OUR BRILLIANT CAREERS -Cherry Red Rarities 1981-83- COMP CD

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Cherry Red carved out an odd niche for itself apart from the general post-punk flow, thanks largely to eccentric A&R man Mike Always, whose tastes leaned towards melody, Englishness, and the 1960’s. Cherry red became a home for the dashing, debonair whimsy of he Monochrome Set, the mopy bedsit introspection of Eyeless in Gaza, jazzy-folky singer-songwriters Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt (separately and together as Everything But the Girl), and the Television/Velvets descended, plangent splendor of Felt.

Although “Pillows and Prayers” is the best-known sampler of the label, its precursor “Perspectives and Distortions” (1981) includes many non-Cherry Red artists, which makes it very interesting; and “Our Brilliant Careers” (2003) scoops up archival arcane. It includes rare tracks by successful Cherry Red artists like Everything But The Girl (plus solo material from both Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt), The Nightingales and The Monochrome Set, plus many more. Most people probably know Five Or Six from their off-key but charming opener 'Portrait' from “Pillows and Prayers”; here we have six like low-key and absorbing tracks from them, most of which have never been on CD: 'Think' and 'Theme' are instrumentals that will surprise a few. There are also three early songs by Ben Watt described modestly by himself as 'dreary and tuneless'.

Beautiful instrumental version of 'The Thousand Guitars of St. Dominiques' by the Fantastic Something ends up as the most surprising track—a high point of the collection.” Impressive and intriguing archive collection of rare recordings.
1     –Five Or Six     Another Reason     
2     –Five Or Six     The Trial     
3     –Ben Watt     Cant     
4     –Ben Watt     Tower Of Silence     
5     –Ben Watt     Aubade     
6     –The Reflections (3)     4 Countries     
7     –The Reflections (3)     The Coroner And The Inquest     
8     –The Nightingales     Inside Out     
9     –The Nightingales     Under The Lash     
10     –Everything But The Girl     Feeling Dizzy     
11     –Everything But The Girl     On My Mind     
12     –Five Or Six     This Is For The Moment     
13     –Five Or Six     Think     
14     –Five Or Six     Rushes     
15     –Five Or Six     Theme     
16     –The Nightingales     My Brilliant Career     
17     –The Nightingales     Son Of God's Mate     
18     –Joe Crow     Absent Friends     
19     –The Monochrome Set     The Bridge     
20     –Tracey Thorn     Goodbye Joe     
21     –Fantastic Something     If She Doesn't Smile (It'll Rain)