8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Ultimate Collection (Audio CD)
I expected to find three well-know vintage hits here and little else. But a week on and I'm still playing it constantly and still putting down whatever I'm doing to give it my undivided attention. Which is surprising as this was never quite my kind of music. There's stuff here I doubt I'll ever really get to like (such as the later singles on disc 1 where the B sides tend to be better). But there's also much that seriously grows on you. What was good becomes great and the best is outstanding.
Good as disc 1 (I especially like the first two singles, the intrumentals and Come On Children) disc 2 is really where it's at, dominated as it must be by the peerless Itchycoo Park, Tin Soldier (how come I never heard this before? What an intro!) and Lazy Sunday. It's easy see why some critics looked askance at the likes of Lazy Sunday but when you sit down and listen properly, instead of catching it casually from the radio, you can appreciate the perfection. What a pity that Marriot himself didn't see it that way (see the sleeve notes).
This album is a labour of love, beautifully produced, carefully selected, intelligently annotated and sartorially impeccable. It tells the story from the point of view of the two surviving group members but it is even-handed and sincere. In any event the music speaks for itself.
I'll just mention as an aside that I came to this group after listening to Blur's Parklife and on listening to the opening bars of Autumn Stone I knew I'd heard it before somewhere. Now which track by Blur would that be?
So where do I rate them? Up there with the best without any doubt. Again you reflect on the mystery of prodigious talent at such a tender age. (Most of them were only 18 when they formed and 22 when the split came.) And what exactly is it that makes it such compulsive listening?