A Feast for Manics Fans
Coleen | Down in the alley | 01/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Disc One gets 5 stars. It's better than a lot of the songs that made the regular studio albums. Certainly better than 95% of Know Your Enemy! It's a MUST for MSP fans!! Disc Two is less impressive - mainly a bunch of cover versions - kind of fun, but by no means necessary. I'd give it 3 1/2 stars, but the first disc makes it worth it, and I figure the second disc is just kind of a bonus disc, so that's why I give the whole set 5 stars.
Most bands don't have enough great B-sides and rarities for even one great disc, so this proves what a truly great band the Manics are! I am VERY pleased with this!
Patchy, but that's what you'd expect
alexliamw | Oxford | 08/13/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Manics, while producing some great music, have always struggled for quality control, with The Holy Bible being their only truly consistent effort which sustains top-drawer songwriting throughout. So it's pretty unsurprising that their B-sides and rarities album would be somewhat patchy. There's some good stuff here: notably the two 'new' tracks: '4 Ever Delayed' blends driving synths with an Everything Must Go-era anthemic quality to good effect, while 'Judge Yr'self' is simultaneously intense and accessible, like a bubblegum version of The Holy Bible, which is better than it sounds, and makes for an awesomely savage track. Of the B-sides, highlights would be the would-be single 'Prologue To History', a catchy, driving, piano-led rocker and 'Just A Kid', which is gorgeous and aching. Elsewhere 'Comfort Comes', 'Donkeys' and 'Sepia' are reasonable tracks, though they replicate the typical formulas of their respective periods. Beyond this, though, quality dips drastically, from the awful ('Socialist Serenade' - political Manics at their worst) to the simply boring ('Horses Under Starlight', an ill-fated attempt at instrumental chillout).
The covers disc adds very little, consisting mainly of either faithful tribute band performances (their initial idols of Guns and Roses and The Clash: here 'It's So Easy' and 'What's My Name' respectively) or complete murderings (their savage assassination of Chuck Berry's 'Rock and Roll Music'; the sheer inappropriateness of James Dean Bradfield trying to do Paul Robeson on 'Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel'. Ironically, it's only when they drop their desire to choose trendy tracks and cover Wham's 'Last Christmas' that they actually hit upon genius, transforming it into a tear-soaked acoustic ballad that suits Bradfield's tender voice perfectly. In conclusion then, some interesting material for fans, but certainly not for the newcomer, and for all but the totally undiscerning rabid fan, wildly varying in quality."