Magazine

Maybe It's Right to Be Nervous Now

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Magazine's three-disc box set is a mess. Breaking the group's history down to two eras spread across the first two-thirds of the box and adding a fantastic and well-needed third disc dedicated solely to Peel Sessions, it's yet another multi-disc package that half-pleases both fan and neophyte. Only four of the 45 tracks come directly from the band's four studio LPs. Oddly enough, seven-tenths of the decent live album Play is strewn across the first two discs. Why include the majority of a live album that caters to diehards, therefore leaving out the better studio versions? Eight B-sides are scattered throughout, most of which were previously available on Scree. Four "alternative mixes" add further frustration, including a sub-standard (demo?) "Shot by Both Sides." That could be the biggest gripe. Not including the definitive version of "Shot by Both Sides," which is to post-punk what "Anarchy in the U.K." is to punk, would be similar to leaving "Love Is the Drug" off of a Roxy Music collection. So aside from the Peel Sessions, a fan is getting hardly anything new. The neophyte would be better off picking up the single-disc Where the Power Is, which draws from this and obviously costs less. The Peel Sessions disc is the real meat. Four sessions yield 15 thoroughly exciting songs. Everything is delivered with excellence, although Howard Devoto might have wanted to impair keyboardist Dave Formula's busy hands. Some versions might be preferable to their album counterparts, including the furious take on the Devoto/Pete Shelley-penned "Boredom." Despite the numerous complications with this box, the high rating is deserved. Many would argue that it could have been done better, but the material is undoubtedly strong. The package itself is a treat, containing the results of Devoto's personal archive ransacking.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
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15
blue highlight denotes track pick