Various Artists

12"/'80s

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A relatively populist extension of Universal U.K.'s 2002-released The Sound of the Crowd, 12"/'80s -- issued by Family Recordings, a catalog wing of Universal U.K. -- compiles extended and remixed versions of singles released throughout the '80s, with a definite preference toward the early half of the decade. Unlike the state of the remix throughout the '90s and early 2000s (singles were often remixed several times over for potential crossover, or for no good reason at all), remixes as they are heard here are more functional, made strictly with the intent to impact the clubs. Even though several tracks have popped up on other compilations or album reissues heavy with bonus tracks, the box is a potential feast for new wave fans -- especially those who remember hearing the tracks while on dancefloors. The selections are generally smart: Japan's "Quiet Life," ABC's "Tears Are Not Enough," Simple Minds' "Promised You a Miracle," Scritti Politti's "Wood Beez," Propaganda's "Mabuse," and the Cure's "A Forest" (ironically a minute shorter than the version heard on the band's Seventeen Seconds) are just some of the notables. More importantly, only a couple tracks sound as if they were mastered from the original vinyl releases. The primary shortcoming is that the content is wholly reliant upon Universal's archives, so big gaps are bound to be seen. These three discs are held in slimline jewel cases that are housed in a simple (but not cheap) glossy-paper package -- so the whole thing won't eat up a lot of space or uglify your shelf, unlike a lot of multi-disc sets.

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