It's probably just about the right time for 808 State to get the retrospective treatment. You'd forgotten some of the details but you'd not forgotten them altogether.
"Blueprint" has a good variation between the anthems that we all loved along with some of the curios that lay embedded within albums and B- sides unvisited these past 15 years. The packaging is of a lovely triptych fold out design with a booklet full of pictures and interviews and the remarks within remind us of how unusual it was at a time of faceless white label 12" records for a dance act to build a name for itself as an album band. This remained their calling card throughout their career.
Amongst the treats in store are "Cubik", remixed here by Monkey Mafia and the chemistry set hand of Jon Carter is hard to mistake. Aphex Twin gets to come out and play; his stripped down version of "Flow Coma" sounding like it had been swallowed down whole and regurgitated.
"In Yer Face" has a cool reference to Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" as a reprise and "Cobra Bora" also ends with a tripped-out jazz fusion denouement, both testament to Graham Massey's more esoteric origins.
It all serves to remind that nothing is ever linear with 808 as was so mueh more typical of their contemporaries at the time.
Everything twists and turns as they rule the dance floor with iron claws of pain and pleasure. Here too are the forgotten treasures of "Nephatiti" and "Firecracker" with its climax all smashed and broken. On reflection you realise with how much rigour they refused to run with the pack. Intelligent and knowing, they're a credit to their generation.
[Reviewer: Biased Brenda]