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International Rescue

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Album Review

You'll have to be a pretty major Swell Maps fan to make heads or tails, at a glance, out of which songs on this 19-track compilation you may already have. It's all over the Swell map, including four songs that have never been on CD [including "Dresden Style (City Boys)," which was on a single]; three that have never been released anywhere; three "unreleased mixes"; and a few songs that appeared on U.K. singles ("Let's Build a Car," "Real Shocks," "Read About Seymour"). It doesn't really succeed as either a representative overview compilation or a rarities disc. Approached on its own terms — which you might want to do if this happens to be the first, or only, Swell Maps album you get — it's decent arty punk that's too monochromatic to sustain burning interest over the course of the lengthy program. It does have a heartier sense of joie de vivre than much U.K. punk/new wave of the period, particularly in the vocals.

Biography

Formed: 1972 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Noisy and experimental, Britain's Swell Maps experienced little commercial success during the course of their chaotic career, but in hindsight they stand as one of the pivotal acts of the new wave: not only was the group an acknowledged inspiration to the likes of Sonic Youth and Pavement, but their alumni — most notably brothers...
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International Rescue, Swell Maps
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