Most reissues stick to a the tried and tested formula of remastered sound (if you are lucky) plus throwing in the contemporaneous singles and b-sides. Occasionally there may be the odd unreleased gem added as an extra bonus to entice the fans.
This reissue manages to deliver something that is genuinely interesting and worthwhile.
I've been a fan of China Crisis since their first album and followed their career as their sound evolved and matured. They are not my favourite band BUT I can say that they never delivered a bad (or even mediocre) album in my opinion. 'Diary...' isn't even my favourite album of theirs (that award goes to 'Working with Fire and Steel') but it is a strong album featuring fine musicianship and great songs. I've listened to and enjoyed this album since the day of its release.
What makes this reissue so worth having is hearing the album is as it was originally intended to be released. I did know that Walter Becker had not produced all the tracks on the original release but what I didn't know was that he produced versions of the 'other' songs. Hearing the album with the Becker tracks reinstated makes for a much more coherent and satisfying listen. The Thorne tracks are great (I've grown up with them) but the Becker versions sit much better with the sound and feel of the album.
Another revelation is hearing the original band demos. I'm a sucker for demos as they really show what the artist had in mind before the producer, record company, studio engineers etc got involved. With the 'Diary...' demos it's interesting to hear how close to the final songs the demos actually are. However you can also hear where the studio versions improve on the demos (the final songs swing more and have tighter arrangements - definitely the sorts of things that Producers can help bring out).
Of course you get some singles and the Mike Thorne mixes thrown in as a bonus which just helps to round out an already great package.
Well worth picking up - if only all reissues were done this way.
In terms of ratings the album itself gets 4 stars ('Working...' and 'Flaunt...' would get 5) but the reissue gets 5 stars. I'd love to see more China Crisis albums get this level of reissue treatment.