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The Ruling Class (The Very Best Of Él Records)

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Èl Records became no more some 11 years ago. Their success in the UK was minimal to say the least but they were 'Big In Japan'. Given the Japanese taste for idosyncratic pop it is easy to see why. This compilation, despite (or perhaps because of) being low budget, wilfully subversive and uncommercial art pop is a joy to listen to throughout. The Monochrome Set appear at the beginning, middle and the end of the CD, contributing the title track of the CD which appears to be their own version of Lonnie Donegan's 'My Old Man's A Dustman' but still comes up smelling of roses whereas 'Noise' is a tune that meanders wonderfully and sounds English and French at the same time. Momus, well-known in the music world for his uncompromising lyrics which verge on pornography, uses Jacques Brel's 'Jackie' (famously recorded by Scott Walker) and twists it into a song about himself called 'Nicky' to impressive effect. The King Of Luxembourg disappoint rather with a faithful but ultimately pointless re-working of 'Valleri' and the sickly sweet 'Walnut Whirl' but on listening to the great creativity which went into songs such as Shock Headed Peters' 'I Bloodbrother Be' or the elegance of Anthony Adverse's 'Maria Celeste' it is clear that the Japanese knew that Èl records were onto a good thing.
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  Track Listing
01 Marden Hill - Curtain
02 The Monochrome Set - Jet Set Junta
03 The King Of Luxembourg - Valleri
04 Would Be Goods - The Camera Loves Me
05 Shock Headed Peters - I Bloodbrother Be
06 Bad Dream Fancy Dress - Discotheque
07 Louis Philippe - Guess I'm Dumb
08 Vic Godard - Nice On The Ice
09 The Monochrome Set - The Ruling Class
10 Momus - "Nicky"
11 The King Of Luxembourg - A Picture Of Dorian Gray
12 Marden Hill - Oh Constance
13 Bad Dream Fancy Dress - Choirboy Gas
14 Bid - Whoops! What A Palaver
15 Would Be Goods - Cecil Beaton's Scrapbook
16 Louis Philippe - Like Nobody Do
17 Momus - Ballad Of The Barrel Organist
18 Always - Park Row
Standout Track Anthony Adverse - Maria Celeste
20 The King Of Luxembourg - Walnut Whirl
21 Louis Philippe - You Mary You
22 Marden Hill - The Execution Of Emperor Maximillian
23 The Florentines - Lose That Long Face
24 The Monochrome Set - Noise

Standout Track = Standout Track

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Also Recommended:
Hepburns, The - The Last Thing I Saw Before I Said Goodbye
Monochrome Set, The - The Best Of The Monochrome Set
Monocle - Lounge Act
Rochester, Anthony - Music For Librarians
Scarboro Aquarium Club - Black Swan Days
Various Artists - Soirée Cocktail
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