Icehouse

Singles

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A three-CD box set originating from Germany (where Icehouse is arguably the most famous Australian band ever). The trio of discs spans the career of Iva Davies and his many cohorts, from 1980's "Can't Help Myself" through to 1995's "Heaven" (although it's actually the classy B-side "Pas de Trois" that finally wraps things up). Singles (and selected B-sides) is more comprehensive than compilations past and present, yet is really only for diehards. Who else would purchase nearly three hours of Icehouse? The first disc concentrates on 1980-1984. The ten hits here are best known in Australia and New Zealand ("We Can Get Together," "Great Southern Land"), with the exception of mega-hit "Hey Little Girl." Sandwiched between them are five particular B-sides, with "Send Somebody" coming off best. It's easy to see why they were picked, yet it's a pity that most are either album tracks or readily available on albums already released. "Stay Close Tonight" farewells the first disc, but "Java," at that time unavailable on CD, would have given the box set an exclusive to fans and provided a better round-off at the same time. Disc two kicks off with "No Promises," nearly their breakthrough hit in the States, and is further joined by the one that was: "Crazy." "Electric Blue" and the sister singles from Measure for Measure and Man of Colours are all gathered in album form with very good accomplices: "Too Late Now" and the soulful "Into the Wild." A shameful opportunity was missed to give "Perfect Crime" and "Over My Head" a home, but it probably would have been expecting too much for arty bits "Komsaka B" and "Completely Gone" to make such a collection (it would have been more fun to listen to). As it is, the serene "Midnight Mix" of "Crazy" does a nice job before the full-on American stadium rock of "Touch the Fire" and "Jimmy Dean" finish off, thus setting up the final disc, focusing on the '90s. "Big Fun" is best skipped in favor of "Miss Divine" and the brassy "Anything Is Possible." Bill Laswell's take on "Love in Motion" with vocal and dialogue from Divinyl Christina Amphlett is as intriguing as "Knockin' Them Down" is a waste of space. Far better B-sides were again disposed of, "Blank Frank" and "Being Boiled" being two. So the Big Wheel trio of "Satelite," a criminal edit of the title cut, and "Invisible People" lead to "Heaven," the only Berlin Tape track. A good collection that might have been better with a little more consideration.