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Too Late To Stop Now 1981 – 2011

Neat 40-tracked potted history of vital Irish indie label.

Rating: 8 / 10

Colm O'Hare, 14 Dec 2011

The pre-eminent Irish independent label of the post-punk era Reekus Records celebrates 30 years in existence with this broad and varied selection from its sometimes eclectic roster, including selected rarities and previously unheard material.

Disc one concentrates on the first decade, and features homegrown gems from the likes of Cork’s Microdisney (‘Victory’), Belfast’s Big Self (‘Reason Smiles’) and almost forgotten soul funk outfit Some Kind Of Wonderful (the Steve Lillywhite-produced, ‘D’You Read My Letter’). For the sake of completion the compilation also includes the label’s debut Nun Attax’s ‘Eyeballs‘ from the legendary, Kaught At The Kampus 12” EP.

Of course, Reekus was also home to The Blades. They are well represented here, with no less than five tracks: the rare single version of the brilliant, ‘Downmarket’, a couple of B-sides (‘Stand By Me Now’ and ‘Sadlands’) and a pair of previously unreleased tracks from 1983 (‘Stumble Into Love’ and ‘Building A Wasteland’). Also included is ‘The Queen Of Indecision’ from Blades frontman Paul Cleary’s overlooked solo album Crooked Town.

Dublin’s Aslan (the only band from the early days still in operation) were another Reekus discovery, and the original version of their anthemic debut single ‘This Is’ is included, along with hard-to-find B-sides (‘Please Don’t Stop’ & ‘Been So Long’). Another one-off worth re-visiting is Barry Warner’s 1987 synth pop radio hit, ‘Dancing Without You’.

The second disc highlights the label’s more recent activity (and demonstrates just how busy they’ve been of late) with selections from current faves, Sweet Jane (‘Close Your Eyes’ from last year’s highly-rated Sugar For My Soul album), The Radio (‘Whatever Get’s You Through Today’), Sundrive (‘A Day Like Today’), Saccade (‘See How They Fly’) and Myp Et Jeep (‘Plan B’).

There’s much to recommend here and the early years in particular will prove a fascinating and no doubt nostalgic trip for many. The package is bundled with a thick booklet containing dozens of photos and introductory liner notes from Niall Stokes.

Rating: 8 / 10
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