Are you ready for 43 songs and four and a half hours of music from a band who are big in France (where they are based) but remain relative unknowns in the their homeland? If so, be prepared for a full immersion.
The title marks the 25th anniversary of the collective’s formation since their humble beginnings in Croydon, South London in 1994. Founding member Darius Keeler said: “It felt like the right moment to take a breath, take stock of how far we’ve come on this journey of ours”.
The career-spanning retrospective collection comes in various formats, including a six-LP deluxe box set, with 8 new and previously unreleased songs, a 10” EP and 7” single - and featuring collaborations with Band Of Skulls (Remains Of Nothing) and Steve Mason of Beta Band (Lightning Love) amongst others.
With the physical version of this massive Archive archive from their twelve studio albums you also get a 160 page book featuring new interviews with members past and present, plus photos from the band’s private collection.
This whole deluxe package will set you back around £200 so is clearly not designed to win over new admirers. Their hardcore fan base will want to know that, aside from the aforementioned collaborations, the ‘new’ songs are Falling, Erase,The Hell Scared Out Of Me, Hyper Real, Heart Beats and While There’s Light.
Nothing Else with female vocals wouldn’t be out of place on a Massive Attack album but the sixteen minute Again resembles Pink Floyd in their Animals period and shows the band in full pomp.
If nothing else, this shows that what began as a trip-hop electronic act has clearly morphed into something far bigger and more diverse.
Punchier and punkier numbers like Bullets, Bridge Scene and Feel It are more effective than those that stray into Prog-Rock territory.
By the end it’s hip-hop that predominates and you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’ve been listening to at least four different bands.
While there’s a good chance most listeners will find something to like among this mass of material, I wonder how many will have the time or the patience to seek it out.