Cock Robin were a band that peaked (in my humble wotsits) in the mid- to late-1980s, at the time when U.S. pop was being meticulously assembled in west coast studios. Originally signed to Epic, their albums shared with label-mates Til Tuesday a kind of pop non-immediacy that got under your skin and then just would not get out of your head. This rather clumsily-titled German compilation ("Ja, simply ze very best Cock Robin, very much I am liking") contains all the casual investigator could want, plus some odd rarities thrown in for good measure. Early (minor UK hit) single "The Promise You Made" is here, with its Edge-type U2 guitar, layered keyboards and yearning boy-girl vocals. Also from their debut album, "When Your Heart Is Weak" sounds like it's going to offer a shoulder to cry on, but is lyrically far more sinister. Great singer, but I'm not sure I'd want to be Peter Kingsbery's mate! More sophisticated guitar pop from the band's 1987 album "After Here Through Midland" keeps the quality control at a good level, but it's the songs from 1989's "First Love Last Rites" set that really stand out. "Stumble and Fall" features a burning, restrained overdriven guitar under the heartfelt vocal, as Kingsbery's lyric reveals strength in fallibility. "Worlds Apart" has a deceptive drum loop that only repeats every 8 bars, underpinning a song that deftly captures the dying stages of a relationship. Anna Lacazio and Peter Kingsbery's vocals sound like they really mean it (which they might have done at the time). Produced by Rhett Davies (Roxy Music's Avalon, Til Tuesday's Everything's Different Now), the care invested in these perfect pop songs is breathtaking. Rare tracks "The Part That I Miss" and "Blood of a Saint" sound like left-overs, although the 1st of those is rather nice in the way that the backing just kind of fizzles out, leaving Anna Lacazio's soulful vocal suspended over just a subtle bass and drum machine... then just a drum machine... then silence. The part that she misses, indeed! Overall, then, a good introduction to a sophisticated American pop band of the 80s. If you like this, I'd recommend the album "First Love Last Rites" for the full-on C.R. experience.