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!
One Reply to “Tones On Tail – ‘Tones On Tail’ UK compilation album (Situation Two, SITU 12, 1985)”
i remember purchasing this album away back in the midst of time, at that time i hadn’t been able to purchase the first EP but had all of their other releases. So i was extremely pleased that i would have the tracks from that first 12″, for some reason, probably logic in my mind, without turning the sleeve over, i thought that the running order would be in chronological order, thereby grouping that first EPs tracks together for a concise listen.
Slight disappointment ensued when i did read the running order, it seemed strange, grouped slightly but then mixed up at the same time. 1st, 3rd and 4th tracks from the 3rd EP, then jump back for the 1st and 3rd from the 1st EP? would it not have been easier and more straight forward to have the complete first EP then finish off side 1 with There’s Only One while side 2 would kick off with Now We Lustre and then the Burning Skies EP? No, someone had other ideas about how it should all run. When I got around to playing it I finally understood it all, this collection flowed very nicely, although the tracks all come from the same period there are subtle differences between them and i think that the compiler got it right, even though they were messing with my head. Burning Skies and There’s Only One are strong tracks to open up either side and what better way to finish than with Now We Lustre, better than opening side 2 as I would have done. Well thought out and a joy to listen to.
Since then i have managed to get a copy of the first EP and enjoy listening to that by itself in the order it was meant to be (both at 45rpm and 33 1/3 where applicable) but to listen to all of the first 3 EPs together you can’t beat this release.