Early 1985 is when this compilation album was released in the UK (there are also releases from the US, Canada and Greece) and on paper it should be a straightforward round up of the tracks from the band’s first three single releases – things are never quite that straightforward though.
Not mentioned at the time, but most likely this rather signalled the end of Tones On Tail as a going concern, after the late 1985 final single release of ‘Christian Says’ an thee early 1985 re-grouping of three fourths of Bauhaus to form Love and Rockets. So, as a way to allow fans to fill in the gaps if they’d missed out on the original singles, it makes a lot of sense to compile them together this way – and what a rich collection of the weird and wonderful ‘pop’ that the act’s short period of operation produced, from the original four track ‘Tones On Tail’ EP’s mix of songs and instrumentals, the odd, PiL-like disco madness of ‘There’s Only One’, through the maturing ‘Burning Skies’/’OK This Is The Pops’ period where a sense of the end of Bauhaus must have been in the air at the time, expanded to four tracks on the 12″ EP version of the release.
All tracks from the three singles are present and correct, but two details in particular to note. It is the longer, 12″ version of ‘Burning Skies’ that is included, which is understandable and makes sense. If you have the stomach for it, I have taken a deep-dive on the version craziness of those two tracks before. More unusually, for some reason the version of ‘Instrumental’ from the first EP (which has been looked at in more detail here before) has been edited down on this release – somewhere along the production line someone must have decided to find the editing scissors and trim the track to fit on this compilation, as it clocks in at only 2 minutes and 13 seconds approx. (compared to the original version’s 3′ 22″ run time) – so, its a good minute plus lopped off and crucially, it fades out prematurely before it has even reached its somewhat lively middle-eight section.
As mentioned, the album was released in various territories – and even the UK edition got a re-press a few years later with an updated Situation Two label design. The compilation of Tones On Tail hardly ends here though and we’ll be back before too long to visit one or more of the various albums!