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amg review
There are some that will scoff at the very idea of a comprehensive, three-disc box set overview of Adam Ant's career, dismissing him as nothing more than a new wave fad. Let 'em laugh, since Antbox proves that he, along with trusty guitarist sidekick Marco Pirroni, was a post-punk heavyweight, adept at creating claustrophobic dark angular tunes and giddy glam revivals with equal vigor. Antbox gives room to both sides of the equation, and it's one of the rare boxes that succeeds precisely because of its rarities, which not only add depth and dimension, they fill in gaps in his history -- particularly on the first disc, which is devoted entirely to pre-Kings of the Wild Frontier material, including demos, singles, BBC sessions, and rejected audition tapes for Decca. This is the cream of the crop of literally hundreds of unreleased songs from the Dirk Wears White Sox era and the amazing thing is, they more than hold their own with what actually made the cut. The high quality is maintained on the second disc, which contains all the blockbusters, sometimes duplicated in alternate versions which are interesting, not excessive. If the quality dips dramatically on the last disc, despite a few good unreleased cuts plus the absence of Manners & Physique (MCA/Universal wouldn't license the recordings), it still is the best way to listen to these years, and "Wonderful" remains a career-capping return to form. Yes, three discs is a bit much for most listeners, especially three discs filled with rarities, but this is the truest testament to Adam Ant's gifts as a musician. Any serious post-punk/new wave fan will find this a fascinating, revelatory set. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
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