Peel Sessions are renowned for letting artists unsheathe the serrated edges of their sound. However, for a relatively mellow band such as Liverpool, England's the Lotus Eaters, there are no blistering guitars to unleash. As if their studio recordings weren't stripped down enough, the Lotus Eaters' performances for legendary BBC DJ John Peel slice away any trace of pop gloss from their early-'80s classics. First Picture of You collects the Lotus Eaters' John Peel appearances as well as a few live tracks. "The First Picture of You" sounds virtually identical to the original, but other tracks exhibit subtle differences that earn the CD the status of an essential purchase for Lotus Eaters fans. On "German Girl," Peter Coyle's plaintive vocals sound more fragile than ever, floating nakedly atop dreamy keyboards, while on "Alone of All Her Sex" the drums are more forceful than in its initial version. The meditative "When You Look at Boys" builds up into an avalanche of powerfully strummed acoustic guitars, and the heartbreaking "Love Still Flows" unfolds with gorgeously spare arrangements. Coyle's voice and Jeremy Kelly's guitars are mesmerizing throughout the album; they hypnotize the ears, summoning feelings of love and heartache even when they're whispering.
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AllMusic Review by Michael Sutton