Customer Review

14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ** CAUTION WHEN BUYING VINYL FROM AMAZON **, 10 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: AM [VINYL] (Vinyl)
OK, first off apologies for the star rating - no reflection on the album (which in mp3 form is great!), it's intended to highlight problems with how badly Amazon are wrapping/shipping the vinyl version. This review is therefore just for people thinking of getting the vinyl. I'll update the review and stars after Christmas by which time I hope to receive a replacement (though there is a good chance that may suffer the same damage as my first purchase). For now this is a heads up to anyone else thinking of buying a vinyl AM, or indeed any LPs from Amazon over Christmas.

Previously Amazon boxed and wrapped LPs pretty well. However, I now notice that this one is described as coming in "frustration free" packaging. Well, it was certainly easy to open because the packaging was so flimsy and damp that it easily unpeeled without even needing to tear any perforations in the thin card. Yes, mine arrived just wrapped in a single layer of thin and damp card, without any other cushioning or reinforcement and no mention the package was "records" or "fragile". Needless to say, when I received the LP on this otherwise dry night and after it had been out on the delivery run for about 10 hours, the package and record sleeve were both badly bent. I haven't even opened it, it looks so curved, so I requested a replacement. Having chatted with Amazon about this, Amazon say they cannot change the courier but "will make sure the drivers knows that this item is fragile". They also have not promised to improve the packaging which means there is a good chance the replacement will arrive in the same nick.

So, if you're ordering the vinyl, be aware that Amazon's packaging is nowhere near as protective as it used to be and if like my order yours is also intended to be a present, I'd think seriously about purchasing it some other way or allow good time to request a replacement. Also, don't make the mistake of downloading the mp3 version as soon as your purchase is confirmed as this will make it tricky to return and purchase elsewhere - I recommend waiting till you have an undamaged album in your hands.

Sorry to go on, but the whole idea of sending out vinyl "frustration free" seems really bad and may edge people who are buying Christmas gifts to buy elsewhere or maybe get the CD or download instead. I shall have to review something else soon to live up to my nick again.

UPDATE 10.01.14: My replacement vinyl AM turned out to be better packed, but the sleeve had been bent as if someone packing it had picked up the album by just one corner and waggled it. Ho hum, maybe I'm jinxed, still the vinyl itself was undamaged so I decided to flatten out the crease and keep it (as a present for a Monkey's fan...). I've updated the review to 4 stars since the vinyl album itself is really nice! The pressing is really heavy and thick (unlike many so-called 180g pressings these days), with little vinyl noise to it. The mastering is much more dynamic than the mp3 version I downloaded from Amazon's autorip, with plenty of bass. I've listened to it many times now. I wasn't a great Monkeys fan before buying this, and while my first impression was that the album was a bit too glum I've grown to love it. And even on my cheap system, the vinyl sounds hugely better than the mp3.
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