Spandau Ballet

The Twelve Inch Mixes

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Although the majority of Spandau Ballet compilations have been absolutely superseded by the Reformation box set, that set's need to present rare and live material alongside the expected highlights leaves a gaping hole in the band's resumé, one that The Twelve Inch Mixes effortlessly plugs. Originally issued as one half of the band's British vinyl Singles Collection package, The Twelve Inch Mixes offers a near-complete recounting of the band's extended remix catalog, from the six-minute glory of their debut, "To Cut a Long Story Short," through to the last gasp heroics of "Highly [Re]Strung" four years later. The album, like the band, is at its best in the early years, while Spandau still took their status as Britain's finest club funk band seriously -- the four closing tracks here all date from that period and include pulsating remixes of "Chant #1" and "Musclebound" (but not, strangely, "Paint Me Down," reminding you that, had the band never cut another record, their place in history would be assured). In fact, the balladic successes of "Gold," "True," and "Only When You Leave" do much to detract from the sheer genius of those early hits, although their own brilliance cannot be disavowed. Few bands from this era were ever able to escape the gravity of their new romantic beginnings. Spandau, however, didn't simply escape it. They utterly reinvented themselves and there's still a thrill to be gleaned from the six-plus minutes of "True," the 1983 U.K. chart-topper that announced the group's new direction. The seven-minute "Gold" and a surprisingly successful reinvention of "Round and Round" also offer glowing testament to the period remixer's art, and Twelve Inch Mixes emerges an immensely enjoyable reminder of just how electrifying even latter-day Spandau Ballet could be.

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