Marc Almond

Treasure Box

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As Virgin did with the many B-sides and rarities from Almond's days with them, so too did EMI some years later, compiling an intriguing variety of tracks -- 25 all told -- for the ease of shopping by the hardcore Almond fan. Unlike the frequently brilliant Virgin's Tale collections, however, this two-disc compilation sounds far more scattershot for two reasons. First, the increasing commercial sheen of Almond's work during this time rendered a fair amount of the songs far less musically intriguing than they should be. Second, nearly half the collection consists of various dance remixes -- some good enough (one of which by his old Soft Cell partner Dave Ball), but most fairly unnecessary or adding little. Still, this being Almond, there are some welcome tracks, including the sweet and soaring "Libertine's Dream" and the tale of a married transvestite stripper, "Exotica Rose," imbued with the swinging cabaret feel of his late-'80s work. Intriguingly, no less than five of Enchanted's ten tracks appear here in demo form, as much a tacit acknowledgment that the overproduced final versions weren't as good as they could be as curiosities in and of themselves.

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