The Comsat Angels


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Just like their Time Considered compilation of BBC sessions, Unravelled is an indispensable, fresh look at this fabulous group. This time it's more recent vintage -- 1993 Dutch radio -- radical acoustic reworkings of songs old and new, "plus an extra three-track fully plugged session." The first nine cuts are stripped down to the barest essentials, mostly My Mind's Eye songs. Stephen Fellows' mature tunes and soulful singing carry the day even more assuredly than when backed by full-on echo guitar and super bass/drums, as evidenced by tinkling looks at "Field of Tall Flowers" and "Beautiful Monster." Even better, old ones from their 1979-1982 glory period sound as piercing as ever. A cover of the Rolling Stones' "Citadel" is better realized than the 1985 version, and "Cutting Edge," a cut from their "rock comeback" Chasing Shadows -- after a decent but ill-advised two-LP dance-pop period that's ignored here (fine with us) -- turns out to be the most stirring number "unravelled," the piano as luxuriant as if you were sitting on the stool next to Andy Peake. There's also the fine "SS100X" (nice riff), and the three "fully plugged" ones cap things off in furious fashion, the stunning "My Mind's Eye" beaten to a red pulp, and "Driving" and "Shiva Descending" as big as a bonfire. If you don't have My Mind's Eye, their best LP since Fiction, that's cheaper and easier to find by virtue of its U.S. release on Caroline. After that, Time Considered and Unravelled are as crucial, some of the most intense listening demanded of anyone.

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