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Fantastic songs, intrusive "remastering"...
on 12 November 2011
Edited to add - there is a large portion of my tongue firmly in my cheek in the following review - I can summarise it very quickly - the remastering has changed the sound of some the tracks massively, if that may worry you listen on Spotify first for free before shelling out (it's the perfect app for comparing original/remasters back to back).
Ichouse were the soundtrack to my mid/late 80's and produced, to me at any rate, some of the best songs about at that time. I played Man of Colours on tape (youngsters note: tape cassette - a kind of analogue removable memory cartridge that could store, oh say 20 odd songs*) to death whilst boyracering around Essex in my black Gordini Turbo in 1987. 1987. 24 years ago. Oh god. Here comes the depression. Youth. Hell just being slim! Anyways, all the tracks on Measure for Measure and Man of Colours represent poignant and happy memories for me. I think it was this Man of Colours I was listening to when I encountered another black Gordini Turbo on `my' patch and set out to prove that my car was indeed blacker than his until we got pulled by a plain clothes rozzer who, it turns out, wasn't too impressed with my overtaking technique (wrong side of the bollard on a zebra crossing). His opening words to me will be etched on my memory forever *ahem* "You must be some kind of c***!!!!" Essex coppers. Great stuff. Where were we? Yes, every song is like a little time capsule - you know how things just trip forgotten memories? It's all like that - well it is if you were into Icehouse at the time and for that, this compilation is truly marvelous.
Now the bad (and it is really bad in some cases) - the term "remaster" in this instance basically means every track has been run through additional compression and some pretty brutal limiting. Now to be fair, this can really benefit the rockier tracks which weren't pushed so hard when originally mastered in analogue days and so sound nicely "beefier" as a result . . . but there also appears to have been a relativey hefty amount of top end (8khz plus) added which makes extended listening at decent volume levels extremely uncomfortable. And it's the quieter tracks that have really suffered the most from this approach however - particularly Man of Colours title track, whose beautiful dynamics have all but gone. Just compare the original 1987 master to this "remaster" - complete night and day. Bit disappointing that such a great collection could almost be ruined. My advice is before you fork out a hefty amount to get this collection over from Australia - listen to the tracks on Spotify first and see whether you like the remastered sound.
Overall then - Songs/muscianship/memories = 5 stars , remastering = 1 star.
*no shuffle facility.