It's a safe roll that Barry only gets better as he ages. From his days as a teamplayer playing four with Magazine and the Bad Seeds, Adamson's role extends beyond the bass in the "Murky World." I'm not sure if he's playing any of the instruments on these songs, or if he's playing the conductor: Irrelevant when you're producing some of the best music in the industry. Classics like "The Man With the Golden Arm" showcase the talents of the (uncredited) Terry Edwards while "What it Means" has Barry's best attempt at Tom Jones swoon. Even lesser moments, like "Snowball Effect," have charm in its Dirty Harry car chase scenes. "The Big Bamboozle" has an incestous sample of "Soul Murder" with an even sluttier guitar break. What's good and arrogant about the "Best of ..." though is the introduction of three newer recordings. "Mitch and Andy" is a crime narrative orated without the pause of a breath; you can feel the heart palpitations. "Walk the Last Mile" touches on familiar subject matter of id vs. the Adamson ego. The instrumental "Saturn in the Summertime" is the Love Boat washed in soft porn trumpet and, I don't know, loops that would interest Sean O'Hagan. I don't think the Mute label gets stronger than this, does it? Big Bad B may be an acquired taste and not as safe as Depeche Mode or Erasure, but the "Murky World of ..." doesn't waste viewer/listener time with recycling tunes that worked before; he's always quality concious and knows he runs the risk of being redundant-though I have suspicions Barry may ditch the pop medium altogether and pursue a different platform showcasing his talent.
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