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Brit Box: UK Indie Shoegaze & Brit Pop Gems Box set

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, November 20, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Incredible four CD box set filled with influential and diverse U.K.-based Indie Pop and Rock acts that emerged from Great Britain in the broad wake of '80s Post-Punk. The Brit Box features all of the styles that wormed their way into the hearts of the music lovers during the late '80s, all through the '90s and beyond including Indie, Shoegaze, Baggy and Brit-Pop. While many artists featured here enjoyed superstar status in Mother England, their impact on U.S. charts was more peripheral but their stylistic imprint and collective uber-hip peer-pressure on late 20th century popular music overall is undeniable. With the respect given the '60s-era British Invasion in countless other compilations, Rhino's new trans-Atlantic ocean liner-sized box shaped to resemble a vintage UK phone booth with real flickering lights champions close to 80 independent acts that didn't so much reject mainstream musical sensibilities as spin it in their own fashion for hits that defined cool. Lovingly compiled with true oh to be in England spirit, Rhino hails Britannia with over five hours of tastemaker tracks.

Consider this super-cool, long-overdue 4-CD set the less-commercial but no-less telling riposte to the early 1960s British Invasion, when bands crossed the Atlantic to serve up what they'd learned, largely from under-heralded American artists (as in the Stones and Muddy Waters). During the period that The Brit Box puts under the microscope, England went from Margaret Thatcher and John Major to Tony Blair, from youth culture (and the press) zeroing in on football hooliganism to the rise of Acid House and Brit pop. So it is that the addled guitar haze of Spaceman 3's "Walkin' with Jesus" melds with the bouncy, synth-softened euphoria of "She Bangs the Drums," and the chirpy, jangly float of The Primitives' "Crash." These are moments in pop transition, as the peppy new wave of the 1980s meets up with the psychedelic, dope-colored moodiness of the '90s, and then, quickly, with the ascent of "Cool Brittania." As the Thatcher/Major era heads into the 1990s, Birdland--long forgotten--rips at the jugular with the quick, garage rock-infused "Shoot You Down," which, like so much here, keeps a finger keenly on a groove you could either embrace while hallucinating or pogo-ing on the dance floor (or both). New Order, Pulp, Oasis, Blur, Elastica, and My Bloody Valentine are all here, of course. They embrace the whole continuum, from the trippy to the happy to the… self-reflective, and they offer enough landmarks that Dodgy, and The Bluetones, and Silver Sun and These Animal Men all have space to drop in, adding layers to this spectacular omnibus collection. --Andrew Bartlett

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. How Soon Is Now? - The Smiths
  2. Lorelei - Cocteau Twins
  3. Felt - Primitive Partners
  4. Shop Assistants - Somewhere In China
  5. My Biggest Thrill - The Mighty Lemon Drops
  6. Just Like Heaven - The Cure
  7. Lips Like Sugar - Echo & The Bunnymen
  8. April Skies - The Jesus And Mary Chain
  9. Walkin' With Jesus (Sound Of Confusion) - Spacemen 3
  10. Crash - The Primitives
  11. Unbearable - The Wonder Stuff
  12. She Bangs the Drums - The Stone Roses
  13. The Only One I Know - The Charlatans UK
  14. Step On - Happy Mondays
  15. Loaded - Primal Scream
  16. This Is How It Feels - Inspiral Carpets
  17. Obscurity Knocks - The Trash Can Sinatras
  18. There She Goes - The La's
  19. Here's Where the Story Ends - The Sundays

Disc: 2

  1. Vapour Trail - Ride
  2. Sight Of You - Pale Saints
  3. Only Shallow - My Bloody Valentine
  4. For Love - Lush
  5. Flying - The Telescopes
  6. Pearl - Chapterhouse
  7. I Want To Touch You - Catherine Wheel
  8. Trip & Slide - Bleach
  9. Coast Is Clear - Curve
  10. You - Five Thirty
  11. This River Will Never Run Dry - Moose
  12. (Thought I'd Died) And Gone To Heaven - The Family Cat
  13. (Don't Cut Me Down) Mary Quant In Blue - The Dylans
  14. 0-0 A.E.T. (No Score After Extra Time) - Thousand Yard Stare
  15. Grey Cell Green - Ned's Atomic Dustbin
  16. Shoot You Down - Birdland
  17. Stay Beautiful - Manic Street Preachers
  18. Star Sign - Teenage Fanclub

Disc: 3

  1. Metal Mickey - Suede
  2. Duel - Swervedriver
  3. Breakfast - Eugenius
  4. Barfly - Superstar
  5. Regret - New Order
  6. Laid - James
  7. Kite - Nick Heyward
  8. Lazarus - THE BOO RADLEYS
  9. You're In a Bad Way - Saint Etienne
  10. Wow & Flutter - Stereolab
  11. Tracy Jacks - Blur
  12. Live Forever - Oasis
  13. Common People - Pulp
  14. Speeed King - These Animal Men
  15. Wallflower - Mega City Four
  16. Insomniac - Echobelly
  17. Sleep Well Tonight - Gene
  18. Sleeping In - Menswear
  19. Alright - Supergrass
  20. Alright - Cast
  21. Stutter - Elastica

Disc: 4

  1. In a Room - Dodgy
  2. Girl From Mars - Ash
  3. Sale Of the Century - Sleeper
  4. Sleep - Marion
  5. Tattva - Kula Shaker
  6. The Riverboat Song - Ocean Colour Scene
  7. You're Gorgeous - Babybird
  8. Slight Return - The Bluetones
  9. Something 4 the Weekend - Super Furry Animals
  10. Something For the Weekend - The Divine Comedy
  11. Brimful Of Asha - Cornershop
  12. Service - Silver Sun
  13. Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space - Spiritualized
  14. Wide Open Space - Mansun
  15. Step Into My World - Hurricane #1
  16. Lucky Man - The Verve
  17. Untouchable - Rialto
  18. Mulder And Scully - Catatonia
  19. You Don't Care About Us - Placebo
  20. Oh Jim - Gay Dad

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 20, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: November 20, 2007
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Rhino
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,065 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Sheridan on January 14, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This box got lukewarm reviews from the UK press, perhaps trying to protect their own turf in reaction to a US label releasing a definitive UK collection. They're wrong. The Brit Box is a great set of a lot of the best music to come from the British Isles from the mid 80's to the late 90's. Most of the standard-bearers are here - Smiths, Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Stone Roses, Suede - plus some people who made some inroads in the States but kind of faded away (Kula Shaker, Elastica, Cornershop) and then some great tracks from bands who got lost in the trans-oceanic translation like Dodgy, Gene, Silver Sun, etc, that round out the collection nicely.

But as is always the case with thematic box sets, one can have some fun debating the roster or even track selections (great to hear the Shop Assistants again, but why not the brilliant A-side of that 45, "Safety Net?"). The liner notes bemoan the fact that the UK went from the Sex Pistols to Spandau Ballet within 4 years, and these bands are supposed to be the backlash against that. Then why include the Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen, whose debuts predated the miserable early 80's UK dancepop/exotic video/fashion bands? New Order, for all of their stellar pedigree, are a strange choice in a the time their fellow Mancunians were inventing Brit Pop, they were kind of into their Ibiza electronica period. And Nick Heyward?

Why no Fall, Muse, Pastels, Woodentops, Yeah Yeah Noh, Nightingales, Marc Riley and the Creepers, Microdisney, Half Man Half Biscuit, Biff Bang Pow, Fuzzbox, Pop Will Eat Itself...and especially (let's hope it was just a licensing problem), why no Radiohead?

But I admit that's all nitpicking. Burn your own 5th disk if you want.
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Format: Audio CD
Following on from their various Nuggets releases covering the 60's and 70's, their 70's punk box, No Thanks and their alternative 80's box, Left Of The Dial, Rhino release a 4 disc box covering the British alternative/indie music scene which succeeded the scene explored on their Left Of The Dial Box.

As the Brit Box begins with the Smiths 1984 release How Soon Is Now (one of their very best songs!), several artists are represented on both this and Left Of The Dial: the Smiths, Cocteau Twins, The Cure (who seem to be on every compilation ever released that covers their lifetime!), Echo and the Bunnymen, Jesus and Mary Chain, Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses - in the latter's case with even the same song, She Bangs the Drums - feature on both sets. What makes this different however from both the 80's and 70's alternative boxes, which featured half American and half UK acts, is that as you'd expect from the title, it is 100% British.

Rhino are an American company and their releases are primarily aimed at the US market, sometimes only being available as expensive imports; therefore the liner notes, extensive and excellent as Rhino's always are, sometimes read oddly from a UK listener's viewpoint. More significantly perhaps is the fact that sometimes songs are featured because they were better known in the US to the exclusion of the more obvious choices.

I was a big music fan in the early 70's when I was in my early teens, but although I was about 18 at the height of punk, I was never into that music at the time, and again at the time, the early 80's New Romantic scene did little for me, so I actually lost interest in listening to new music almost totally and for years shut my ears to everything but the 60's and 70's greats.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This box set was obviously compiled by people who knew what they were doing. Almost every song is great, which considering the percentages is practically impossible.
But here it is - proof.
I knew some of the songs already but what is truly impressive is that the songs I didn't know, are simply outstanding.
I was really amazed at how good these songs are and wondered why I hadn't heard them before.
Before I came to the realization that I live in Upstate New York, devoid of any good radio stations growing up (before the advent of XM radio). Classic rock with a sport's bar mentality.
But I digress.
This is a stunning array of superlative, alternative music - for those who require a little more from the mind-numbing excess that passes for music these days.
This set is a great companion piece to the "No Thanks" box set released a few years earlier, with an equally fine 4-disc set of American punk/alternative music.
To the naysayers on this site who rate this as mediocre - they apparently stumbled into the wrong musical arena when buying it. Stick with the boy bands and Mariah Careys of the world, speed racer.
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Format: Audio CD
The Brit Box has taken a beating from music critcs who have derided it for not being representative enough of the British indie scene, not including enough of the right songs, and not including some defining artists of the scene. I'm not here to do that. Instaed, I'll focus on the music that is on the box. So let's break this bad boy down one disc at a time.


A lot of good stuff here. This disc includes the classic Smiths song "How Soon Is Now," plus classics from the Stone Roses, The Cure, The La's, The Charlatans, Happy Mondays, and Echo & The Bunnymen. The Primitives' "Crash" was a great find for me, and "April Skies" may be the Jesus & Mary Chain's best song. I'm not big on Inspiral Carpets, but that's just nit-picking.


Also pretty good. Aside from Ride, My Bloody Valentine and Teenage Fanclub being represented with some of their best stuff, I found some great tracks in Catherine Wheel's "I Want To Touch You," and Curve's "Coast Is Clear." "Shoot You Down" by Birdland is classic, as is "Trip & Slide" by Bleach. I don't like Thousand Yard Stare, but it wasn't enough to ruin the disc for me.


Not as strong as the first two discs, but still worth hearing. Disc 3 is front-loaded with great tracks by Suede, Swervedriver, New Order, James and Superstar. Then it hits a bit of a dry spell, even though great tracks by Oasis and Pulp (plus "Speeed King" by These Animal Men) are in the middle. The disc has Supergrass and Menswear towards the end, and it closes with a rampaging "Stutter" by Elastica. Overall, I have few complaints here, except that I can think of four or five other tracks off Parklife that I would have chosen besides "Tracy Jacks.
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