Various Artists

All Done with Mirrors

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Le Grand Magistery is a label that sets itself far apart from the ever-so-populated indie world by releasing music that hardly sounds indie but is dead if it's anything but pop. With a catalog that resembles a fun house, labelhead Matthew Jacobson (known to many as mentalist Alchemy Jones) has taken artists the world over and made his empire an interesting one. In fact, Jacobson himself poses on the cover of the release in black suit and tie, teasing a crowd with his magical powers, and is then found on the back brandishing his pistol รก la James Bond. His label began as an imprint to release a tribute to British el Records, a stable for under-appreciated European pop stars of the '80s, but Le Grand Magistery became so successful that Jacobson now houses some of those artists himself. Included on All Done With Mirrors are track bundles by Louis Philippe, the acerbic and misanthropic Nick Currie (a.k.a. Momus), and Jacobson's own discovery, Shoestrings, as well as exclusive singles from the Softies, Ninian Hawick, the foppishly fey Mr. Wright, and numerous others. The best appearances on the disc are certainly that of Momus, as he contributes a live version of "The Homosexual," his ode to "macho assholes," and "I Am a Kitten," written for Japanese chanteuse Kahimi Karie (who would later appear on the label with her own recordings). Mike Sheldon's funny and charming '60s TV theme-inspired "The Girl That Made Me Cry" also stands out as one of the best. All Done With Mirrors is the perfect introduction to the finest underground pop label of the '90s.

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