked it a lot, but I'd like to see a lot more new material on next year's Beach Angel, please! 4/5
OK, so we're now onto the classics disc, so I have to bear this in mind when doing the review. Before we get started, I should explain what really matters to me about repeating tracks. What matters is how recently we've had a track, and to what degree it's been remixed (if appropriate) as to whether it's a "worthy" repeat or not. I'm not a huge fan of exact copies of tracks on multiple compilations, remixes that sound almost the same as the original, and repeated tracks in quick succession across multiple compilations.
"Cada Vez" has an extremely catchy sax riff and it's got a great latin feel. "Do It Now" has a really infectious melody and top vocals. "To Be In Love" is good and catchy, but a bit busy, and sometimes it sounds like the vocals need a break. Still, good stuff.
"E Samba" is a firm favourite of mine, I first heard this on World Series (the first Hed Kandi mix CD). I remember playing the Beach House disc for my friends one night after clubbing, and the feeling I get from this track sums up how pleased we were with that very first mix. Extremely entertaining and one of those tracks that stays with you for a long, long time!
"The Whirled You Live" is another firm favourite, due to the wonderful piano chords, and of course, the vocals. "Ever After" is the Rasmus Faber track (rather than the track of the same name by Bonnie Bailey), and it has great guitar and good vocals. One of those tracks you've just got to dance to.
"Outro Lugar" is a bit underwhelming at first, but the vocals and accompanying instrumentation ensure that this isn't a track you'll forget in a hurry. What really makes it for me, though, is the bit at 2:14 onwards where the key changes and there are some really lovely chords. "Libre" takes a little time to get going, but the vocals build up nicely, and there are some great harmonies just before the main section kicks in. The chorus is absolutely wonderful, and one of my favourite Beach House tracks ever. Marvellous!
Sorry to say this, but much as I enjoy "So Many Times", I'm going to have to put this on the "overplayed" pile. It works well in a mix, and was faultlessly positioned on Tokyo Project: The Collection (one of Mark's best CDs ever). On that compilation, you have to listen to the whole of disc 1 from start to finish. But we also had it on Es Vive/Base Bar Ibiza 2005, and Disco Heaven 01.05... well, this track certainly lives up to its name! Great track, but let's move onto the next classic now.
"Everytime I Feel It" takes too long to get going, but it's good when it gets there (aside from the "ya!" vocal). A bit cheesey, but pretty good. Finally, "Pasilda" starts off sounding rather dull, then some good piano comes in, and the track gets going after three and a half minutes - halfway into the track. It's not bad, but it's too long a wait for what's a fairly average melody.
Verdict: Unlike CD 2, we know what to expect here - classics. As with CD 3 on Beach Angel 2006, this is full of great tracks and I'd be missing the point if I marked it down. Great stuff. 5/5
Overall: This collection is much more solid than Es Vive 2007, and better than Beach Angel 2006. Mark's clearly back on track, but I still think there's room for improvement. There are very few tracks that I skip here. However, there are just too many repeated tracks (aside from the ones you expect to see on disc 3) for this to get full marks. Maybe next year, eh? 4/5