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This review is from: East Side Story (Audio CD)
The epithet "perfect pop" is often overused, but in this case it fits exactly.
Difford & Tilbrook brought us, in their fourth studio album, a record of such lyrical and musical accomplishment that it's difficult to see how it didn't spawn half a dozen top-ten singles, instead of the one it unbelievably only did manage.
Of the three singles contained, only one made any significant impact on the charts at all - the lovely, rolling, melodic "Labelled With Love". Stuffed with poignant, witty lyrics, teasing us with rhymes that don't arrive (you'd think that after using the word "mittens", followed by the word "cat", we were all set for the mention of "kittens", but no!), its country-ballad sound echoed earlier classics such as "Goodbye Girl" and "Up The Junction" in that it was simple enough and tuneful enough to hit exactly the right spot. But the other two were woefully overlooked by the public at the time: the superb rocking, up-beat foot-stomper "Is That Love?" hardly tickled the top-40; while the classic "Tempted", their best-known number in America, didn't even make it that far.
But this is a surprise in a record packed with numbers that most bands would kill to include in their own back-catalogue. Why on earth the beautiful "Woman's World" wasn't chosen as a single, for instance, I have no idea; and "Piccadilly" sounds just as fresh and bouncy now as it did then - it brings a huge smile to my face every time I even think about it. In fact, I'm going to be bold and make the claim that there wasn't one single song on "East Side Story" that wasn't brilliant. A couple of reviewers have criticised "F-Hole" for letting the side down, but while I didn't like it when I first bought the album (years ago), I find these days that it's actually quite interesting, hypnotic even, and fits with the whole idea of experimentation that the band were obviously exploring at the time.
My only criticism of this edition of "ESS" is that the bonus tracks don't add anything. They're not really on a par with the original playlist, and you'd want your extras to add "something extra" to the package. But this is hardly a reason not to love the album. In fact, I can't think of any reason not to love the album.
You'd be mad not to buy it.