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4.6 out of 5 stars19
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 6 September 2000
The good news is that, presentation-wise, the folks at Polydor have done a good job with this reissue. The original LP jacket artwork has been restored, as have the lyrics and Cappucino Kid liner notes (part of an A5 booklet included with the LP, but missing from the original CD release), and the new liner notes are excellent.
The bad news is that it appears that the over-compressed remasters used for 'The Complete Adventures..." have been used here. At the time that set was released, the backlash against using tons of compression during mastering was still fairly new - and too late to have any impact on how the songs were remastered. With the gap of about two years between the release of the box set and the remastered TSC albums, I harbored some hope that perhaps they'd be re-remastered in order to remedy the over-compression. Sadly, the remastering credit indicates that this did not happen.
As a result, while the tracks do benefit somewhat from added presence and clarity, you'll risk ear fatigue rather quickly (it hit me during "My ever changing moods") if you don't keep the listening volume relatively low.
Of course, the music is still excellent, although "A gospel" is now somewhat dated. It's easy to forget how defiantly different 'Cafe Bleu' was at the time of its release, even as the music press briefly lumped TSC in with the emerging "new jazz" clique that also included Sade, Carmel, Working Week, and Everything But The Girl. The album contained a mix of 60s-influenced jazz, easy listening, and pop, and even rap and funk, that made it stand out from just about everything else on the charts.
There was also a sense of fun, freedom, and optimism that would be missing from the later albums. There were the print ads that cheekily proclaimed "Here come the classics" and "Contains no hit singles". There were the Cappucino Kid sleevenotes. There were Mick Talbot's instrumental rave-ups. There were the photos that showed Paul Weller almost smiling. And, of course, there was the willingness to follow one's passion, and not simply do things a certain way because that's how they'd always been done.
Not to mention that springtime has never been better...
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VINE VOICEon 14 February 2010
This is a crazy little album chock full of different styles and a few guest musicians/singers (honorary councillors). This is my first dip into the Council after only being aware of the singles and its become a quick favourite as other albums from Paul Weller's various incarnations. The album version of ever changing moods is gorgeous and one I was unfamiliar with and is more haunting without the drums. A gospel and the paris match feature guest singers and are so different from each other perfectly summing up the variety of this album.
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on 29 September 2002
This LP came as a big shock to the Parka clad hordes who believed Modernism began and ended with "Going Underground". Paul Weller and Mick Talbot took their listeners on a trip around non-guitar music, taking in jazz, rap, ragtime and brilliant pop. Truth is, "Cafe Bleu" sounds like the work of a man released from the constraints of his audience - the same audience who heckled and bottled when TSC refused to pander to the cries for "Eton Rifles".
Highlights are "Headstart for Happiness", "Paris Match" (with the delightful Tracey Thorn on vocals), a piano-led "Ever Changing Moods" and the incisive "Whole Point". Oh, of course it also has Weller's fantastic "You're the Best Thing".
TSC were never afraid to experiment, sometimes to their cost, but in pushing the envelope they were never found wanting.
Keep On Burning!
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on 25 February 2015
Cafe Bleu is an album that refuses to be pigeonholed by one musical genre. Instead, it features elements of jazz, rap, and pop with all the trimming from this period. Whilst newcomers to The Style Council maybe aware of its standout hit single, You're the Best Thing, maybe in for a surprise at how broad and diverse the album that song comes from really is. It is usually the ones with the melodic emotional punch that stay with the listener, rather then the more particularly pop offerings, such as Strength of Your Nature.
Cafe Bleu is a musical oddity that works well, but may surprise those familiar with Paul Weller's other works beyond The Style Council at how broad and diverse their musical canvas really was back in their heyday.
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on 4 August 2000
The Style Council were hip for about five minutes but they did make some great albums, and this is the best. The zenith of the cappuccino years, this is effortlessly cool and always uplifting. An album to return to again and again.
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on 17 July 2015
Love this album. Knew it off by heart in my teenage years but had long since lost the vinyl copy Made me happy to hear the tracks again and amazed that all the lyrics were stored in my head from all those years ago. CD arrived promptly and in good condition.
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on 12 August 2012
Utter brilliance.The songs shine out and show Weller as the genius that he really is .He steps back and allows others to shine ,the group click as a collective.Still is one of the best albums released by a British recording artist.
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on 24 July 2013
i had this when first released played it to death. Mislayed it somewhere in fact I think my brother took it, anyway rebought it and once again playing it not stop, but then i am a massive weller fan!
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on 12 July 2010
I bought this album on vinyl when it came out in 1984 as an 18 year old and played it to death - it somehow perfectly captured how I was feeling as a teenager. 26 years later, I find it still strikes a chord and has lost none of its freshness or originality.
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on 3 July 2015
I have put off buying this album since 1983, why I waited so long I'll never know, This album is brilliant, I Love It!
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