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Last Year's Wife - The Collection (Live,Collection)

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Album Review

Scarcely a household name, even within the rarefied atmospheres of goth cultdom, Zero Le Creche flourished across a couple of singles around the mid-'80s, and a string of vibrant live shows across London. Visually a glammed-up version of Specimen, musically a percussive pop confection topped by Andy Nkanza's warm vocals, Zero Le Creche's closest reference point — viewed from the 21st century — would be the stronger moments of Peter Murphy's solo career, which, of course, took close to another decade before hitting the same stride. This collection rounds up both sides of the two singles, leading off with the irresistible "Last Year's Wife," and wrapping up with the 12" mix of that same jewel; from there, 13 further tracks rummage through the collection of unreleased demos that constitute the closest the band came to cutting a full album. And it becomes instantly apparent that it was bad luck alone that kept the band from landing a major (or even minor) record deal. This is inspired stuff, goth only in as much as there was no other musical genre that came even close to Zero Le Creche's mad medley of rabbit-hop percussion, dripping basslines, and echo. Even the occasional lapse in sound quality only adds to the atmospheres conjured up here, and songs like "Comfort Kills," "On the Wire," and "Close Your Eyes" now seem unpardonable omissions from any halfway decent goth soundtrack. One live cut, reprising the demos' "Laughing at Your Pain," closes the set and makes you wish there were more of that, too, while the liner booklet tells the band's story in exquisite, and exquisitely detailed, tones of wonder. Worry not that you've probably never heard of this band. Trust your instincts; you'll love them

Last Year's Wife - The Collection (Live,Collection), Zero Le Crêche
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