By the time it was released in 1979, this album had deviated significantly from Fripp’s original intentions, primarily due to vocalist Daryl Hall’s management having retroactively nixed his parts on all but two songs. Replacement vocals were cut by Peter Hammill and Terre Roche, parts of the music were rerecorded, etc. Since that time there have been several CD releases of this material, including a completely remixed version in 1985, but the original album has not been available on compact disc until now. This two-disc set gives you the original in its entirety, a version of the 1985 release, and five alternate takes—all superbly remastered. You also get an informative booklet containing cool photos and new liner notes by Fripp.
Those unfamiliar with the album will find a compelling amalgam of punkish pop (“You Burn Me Up I’m a Cigarette”), warped blues (“Chicago”), an apocalyptic ode (“Here Comes the Flood”), King Crimson-like burners (“Breathless,” “Disengage”), lovely ballads (“Mary,” “North Star”), Frippertronics tape loops (in some cases masterfully integrated into song structures), and bits of audio verite. Fans of the original release will dig the different perspectives on the material, such as duet versions of “Chicago” and “Mary” sung by Hammill and Roche and Hall and Roche respectively, and Hall’s wildly different take on “Disengage,” with alternate lyrics. Contributors include Peter Gabriel, Tony Levin, Michael Walden, and Phil Collins. (DGM). —Barry Cleveland
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