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Sydney Morning Herald, (AUS) 30 December, 2005
3 CD Box Set, Hot Records
Ed Kuepper's new anthology shows he never lost his knack for enthralling pop songs Ed - borders on genius!
Photo: Cathryn Tremain

Dust was always going to fly when Ed Kuepper got around to cleaning house. You can almost hear him muttering in the attic. "Jeez, how does one guy wind up with so much crap? All the Saints stuff can go in this box, Laughing Clowns in that one . . . nah, I've definitely got to get a skip for some of this solo stuff."

By necessity, these three discs comprise a more selective stocktake than the Brisvegas wunderkind recently afforded his two old bands: just the 49 tracks this time, the cream of 15 or 20 albums spanning the '90s. There's the odd ' track for electrical relief and some of those creepy instrumentals and oddments he possibly knocked off while waiting for the kettle to boil.

But the gist is his distinctively warped, twangsome and imaginatively produced acoustic pop, as lauded by whoever gave out ARIA Awards in the early '90s before he was inexplicably shunted back into a worthy corner of indieland.

On this evidence, Kuepper never lost his knack for enthralling and/or lovely pop songs and his ear for arresting sounds borders on genius. The way he assembles a song is consistently wondrous: not just his gift for arranging notes into dead sexy hooks but the weird textures he weaves them from and the rhythms he finds to nail them down. His crisp guitar tones and use of strings, woodwinds and effects are just a few staples swimming in atmospheres somehow both cavernous and intimate.

Arranged by mood rather than chronology, this is not so much a bunch of great old songs as a unique and cohesive lost world, ripe for discovery by anyone confused by his frighteningly prolific output.

Nearly hits include All Of These Things, Fireman Joe, Real Wild Life, The Way I Made You Feel and La Di Doh, which incorporates an unfeasibly seamless blend of didgeridoo, blues harp and Jews harp.

Colourful threads of similarly absurd inspiration abound, from the pocket symphony of Blind Girl Stripper to the New Orleans blues-gone-strange of I'm Here to Get My Baby From Jail. As for the covers, suffice to say that Slim Dusty, the Animals, Peggy Lee and AC/DC can all feel honoured to have a place in Ed Kuepper's world..

Michael Dwyer

Note: this review was also published at The Age website.
Copyright: the owner.