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Not over compressed, not quite complete, no lyrics, and a glitch in the mastering that Universal don't seem to care to fix.
on 28 October 2013
NOTE: THIS FOUR STAR REVIEW HAS BEEN REDUCED TO 1 STAR AS UNIVERSAL WILL NOT REPLACE A DEFECTIVE DISC.
Most people will be aware of the content - almost complete, but frustratingly a track has been omitted. Saxophones as Opiates is not present, and as mentioned the band apparently had the call on that, but how on earth did Wino make it on in that case?!
Tonally the mastering is close to the 1999 remaster but sounds a lot more open, and this version doesn't seem to have major noise reduction on it. The audio has not been compressed to the eyeballs, and the top end has not been disproportinately boosted - hooray! There is a decent amount of top end, though - and some sibilence. Sadly there is a glitch on Ideas... at around the 2:25 mark, which is not on the 1999 edition. It's frustrating that these things get through! People into the minutiae may be interested to know that the polarity is also opposite to the 1999 edition.
As a bonus the original 12" mix of Pale Shelter has a longer fade: something a little extra for the collectors - which is welcome.
Unfortunately, We Are Broken has been replaced in error by Broken Revisted.
Comparing the 7" version of Suffer The Children from vinyl to the CD, I've got to say that my first impression is that I prefer the sound of the single. I don't know what the source of the "new version" (actually older) of Change is, but my first impression suggestion it sounded a bit low rez to me. I haven't compared that track with the vinyl yet, but it sounded a bit cassettey to my ears. The longer promo version of Suffer The Children sounds inferior to the shorter version that made the single. Presumably this was sourced from the promo CD rather than the original mastertape. A little disappointing, but better than it being omitted from the collection, also demonstrates how much better the remastered single version sounds. The remix of Suffer The Children has some clicks during the intro, but on casual speaker listening didn't have anything glaring to suggest it was a definitely a needle drop. The instrumental version also has some clicking on the intro, and does - at casual listening - sound vinyl sourced.
The box is quite nicely priced for this kind of thing, but the booklets are centre stapled rather than hardback, which would have been nicer and a more deluxe touch for the main booklet. Also there is no ribbon to help pull out the discs and booklet, instead you have to fish around a bit which is likely to increase wear to both the box and the items inside. Oh, and there's no lyrics! Come on Universal - don't miss the basics!!!
Great debut album, some frustrating issues. Hope Songs... gets a super deluxe too - albeit without glitches, and with the lyrics.
PS: Get on Universal's case to replace the faulty CD. There is a Uspeak page on their website: go there and ask, but be polite!