Pretenders’ The Vinyl Collection 1979-1999

12th February 2016

Title: The Vinyl Collection 1979-1999

Label: Edsel

This set includes Pretenders (1980), Pretenders II (1981), Learning To Crawl (1984), Get Close (1986), Packed! (1990), Last Of The Independents (1994), ‘The Isle Of View’ (1995; 2LP) and Viva El Amor! (1999). The latter two albums appear on vinyl for the first time and all are contained in a sturdy slip-case cover. Order from the official website to grab a signed print too.

I played a selection of tracks during the test but the hit single from the album, Learning to Crawl, Back On the Chain Gang was symptomatic of the box set as a whole. The mastering has received a welcome, relatively quiet cut which means that it’s unaffected from nasty compression or excessive peak limiting. There’s no ear splitting upper mids on this box set to contribute to even a suspicion of listening fatigue. This means that you can allow your hi-fi to do the talking. I was able to increase the volume and allow the inherent detail within the upper mids to flow freely.

If I was going to be picky, I could say that the upper mids could have been a touch more open and spacious. Sometimes you yearned to have a jangly guitar soar in terms of dynamics or secondary percussion tambourines to really shimmer. That never really happened which is why I really like this box set but won’t jump up and down for joy. That, as I say, is being picky.

As it stands, though, this set is very enjoyable. It’s music is presented well, its clear and noise free with a warm, comforting demeanour.