Liner Note Author: John Robb.
Liverpool combo the Farm slogged through much of the 1980s, dishing out a handful of Northern Soul-inspired pop singles before striking gold in 1990 with "Groovy Train" and "All Together Now," a pair of career-defining songs that captured the Technicolor spirit of the baggy/Madchester scene. Released the following year, their first LP, Spartacus, debuted at number one on the U.K. pop charts, marking a banner year for these unlikely heroes. Although they followed up with a pair quality releases over the next few years, their success and the baggy scene itself faded almost as quickly as it had arrived. With just three studio albums to their credit, this robust, multi-disc Complete Studio Recordings 1983-2004 boxed set might seem a bit excessive, but as it turns out, there's plenty of material here worth revisiting. In addition to their three proper LPs -- Spartacus (1991), Love See No Colour (1992), and Hullabaloo (1994) -- this set includes the Pastures Old & New collection of early singles and sessions, a disc of rarities and non-album tracks, a collection of BBC sessions, and a 15-track remix collection which is probably the only addition here that really feels extraneous. With seven discs, 98 songs, and a 40-page booklet, it's certainly the mother lode for die-hard Farm fans, but its budget price may also inspire casual listeners to dig a bit deeper than "All Together Now." ~ Timothy Monger