Originally released on Factory Benelux in 1991 as that label was winding down operations, Lips That Would Kiss was therefore exceedingly rare until its reissue by the stalwart collector's label LTM in early 2008. Lips That Would Kiss is an essential Durutti Column document for fans. Gathering 19 rare and unreleased tracks recorded between 1980 and 1984, this CD fills in the picture sketched by the first four albums by Vini Reilly and associates, between 1979's minimalist post-punk outing The Return of the Durutti Column and 1984's chamber music experiment Without Mercy. Both sides of two rare and outstanding singles, 1980s limpid "Lips That Would Kiss"/"Madeleine" (the last Durutti Column release produced by Factory's in-house genius Martin Hannett) and 1981's chillier "Enigma"/"Danny," are here, as well as 1982's 2 Triangles EP (including the lengthy and unfortunately descriptive "Piece for Out of Tune Grand Piano") and a previously unreleased outtake from those sessions. Reilly's contributions to the legendary From Brussels with Love and The Fruit of the Original Sin, released by the artsy Belgian indie Les Disques du Crepuscule, finish off the set's previously released material, leaving nearly half of the disc for material from the previously unreleased Short Stories for Pauline. Recorded in Brussels with violinist Blaine L. Reininger (Tuxedomoon) and drummer Alain LeFebvre backing Reilly's plaintive guitar and piano improvisations, the album was initially supposed to come out on Factory Benelux in late 1985, but its release was scrubbed due to a competing newer release on the mothership label, the live album Domo Arigato. It's a shame, because these nine tracks make a convincing bridge between the original delicate, folk-influenced miniatures of the Durutti Column's early releases and the near-new age pop/jazz/classical fusion that took hold starting with the two side-long pieces that made up Without Mercy. Annoyingly, this is not the complete album: the rest of the album appears as bonus tracks on LTM's contemporaneous reissue of 1986's Circuses and Bread, where they don't make nearly as much musical or thematic sense; dismantling this obscure and after-the-fact anthology to release the entirety of Short Stories for Pauline as originally intended, plus a dedicated singles-and-compilation-tracks anthology, and the reissue of Circuses and Bread minus the anachronistic material, might have better suited the Durutti Column's occasionally difficult to parse but almost always worthwhile history.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason