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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 April 2011
It's curious to think that Everything But The Girl were ever thought of as dance affiliates (thanks to just one remix of a song that started life as an acoustic song anyway). It's also equally curious to learn that throughout their career, they did not stick to one style either. This was their first album - when pretty much the influence du jour was smoky cosmopolitan jazz-tinged bossanova grooves, in line with a few other [London-based] bands and artists around at the time during those stylistically confused days of the early 80s (I think first and foremost of the lovely eclectic jazz popsters Weekend - led by Simon Booth, who actually guests on this album along with a few other luminaries). If there is an overriding earlier influence that shaped this album, however, then it has to be the music of Stan Getz and Astrid Gilberto.....with a bit of Cole Porter thrown into the mix (they made their debut with a cover of "Night and Day").

"Eden" is a delight from start to finish - ravishingly melodic and with a clean uncluttered production.... every song is a perfect bite-sized urban vignette sung sweetly by either Tracey or Ben in their own understated but detached way. There's no excessively emotional outpourings here - just perfect introspection done with style and finesse. It's hard to pick out any favourites because I have owned this record on tape ever since its first release in 1984 - having it see me through my student years at university right up to my oncoming middle age....and still I do not get tired of listening to it, and still it sounds fresh to this day. Obviously, the relative brevity of this album - twelve concise songs in barely 35 minutes - would be seen as a bit of a swizz now in this age of over-long CD epics and mass repackaging with bonus tracks etc.... but this album is so good it really does leave you wanting more.

It does what it sets out to do with the minimum of fuss and bother, and the tunes simply speak for themselves. There's some bossanova numbers here (the single Each and Every One, I Must Confess), some acoustic ballads (Fascination, Tender Blue, Soft Touch), a jazz-flecked instrumental (Crabwalk), some pert 60s pop (Another Bridge), some vintage country-folk balladry (The Dustbowl) ..... everything but the loud electric guitars if you like (though they did turn all Smiths jangle-poppy on their next album Love Not Money - which again, confounded people's expectations). If I was to pick one song that I keep going back to, it would have to be the bittersweet domestic melodrama of track 3 "Tender Blue" wherein a gorgeous duet between Ben and Tracey keeps the song idling along nicely care of an almost lullaby-like arrangement. But this is not to say that the other 11 tracks are not worthy - because they are just as high quality.

If your only experience of EBTG is their ropey dance stuff of the 90s, or their big hit cover versions (Paul Simon and Rod Stewart), then do yourself a favour and get this first record of theirs - this is where it all began for Tracey and Ben, and it's a good a start as you're going to find. A great little album and a classic in my book.

N.B. For those who love Tracey Thorn's voice, you could do no worse than to also get seek out her first solo [mini] album "A Distant Shore" which was issued in 1982 - it serves as a nice minimalist prequel to the songs on this album - great tunes aplenty too and a lovely guitar/voice version of the Velvet's "Femme Fatale" thrown in for good measure too.
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on 7 May 2015
I was in a horrible scrape/scrap? yestoday, on the escarpment/battlements? of the local castle (Periwinkle... I mean Pontefract!). There I were, havnig just come into possession of this self-same CD, having determined to give it a first listening to - or a first listening to in thirty yrs I should bloody well Cocoa and I was only a teenage hoodlam then so don't get too exited and it was my considerably more comfortably, financially and in most other respects shall we say, familialy, off friend Mark Darkson that had a copy, not me, I was hardly even eating at the time let alone availing myself of every blooming LP I fancied, for I should add we were all still then stuck on vinyl, such was the state of my then mother's mind, such was it (and don't worry, she was dead soon upon thereat) - out in the midday sunshine on a grassy knoll within the bounds of said structure, famed for its adventures in the Civil War, which lies not more than a league or so from my own domicile, one of those scabby flats you pass not far from the Real Male Devilry Orifice, whither once I stole an honest loving, walking as a post-human myself, my sack athwart and all manner of visions, when WHEN, having only just got me headphones on and pressed PLAY on the old (18yrs t.b.e. - to be exact) portable CD speiler, two flipping rockers occurred out of nowhere, or somewhere like that, and began needlessly needling me anent my attire - zoot suit, white jacket with side vents five inches long - with no room to talk in their crusty clobber, whereat I had no recourse but to go into attack mode whereat they beat my living day lights out, baskets!

All of said, and my whistle and what have all but fudged, my stash whipped, half me hair torn out a black eye bruised ribs a bust lip and a badly swollen left plumb, still having no real direction in life apart from death, that and next drink, this is bleeding great record!
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on 7 May 2000
I have loved this album since before pussy was a kitten. There are a clutch of brilliant tracks of a quality never reached again by EBTG. 'Each and every one' is a song of such beauty that it hurts to think it barely dented the top 40. I cannot recommend this album highly enough.
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on 28 May 2005
I have been professionally involved in the music business as a performer and a sound engineer for 20 years. I loved this album when it was released and I'm ashamed to say that I forgot about it. I was worried that I was remembering the quality from a less experienced standpoint and was reluctant to risk being dissappointed. Weird I know but there were lots of memories associated with this album. Anyway it is a masterpiece! Not only are Ben and Tracey brilliant, exposed, raw, fragile and talented. They manage to convey true emotion which is utterly believable, the songs are at times truly beautiful and the musicianmanship is absolute class. The recordings have been handled in a sensitive and thoughtful manner and the Flugel horn solos are masterpieces. Buy this album it is a classic honestly!-
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on 9 December 2014
this is one of the best albums I have listened to in a long while , Tracy Thorn's voice is brilliant along with Ben Watts's musical skill , the album might have been made in 1984 , but to me it still sounds fresh. 5 stars. :)))).
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on 7 July 2008
personally i'm not concerned that this release will only contain 12 tracks, as it is listed as a double cd (as all Collector's Editions are). hopefully we'll get all the tracks from both the US and UK releases, which will comprise basically all of the b-sides and bonus tracks from the singles. the first peel sessions from 18 Aug 1984 are relevant (Ballad Of The Times, Riverbed Dry, Never Could Have Been Worse, Don't You Go), and hopefully will be included also. i'm thinking that the bbc might have recorded a show around that time also. this is all just wishful thinking; i'll just be happy to get this marvelous album in a better mastering than the original job. what worries me is that it keeps getting pushed back. according to the release dates originally given, we should have had this around the first week of september. now it's nearly november. anyone heard anything?
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VINE VOICEon 18 April 2012
I LOVE this album!

I first heard 'Everything But The Girl' and loved them way back in '84 when they had their first hit Single: 'Each And Every One'. It made the Charts, but should have done much better I felt. I did not get around to buying this album it was taken from back then, and much later on when I wanted it, it wasn't available any longer... But the first album I purchased by them was: 'Amplified Heart' (see my Review for that title) probably drawn by the hit Single: 'Missing' and was rather disappointed if I recall. ( I really must listen to it some more though) However; I've finally got around to purchasing this - and what a gem it is!

First of all,. I ADORE nice short albums with short numbers - can't bear those songs that go on and on 'til they bore the pants off you... The longest track here is just 3.29 - the shortest being under two minutes - perfect!

This is a classic album with a 'classic' sound, and I particularly enjoy the guy's voice (more please!) who I think (if I recall correctly) did not sing on the other album I purchased.

The most outstanding tracks by far for me are; 'Tender Blue' and 'Soft Touch'.

Great stuff!
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on 9 March 2016
Excellent.. Have it on vinyl.. Just a bit difficult to play in the car..
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on 25 November 2011
I have had this on cassette (remember them?) for years but decided to download for the MP3 player. This is a beautifully produced album, bitter sweet lyrics with some superb jazz influenced backing tracks and not a duff tune on it. I never tire of listening to it. First time I have downloaded an album, it was an easy process that worked well.
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on 29 November 2013
Intelligent Lyrics, inspired rhythms, classic jazz horns and bass . Relax and be inspired.
Has stood the test of time, I originally bought this as a cassette.
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