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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 3 May 2017
Very Happy
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on 3 April 2014
To quote the NME:

"This LP is as stylised and idiosyncratic as the first Undertones LP, the first Madness album or even the first Jam outing. That's what gives it part of its greatness and strength. Unlike its predecessors it lacks the element of surprise, but we're still dealing with a fine piece of '90s pop"
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on 10 April 2017
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on 12 August 2015
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on 16 May 2009
I was 16 when the 'Madchester' scene first kicked off and this period coincided with my introduction into enjoying music. Subsequently this period in music history has a permanent place in my heart.

The Inspiral Carpets were one of the better bands to come out of the 'baggy' scene but this debut album in nothing special. There are 3 or 4 decent tracks but the majority seems to be of a poor standard. Still the good tracks such as the excellent 'This is How it Feels' makes this album worth a purchase.

IF you want a great Inspiral Carpets album; I would suggest buying the follow-up 'Beast Inside' album. This debut album however is not as good but still enjoyable for aging indie-dudes like me.
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VINE VOICEon 18 March 2013
I fell for the Inspirals quickly and by the time they came to release their debut album, I was uncommonly excited, even for a 16 year old. Given that "Life" debuted at No. 2, I clearly wasn't alone.

As much as I (still) love them, they never quite made a totally consistent album but this ties with "Revenge Of The Goldfish" for the closest they came. "Life" catches the Inspirals at a crossroads of sorts; song for song, it's a messy half-and-half, split between the post-lysergic garage rock that created their fearsome live reputation and the sound of a highly confident unit pushing their own envelope and enjoying themselves in the doing so. Happily, both strands showcase their terrific songwriting and this is what keeps "Life" sounding fresh today. The influence of Ray Davies hangs over "Song For A Family" and the evergreen "This Is How It Feels", perfectly taken snapshots of life in Britain in the late 80's. Album highpoint "Sackville" remains thrilling, its deep dubwise sound a perfect match for this gritty and potent slice of Mancunian life. Elsewhere, "Directing Traffik" absorbs the dance culture of the era without sacrificing the Inspiral Sound. This edition improves on the original CD with the low end and some of the more careful detail coming off particularly well.

The group evolved at an extraordinary rate - "Life" was released in April 1990 and by July, their live set included 6 new songs, all of them pushing into new territory. This is well captured on the "21790 Live" DVD and it's great to be able to retire my well-worn VHS at last. But a proper discussion of this music belongs in an Extended Edition of "The Beast Inside" (please, Mute, please?).

There's one thing, though. An extended edition of an album should cover the material surrounding it - in this instance, the b-sides and the alternate mixes from the singles. Instead we have the "Planecrash" and "Trainsurfing" EPs and a Peel session from 1988. Is it too much to suggest that there's a bit of historical revisionism here, attempting to align the album with their earlier sound and, perhaps more to the point, with their original singer? As a result of this decision, Stephen Holt sings on as many songs on the CD as Tom Hingley and this is not a true reflection of the "Life" era. If the group wanted to compile an ersatz lost-debut, a separate collection would have been more appropriate - the never-reissued "Dung 4" cassette is surely ripe for some cherry picking at least.

I'm not going to knock a star off for it, mind you because, ultimately, there's nowt wrong with any of this musically. Both "Life" and the group's early recordings thoroughly deserve to be revisited and this release delivers both at an excellent price making this essential. Cool as...well, you know.
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on 30 April 2000
This is one of the three albums that helped make Manchester such an exciting place to be back in 1989/90. For anyone like me whose Saturdays were spent down Affleks Palace and nights in Dry201, with trips to Spike Island and G-Mex thrown in, this album takes you right back there. I lost the album but re-purchasing it was a very good idea. Do the same and relive those heady days.
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on 13 January 2012
Very pleased with this...haven't heard much Inspiral Carpets music before and as I am going to see them in concert in March have decided to buy their albums so I will be word perfect by then;) Loved it!!!
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on 18 July 2000
Life is one of the definative albums of the early 90's. They really illustrate to me all that the Manchester scene of that time was. It is no coincidence that a certain Gallagher learnt his craft in the Carpets camp, and then thus went on to great things. Also the best live band ever! Are the animal noises after Sackville, Clints bedroom?
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on 7 December 2009
For some bizarre reason most of my music collection is either from Manchester or was influenced by the Madchester scene(Oasis,Joy Division,Happy Mondays, New Order,Stone Roses,Charaltans, Buzzcocks I could go on)

On listiening to this album when I got it straight away after listiening I knew this was an album that you could listien to start to finish like Happy Mondays Pill thrills...,New Order's Techneque and the Jam's All Mod cons and when it finishes you want to cry out for more.

Songs which impressed me Directing Traffik, Bedside me and Many happy returns(those two being the heavyweights on the album)Sun don't shine, Inside my head and finally Move.

Well recommended
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