There are a few albums in my collection that would clearly be significantly improved by re-recording. The Church’s Seance has some glorious songs which struggle to make their mark above a weird cardboard drum mix and there’s a few Robyn Hitchcock tracks that could do with losing their slimy 80s bass licks. But The Orgone Box?! That work of power pop perfection from the legendary Rock Corcoran that sneaked out in the 90s. The missing link between Teenage Fanclub and The Beatles! Surely that doesn’t need tarting up at all.
Still, driven by either by a desire for perfection, or for the cash (although that given this is a 400 copy only vinyl reissue it doesn’t seem likely ) Corcoran has taken a chisel to his masterpiece.
Not all of it has been re-recorded or even remixed. But Cocoroan has always been adamant that the original album was badly remastered and the songs were speeded up, so many of the tracks here have been tweaked or completely re-recorded. It is of course a very risky strategy playing with perfection, but I guess if you imagine Centaur as a slightly different version of a masterpiece from a celebrated painter (think that Dutch chap and his flowers) then it makes more sense. It is similar, but to the aficionado there’s more that enough difference to make it fascinating.
Centaur also features one new track, which given that the man has only gifted us about twenty songs in roughly as many years, is big news.
The tracks do feel slightly slower – Ticket With No Return and Judy Over The Rainbow being obvious examples – and to be fair they sound fine, just a tad softer. Judy might even be a totally new version, it is hard to tell. Mirrorball has been re-hacked and feels like a totally different song, it might just be my mind playing tricks on me but it feels like there’s a whole new section to the song. Disposable has also been re-recorded and now features an acoustic guitar and a much softer overall feel. The World Revolves Around Me is also a new version and has lot more strange effects than the original.
The new track Wethouse is a rather gentle swaying psych ballad which is really rather lovely, though IMO doesn’t sit that well with the rest of the album. Still it is business as usual with the very Beatley Find The One coming next before the album’s finale of a slightly tweaked The Boy In The Bubble.
After listening to Centaur I am reminded once again of how much I love that original album. Very few records from the 90s, or in fact any era, get close. It is criminal how few people have heard it. And as for Centaur, the tweaked recordings are intriguing. They are always interesting, though whether they enhance the originals is a moot point. Two decades of listening to tracks at a faster speed, mean that the slowed versions take a bit of getting used to – but give it time! If you have ever loved the original album you simply have to have this.
Now how about a live date or two in London Rick?
You can get the album here.
Here are several of the originals.