Various Artists

Disco Discharge: Euro Beats

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Going by its catalog number, Euro Beats is the 11th volume of the Harmless label’s Disco Discharge series -- part of the third round of releases, alongside Mondo Disco, Disco Fever USA, and Cruising the Beats, all released during early 2011. This is the most ‘80s-oriented set thus far, so Italo disco and synth pop dominate. A handful of tracks, like Doctor’s Cat's churning “Feel the Drive” (thankfully the instrumental version), Ryan Paris' peppy “Dolce Vita” (a massive, widespread hit outside the U.S.), and Kano’s emotive and funky “Can’t Hold Back” (oddly muffled-sounding compared to versions heard elsewhere), will be familiar to a high percentage of ‘80s dance music freaks. Just as the compilers weren’t afraid to include both Idris Muhammad and the Manhattan Transfer on Classic Disco, they freely mix up the cool with the not-so-cool. They do so to such a healthy extent that sheer context is likely to soften the opinions of snobs who might wince at purchasing a compilation featuring not just Modern Talking but a flagrantly gaudy track from Cruisin’ Gang that interpolates Propaganda’s “p:Machinery.” (Nothing, however, could possibly redeem L-Vira's "Talkin' 'Bout Rambo.") As usual for the lovingly assembled series, there are full song credits, detailed liner notes from Saturday Night Forever author Alan Jones, and photos of several 12” sleeves.

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