The Bolshoi

Away...Best of the Bolshoi

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In keeping with Beggars Banquet's overall excellent job in the late '90s and beyond with reissues, this hour-long retrospective gets a great treatment. Besides a full remastering job and detailing "what came from where" liner notes, lead guitarist/singer Trevor Tanner pens a brief essay reflecting on the band's days and what everyone has done since then. The range of selections on the collection itself is interesting -- it doesn't follow chronological order or any other immediately obvious arrangement, but it does cherry pick from all over the group's career. Besides the expected choices such as "Happy Boy," "Sunday Morning," and the title cut often turning up in their single mixes, a slew of album and B-side cuts also surface as well, including such winners as "Foxes." Musically, the Bolshoi were more inspired-by than inspiring, and Away doesn't do much to change that impression. Still, there are a few worthy cuts for those interested in U.K. post-punk of the '80s on both the epic and calmer, moodier tip. "Books on the Bonfire" actually manages the neat trick of out-Missioning the Mission in its loud-drumming, electric folk way, while not being anywhere as over the top, thanks to Tanner's better singing voice and a great chorus. "Lindy's Party" is a neat dance-pop into rock beat gem, with Paul Clark's keyboard parts adding a gentle brass and strings swell to the proceedings, while "Sunday Morning" and "Someone's Daughter" are both enjoyable, solid listens. In an unexpected touch, meanwhile, two cuts from Tanner's 1999 solo album Master of the World fill out the collection, both of which follow on in the general Bolshoi style. "Mary" is a nice, acoustic-based tune with some reasonable electric soloing and good vocals, while "Master of the World" itself is a similar-sounding, easygoing number with more than a little hint of Oasis' "Supersonic."

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