The Animals

The EP Collection

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This 20-track CD, running just under an hour, is a good bargain. The real value behind these See For Miles EP collections is that, particularly where British invasion bands are concerned, they allow the listener to truly track the group's progress and the real advancement of their sound. The Animals, in their years on EMI, only released two LPs but got out five EPs in the same period. This is prime material, a good balance between the group's blues and R&B influences on the one hand and producer Mickie Most's more pop-oriented leanings, and it shows just how powerful this band was, whatever kind of music they chose to play. Their key hits represented here, including "House of the Rising Sun," "Baby Let Me Take You Home," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," and "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place," surrounded by very strong tracks which show the members gaining confidence and extending themselves musically, month by month. The only drawback for the more casual listener is the focus of the collection, which is limited to the band's stay on EMI, which lasted barely two years, if that, so later hits like "It's My Life" are not present. Everything here does appear on the label's Complete Animals double-CD set, but that's where the 1999 reissue of this disc is important -- The EP Collection offers state of the art digital sound, better than that on EMI's late-'80s set, and it also easily runs circles around ABKCO Records' Best of the Animals. The instruments all have startling presence, and Eric Burdon's voice practically booms out on "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place." The notes are very informative as well, explaining how the formative Animals managed to cross paths with (and later diverge paths from) producer Mickie Most.

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