Top critical review
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A classic album from a wonderful band but a very disappointing overly compressed sound.
on 30 October 2009
Well the new reissues start here and being a long time madness fan i thought i'd try this new release to see how it fared.
The first madness album one step beyond was the beginning of the nutty boys and the building block for the classic madness sound,and it's great that the bands back catalogue is being released again after the end of the virgin deal.
Overall on paper its a well priced package with 2 cds,the first containing the album and some promo videos and the second cd with the john peel sessions and a host of bonus tracks including the work rest and play ep some demos including monsieur barso's version of my girl and other gems.
The booklet included is ok too,maybe not as good as it could have been but it's still a nice extra for the set.
So great value for money then...well yes and no.
If you are new to the band then it is a worthwhile purchase as it may well be the first time that you have been able to buy any of the back catalogue and so in this instance without spending a lot more it's a good deal,but If you are a madness fan as i am then you will have either the vinyl version or a cd version already as this was included in the box set entitled "The lot" or just the single cd and many of the bonus tracks have been released in some form or another before but having said that having them all on this set together is a great idea.
However this is probably the worst sounding version of the album to date as unfortunately just like many other bands remasters before it's just to loud.
From the moment i put the cd in and heard chas utter those imortal first lines "Hey you,dont watch that watch this" i knew it was another noisy needlessly compressed modern cd,and compared to either the vinyl,single cd release or the box set release this is nowhere near the quality of any of those.
Gone is the organic classic madness sound replaced by a very brittle and cold sounding cd,and for this reason if you are a true fan then i would not recommend this release if you have a good collection of the bands material already.
I'm not saying it isn't a great way to start your madness collection because it is a nice and very good value set but if you heard the orginals or the other releases then boy you are missing out on how the band should sound.
So for the the casual or new fan then its a good starter package,if you are a fan i wouldn't bother,and so for that it's only worth a disappointing 3 stars.