The Rubettes

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With their white suits and berets, the Rubettes cut a daftly memorable swathe across the U.K. pop scene of 1974-1975, although it was always debatable whether their falsetto-driven rock and retro appeal would ever translate to an American audience. Rounding up the best of the group's first three U.K. albums (and not to be confused with the similarly eponymous British third), The Rubettes nevertheless had a grand stab at finding out. Four of the Rubettes' six U.K. hits to date, ranging from the sublime "Sugar Baby Love" to the ridiculous "Foe Dee O Dee," are present, together with the twin statements of intent, "Way Back in the Fifties" and "It's Saturday Night," both taken from their Wear It's At debut album. Impressive, too, for first-time listeners are the band's attempts to break their teen pop mold -- "Dark Side of the World" and "I'm Just Dreaming" both place the band in a thoughtful mold somewhere between the Beach Boys and Medicine Head, and that's not a combination one encounters every day. Indeed, had the compilers only sought out a few of the band's other adventures -- "Wo Goddam Blues," for example, or "Beggar Man" -- the Rubettes could have been reinvented on the spot. As it stands, only the omission of the incandescent "I Can Do It" derails The Rubettes' claim to be the best best-of the band could have dreamed of.

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