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Scree ()

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Scree: Rarities 1978-1981 is a thorough assemblage of A-sides and B-sides that essentially can't be found on any of Magazine's studio records. Even in the event of title duplication ("Rhythm of Cruelty," "The Light Pours Out of Me"), the disc offers alternative mixes. The strength of the disc isn't merely due to the excellence of non-album A-sides like "Touch and Go," "Give Me Everything," and "Upside Down"; in most cases, the B-sides rival the A-sides or, at the very least, would have made fine album material. The opening "My Mind Ain't So Open," which was the B-side to Magazine's debut single "Shot By Both Sides," is a hyperactive tune with bleating saxophones and screaming guitars, the most straight-ahead punk song the band recorded; unlike the remainder of the band's material, the structure is relatively traditional and doesn't feature the prominent keyboards that became integral to their sound. Covers of Captain Beefheart's "I Love You You Big Dummy" and John Barry's "Goldfinger" are as good as you'd expect (see Buzzcocks' Time's Up for a more faithful version of the former, recorded before Howard Devoto's defection to form this band), and a trio of live cuts from the Sweetheart Contract 12" ("Feed the Enemy," "Twenty Years Ago," "Shot By Both Sides") add icing to the cake. Altogether, the collection is just as essential as the band's first three studio albums. Apart from the live material on this disc, most of the tracks became available again in 2000 on the Maybe It's Right to Be Nervous Now box set. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi Hide synopsis

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