Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Good to have the bonus tracks, bad to have the compressed remaster of the main album
on 7 October 2017
A tricky one this - and nothing I'm going to say here is new. The music is, of course, outstanding - innovative, inventive, melodic; the combination of the Mael brothers' wit and songwriting genius with the production and dance chops of Giorgio Moroder is a match made in... yup, that place with the harps and clouds!
The problem for purchasers is that this Repertoire remaster has been compressed to within an inch of its life, but the bonus tracks (particularly the non-truncated 12" mix of "Beat The Clock" ) are hard to find, certainly hard to find all in one place. Thus I've enjoyed the many mixes that were taken from this album as 12-inch singles, 7-inch singles and B sides at the time (1979).
What I really did NOT enjoy was hearing the almost-title track completely ruined by having the first section sonically "sexed up" so that it's as loud as the second section. If you know the song, you'll know what I mean. What I always thought Moroder was doing with this 7+ minute epic was to lull the listener into a false sense of security with the first 3 minutes, 30 seconds, which sound like a straightforward dance track, sequencers burbling away in the familiar Moroder way, and Russel's measured vocal verses, fading into a serene synth wash. Then, on the original vinyl, and the first CD edition from 1995, the second section is meant to make you jump out of your seat as the drums crash in for a much more full-on sound until the end of the song. On this Repertoire remaster, the whole track - including the first section - has been pushed up against the limiters, so the effect is completely lost. See Audacity screenshots of this version (big block of sound, followed by equally big block of sound) and the 1995 CD (big surprise at 3'30" followed by louder section).
The rest of the original album is equally hard on the ears on this CD. "My Other Voice" jumps out of the speakers in a scintillating buzz of treble and pumped-up bass, whereas on the original vinyl it was a break in the energy levels between "Beat The Clock" and "Number One Song In Heaven".
So... if you have the 1995 CD I would hang on to it, and just buy this for the bonus tracks (and informative booklet with photos). If this is your first purchase of the album itself, don't judge it on this version alone... try to get hold of the 1995 CD (Oasis CMP 62004) for a better representation of what Mael, Mael and Moroder were trying to do.
Music: ***** (five stars)
This remaster: *** (three stars, and those for the bonus tracks)