Friday, 22 February 2013

The Aardvarks 'Sinker, Line & Hook' (Cherry Red) Anthology Review

Out now on Cherry Red Records is The Aardvarks ‘Sinker, Line & Hook – The Anthology 1987 to 1999’ album, and what a fine collection this is. Featuring the entire ‘Bargain’ LP (originally released by Delerium in 1995) together with their two Screaming Apple released EPs, the final single on Detour plus various compilation releases, this is a comprehensive gathering of the works of one of the best bands of their time. And along with The Clique’s (who’s Paul Newman adds Hammond to some of the tracks on this album), this album provides a recorded legacy to be proud of (and to remind many of us of their great gigs from the late eighties and early nineties).

From the opening bars of the catchy ‘Bargain’, this album grooves. This song moves effortlessly into the big ‘Cheyenne Woman’ before we carry on to one of my favourite Aardvarks tracks, ‘The Office No.1’ – great chord sequence, great lyrics. ‘Girl On A Bike’ and ‘Fly My Plane’ are just awesome with ‘Mr. Inertia’ very Ray Davies/The Kinks at their vaudeville best circa 1967/68. Next up is one of the classics of a generation, the massive ‘Arthur C. Clarke’ – quirky, yet incredibly radio friendly, this could and should have been a massive hit.

The Aardvarks demonstrate great musicianship and vocal ability throughout this anthology and it is great to see that the best known line-up is together again to support this release and will be playing on the Saturday night at the New Untouchables Le Beat Bespoke. If they’d stayed together the first time round (and had more luck with getting their recordings out) then they could have been huge.

Having the EP cuts on here gives alternate (earlier) recordings of some of the songs (‘Arthur C. Clarke’ & ‘Office No. 1’) and work well alongside some great cover versions such as Wimple Winch’s ‘Save My Soul’, Les Fleur De Lys’ ‘Hold On’ and an organ driven instrumental version of The Jam’s ‘In The Crowd’. Their final single released on Detour, Buttermilk Boy’, is included along with its humorous B-side, ‘Bad Clothes’ (“She’s got me dressed up like a clown”) to complete this wonderful 25 song CD collection with comprehensive 16-page full colour booklet.

A great collection from a great band – highly recommended.

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