Various Artists

Cohesion: Manchester Aid to Kosovo & Mines Advisory Group Benefit CD

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Compiled to benefit the Manchester Aid to Kosovo and the Mines Advisory Group charities, the 34 songs of Cohesion give a nice overview of the past and present state of music from Manchester, England. Hometown heroes from the '90s the Doves, I Am Kloot, and Elbow all contribute fine songs from their back catalogs. Excellent remixes of modern Manchester legends Ian Brown, Lamb (remixed by Kruder and Dorfmeister), Badly Drawn Boy, and Rae and Christian keep things interesting and make for an eclectic listen. Indie acts My Mate Mark, Mint Royale, and Alpinestars represent the city's bright future. The Happy Mondays' classic "Wrote for Luck" is an inspired addition, as is a stunning live performance of Joy Division's "Atmosphere" from the band's next incarnation, New Order. Why the Smiths and a myriad of other Mancunian legends aren't represented is a bit of a mystery, but Cohesion is such a gentle, cohesive listen that they aren't missed too much. It's a treat that some smaller acts without mainstream acclaim are featured, because they contribute choice tunes that mark them as acts to watch. Alternating between feel-good Brit-pop, bass-thumping electronica, and emotional ballads across its two CDs, the collection works as lush, emotional journey into the heart of Manchester's musical pulse. Though Cohesion isn't the joyous thrill ride of Rough Trade Shops: 25 Years, it's easily one of the best British music collections of 2001.

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