Singer-Songwriter

MARC ALMOND, A Willing Sinner: Including a Trio Of Themes

Title: Trials Of Eyeliner 

Label: UMC

A 10 CD collection, ranging from 1979 to 2016, this collection has been created, in conjunction with Almond himself, as a definitive overview of the man’s career. There are 189 tracks stuffed onto these discs with Neal X, Almond’s longstanding writing partner/musical director (and former Sigue Sigue Sputnik guitarist) being personally involved in the mastering of the same.

Being 10 discs wide, there is room to play around with the content a tad. Hence, the set is divided into three sections. History takes up four of the discs, including 72 of Almond’s own favourite album tracks and B-sides.

After that is the section known as Singles, which spans three discs. These follow the Soft Cell, Marc with The Mambas and Willing Sinners and solo singles.

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That leaves three more discs which will be the core of fan interest because they have been titled Gems. So what you have here are fan-only releases, one-off collaborations, soundtrack contributions and, more importantly, 18 previously unreleased tracks that have been sourced from Almond’s own collection.

The entire collection is contained in two, six-page gatefold disc holders within a 240mm-square slipcase. In addition, you receive a book spanning 64 pages featuring many intriguing photographs and art from Almond’s archive.

Mastering quality was variable. I assumed that the sources had a big part to play in this but there appeared to have been little effort to correct such issues. The hit single, Tainted Love, for example was terribly compressed with a high gain that required volume reduction to avoid hearing damage. The later epic track, Jacky improved matters a tad still suffered from excessive peak limiting. Even the archival material suffered from compression issues, creating bright and harsh upper mids with edgy, brittle bass. In audiophile terms, this is a missed opportunity while the artistic content remains excellent…at low volumes.

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