From Severe To Serene


aec.ltmr2354.2 1/28/03 New
$14.44 $16.99

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    From Severe To Serene LTM

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Review Text LTM's well-regarded abilities to get comprehensive reissues together continue with the Blue Orchids' efforts, though this is perhaps one of the craziest quilts the label has yet put together. There are two John Peel sessions from the band's earliest days and a slew of live cuts from around the same time, but smack dab in the middle is the one EP from Thirst, a semi-interim band led by Martin Bramah in the late '80s. Still, what matters most of all is the availability of the music, and more than a few obsessives (Fall-inspired or otherwise) who had held onto their crumbling tapes of the original Peel broadcasts were doubtless thrilled at the appearance of this disc. Said radio recordings take up the first seven tracks of the disc, with the first covering the "Work"/"The House That Faded Out" days (the version of the former is really grand, Bramah's end of song monologue a spot-on rant) and the second selections from their justly legendary Greatest Hits album. Bramah's singing here is just wonderful, and the takes on "No Looking Back" and "Sun Connection" in particular are stellar. As for the live cuts, while the lack of fidelity is duly noted in the liner notes, the performances are still enjoyable and readily audible. The Thirst cuts do differ from the rest of the material, not least because Una Baines' keyboards are completely absent, but the easygoing post-punk power of the band and Bramah's gift for commanding but not overbearing vocals make the songs enjoyable enough additions (though "Let Go" is a bit curious, like an '80s movie soundtrack party song). The expected exhaustive band history fills out the liner notes with plenty of detail about the group and its releases. ~ Ned Raggett

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