The Very Very Best of Freshies

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For every one artist who scores a hit in the charts, there are at least 100 other artists who are just as good, if not better, than that lucky act. On the other hand, for every hit a particular artist has, there are likely a dozen more deserving songs in their catalog that deserve equal chart success. The Freshies manage to fall into both categories: they should have been more popular and they have plenty of songs deserving of more success than their minor hit "I'm in Love with the Girl on a Certain Megastore Check-Out Desk" (originally titled "I'm in Love with a Girl on a Virgin Manchester Megastore Check-Out Desk"!). Subtitled "Some Long and Short Titles" The Very Very Best of Freshies is the best (and cheapest) introduction to the often silly world of this outfit led by Chris Sievey, who would later find fame with his comedic alter ego, Frank Sidebottom. While dodgy production may keep the staunch audiophiles away, this collection is all about the songs, and there are plenty of great pop moments to be had here. This compilation gathers together the Freshies singles and rare recordings spanning the years 1978-1986 (plus a rare acetate recording that Sievey and his brother cut for Apple Records in 1971) and practically every song on display is a joyful, hook-filled new wave pop nugget. "Tell Her I'm Ill," "'I Can't Get Bouncing Babies by the Teardrop Explodes," "Wrap Up the Rockets and It's Gonna Get Better," and "If You Love Me...Buy Me a Shirt" should be better known radio classics that bring back fond memories to more than just Freshies fanatics. Even when Sievey moves away from the spiky guitar sounds of his early tracks and embraces keyboards on the mid-'80s recordings, the songs really shine. Comparisons are futile, unfortunately. Some of the early tracks sound a lot like the Donkeys, who put out some great singles during the same time period, but it's quite likely you haven't heard them, either. Hmmm...The Freshies should fit nicely in your collection right in between the Records (for the power pop leanings) and Jona Lewie (for their eccentricities). But perhaps that's too obscure? Well, they would have made the perfect flagship band for Stiff Records.

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