Various Artists

It's Not the Size That Counts

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This sampler from the late, lamented I.R.S. Records is an amazingly mixed bag. The program ranges from the quirky jangle pop of Kirsty MacColl' s "Titanic Days" ("His rope, my wrists/ I never knew there might be days like this") to second-wave ska courtesy of the English Beat, who weigh in with a live version of "Tears of a Clown." There are also stopovers in the land of aggressive proto-techno (Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine's "Lenny and Terence"), bhangra (Sahotas's "Hass Hogia"), and experimental house (William Orbit's "Water From a Vine Leaf -- Acid Bath Mix"). In retrospect, it's easy to see why this label went belly-up: there hasn't been room in the marketplace for a label this interesting and unpredictable in ages. Other highlights include "Bubbling Hot" by Ranking Roger and Pato Banton (a pretty blatant rehash of "Pato and Roger a Go Talk," not to mention of "Pato and Roger Come Again") and the monotonous but strangely cute "Sploosh" by Ozric Tentacles.

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