Faded Glamour: The Best Of Animals That Swim
Music // Jim // 9th October 2004
My postman is a miserable, useless bastard.
Everything is late, always a bit battered and appears to have been tampered with in some way or other. Stuff is left on the doorstep, at the depot or with either of my terminally forgetful neighbours on a regular basis.
Anything needing a signature leads to a snarling doorstep confrontation where I nervously try to scribble my name on a soggy bit of cardboard with a biro that doesn’t work, while he fixes me with his thousand yard stare and mutters something that sounds an awful lot like “cunt” under his breath.
This week however he is entirely forgiven as he has (finally) deposited the Amazon cardboard box thing containing Faded Glamour, The Best Of Animals That Swim through my letter box.
I had to resort to Amazon when it became clear that I had no chance of getting hold of this album locally. The marketing for this record has been non-existent, there is nothing on the Snowstorm records web site, no adverts, no reviews, no nothing. At a time when I can’t turn on the TV without being reminded that Tom Jones and Jules Holland have made the greatest album of the year or that Joss Stone has released possibly the greatest album of this or any other decade, the best of Animals That Swim has been unleashed with a fanfare comparable to a fart being squeezed out during a hurricane.
This is a real shame as Faded Glamour is a great introduction to the entirely majestic number one under-rated band of all time. It takes the form of a two disc affair with a selection of tracks from across ATS’s output on the first and a selection of B sides and rarities on the second.
The main disc contains
most of the stuff an ATS veteran would expect, but is perfect for virginal
new starters, containing amongst others:
- Crap town centre anthem Faded Glamour
- A non-profane version of Pink Carnations
- The legendary 50 Dresses (which I’ve never actually owned before)
- An original version of the slow burning, drunken King Beer
- Jaunty tales of a dodgy dead uncle, Mackies Wake
- The sublime everyday ghost story of East St. O’Neill
Of course being a best of album, the tracklisting is pretty subjective and up for discussion. There is nothing that doesn’t belong here but I would definitely lobby for the inclusion of Sway With Me, Despatches From Lula and London Bridge in the pantheon of ATS’ greatest.
The second disc is the reason why even the most ardent ATS fan should get hold of this CD as it contains a collection of tracks which have been hard to get hold of in the past. There is some great stuff on here, I particularly liked The Unbeaten Horse, Mexico and Long City Road.
The sleevenotes are well worth
a read for info on the history of the band and their recordings, they finish
on a bit of a downer and are ambiguous as to whether
the band will record together again. On the strength of this collection we
should all hope that they do.
My experience tells me that people either love or hate Animals That Swim, if you have even an ounce of humanity you should rush out to buy this record and become one of the former.