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THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES- Hillside Strangler! Restrangled LP (Rave Up Records, Italy, 2006)

I’ve been asked my opinion on this, so I ordered it from Italy and here we go. No need to go into details – we’ve had the HOLLYWOOD SQUARES 7″ on Goodbadmusic some time ago. Now what’s the deal with this LP?
First off and unlike, say, that KORO thing, this LP has been carefully and professionally mastered from original tapes and thus sounds absolutely amazing. Never ever am I gonna put up that 7″again!
“Restrangled” collects what’s left off of this highly influental (so it says in the liner notes) band and that ain’t too much, besides the two well known tracks. The a-side has three more studio tracks and the b-side is recorded live at the famous Whisky in 1978.
Now, what’s the scoop with the extra tracks? Do they match the high quality standards of the 7″? Are we in for maybe one more hit like “Hillside Strangler”? Unfortunately not. Though the band plays on another technical level than your average kbd-outfit, the only track worth mentioning here is “Ashes and Dust”, a wave-ish, gloomy song that basically gets its drive from the swell vocals – but as soon as it ends and “Hillside Strangler” kicks off, you know that the bar’s been set very highly and no matter how hard HOLLYWOOD SQUARES would ever try, they could only fail. “Organized Crime” is horrible, “Here comes the Weekend” is so bad it’s funny (the original by JAM is so bad it makes me sick, so they kinda manage to improve it, haha).
The flip has 4 more never before released tunes, plus a furious live version of “Hillside Strangler”. Quality is rough and muddy, but the short set has energy and drive. “Street fighting Man” (originally done by the Stolling Rones), Destruction” and “Hey Joe” are all nice, kinda STRANGLERS-ish (haha), but nowhere near the emergency of the 7″. The drummer is awesome, showing off quite a bit of frenzy.

The cover art is, as always with this kind of labels, piss poor and incredibly cheap and lousy. Kinda reminds me on that metal label “Nuclear Blast” who had the same policy 20 years ago: just make everything as colorful as possible and design it on your home computer, cause everybody’s an artist or something.

Now what have we learned from this? Same thing over and over again: Every band has it’s 15 minutes and sometimes it would be better, if for gawd’s sake the listeners would be given the chance to carry on believing, that only if band x had recorded more after their superdupergreat 7″ …. You know.

However: Buy this, if you don’t have the original 7″ and maybe even if you have it, grab this, cause the remastering is top. The extra tracks, apart from said wave-song, aren’t that exciting, methinks.
Available on both good plastic and bad plastic from: Rave Up, where you’ll also find an additional track that didn’t make it on the record for download.

Hollywood Square.mp3
Organized Crime.mp3
Here comes the Weekend.mp3
Ashes and Dust.mp3
Hillside Strangler.mp3

Live Side:
Street fighting Man.mp3
Destruction.mp3
Hey Joe.mp3
Hillside Strangler.mp3

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