Pere Ubu

Datapanik in the Year Zero [Box]

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Pere Ubu's troubles with record companies are legendary within certain underground rock circles. In perhaps the most bizarre turn of events, the group's collected works of 1978-1982 -- after being out of print for nearly a decade -- were reissued by Geffen as a five-disc box set, Datapanik in the Year Zero. Named after the group's 1978 EP, the set is arranged chronologically and occasionally substitutes live versions for studio tracks, but that hardly matters -- nearly every song the band recorded during the five-year time span is included. In addition to the official Pere Ubu material, the box includes a disc of rare singles from early incarnations of Ubu and other Cleveland-area punk rockers like Rocket from the Tombs, 15-60-75, and Mirrors, which were released on David Thomas' independent record label. With this much material, it's safe to say that the set is a definitive retrospective. However, if you're simply interested in Pere Ubu, consider the set carefully before investing. Pere Ubu were indeed one of the most innovative and challenging bands of their era, which means that their music is an acquired taste. However, those willing to invest in the box will find a wealth of inventive, hard-edged avant rock & roll.

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