Whether you were a mod or a rocker (ask Ringo), there was always something to love about Secret Affair. With a cocky frontman (Ian Page) and a slashing, dashing guitarist (Dave Cairns), the band's mixture of influences like the Who, the Kinks, and the Northern soul sound came out sounding completely different to its mod counterparts (i.e.: the Jam, the Lambrettas, et al). With three studio albums to the band's credit (all reissued by the Captain Mod label) and a handful of live CDs and compilations to choose from, one would think that the band's catalog had been picked dry. But then along comes Time for Action, the ultimate Secret Affair anthology. Featuring just enough hits to satisfy the curious, this is really a treasure trove for the Secret Affair fan. Two discs featuring 41 tracks may seem like overkill, but once you press play on disc one, you'll be drawn into a musical universe filled with quality pop music created by musicians with a distinct vision. Beginning with early singles and unreleased demos as New Hearts, Page and Cairns' style was already in place (albeit a bit more raw than the later Secret Affair material). The rest of the discs are filled with Secret Affair A-sides, album tracks, and plenty of unreleased demos, B-sides, U.S. remixes, and more. If you own all three albums on CD and/or any of the compilations, there is still plenty here that is unavailable elsewhere. In fact, two-thirds of these recordings are only available on this compilation. The quality level is high, with some of the demos sounding even better than the released versions ("Don't Look Down" immediately comes to mind). If you are a collector of Britpop, mod, or power pop, then you must own this. For once, a worthy band has been intelligently anthologized.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Schnee
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2