Inspiral Carpets

Cool As

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After Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets were the most popular band to emerge from the early-'90s baggy/Madchester scene. Taking their musical cue from late-'60s Farfisa organ-fuelled psychedelic rock, the Carpets sounded drastically different from the bands who they were unfairly lumped together with. Regardless, they released some of the best singles of the '90s, and a batch of albums that are all worthwhile. This three-disc compilation, released in 2003 to coincide with a reunion tour, features a CD of singles ("Cool As"), a CD of rarities ("Rare As"), and a DVD of promo clips, interviews, and live performances ("Spool As"). Disc one is more complete than the Carpets' Singles collection released in 1995, containing two very early singles with their original vocalist, Steve Holt, plus a new "lost" single, "Come Back Tomorrow." Although not groundbreaking, the Carpets were perhaps the best U.K. singles band since Madness a decade earlier. "Move," "Please Be Cruel," "This Is How It Feels," "Dragging Me Down," and "Two Worlds Collide" are a handful of highlights from a career of them. If this was the only disc, it would be worthy of your dollars, but luckily, there's more. "Rare As" contains even more early rarities from the Holt lineup plus unreleased tracks, B-sides, and remixes. Of these tracks, one of the most enjoyable is their Inspiraling version of "Tainted Love," which sounds like a Carpets original rather than a cover (of a cover?). The DVD is a treat for fans who were never able to catch the original promo clips (especially those outside the U.K.). The live footage and 2003 interview are just icing on this triple-layer cake! [Cool As was re-released in 2007 with a bonus DVD.]

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