Black Box Recorder

The Worst of Black Box Recorder

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Hip hip hooray. Maybe someone up there likes us after all. The Worst of Black Box Recorder is a rare instance where restraint in buying a band's singles has paid off. Compiling all the B-sides from Black Box Recorder's first four singles (two of which were two-parters), a handful of studio extras that were included on the U.S. versions of England Made Me and The Facts of Life -- including the stinging "Lord Lucan Is Missing," a take on Rod McKuen's-via-Jacques Brel's "Seasons in the Sun," the Bowie-worthy "Start As You Mean to Go On," and the equally spiky "Brutality" -- and also throwing in the band's videos for the A-sides ("The Facts of Life," "Child Psychology," "The Art of Driving," and "England Made Me"), the whole package adds up to an LP that's just as worthy of your hard-earned scratch as the trio's two proper studio albums. Outside of the obvious space/time constraint, it's hard to imagine how most of the songs weren't able to find a way on the original incarnations of England Made Me or The Facts of Life. There isn't a weak moment to be found here, not even on the remixes; both the Chocolate Layers' (Pulp's Steve Mackey and Jarvis Cocker) mix of "The Facts of Life" and BBR's own versioning of "Uptown Top Ranking" don't fail to impress. If that's not enough to rope you in, the disc concludes in perfect fa-fa-fa-fa-fashion with an ultra sultry cover of the Thin White Duke's "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide"; if you close your eyes tight enough, you can envision vocalist Sarah Nixey working her magic onstage for the drunken patrons of the Roadhouse, clad in a funny leather hat.

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