Honestly, The Old & the New is the only A Certain Ratio album anyone really needs. A collection of early singles and key EP tracks, this skims the essential ACR material while thankfully dodging their frequent missteps and avoiding their just plain lame later material entirely. Instead, this album focuses on the sound that first made their name, a blend of disco, funk, and jagged post-punk that at the time was as daring as anything else coming out of Manchester, England. Early singles like the obsessive, hectoring "Shack Up" and the crunchy punk-funk "The Fox" (both of which feature the blatting, unschooled trumpet playing of vocalist Simon Topping, who would later "mature" into a purveyor of limp lite-funk) paved the way for even more out-there artists like the Pop Group and Rip Rig & Panic, although admittedly, lesser material like "Wild Party" also led the way for the one-hit weenies Pigbag. Still, for a brief period, A Certain Ratio was a band to be reckoned with; The Old & the New shows why.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason