Album review – Recoil: Selected (Expanded Edition)

This compilation actually came out about a year ago and the reason I thought I’d produce a review for it is the fact that there are very few longish ones that give it anything more than a lukewarm response.

I’ve never listened to a Recoil release in entirety before but was aware of the artist who in decades past was the engine behind the golden period of Basildon’s electronic pop kings. Why I decided to search for ‘recoil’ on Spotify only a few weeks ago has left my memory, but upon hearing this selection, which aims to attract new listeners, I decided to use some of my iTunes gift credit to purchase the expanded edition; the remixes are impressive. David Husser’s Shotgun Mix of Prey, for example, to me, seems slightly better than the original because of the more defined beat, and the excerpt of Black Box shows that it is a must have if you like the bit you can hear in the well-made trailer below.

If I were to describe Recoil in a sentence, I guess you could say, judging from what’s on here, that the music is like a very dark Moby. If you’re looking for pop structures you’re not going to find it in abundance. Instead the emphasis is mostly on atmospherics, usually bolstered by seductive storytelling rather than singing to heighten the tension. A good example of this is actually the track Want which you can download for free on the Recoil site. If you were to be punished by a femme fatale, at least the protagonist here would first lull you into false security with the tones that are in contrast to what she’s saying.
The Moby link is most evident on the song Jezebel with its old blues singing, while Faith Healer is almost a reminder of Depeche Mode because the singer is virtually part Dave Gahan, part James Hetfield. It’s the only song here which has a traditional pop structure.

The only duff point, perhaps, is the very final track which is a remix of Shunt. It seems overly avant garde, but in its defence, if you were to listen to the remixes segment in one sitting, it does conclude it very well, and it was Mr. Wilder’s intention that Recoil: Selected be a listening experience that works just as well as the releases that it was built from.
If you like good production, well crafted beats and don’t mind leaving the world of verse-chorus-verse, you will probably really like it. I give it an 11/10 as I’ve listened to it more than I should.

I found the whole thing slowly grew on me. My feelings were as follows: “I like it but I don’t think I’ll buy it”, “Hmm, I’ve listened to it a few times so maybe I’ll consider the single disc version”, “I think I better just buy the expanded edition.”

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