Review
 
Newcastle Herald (AUS), 27 December 2005
 
THIS IS THE MAGIC MILE [album info]
3 CD Box Set, Hot Records
 

With 23 solo albums under his belt Ed Kuepper was never going to be short of material for this three-disc career retrospective.
But with the quantity of his output matched by its sustained quality the greater challenge must have been choosing what to leave off rather than what to include.

And so it is that great tracks like the majestic King Of Vice, the drum and cello version of Eternally Yours and the 5am hungover Mariachi reworking of Johnny Cash's Ring Of Fire are just three that fail to get a start on this selection.
It seems they were culled to make way for arguably lesser tracks to create a more comprehensive picture of the breadth and depth of Ed's material.

This compilation is the final in a triptych that began late last year with the All Times Through Paradise set capturing Ed's late '70s buzzsaw work with Aussie punk pioneers The Saints. Earlier this year came Cruel But Fair, a three-disc set showcasing his work with the early '80s indie alternative outfit Laughing Clowns.
Magic Mile now brings the Kuepper story up to the present, from Today Wonder's effectsladen acoustic guitar experiments to ARIA-winning indie and Top 40 tracks from Serene Machine and Character Assassination, with quirky cuts from themany and varied side projects thrown in to complete the picture.
And what a big picture it is.

There are fully produced multi-layered outings like Honey Steel's Gold, All Of These Things and Confessions Of A Window Cleaner. These are given breathing space by fragile voice and guitar tunes like Horse Under Water, Sea Air and By The Way.
You'll find 41-second noodlings like Gun Runnin' butting up against seven- and eight-minute epics like Blind Girl Stripper, Ill Wind and Messin' Pt 2. Then there are distantly cool croonings like How Would You Plead? mixed up with fiery heavy rocking guitar pyrotechnics like It's Still Nowhere and Electrical Storm. Sing-a-long hits like La Di Doh, Everything I've Got Belongs To You and The Way I Made You Feel sit side by side with album treasures like This Hideous Place and MDDP Ltd.

And while most of the work here is original, there's also the odd reworking of covers from Highway To Hell to When I Was Young.
In short, you have a widescreen cinematic snapshot of one of Australian rock's more innovative guitarists and songwriters all in the one box. For Kuepper virgins there's no better place to start, but fans will also find enought alternate versions and subtle remixes to make the purchase worthwile. Despite pulling material from across the years and styles, it makes for remarkably coherent listening.

Ed Kuepper's show with drummer Jeffrey Wegener at Hamilton's Northern Star Hotel in May was one of the highlights of 2005.
He'll be back at that venue on January 21. Get in early.

***** 5 (out of five) stars

Eddie O'Reilly

 
 
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