4 out of 5
Label: Japan Overseas
Produced by: Various
A compilation drawn from TFUL282’s EP / albums up through 1994, the 24 tracks found here are an interesting intersection, not skipping out on Feller Filler, but not going the “easy” route of sequencing things chronologically, even when taking back-to-back songs from the same album. That suggests the sets has been fully considered as its own album; while I tend to like this approach, as it provides for a more seamless listen if done correctly – and this is absolutely done correctly, as excepting some mastering differences between the originals, all of these tracks flow together – it can also be a bit confusing if you’re using the comp as a way of exploring the band’s sound, because it doesn’t necessarily guide you to a purchase. Sure, maybe the answer is “I can buy any TFUL282 album and enjoy it,” but that’s very much not the case with this band, and instead, the music is so comprehensively stitched together (and so comprehensive in the Fellers’ genres it covers – the punky; the skronky; the operatic; the arty) that you can walk away feeling like this is all you’d need to own, which also isn’t the case.
It begs the question of who the audience is. Because as a fan, I have a tendency to want to listen to the originals, and I’m not sure if I’d classify this as a “best of,” since that seems very subjective, and TFUL albums are also generally well-designed for singular listens. As a newbie, it tickles at the issue mentioned above: this is so well designed that it makes it hard to say what the next listening step is.
Neither of these are bad problems; even as a fan, it’s nice to hear how well the Filler works when recontextualized, and perhaps did the job of sending me off on a TFUL listening spree.
The mastering ups and downs are only really noticeable when going to Wormed selections; the majority of the material comes from the two big Matador albums – Lovelyville and Mother Of All Saints, with a single track each from Admonishing the Bishops and Funeral Pudding, and few from Tangle. It’s a wide reaching comp, and despite my questioning of the intended audience, the thought put into the sequencing is really above and beyond. Whether it sends you scurrying off to the rest of your TFUL282 collection or decided just to stick to this collection, it’s a fun and engaging listen that wholly welcomes listeners, new and old.