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Inspiral Carpets - Cool As...


Review: Jack Foley

THE Inspiral Carpets may not have enjoyed the huge popularity of, say, fellow Madchester members, The Stone Roses or Happy Mondays, but they certainly hit the charts more consistently than either of those two, churning out hit after hit during a prolific period during the late 80s and early 90s.

And their appeal has endured, with several new emerging bands citing the trademark organ sound of the Carpets as an inspiration, and the recent reminder tour selling out, wherever it went.

This greatest hits album, the first official collection of Inspiral Carpets memoraibilia, is a great reminder of the band in their heyday, and a true must-have for any fan of the band.

Kicking off with the catchy Keep the Circle Around, taken from the Plane Crash EP (and marking its first time on CD), the album then proceeds to take you on a musical journey through some of the finest three-minute psychedelic punk pop records of that era.

The first half of CD1 contains early Carpets material, but really gets going with the arrival of This Is How It Feels (the first Mute release), which has become something of an anthem, with its sing-along chorus, which manages to take a somewhat melancholic lyric and make it sound happy.

She Comes In The Fall is another great record, evoking fond memories of the marching girl band that was present on stage at Brixton, and in the video to the single, while The Biggest Mountain is a vocally layered gem, featuring Clint Boon's organ in a far more restrained mood.

Of all the Inspirals albums, however, Revenge of the Goldfish probably remains the best-known and favourite to many. It spawned four singles, including the chilled out Bitches Brew, the organ-led Dragging Me Down, and the stand-out track of its day, Two Worlds Collide, which revealed a darker side to the Carpets' songwriting and really brought out the best in Tom Hingley's smooth vocals. To this day, Two Worlds Collide remains a terrific record and, quite possibly, the Carpets greatest single.

With the advent of album four, Devil Hopping, the strain was beginning to tell, and the Carpets themselves didn't last much longer. Still, it produced a couple of great singles - the deliriously feelgood Saturn 5, and the aggressive I Want You, featuring The Fall vocalist, Mark E Smith.

Of the remaining tracks on CD1, Caravan, with its great guitar rifts, is terrific fun, while Please Be Cruel harks back to a bygone era with its smooth chorus. Yet the previously unreleased new track, Come Back Tomorrow, sounds like an unwanted Christmas single, which marks the only real disappointment on the album.

CD2 is rather like a collectors' piece, featuring several unreleased tracks, the odd cover, and some memorable B-sides. Highlights include the moody Paper Moon, a talky track about suicide, offset by a haunting background vocal, and live favourite, Sackville.

The best track, however, is the previously unreleased I Don't Want To Go Blind, which did feature as a B-side on one single, and which features a raw vocal from Basil Clarke, before bursting into a typically smooth chorus from Hingley. Boon's organs are also simple but effective, while the guitar sound is typical of the sound the band had pinned down from the Goldfish era.

The covers include a version of The Stranglers' 96 Tears (which the band confess to ripping off), and Soft Cell's Tainted Love, with the organs brought to the fore, while the Sort Yer Head Out mix of Paranoid comes with a funky, heavy beat, some dirty basslines and neat scratching.

Which brings us to the DVD, a collection of classic videos (including She Comes In The Fall, Saturn 5, This Is How It Feels and new track, Come Back Tomorrow), as well as seven live tracks from the legendary Gmex gig in Manchester (including Sackville) and an interview with the band.

As it's title suggests, this Inspiral Carpets collection is as cool as fuck! Have fun remembering.

 

 

Track listing:
Disc: 1
1. Keep the Circle Around (From the 'Plane Crash' EP, first time on CD)
2. Butterfly (From the 'Train Surfing' EP, first time on CD)
3. Joe (Originally released on Cow)
4. Find Out Why (Originally released on Cow)
5. Move (Originally released on Cow)
6. This Is How It Feels (First Mute release)
7. She Comes In The Fall
8. Biggest Mountain
9. Weakness
10. Caravan
11. Please Be Cruel
12. Dragging Me Down
13. Two Worlds Collide
14. Generations
15. Bitches Brew
16. How It Should Be
17. Saturn 5
18. I Want You feat. Mark E Smith
19. Uniform
20. Come Back Tomorrow (Previously Unreleased)

Disc: 2
1. Theme From Cow (From the 'Plane Crash' EP, first time on CD)
2. Seeds Of Doubt (From the 'Plane Crash' EP, first time on CD)
3. Garage Full Of Flowers (From the 'Plane Crash' EP, first time on CD)
4. 96 Tears (From the 'Plane Crash' EP, first time on CD)
5. You Can't Take The Truth (From the 'Train Surfing' EP, first time on CD)
6. Greek Wedding Song (From the 'Train Surfing' EP, first time on CD)
7. Causeway (From the 'Train Surfing' EP, first time on CD)
8. Directing Traffic
9. Sackville
10. Commercial Reign
11. Skidoo
12. Tainted Love
13. Paper Moon
14. I Dont Want To Go Blind featuring Basil Clark (Previously Unreleased)
15. Paranoid (Sort Yer Head Out Mix)
16. Iron (Previously Unreleased)
17. You've Got What It Takes (Previously Unreleased)

Disc: 3
1. Joe (video)
2. Find Out Why (video)
3. Move (video)
4. This Is How It Feels (video)
5. She Comes In The Fall (video)
6. Biggest Mountain (video)
7. Commercial Rain (US video)
8. Caravan (video)
9. Please Be Cruel (video)
10. Dragging Me Down (video)
11. Generations (video)
12. Bitches Brew (video)
13. How It Should Be (video)
14. Saturn 5 (video)
15. I Want You (video)
16. Uniform (video)
17. Come Back Tomorrow (video) (Previously Unreleased)
18. Live footage, an exclusive interview and hidden extras

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