Not seen near a record shop since 2000’s Dumbing Up, it’s fair to say that Karl Wallinger has been taking his time over things lately. There’s still no confirmation of a whole new World Party album, but a handful of relatively recent recordings crop up on this breath-taking archival collection.
All but one of these 70 tracks are previously unreleased (the exception being Kuwait City, the hidden bonus Beach Boys pastiche on 1993’s Bang!), comprising live versions of old favourites, embryonic demos, fully-fledged songs ultimately shelved, and some carbon copies of other people’s tunes. Five Beatles or McCartney covers make the cut, alongside a jokey reworking of I’m Only Sleeping entitled I’m Only Dozing, but it’s the more recent unheard Wallinger originals that intrigue the most.
Waiting Such A Long Long Time (yes, we have) sounds like early 70s country Stones, Everybody’s Falling In Love could be Elton John fronting The Band, while Photograph (a song that took, on and off, 17 years to finish) echoes with the anthemic pop sensibilities of past greats such as Message In The Box and Way Down Now. Whether this collection serves as a clearing of the decks before a new project remains to be seen, but it’s a cornucopia of aural delights to keep us busy in the meantime.