Scritti Politti

Absolute: The Best of Scritti Politti

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There is no easy and clean way to anthologize Scritti Politti. Within a couple years of surfacing, Green Gartside and his shifting array of associates switched from scrawny and inscrutable post-punk to pristine and R&B-laced sophisti-pop. Scritti vanished for a decade, reappeared in the late ‘90s with a tentative misfire, and then, after a seven-year absence, came back again with an understated, vaguely singer/songwriter-y gem. Absolute focuses on the Virgin albums -- 1985’s Cupid & Psyche (a masterpiece), 1988’s Provision, and 1999’s Anomie & Bonhomie -- and frontloads the material from them, which takes up over two-thirds of the disc. After that, it gets a bit random, with post-punk era highlight “Skank Bloc Bologna,” three highlights from 1982’s Songs to Remember, the 1991 non-album single “She’s a Woman” (a Beatles cover, featuring Shabba Ranks), and two new burbling electro-pop numbers. It’s neither a straightforward singles comp nor a thorough collection of highlights, but it’s somewhere in between and makes for a representative introduction.

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