In 2001, when just about any band who had released their records during the post-punk explosion was having their records re-released, when bands like the Human League were releasing new records that revitalized their original sound, and when compilations released by Ersatz Audio, International Deejay Gigolos, and Ghostly International were gaining lots of attention for breathing new life into electronic-based post-punk/new wave, a Fad Gadget compilation was issued to shamefully little fanfare. During Frank Tovey's initial stretch as Fad Gadget from (roughly) 1979-1984, he released four LPs and a slew of singles that rate as well as early Human League, one-shots the Normal, and Red Mecca-era Cabaret Voltaire. (He was also kind enough to part with a good portion of his pubes while in performance, but that's another story.) As the first signing to Daniel Miller's crucial Mute label, Fad Gadget's mix of the absurd, the artful, and the alien-funky deserves canonization just as much as anyone else of the time. The Best of Fad Gadget is a bolstered update of 1986's The Fad Gadget Singles, containing the earlier compilation in its entirety and adding B-sides and a second disc of mostly worthwhile remixes. These songs are just as likely to add a dance beat as they are likely to take a hand-drill to it and destroy it; from the synapse-frying plod of "Back to Nature" to the relatively less confrontational Kraut disco of "Collapsing New People," the compilation plots a Lombard Blvd.-like course that runs from amateurish machine-grappling at its most exciting to chart-threatening dance-pop. If this greatness isn't enough to interest post-punk trainspotting types, scattered contributions from the Birthday Party's Roland S. Howard, Wire's Robert Gotobed, and the Normal's Miller should just about do it.
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2