Compendium of Weird

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The Revillos have always been a band dedicated to being as fun as possible at all times. Their 1980 album, Rev Up, is a classic combination of punk rock attitude, technicolor new wave silliness, and good old rock & roll energy, and everything else they recorded is almost as giddy and good. Driven by a crack rhythm section, frantic guitar work, and dual male-female vocals that balance girl group sass with rockabilly snarl, their songs are retro-futurist gems and the best of them reside at the pinnacle of the New Wave scene. Compendium of Weird is the second collection of rarities that Damaged Goods has released. The first one, From the Freezer, cherrypicked demos, live recordings, and alternate takes, all of which made for a swell archival experience. This time the band went deeper, digging through attics and closets for old tapes and painstakingly recovering nearly lost recordings made between 1979 and 1994. The band made a concerted effort to uncover and make available songs that they never recorded; over half the songs here haven't seen official release before. The rip-roaring Joe Meek-on-a-surfboard "Boom Boom Boom," the tightly wound rocker "Hey Can I Have Some," the Ian Dury-esque disco rocker "Big Boss," and the extremely silly and fun "Rollerskatin'" are the highlights, but the synth pop ballad "Heaven Fell" is the biggest shock. It sounds like a Belinda Carlisle song, only with Fay Fife's's booming vocals driving it home Dusty Springfield style. There are also cool finds like a version of "Scuba Scuba" sung joyously in Japanese, a live-wire run through "Cool Jerk" that sounds like the wheels might fall off, and a wild take on "Hippy Hippy Sheik," where they do fall off once or twice. Add in some alternate takes of classic tunes like "Hungry for Love" and the Johnny Kidd cover "You Were Meant for Me" and this collection is a fine follow-up to From the Freezer, while placing a fun and frothy capper on the group's treasure trove of rarities.

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