Although most of these songs were previously available on the “City of Heartbreak and Needles” series of compilations from Soleilmoon, this release marks the first time that Legendary Pink Dots vocalist Edward Ka-Spel’s first full-length solo album has been issued in its entirety on CD. Although the original master tapes were no longer in usable condition, Dots sound engineer Raymond Steeg was able to record this version from copies of the original vinyl release, and the occasional pops and scratches are unobtrusive enough to enhance this album’s vintage feel instead of causing a distraction. While the synthesizer effects can sound dated on tracks like “Paradise Then,” the songwriting stands the test of time. The waltz-flavored “Lady Sunshine,” the dark and dreamy psychedelia of “Suicide Pact” and the apocalyptic synthpop of “Atomic Roses” sound better than ever. It’s easy to see why these are still concert favorites twenty years later; they’re absolute classics, no two ways about it. This release also features Ka-Spel’s first single, “Dance China Doll,” which includes the jarring treble keyboards of “Moments” as well as “Even Now,” a duet with Lilly Aks that is perhaps the most unabashedly beautiful song Ka-Spel has ever recorded. Rounding things out are an improvisational piece entitled “The Fool, With Hammers” and a live rendition of “Atomic Roses.” While Dots and Ka-Spel fanatics won’t discover any unexpected treasures, the recording quality is excellent and the heavy cardboard packaging alone makes this a worthwhile purchase for collectors. Curious newcomers to Ka-Spel’s work will also find this an ideal jumping-off point, especially since Beta-Lactam Ring Records will soon be reissuing the rest of the artist’s “China Doll” series.
For more information on Edward Ka-Spel and the Legendary Pink Dots, visit www.legendarypinkdots.org and www.terminalkaleidoscope.com.
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