Various Artists

Palatine: The Factory Story, Vol. 3

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Palatine: The Factory Story, Vol. 3/1979-1989/The Beat Groups is the full title of the third installment of four CDs celebrating the history of Manchester, England's Factory Records. It's a little odd that Factory decided to include the years covered in the titles of the volumes. The first two overlapped a little chronologically and also had some anachronistic inclusions, and this volume flashes all the way back to the label's earliest year, stunting the forward progression of the first two in the series. Perhaps they realized after the second volume that their good material was running too thin in the late '80s to maintain evenly covered periods. Either that or they didn't want to paint themselves into a corner and prevent themselves from again being able to include Joy Division. At any rate, Vol. 3 provides almost as much to enjoy as its predecessors, including regulars like Joy Division ("Wilderness"), New Order ("Age of Consent"), the Happy Mondays ("Kuff Dam"), the Durutti Column ("Otis"), and James ("Hymn From a Village"). Pleasant, less-known surprises come from post-punkers Tunnelvision (their only single, "Watching the Hydroplanes"), the Stockholm Monsters ("Partyline"), the Wake ("Talk About the Past"), the Distractions (the ahead of its time "Time Goes By So Slow"), and late-'80s bright spots the Railway Children ("Brighter"). Since it covers a wide time frame, it's a good showcase of Factory's overlooked depth. (The third volume is also available with the other three as the Palatine box set.)

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