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Mercury Years Import

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

Price: £8.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Mar. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Mercury
  • ASIN: B000026OUH
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 418,910 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Format: Audio CD
Rainbirds formed around the nucleus of charismatic singer Katharina Franck and released their debut album on Mercury Records in 1987. In the early-90s they left the label for Rough Trade and Franck has continued singing left-of-centre songs in her crystal-clear voice to this day. The Mercury Years does pretty much what it says on the tin, and fairly neatly answers the question as to why the band's relationship with a major label floundered.

The CD kicks off with a good choice of tracks from the eponymous debut album, including the angular guitar pop of Blueprint and the strange, arabesque "On The Balcony". It sounds a little like Lloyd Cole and the Commotions fronted by Kate Bush, although Franck's voice is too distinctive for any direct comparisons. The tracks from 2nd album "Call Me Easy..." are also brilliant, with the band playing together strongly as a unit on "Love Was Already There..." and "Not Exactly". On the 9+ minutes of "Sea of Time", they stretch the boundaries of guitar pop with a running time and three contrasting sections reminiscent of a prog rock album, never losing that pop sharpness though.

In 1991 Franck disbanded the first line-up that had been very successful in Germany and continental Europe, regrouping with fellow strangeperson Ulrike Haag and some session musicians for the album "Two Faces". The results were a big departure from the guitar-pop sound of the earlier band, with more keyboards, a string quartet and some innovative rhythms underpinning that still-gorgeous voice. The songs became more introspective as well, befitting a nation that was struggling with its new, re-unified identity in the post-Berlin Wall era. Tracks 9 through to 13 are from this album and are all superb, iconoclastic recordings.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a terrific compilation and a great introduction to The Rainbirds, one of the most cruelly overlooked bands, and in Katharina Franck, one of best singers, of the 80s/90s. The CD does a good job of covering the various changes in style of The Rainbirds' early years, from pop/rock through to edgy electronica and gets it right with the songs. There's nothing here I'd discard and with one exception all their best songs are included.

The one major omission is 'Love Is A Better Word' from the 'Call Me Easy...' album. It rated a single and video release and is one of their best, so I'm mystified as to why it was dropped. If it had been included, this would have been the perfect Rainbirds compilation. Even so, I've had so much pleasure from this album that I still rate it at 5 stars. Just remember to get 'Call Me Easy...' to get that missing song.
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