Ahhh, Madchester. That UK musical movement of the late ë80s and early ë90s epitomized by goofy dancing, flared trousers and some of the best music in recent memory (The Stone Roses, The Charlatans, Happy Mondays). Itís being brought to the forefront of our memory banks again as the organtastic Inspiral Carpets have not only released a 3-piece box set, entitled Cool As, a play on their band slogan of ìCool As Fuck,î but reformed, as well.
Perhaps better known in some circles for their roadie who went on to bigger and better things (Noel Gallagher), the ëCarpets had a string of great songs during their career. Combining a ë60s garage pop sensibility with an instantly recognizable farfisa organ, the quintet from Manchester were equally comfortable writing super fast pop gems, (ìButterflyî, ìShe Comes In The Fallî) as heart-wreching ballads (the epic ìThis Is How It Feelsí). But their smashing 1993 album Revenge Of The Goldfish may have been their apex, with the sound getting more guitar-heavy, but retaining that wondrous farfisa tinge on tracks like ìDragging Me Down,î ìBitches Brew,î ìGenerations,î and the heartstring puller ìTwo Worlds Collide.î A new single even finds it into the mix, ìCome Back Tomorrow,î and it sounds just as good now as when it was written years ago. On top of these 20 great songs, thereís a second CD that culls 17 rare tracks, including their NME Ruby Trax offering, the cover of ìTainted Love,î by Soft Cell, as well as other covers, including ì96 Tears,î by Question Mark & The Mysterions and Black Sabbathís ìParanoid.î To top it all off, thereís a 26-track DVD, chronicling the bandís videos, a short live set from Manchester G-Mex and a band interview. Whether youíre a huge fan or just like some tracks and want to learn more, this is one of the best hits packages Iíve seen in a great while and well worth the shipping from Amazon.co.uk or your favorite importer.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN