Various Artists

There and Back Again Lane

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AllMusic Review by

A retrospective swan song, this 21-track compilation blows the dust off Sarah Records' obsession with the 7" in the best scruffy jangle pop way it knows how. You have everything from the label's first-ever release, the Sea Urchins' "Pristine Christine," to eight subsequent years of expository, shambolic pettiness fostered on the belief that listening to Smiths records could ever change the world. There's the good -- Blueboy's recreation of the Sundays by way of Orange Juice -- the bad -- Secret Shine beating the corpse of shoegazing as if it murdered their families -- and the ugly -- Action Painting's powerful, bizarro punk rock red glare; songs so unduly stigmatized that they evoked indie empathy in even the harshest of medieval poetry majors. Still, when it came to failed speccy revolutions cloaked as inveterate idealism, only Alan McGee would deny that Sarah were kings of their own pop sovereign nation.

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