Movie: A genre that has been largely overlooked by dvd companies has been music videos. While there are a modest number of such releases on the market, they are few and far between when compared to the vast number of music videos that have been produced over the years. I'm patiently waiting for hundreds of such releases to hit the shelves; everything from a collection of Pat Benatar hits, the oft-delayed Kate Bush set, ZZ Top's greatest hits and a lot of stuff in between. One of the bands from my youth, Love and Rockets, wasn't high on my list but at this point, I'll take what I can get. In this recent release, Sorted! The Best of Love and Rockets, I got to see a bunch of videos that I had pretty much forgotten ever existed.
The band was originally a quirky new-wave band called the Bauhaus that never achieved commercial success in the late 70's. The band members went their separate ways but ultimately found that they wanted to keep making music and most of the band got back together. Members Daniel Ash (the wacky singer), David J. (Bass), and Kevin Haskins (drums) decided to make a few compromises in order to become more commercially viable and so Love and Rockets was born (in the mid 80's). Over the following few years, the band had just one single that could be called a modest hit, So Alive, even though it was, in my opinion at least, one of their weakest songs, and eventually the group went it's separate ways once more.
The dvd is comprised of a long out-of-print special "The Haunted Fishtank" as well as a plethora of extras that are unique to this set. I'll be the first to admit that I don't understand half of what the group's message was (and I grew up during the same time frame so I have the contextual background to do so) so I'll skip boring you with my personal analysis of what their music was shooting for (if anything) and give you the list of songs and features:
The Haunted Fishtank
Ball Of Confusion
Yin and Yang
All In My Mind
No New Tale To Tell
The Dog-end Of A Day Gone By
The Bubblemen Are Coming
Love And Rockets
No Big Deal
Sweet Lover Hangover
Interview (more of an explanation of the group by front-man Daniel Ash)
Dave Lanfair Interview This was a student asking the band questions that went unanswered. He sent in a cassette tape and it's an interesting extra that might've been put in context better.
Daniel Ash (videos from his solo career)
Walk The Way
Here She Comes
Get Out Of Control
David J. (video from his solo career)
I'll Be Your Chauffer
The Bubblemen These were recurring characters in the videos-a trio of cartoonish black & white bee's-people dressed in big bee costumes-that pranced around during some of the videos. This section had three audio tracks and a comic book of sorts.
The Bubblemen Rap
The Bubblemen Comic
If you're a fan of the group, you'll understand more about them than the rest of the world, including myself. I thought the dvd had a healthy amount of material, especially considering the age of some of it. While it didn't exactly cover everything I wanted it to; I think having the band members all answer the student's questions would've been a good start, but it was the single best source of Love and Rockets material you're likely to ever find. I'm rating it as a Rent It solely because fans will have to get it, and others will want to see it first and make up their own minds. Personally, I'd like to see a version of this format for The Cocteau Twins or Danielle Dax (contemporaries of the band) even more than this one-my fingers are crossed.
Picture: The picture was generally presented in 1.33:1 ratio full frame as the videos were originally shot. The limitations of the source material were evident more often than not but this is as good as I've ever seen them. Lots of intentional scratches on the prints, weird effects, and camera work that was artistic were observed here. The dvd transfer was solid, not adding any problems that weren't present from the beginning.
Sound: The sound was presented in uncompressed PCM format. My personal choice would've been to go to DTS but I know that with the age of the material, combined with the type of music the band was known for, it wouldn't make a big difference in terms of quality of listening experience. My old CD's sounded about this good if that helps the comparison.
Extras: The feature being so sort, I considered the extras to be part of the main ingredient of the package. This is one case where the extras outshine the feature and they're all listed above. I didn't get a full dvd release-just a screener dvd in a CD case, so I don't know if there was a paper insert.
Final Thoughts: This dvd is not likely to make anyone a new fan of the somewhat depressing material released by the band but music fans might want to check this one out since the band did have a lot to say. As one of the more interesting lesser-known bands from the 80's, Love and Rockets will be remembered a lot more readily thanks to this dvd.