Top critical review
Hit and miss - a good collection, but not the best value for the money
on 24 July 2010
The Hullabaloo (Soundtrack, as is the proper name) is a bit of a ramshackle production, if you ask me. There are some excellent songs on both discs, but it somehow ends up placing itself between two chairs.
I'll start out with a few remarks on the second disc, which is the live set. The disc has 11 tracks, 10 of which are also on the DVD. For some reason DARK SHINES did not make it to the DVD, and thus is only available here, but apart from that, the DVD would be the place to go if you really want the live experience - apart from the obvious advantage of having the visual side, it also has the full show, and thus comes across more coherent than the CD.
The first disc is the B-side collection and I must say is a bit of a missed opportunity. I understand they could not include ALL the B-sides, since there are a, well, Host of B-sides around from the Showbiz days. Some of the choises made are, however, deeply puzzling - particularly considering that the disc only runs for some 40 minutes, which means there are over 30 minutes of empty space on the disc!
First off, there are the songs that made it to the collection and shouldn't have - most notably the god-awfull YES PLEASE, which is 3 minutes of painful noise that you just wish for to end. ASHAMED is perhaps not their, well, proudest moment, but goes for a decent listen. The same is true for (on this site much maligned) FORCED IN which I actually think is a pretty good track, albeit running too long and pretty strange. But then, it's certainly not the strangest thing to appear here, so I can forgive that. The driving instrumental THE GALLERY is again passable while not incredibly memorable.
On the other hand, several quality cuts have been left off - from the early days I really miss the brilliant cut HOST, which along with the even better RECESS (which is included) stands miles above any other B-side from the Showbiz era - and several cuts that did make that album. Likewise from the early days, AGITATED could have made an appearance - while not their best track by a far mile (it compares with ASHAMED), it's one of their rarest, only available on an early German UNO promo-single, on the Benelux double-CD version of the Showbiz album, and on the often overprices Japanese collection Random 1-8. Thus, while not for the musical qualities, it would have been a nice gesture to collectors to include the track here, but I supposed the reasoning was that the live version would suffice.
The collection fares much better with the Origin Of Symmetry B-sides - the collections best tracks are from this era, including gems such as the mor-rocker SHRINKING UNIVERSE, the bouncy and delightful MAP OF YOUR HEAD, the artsy NATURE_1 and the trippy scaled down version of Hyper Music labeled HYPER CHONDRIAC MUSIC - tracks that alone almost makes the collection worth its price. We also get the achingly beautiful acoustic version of SHINE, which for me ranks among their best tracks ever, while the original rock version of this track, a good track in its own right, is excluded.
Finally, this collection (and the accompagnying DVD) spawned two singles - DEATH STAR and IN YOUR WORLD, but excellent cuts. Extremely puzzling, neither track is included here in the studio version, but are only on the live disc, and while the live recordings are good, the studio version of DEATH STAR is noticably different (and better for me). These singles were also backed up with two tracks, their superb cover of CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU and the decent FUTURISM (previously released as Japanese bonus track for OOS), which could have been here also. Again, instead we get 30 minutes of nothing.
So on the bottom line, I'm a bit undecided on this collection. While it does offer some good live tracks, and it does offer some good B-sides, it fails at capturing the live atmosphere of the band, and it fails at summing up on (the good) B-sides they have released. Had they included a selection of more B-sides (my pick would be HOST, DO WE NEED THIS, AGITATED, SHINE (rock version), DEATH STAR and IN YOUR WORLD) and kicked out some of the filler (if nothing else, then YES PLEASE) I would have recommended this without hescitation. As it is, I'd say it's mostly for the hardcore fans.