World Party

Arkeology

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Those with the inclination to listen to a five-disc set of 70 unreleased tracks from World Party have a pretty good sense of Karl Wallinger's strengths and weaknesses, and they're unlikely to be either surprised or disappointed by 2012's Arkeology. Comprised of unheard songs, covers, demos, live cuts, and alternate takes from every phase of Wallinger's post-Waterboys career, Arkeology is simply too much to consume in one sitting yet it is delectable in small doses, whether one is yearning to hear new originals from the underrated pop craftsman or curious to hear selections from his long-rumored re-creation of the Beatles' White Album. All of this plays into Wallinger's mythology of being a bit of an incorrigible madman, intent on whiling away his days at his home studio, occasionally producing moments of brilliance, sometimes sounding too insular for his own good, but never being less than listenable. And even if some cuts run on too long -- often it's when he's intent on replicating a Prince-ian groove on his own or when he's in a live setting -- he winds up offering a lot to treasure here, at least for those who have already been inducted into the Wallinger cult years ago.

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