Black Box Recorder The Worst Of

Luke Haines is not a happy man. He's not a big fan of the music industry either. He's taken sharp stabs at Britpop and the whole UK music scene in general. Lately, he's been on a mission to bring down the Top 40 pop music machine, which in his eyes is a cultural defect that needs fixing. He went so far as to stage a pop music "strike" this July, in which he called for a total shutdown of the music industry for the duration of one week, to allow for a "rethink of pop music." He even suggested picketing BBC Radio One. Musically, Haines has never been one to pull punches either. With the Auteurs, and subsequently with Black Box Recorder, he's been heralded as an anti-pop genius. A collaboration of Haines, John Moore and singer Sarah Nixey, Black Box Recorder makes remarkably catchy music, and despite the title, this is a great collection of material. Their sound is smooth as silk, drawing a lot of influence from '50s style ballads, and their lyrics are intelligent to boot. This collection confuses me somewhat, since it is a U.S. only compilation of B-side material, and although a lot of these tracks were not available on either of their two UK-released albums, England Made Me and The Facts Of Life, they were included as extras on their U.S. versions. Regardless, there's great stuff here, including a few unheard songs, like "Jackie Sixty," "Soul Boy" and David Bowie's "Rock and Roll Suicide," as well as a couple of remixes, and four videos on the enhanced portion. All in all, an essential release for anyone looking for something a little deeper from the UK scene. (Jetset)