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Originally released in Australia in 1995 as The Berlin Tapes, an album that arrived in at least three different versions with a variety of different songs, most notably a Japanese collection that added four more covers, this 2004 release on Diva Records opens and closes with the David Bowie/Brian Eno classic as bookends, putting the majority of Iva Davies' album of cover tunes in between. Missing is Public Image Ltd's "Disappointed" from the original lineup, but otherwise Icehouse's nod to influential music by Lou Reed, Frank Sinatra, Bowie, XTC, Roxy Music, the Psychedelic Furs et al., appears obvious to those musicoligists who were attracted to the tunes in their first incarnation. What Davies has created is a textbook for the next generation, his grasp of Lou Reed playing Sinatra with the original song "Berlin," only Davies quotes the whacked-out version from the Berlin album and fuses it with Sinatra's "All The Way." That's the most glaring mistake on this reconstituted disc, as the song in its primary state is one of Reed's most commercial. Thus, as a textbook, that lesson is like a chapter missing for the kids of the new millennium. There's no doubt the Icehouse singer has impeccable taste, combining "Loving the Alien" and "Sister Europe" on record with the Velvet Underground classic "All Tomorrow's Parties" is like going hunting with Dick Cheney -- the targets are easy and right in front of you, but there's always the chance of getting sprayed. Clocking in at 50 minutes, the five tracks from the Japanese version -- covers of music by John Lennon, Free, Brian Eno, the Human League, and that aforementioned PIL song would've made this truncated re-release even more fun.

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