Tuesday, May 13, 2003


Album: ‘Hatful of Hollow’
Artists: The Smiths
Audio CD (re-issued 20 February, 1995)
Number of Discs:1
Label: WEA 4509918932

Burn down the disco... Morrissey's melancholic musings and Marr's angular melodic lines undoubtedly make The Smiths indie's defining glory. 'Hatful of Hollow' stands out, alongside other classics like 'The Queen Is Dead', as the clearest testimony to their talent in album form. If you only have room for one Smiths CD in your collection -- and there really is no excuse for such parsimony given how cheap they are these days -- this is probably the collection to plump for. Wryly heart-rending vignettes like 'William', 'Reel Around the Fountain' and 'This Charming Man' stand side-by-side with gnarly testaments to urban noire ('Girl Afraid', 'Back to the Old House') and alternative classics ('How Soon is Now?'). Even those who are resistant to Manchester's singalong-sophists-with-attitude can usually work up some sympathy for 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now', where (faux?) adolescent angst and a jaunty tune walk hand-in-glove: full of crisp overstatement... "What she asked of me at the end of the day, Caligula would have blushed..." There's no getting around it. You have to own this album if you have a soul... so they claim at Salford Boys' Club.

James Littlewood adds: ‘Hatful Of Hollow’ is a sixteen track collection that is taken in the main from BBC Radio 1's cutting edge John Peel and David Jensen evening shows in 1984. Like ‘The Beatles at The BBC’, The Smiths radio sessions sound both timeless and epoch defining, and there is no better introduction to the band's beguiling talent.”

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