Top Sounds - R

REPLACEMENTS, THE - Pleased To Meet Me {Sire/ Rhino} PODCAST PLAYED Somewhere, in some parallel universe, all music and, specifically, all releases, are as great as this. ‘Pleased To Meet Me’ was originally released in 1987 and is my favourite ‘MATS album. This three CD, single vinyl boxset is literally a Pandora's Box for those of us who know the ‘MATS were - ha... ARE - the best Rock ‘n’ Roll band the world has ever seen. So - whaddya get? The vinyl features 13 previously unreleased rough mixes while the CDs present a 2020 remaster of the album along with single-only tracks. The second disc is the beauty - the Blackberry Way demos that, among the 15 tracks, are three Tommy Stinson numbers. The final disc is the rough mixes again, along with another 11 outtakes and alternate versions. To focus on any one aspect of track of this is a real disservice to the bounty of gems contained, but the track that seemed to be constantly evolving throughout is ‘Red, Red Wine’ which sounded more sedate on some versions (and possibly even better) than the final album version. It also comes with a multi-page insert telling the story of the album and the band’s thoughts on it and is packaged in a hard-sleeve, foldout box. There’s nothing here as radically different as the ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’ box that come out prior, but the songs here are among the best you’ll ever hear... At least if you get the ‘MATS. (23.01.21)
REPLY, THE - Complete Collection {???} PODCAST PLAYED 1983 saw Washington DC pulsating with its unique brand of Hardcore. That year both SCREAM’s ‘Still Screaming’ and FAITH’s ‘Subject To Change’ were released. That year also saw four 13 year-olds get together to do something a little different. Drawing equally on Ska and Mod along with the early Punk sound, THE REPLY made a distinct noise in the city, coming on like a fusion of THE JAM, early SQUEEZE and a splash of THE BEAT. This 17 track compilation collects all they recorded: a five-song cassette in 86, a four-track 7” in 87 and in 1988-89 another eight songs that were never released. Those final tracks provided the impetus for this release. Opener ‘Mirror Image’ is a cracker, embodying those three references perfectly. Other highlights include ‘Life’s Little Victories’ which again could be a SQUEEZE song, ‘All Good Things’ that is a dead-ringer for ‘The Gift’ era JAM and ‘In The Door’ that displays a bit more of a Punk feel while highlight could well be ‘Wake Up’ that rolls on a great piano with a pointed message also. This is a most welcome reissue of a band I, and I assume many others, was totally unaware of. The energy of these songs is still evident over 35 years later and not only that, they’re fantastically crafted songs at that. Recommended!! (12.06;21)
REVERSE - Empty Spaces {Boss Tuneage} PODCAST PLAYED Brand new studio album from this Stoke On Trent, UK band that had a split single with EXIT CONDITION back in the early 90s. You get 12 tracks that kinda ride that UK Punk sound of ANNALISE and SOUTHPORT with a hint of SENSELESS THINGS for good measure. There’s a lot to like amongst these melodic Punk jams - and each track seems to have a great chorus! Highlights would have to be ‘Broken Windows’ (check the chorus - awesome), ‘Scars’ that amps the pace a little, the insistent, rolling ‘Stay Angry’ and the opening title track while best track would be ‘Undone’ that features another stellar chorus. This is limited to a mere 150 vinyl copies too - so could already be sold out. A shame, because it certainly deserves a larger audience than that. What’s more, how can anyone not like a record that closes with a track that name checks the late, great GRANT HART?! (31.03.21)

RUTS DC - ElectrAcoustiC Vol.I {Sosumi} PODCAST PLAYED Well, this is interesting. Ten tracks from the incomparable RUTS DC played almost acoustically. Does it work?? Well, given opener, ‘Music Must Destroy’, not really. That’s one of my favourite RUTS DC songs too, but it just seems... a bit tame here. Three songs in and  ‘Kill The Pain’ is among the highlights with some great guitar work from Leigh. The big interest was those old RUTS songs; ‘West One’ worked amazingly well but it was the surprise duo of ‘H-Eyes’ and especially ‘Something That I Said’ that take top honours - Leigh’s guitar lines on the latter are more fluid than whiskey! What always dazzles about this band is the drumming of Ruffy - understated yet technical and some of those fills are beyond comprehension - he has an understanding of space and rhythm that totally surpassed all those other drummers/ bands from the late 70s. Add on a neat digipack sleeve, a very elegant booklet and decidedly sharp graphics, Segs’ majestic interpretation of these vintage songs in a new setting and, well, this is a winner. Wonder what Vol.2 might offer? ‘Jah War’? ‘... Rude Boys’ could be awesome in this setting. I think the blue vinyl ‘effect’ CD is limited too - so get to it now. (04.02.21)

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