The Wake

Assembly

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AllMusic Review by

Part of the elaborate series of reissues LTM did for the Wake in 2002, and perfectly in keeping with the loving way that label handles its resuscitations of long out-of-print items, Assembly pulls together a slew of cuts that couldn't otherwise fit on the other discs in the series. Split into three distinct parts, it's clearly for the hardest of hardcore fans of the band rather than general listeners, though in its own way it could easily be a reasonable introduction for a newcomer, thanks to the years-spanning nature of the compilation. The first four cuts come from a mighty fine 1984 BBC session, kicking off with then-recent single "Talk About the Past," here in a fine, sprightly take still tinged with melancholia, though Vini Reilly's piano part is unsurprisingly absent. "Make You Understand" is a notable treat, thanks to the blend of synth and melodica. The next eight songs come from a Scottish date supporting New Order when Gillespie was still part of the band -- it's clear the future Primal Scream mainman still thought that the ultimate bass player ever was Peter Hook. If a bit thin soundwise, the performance is still brisk and entertaining, with standouts including a frenetic rip on "Recovery" and the sharp "The Drill," which concludes the set. Both sides of the two singles the band released on Sarah during the late '80s and early '90s round out the collection; the downright twinkly semi-psych "Crush the Flowers" and the bitter yet winsome "Lousy Pop Group" are both winners. As a bonus, "Brit Mix," originally an extra CD-only cut on Tidal Wave of Hype, closes everything out. James Nice's appreciative band bio, snippets from 1983-era fanzine interviews, and full recording details on the tracks round out another typically detailed LTM presentation.

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