...at least according to the BBC showing how dominant this album was after its 1994 release. After four modestly selling albums a straightforward chronological arrangement of singles with the obligatory new track "One Last Love Song" surprised Go! Discs with its success and sheer longevity in the charts. When you break it down, it's simply that it is a wonderful collection that rewards playing again and again. Track after track frame Paul Heaton's supremely offbeat lyrics - twisted songs of love, twisted songs of hate, drinking, objectivity... all set with a wry sense of humour. Part of the attraction is the rotation of vocalists, with Dave Hemmingway consistently tugging the heartstrings every time he enters in "Bell Bottom Tear" no matter how often I hear it.
Heaton's writing partner for all but one track (the cover Everybody's Talkin'") David Rotheray sets the lyrics in great arrangements every time, consistently hitting the mark, and every bit as essential as Heaton's contribution.
On original release there was also a limited edition b-sides CD, which fans will surely enjoy. Here things aren't arranged chronologically, more trying to put into a logical order to flow, but features more experimental work. I have both versions, I loved the album enough to seek out the 2CD which is still available second hand at time of writing. An essential British compilation.