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Singles comps are interesting things; if the programmer presents the songs in chronological order, one can hear the maturity of a band. In the case of Bristol-based indiepop band The Brilliant Corners, one hears a band that started out fabulous only grow more amazing and more, ahem, brilliant. Their first single, “She’s Got Fever,” is a quick burst of something new; it’s part punk, part rockabilly, the genre made more confusing by the addition of a muted trumpet! B-side “Black Water” is a funk number with a rolling bass line that reminds of Gang of Four. In other words, for a debut single, it’s confusing, because they deftly do not define their sound; the only thing that links them is the distinctive singing of Davey Woodward. The diversity didn’t stop, either; the 48 songs on this collection never sit still, presenting a healthy amalgam of punk, rock, rockabilly, and pop. As prolific as they were—eleven singles and EP’s and five albums over a ten year period is a lot of music, Surprisingly, quality control was never an issue, nothing feels like filler, and it’s always a promising sign when a band’s unreleased material leaves the listener wondering why those songs were shelved. It wasn’t until 1988’s single “Teenage” that one starts to see a distinctive signature sound begin to form; after that, their sound was more in tune with the British indie-pop sound, and even though later singles don’t vary as much, that doesn’t decrease the overall quality of the material. For those familiar with this lovely band, you’ll want this to complete your collection. For those unfamiliar—as I most certainly was—this is a superb and excellent compilation of a band that deserves to be rediscovered.
Note: The Brilliant Corners will be playing a reunion show in June, as part of the Scared to Get Happy festival, which is celebrating the release of Cherry Red’s forthcoming box set dedicated to the 1980s British indiepop scene.
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