Even a Blind Chicken thankfully reissues the majority of the impossible-to-find L'ajre LP and the excellent, vinyl-only His Absence is a Blessing EP, buttressing them with various singles and compilation tracks spanning five years. Aside from the Blessing EP, nothing here quite lives up to the high standard of Silkworm's other works, but the compilation is essential for any fan. A self-released 1992 single comprising renditions of the Comsat Angels' "Our Secret" and Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" is a major highlight. They make the Comsats song very much their own, exchanging the original's ringing guitars for agitated roars. Joel Phelps and Tim Midgett repeatedly shout "We will never give it up" as a defiant mantra. There's even some atmospheric synth added in, just for the hell of it. The Fleetwood Mac cover is storming, done completely without irony, unlike your token ha-ha ska band cover. All vocalists chime in at various points as Midgett makes a bitchin' Lindsey. Loudon Wainwright, Tom Petty, and the Walkabouts also receive the Silkworm treatment. A couple moments of misguided infancy are pretty embarrassing, perhaps documented with the diehard in mind. The thrashy "Inside Outside" has an uncharacteristic bass lead-in and goofy vocal trickery. Phelps' vocals veer dangerously close to Geddy Lee-with-laryngitis territory. A handy, well-warranted package, Midgett's often hilarious liner notes provide added value, recalling van wrecks and recording processes. He also lucidly expresses the instability of even the most durable bands, stating that they "...walk a thin line between satisfying individual egos and caving into them." Valuable words for any band.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2