Here are this week’s latest selection of record reviews, from Kevin Bryan.
Tony Banks - A Chord Too Far (Esoteric / Cherry Red). This wide ranging celebration of Tony Banks’s (pictured) solo career to date extends over four CDs and features no less than 49 tracks culled from the nine albums that the Genesis keyboard ace has released since he made his solo debut in 1979 with A Curious Feeling. The tracklisting was personally selected by Tony himself and the diverse and skilfully crafted melodic fare on offer includes a string of recently remixed recordings and four hitherto unreleased creations, with the vocal duties handled by such unlikely bedfellows as Toyah Willcox, Fish and Nik Kershaw.
Steve Ellis - Best of Days (Angel Air Records). Edgware-born Steve Ellis is best remembered these days for his musical exploits with Love Affair, the teenage pop sensations who were almost a fixture in the British singles charts during the late sixties with hits such as Rainbow Valley and Everlasting Love. Steve has had to endure more than his fair share of trials and tribulations since those days but he remains one of the country’s most compelling vocal talents, and this appealing 2008 package features not one but two fine versions of Everlasting Love, with an understated acoustic revamp rubbing shoulders with a much more heartfelt live rendition recorded with Paul Weller during the latter’s Wings of Speed tour in 2001.
Latest & Greatest Indie Anthems - (Union Square). The compilers of this eminently listenable 3CD set have rounded up many of the usual suspects to populate an eclectic celebration of the delights of indie musicmaking. Classic offerings from the likes of Pulp, Athlete and Noah and theWhale all make an appearance alongside contributions from bands who wouldn’t normally be pigeonholed within the confines of the indie spectrum such as Madness and Frankie Goes To
Hollywood, who chip in with their inimitable cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run.
Act - Love & Hate (Salvo). Propaganda vocalist Claudia Brucken joined forces with electronics wizard Thomas Leer in 1987 to form Act, a shortlived outfit who were unfortunate enough to arrive on the scene just as the synth pop boom was finally fizzling out. Love & Hate captures the cream of this inventive duo’s relatively meagre back catalogue, including Snobbery & Decay, Under The Nights of Germany and their bizarre pop cabaret version of The Smiths’ 1984 hit, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.