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Customer Review

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A wasted opportunity, 23 Feb. 2012
This review is from: X5 (Audio CD)
I have been looking forward to this release since I first read about it at the tail end of last year. All of the albums here represent Simple Minds at their best and even though you can see a naivete in some of the Life In A Day material I still think that the majority of it stands up well given the context of when it was recorded and the bands influences at the time. Who cares if it sounds a bit like Roxy/The Velvets/Sparks when these were fine bands to be filtering into your work in the first place? Also I happen to love the fact that the track 'Life In A Day' sounds like the original Brookside theme...Phil Redmond must have been a fan. Also,let's not forget that in less than a year they had dived into a very risky experimental dark blue pool that was Real To Real Cacophony. No the music is sublime and the extra tracks make this a worthwhile purchase, however I think that the X5 release is pretty shoddy overall. My reason for stating this is simply down to the way that this material has been packaged and presented. To say it looks cheap is frankly the most honest way I can describe it.

The extra material should have been bolstered and included on a seperate disk for a start. I think that certain albums need to be listened to in their intended context and not just as selection of tracks. Real To Real's album closer 'Scar' is a perfect example of how a track works in the context of an albums overall structure. When listened to at the end of the Real To Real album it leaves you with a very deep impression. The track closes the album perfectly. Now you have Kaleidoscope following it which for me ruins the moment somewhat. Don't get me wrong,I love this song but I don't want it bolted on to the end of an album that ends so perfectly. I know that nowadays people are gonna transfer stuff onto their iPods so this won't necessarily be a factor for them but I'd like to think that the material was left alone and that extras were given the benefit of their own disk so that the original albums can stand alone. I recall how Bowie's 90's reissues suffered in the same way because tracks were tagged on to them which somewhat ruined their flow and it was interesting to note that when they were reissued again in the next decade the extra tracks had been removed.

The ommission of any booklet or inner sleeve information is unforgivable though. I bought the reissue vinyl replica editions back in 03 and they were far better than these flimsy editions. To be honest the sleeves look cheap and with the exception of Son's/Sister Feelings, which is presented as a double, none of them have spines! Ok, so they are going to be presumably stored in the clamshell box but that's not the point surely? If you are going to market this material as having a replica sleeve give it a replica sleeve and not a cardboard envelope. I don't recall any of my original vinyl albums having sleeves as cheap looking as this so what kind of replica are the bods at Virgin referring to?

Still for those that have not heard these albums this is a very worthwhile purchase as the music on all five of these albums is sublime and well worth investigating. Empires And Dance still stands up for me as one of the best produced and pioneering albums released in that fertile post punk era. John Leckie is always name dropped as the genius behind The Stone Roses first album but compared to that(in my view) quite conservative and retro sounding album, his work on Real to Real and Empies and Dance is awe inspiring.

Overall then a bit of a dissapointment, not for the music but because of the way it has been presented and packaged.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Feb 2012 23:04:11 GMT
nodz says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Feb 2012 23:41:12 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 Feb 2012 00:04:09 GMT
Voltaire 808 says:
Actually I wrote that because that's how I felt about the release. I have no axe to grind and am not trying to impress with a novel soundbyte. Had your criticism been related to my review I would have been interested in what you had to say. However, you didn't comment on the review, you made a comment on the title. Now that IS lazy and frankly boring.

Posted on 25 Feb 2012 02:35:51 GMT
obsidianic says:
I agree that albums were sequenced to be listened to as a piece, back in the old days. When I made CD-Rs with extra tracks (still prefer CDs at home over digital/FLAC), I try to leave a gap (six or eight seconds) between the last track of the album and the appended tracks.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Mar 2012 16:12:29 GMT
MAC says:
I agree with the original poster, this could and should have been a more impressive box set. It wouldn't have taken much to have some better sleeve notes and a little additional information. Similarly, the packaging could have been better. Other than that, the music still sounds great and it is good value.
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