Various Artists

Zetrospective, Vol. 2: Hope Springs Eternal

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Ze Records boasted an early-'80s roster that included the varied likes of Alan Vega, Kid Creole & the Coconuts (who was also the imprint's house producer), Was (Not Was), John Cale, the Waitresses, and Christina. The label's musical focus was often on the poppy and eclectic offshoots of New York punk, with more raw acts like Lydia Lunch, James Chance & the Contortions, and Suicide balancing things out with some typically askew contributions. Even though this second label roundup does not feature those fine proponents of Gotham's underground ethos, it still provides a fairly thorough overview of Ze's best acts. Kid Creole contributes the slick, soca-fueled funksters "Annie I'm Not Your Daddy" and "Table Manners," while Was (Not Was) echoes Creoles' widescreen club mix with their own expansive bit of R&B, "Tell Me That I'm Dreaming," and then does an about face with the superb torch ballad and Mel Tormé vehicle "Zaz Turned Blue." Cale maintains the down-tempo with his "I Keep a Close Watch on This Heart of Mine" (not to be confused with the Johnny Cash song), and the Waitresses ply their wry pop with the new wave classic "I Know What Boys Like." And although Davitt Sigerson and John Robie indulge a bit too much in the questionable side of '80s production (excess synth frosting), Christina keeps things interesting with cheeky monologues like "He Dines on Death." An enjoyable collection.

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