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The music speaks for itself
on 9 February 2010
Frankie Goes to Hollywood were a phenomenon - a phenomenon that went beyond the music into the image, the sleeve notes, the videos, the T-shirts, the hype.
But here, in very minimal and somewhat naff packaging, all that is stripped away. All you get is the music. And the music is still very, very good.
Don't buy the single disc edition with just the 7-inch mixes. So much of the Frankie experience was in the inventive and often innovative remixes, so the second disc is pretty much essential. The meandering, thrusting 16 minute Relax that avoids any hint of the 7-inch mix, the apocalyptic Protect-and-Survive-sampling Two Tribes, the bizarre Nietzsche-quoting Welcome to the Pleasuredome. No one had ever done 12-inches like this before, and few would do with such impact again.
There are two previously-unheard tracks: a pleasant but rather sugary orchestral take on album-track-no-one-remembers Is There Anybody Out There, and a rejected album track Our Silver Turns to Gold, in which Frankie prove that they could have sounded like every other early 80s band if they'd wanted to.
But they didn't. They had a unique sound, and a unique energy. And while this is far from the ultimate Frankie compilation, if you don't have a Frankie CD on your shelf, or you want to relive the sheer force and imagination of those classic 12-inchers, this is essential.