Utd. State 90

by: 808 State

The canard regarding American releases of British records, from the Beatles on down, has been that the stateside company screws up, rearranges, or drastically pares down the original release. Quite happily for all concerned, American label Tommy Boy got its version of the 90 album almost exactly right. While the track order was drastically changed (and the 60-second concluding track, "The Fat Shadow," removed), there was no real disruption of flow, and seven bonus tracks were added to create a full CD's worth of early 808 in one easy package -- a perfect gift for American fans. The new tracks come from a variety of sources, most being earlier (or later) singles or remixes done exclusively for this release. Of these, "Cubik" is the clear standout -- three-and-a-half minutes of utterly compelling techno force, led off by what would shortly become one of the most commonly imitated and ripped-off electronic basslines ever. "Kinky National," while derived from the Quadrastate EP's "State Ritual," appears here with an almost industrial feel to it, armed with an ominous bass riff and a stiffer, complex percussion pattern. "Revenge of the Girlie Men" is another reworking of a decent Quadrastate track, "Disco State," minus samples from the band IOU. "State to State," the final Quadrastate recycle, remains more or less in its original form. Two fine, new remixes of "Pacific 202" -- numbered "212" and "718" -- appear at the end of the disc, while "Boneyween" appears to be the one wholly new track, a fast-paced house thump driven by some great squiggly keyboard melodies. The end result remains the best way to listen to early 808 State, and is a near-perfect demonstration of the band's work. ~ Ned Raggett

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