First And Last And Always
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The most striking thing about FALAA is its masterful consistency- this is a testament to what an album should sound like in execution. The songs stand apart well enough to be memorable as individual pieces but are cohesive enough to make the whole satisfying and coherent.
And the songs themselves are all fantastic. In a true display of the original band's talent and skill, they manage to make dreary, brooding lyrical subjects into beautiful pop songs. "Marian [Version]" is a hauntingly immaculate number that can be described as "just plain pretty". It also has one of Eldritch's best vocal performances- he drops his voice to a soft, melodic baritone and croons (or as close to crooning as he's gotten) out the lyrics. In the gorgeously minimal "Nine While Nine" he laments over a love gone sour to a piano tune. "Some Kind Of Stranger" is among the most haunting of the bunch, as Eldritch gradually digresses into a desperate wail as the song moves along. Fast and catchy dance tunes like "Walk Away", "Rock and a Hard Place" and "Logic" inject movement and energy when needed.
The album's title track, and one of my favorites, shows just how excellent a guitarist the musically-underrated Wayne Hussey is. The whole album does. His guitar work is one of the key ingredients into making this such a fantastic listen. His focus isn't on the mindless execution of three chords, but on structure and melody.
This is an example of soild, well-structured pop brilliance. There's not a single track that necessitates skipping over- they're all damn good.Read more ›
So, yes, this cd is different than the original First, Last and Always cd. I own both, and I think that the remaster definitely has a fuller sound, without going into it chord by chord. I think that I can strongly recommend this cd to any Sister fan for the following reasons:
1. If you are new to the band, get this version, as the sound quality is better, and it does contain bonus tracks, some of which are still crowd favorites (On the Wire is very frequently played live). The songs themselves are classics - Some Kind of Stranger is a brooding love song with nice guitar and vocal harmonies. Sisters have played it live in mix with Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb!? Marian is a haunting tune with nice bass-lines, and Nine While Nine is another gem. This entire cd flows well and will not disappoint.
2. If you're a casual fan and own the first issue, you will want this for the bonus tracks alone.
3. If you're a hardcore fan and own everything that Sisters have ever realeased, I guess that it is automatic to add another one to the collection. :)
This is, however, an indispensable album from a band often imitated but never duplicated. Still considered pre-eminent 'gothsters', the Sisters hold up remarkably well on all of their material. There isn't a weak track here. Ignore what you hear about it being 'too goth' or 'not goth' of whatever. It's an awesome debut, period.
Black Planet is the perfect kickoff; this is the only song from the album never performed live. From there we get the driving Walk Away and No Time to Cry, with their Hussey influence (heavier on choruses, etc). Then the bouncy Rock and a Hard Place before slowing down into the swirling, desperate Marian, which is perhaps guilty of sounding a little too goth, but I chalk that up to the production. The title track is still performed live and sounds great on record. Possession has some great lyrics, Nine While Nine is a gorgeous, melancholy love song of sorts, and Logic is really supposed to be called Amphetamine Logic, with its desperate tone--'One life, all I need!' (Apparently, the record label didn't want 'Amphetamine' on the album). And it ends on the beautiful Some Kind of Stranger, which was often combined with a cover of Comfortably Numb live. As a lyricist, Eldritch puts most rockers to shame; he puts a lot into every line.
If this album sounds like some other band you've been listening to, chances are it's because the Sisters have heavily influenced that band. Many a band tried to adapt their sound, and especially Eldritch's vocals (Fields of the Nephilim, anyone?) but there is only one Sisters.Read more ›
First, let's have a brief history lesson. "First and Last and Always" was originally released in 1985 on vinyl and, of course, cassette. A few years later the CD version was released, but it didn't sound exactly the same as the original vinyl. The master tapes were obviously remixed or "enhanced" for CD, so the mix came out with a very up front, forward sound (or more "oomph" as another reviewer called it). This is either a curse or a blessing depending on your listening tastes.
With this re-release, the sound of the original mix is intact! If you've never heard the vinyl version, the sound at first may seem a bit suppressed. Turn the volume up! If you've grown accustomed to the fleshier version of the original CD release, it may take a few listens to appreciate the sound contained herein.
Let's move on to the bonus tracks. "On the Wire" and "Poison Door" were originally featured on the "Walk Away" single. "Bury Me Deep" and "Blood Money" were originally on the "No Time to Cry" single. Until now, they were only available on the original vinyl singles. Ditto for "Long Train." The final track, to the best of my knowledge, was never featured on any official release. Ladies and gentlemen, these six bonus tracks are worth the price of admission in themselves. These are not tedious "B sides" by any means! In fact, I'd venture far enough to declare that the bonus cuts are every bit as good as the singles they accompanied.
Go get this CD! No Sisters collection will be complete without it. I'll be sure to post my thoughts when I get the latest version of "Floodland" and "Vision Thing."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I cannot express how much I love this box set, Brand new and nearly half the original price. unopened and solid, a must for any sisters fan. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Vladdy
Sisters of Mercy have always been a favorite of mine. This is the first time since 1990 that I have bought one of their albums, man, have I missed listening to this band. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great item. However it was handled very carefully once in my possession and was scratched, so that was disappointing.Published 11 months ago by Laura