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ALL THE BLUE CHANGES

No-Man

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.92 | 20 ratings

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russellk
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Roll up! Roll up! Sample NO-MAN inexpensively! Bathe in glorious music!

This is the way to go. NO-MAN have been by turns poppy, techno, jazzy, ambient, minimalist, space-rock and art rock - sometimes on the same disc. So you buy one of their albums and like it, there's no guarantee you'll like all the others. This double-CD collection is the way to find out.

The first eight tracks take the listener from their earliest days through to their first major release, 'Loveblows & Lovecries'. The music here is sophisticated pop, trip-hop and techno. I'm not overly impressed with the selections offered in this period - some have already appeared on other compilations, and only 'Day in the Trees' and 'Housekeeping' give a good sense of how listenable the first album was. And oh, what a chance missed to put 'Sweetheart Raw' on a compilation!

The next four tracks are far more substantial, burrowing into 'Flowermouth' territory. 'Heaven Taste' is a ten-minute edit of a track that didn't make it on to 'Flowermouth', being (at over 20 minutes) far too long. I think this edit is superior to the original, and gives a clear indication of their upbeat 1993/4 sound. 'Simple' is anything but, and it and 'Things Change' showcase the 'Flowermouth' sound. A pity the 1994 album's best track, the delicious 'Angel Gets Caught in the Beauty Trap', doesn't make it here.

We get four tracks from the slightly weaker, jazzier 'Wild Opera' period, and they are well chosen. 'Pretty Genius', 'Dry Cleaning Ray' and 'My Revenge on Seattle' are three of the better tracks from that album, and 'Sicknote' is a simply fabulous ambient track that ought to have been on it. Five 'Returning Jesus' period tracks follow, and again do a good job of summarising the melodic and minimalist alt.pop of the period. Gone are the techno influences. Hard to see anyone not liking these. And finally a paltry three tracks from NO-MAN's magnum opus, 'Together We're Stranger'. 'Photographs' is simply genius, and the last two tracks are how (IMO) the 2003 album should have finished.

Something here for most tastes, and everything here is high-class. Apart from a few choices from their earlier period that puzzle me, this compilation could hardly be bettered.

russellk | 4/5 |

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