Irrepressibly quirky or frankly eccentric? Either way, an hour-plus in the company of the best of Jona Lewie is sufficient to induce fits of gleeful air piano playing in the most discriminating listener -- an hour-plus, that is, in the thrall of such offbeat pop classics as "Stop the Cavalry" and "Louise," the demented travelogue of "Hallelujah Europa," the wallflowering anthem of "You'll Always Find Me in the Kitchen at Parties," then on and on for 22 tracks until you reach the closing cover of Devo's "Be Stiff" -- and you thought the Mothersbaugh brothers were weird? Charting Lewie's entire Stiff label career from the opening single, "The Baby, She's on the Street" (later covered by Ian Matthews), and democratically dividing the tracks between each of the ensuing albums, The Best of Jona Lewie falters only in that democracy. Arguably, the collection would have been served had it absorbed his On the Other Hand There's a Fist debut album in its entirety (four tracks are missing), while the period B-side "Police Trap" is also conspicuous by its absence. There is great joy, however, in being reacquainted with later gems "I Think I'll Get My Hair Cut," "Rearranging the Deckchairs on the Titanic," and "The Seed That Always Died," and the upshot is, if you enjoy the first half of The Best of Jona Lewie, there's nothing to prevent you enjoying the rest.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson