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The Evolution of a band - excellent value
on 30 October 2012
I saw Alice's first UK tour when they were promoting "Killer" - with a lot of "Love it to Death" in the set. Truly excellent and before they'd really broken into the phenomena they were about to become. I still maintain, Alice were the band then, not the front man, and what an excellent band they were. I rushed out and bought "Love it to Death" and "Killer" - the former then on the Straight label before Warner bought it out. Quite different, in that the earlier was quite disturbingly manic, having an empathy for the craziness. 'Dwight Fry' and 'SunArise' (the first thing they did at that gig) were wonderful. "Killer" carries much more threat and darkness. With titles like 'Dead Babies' and 'Desperado' that's probably to be expected.
I went out and got "Pretties" - a niaive, Zappa-esque offering, strange and way off beam to where the band finished up. A great insight into the times and a band struggling to find their genre. Certainly not typical Alice. 'Reflected' is an early variation of 'Elected' and it's interesting to see the roots of a song later to become a huge hit. Then it was "Easy Action" - a transitional album for sure, with both "Pretties" and "Love it to Death" in evidence. Some nice experimental distortions and effects. Both then on the Straight label of course.
By the time "School's Out" arrived the band were really big. The title track was overplayed to the extent I'm still not too keen on it. When I first got this collection of CDs, the little heard 'Loony Tune' jumped out again at me - excellent to revisit it after so long. All in all it's a great value collection, to see an obscure band evolve and explode into Superstardom. It's a shame they couldn't include "Billion Dollar Babies" and give us everything that was produced by the band (except the dodgy "Muscle of Love")before Alice split and went solo .... but really musn't grumble at this price.
It's all here and musically powerful, depite their fame being focused on the live stage show. Sure, that was groundbreaking and sensational, but it was based on solid rock and roll - some well crafted songs, wholly theatrical and with driving rhythms behind strong lyrics. If you're dipping into the samples I'd recommend 'Today Mueller', 'Refrigerator Heaven','Dwight Fry','Halo of Flies' and 'Loony Tune' as a pick from each disc. This is really good stuff. Pop it in your basket now.