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on 29 June 2013
This set has had mixed reviews with the Guardian, Mojo, Arts Desk all giving middling reviews for various reasons. Straight off the bat I have to say I think the song selection is pretty solid with about 2-3 "duds" per disk which isn't a bad hit rate when there are 134 tracks. Also despite having quite a lot of 80's indie I only had 10-tracks on the set and so a lot of this music is new to me. Yes, as the reviews state the set has been seriously compromised by the lack of some big names (Smiths, Felt, Postcard era Orange Juice, Aztec Camera & Josef K, a 'proper' J&MC track as opposed to a demo, etc) but I suspect that a lot of the potential buyers of this set will already have the "big names" of 80's indie and so I tend to be more forgiving on this point.

One can nitpick endlessly about the song selection for a set of this size and yes, even with the big names missing there are glaring song substitutions such as the rickety "God Bless" instead of "Therese" from The Bodines. However in the main the set is listenable bar some abrasive post-punk tracks sneaking in, such as Big Flame (not a good track), Josef K (the clangourous "The Missionary" instead of the brilliant, jangling "Sorry For Laughing" which was proto-indie in excelsis). Finally on this subject I have to point out that 'Vote For Love' by Jamie Wednesday might just be the worst song I've ever heard in my life, perfectly summing up everything that detractors accused 80's indie of being (twee, precious, inept, clunky, etc).

Therefore overall I'd recommend this set bar one enormous problem..... the packaging which is atrocious. As the other reviewer intimated you need nerves of steel or an engineering degree to get the discs out since they are tightly packed in the set with a 'Heath-Robinson' disc release mechanism (made of flimsy plastic which looks like it might stay intact, ooh maybe 5 minutes). It means you have to flex the disc to release them (at least until you've had some practice!) and sure enough my disc 1 has been compromised with the last track by the TV Personalities being corrupted. I contacted Cherry Red about this and they've not responded, very disappointing after the excellent service I had from Ace Records after reporting the mastering error on Disc 1 of their recent (superb) Country Joe & The Fish reissue. I am therefore debating whether to return the item as faulty despite the fact I'd like to keep it, in part due to Cherry Red's aloof attitude to customer service [I'd requested a replacement disc #1 or failing that an MP3 of the corrupted last track, seems I was being being unreasonable....].

UPDATE: A day after I wrote above review I've found a second track - this time trk 26 on CD#4 'Lee Remick' has corrupted with pronounced 'skipping' towards the end of the song. Again I put this down to having to flex the CDs in order to remove them from the lousy packaging. Cherry Red have really dropped the ball on this one, not helped by their arrogant attitude and contemptuous attitude to their customers. I'm therefore changing my recommendation to a definite do not buy due to the packaging issues (I've also docked my original 3-star review to 2-stars to reflect this).
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on 29 June 2013
Agree with the previous two reviews. Great music let down by bizzare packaging, i managed after some time to liberate the discs from the packaging with some minor damage. Problem two is you can't get them back in without risking further damaged, however, I have now compromised and put them into plastic sleeves attached with cellotape...Not that i should have to do this, but don't want to return the box as I imagine they are all like this.
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on 26 May 2015
waybrand new lap top with windows 8 and I'm struggling to rip this boxset on my new laptop...
Disc 1 track 26 would wouldnt rip at all so I played the song and it stuttered and jumps likes crazy yet all the discs are squeaky clean no scratches nothing....
There's a few songs on each disc that jumps and track 26 on disc 2 won't rip either...
But I'm liking what I'm hearing... Obviously not everything is good...
Do I buy another boxset or just bin this boxset cause it's jumping all over the place
If I had my way this boxset would get a one star but it deserves 3 stars cause of the good music on it but
I like the outer covering of boxset but once you open it up... I hate the way the cds are packed... Same as most of these identical boxset's... Cheap and nasty... The write up on songs are good (just like millions like us - The mod revival 77-89) yet the mod discs are in excellent condition and ripped perfectly ...
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on 26 September 2013
In some ways the strength of this collection is also its weakness.
Covering 'indie' music from the decade when it perhaps could be deemed to have really taken off is a broad remit, and for many of us living through the period we will have a favourite part of the decade often coupled with an illogical dislike of others, often bordering on fanatical.
Song choices are good. There are cases where I would have preferred others by the same artists (Soup Dragons for example), many where the choice was perfect (Aztec Camera for example), and a few that are weird but presumably driven by the difficulty of licencing (Jesus & Mary Chain springs to mind, though it's still a great song).
On any collection there are always a few you'd rather not have, and that's the case here, but these are few and far between.
So, packaging... something of a bugbear for many here it seems.
When I received the set I'd seen the reviews and at first could see exactly what they meant. It is an odd way of holding discs, and not one I'd like to be seen repeated. Having said that, I found that if each disc was pushed down against its retaining fully it did just about come out without flexing, and returns in a similar way. Still one of the most difficult things I've encountered in a CD package before though, but you do have to admit it looks great. For me the whole set is now digitised and unlikely to be often removed, so not so big an issue, but if you were taking them in and out regularly it would be easy to damage them.
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on 18 July 2013
Most of the debate concerning this boxset centres around track selection which is what you'd expect with this type of release.
I find the mastering unlistenable. This is sonically rotten, all shrill high end treble and no bottom at all.
Whilst I appreciate we're not reviewing roots reggae, I have a lot of these tracks elsewhere and they all sound better.
Someone new to this scene would have no idea why so many of these tracks were beloved.
Cherry Red drop the ball again (I still haven't forgiven them for the puny Monochrome Set "Lost Weekend" reissue).
Now, where's the aspirin?
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on 5 May 2015
Song after song of pure majesty. If you want to immerse yourself in songs of the period there are no equals. Even the unfamiliar won't stay that way for long. A trip down radio memory lane. Many styles clearly influence today's music. Relative and evocative.
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As my title suggests, this is a treause trove of material from a great era, however, God knows who designed the box set as trying to get the disc out of their holdings without the risk of snapping them is impossible. I don't know if it is a fault with my box, but had to slightly bend them to get out and now they don't sit firmly when put back in.
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on 5 June 2016
This box should have been a five-star release. The selection of songs is impressive, no doubt. But be warned, the packaging will likely break when you try to take out the cds. Sure there are instructions on how to release the cds from this particular case, but frankly there is a wide gap between theory and what actually works when you fiddle with the box. Aware of this problem in advance and unable to release the cds from their holders, I simply decided to gently break the holders (meaning no bending of the cds). Did it help? Absolutely not! That means the pressure on the cds in my boxset had resulted in the cds being compromised before they were released from the case (the packaing was much too tight for the cds not to have received pressure). Had Cherry Red decided against maximising the number of songs on each cd (play time runs as close to the 80-minute limit as possible), this could have been avoided. The longer a cd plays, the more vulnerable it becomes to being compromised and one would think label professionals would be aware of this. In effect songs will begin to stutter from around track 20 on each cd, rendering around a fourth of the songs useless in this boxset, many of them gems. That, for me, ruins the listening experience. In order not to be annoyed by this and what could have been, I have simply stored the boxset out of sight. Problem solved!!!
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on 8 January 2016
Great track selection and while I can see other peoples gripes about the packaging I didn't experience any problems. Incredibly comprehnshive given licensing issues and good to hear my favourite band on disc 4
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on 4 August 2013
Sorry, it's hard to recommend this. It's all good, but low on rarities.

As others have said, the packaging is bad. In my view the worst I have ever seen.

Cherry Red again disappoints. It's time for them to hire a professional who understands how CDs should be mastered and packaged.
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