Album: AMP – All Of Yesterday Tomorrow (Rroopp 2 2007)

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This is a bit of a bargain – three and a half hours of music for the price of a single CD! All Of Yesterday Tomorrow is a mammoth 38 track collection of singles, compilation tracks, demos and other bits ‘n’ pieces taken from Amp’s seventeen year history. It includes all of the tracks previously collected on the Passé – Présent singles compilation, but even so, at least half of the stuff here has never been available on CD until now.

Amp have always been a loose collective of musicians, with Richard Amp aka Walker the core, and only ever-present, member. Contributors in the past have included Matt Elliott, Dave Pearce of Flying Saucer Attack and Robert Hampson of Main. These days, Amp tends to operate as a duo of Walker and French singer Karine Chaff. The group grew out of the early nineties shoegazing scene, and early works owed a great deal to My Bloody Valentine. As Kevin Shields’ outfit ground to a halt, Amp took the baton and ran with it. The trademark Valentine sound of multi-tracked tremelo guitars figures on a number of tracks on these three CDs, but Amp’s sound has broadened considerably over the years, incorporating drones, electronica, neo-folk and noise. They can sound as obtuse and ethereal as Stars Of The Lid, or as punishing as Bardo Pond’s freak drone-rock.

The CDs don’t appear to hev been programmed in any particular order. I’m usually the anal type who likes my compilations chronologically arranged so that a group’s progress (or lack of it) can be clearly followed. I don’t think it matters here, though. All Of Yesterday Tomorrow is not something many people are going to digest in one sitting, anyway. What is striking about the album is the consistently high quality of the material. For an odds ‘n’ sods collection, very little of it fails to come up to scratch. It could almost function as an alternative ‘greatest hits’ set – it’s definitely as good a place as any for a neophyte to start.

Sometimes you can get a feel of where a band is coming from by the songs they cover. There are three cover versions on this set. A spectral version of the old folk standard “Scarborough Fair”, a run through the Silver Apples’ “Seagreen Serenades” and a full on reading of Spacemen 3’s “So Hot”. It’s going to take a while to assimilate all of this material, but first impressions are very positive.

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