McCarthy – The Best Of: That’s All Very Well But… (Cherry Red Records)


This 22 song disc collects McCarthy’s singles, rarities and Peel Sessions from 1985-1990. The British indie-band’s calling card was the Marxist viewpoints in politically confrontational songs with titles like “Should The Bible Be Banned”, “We Are All Bourgeois” and “Child Soon In Chains”. Political views have been incorporated into music by everyone from Dylan to N.W.A. to Reagan Youth, but McCarthy approaches it so clumsily on-the-nose, and singer Malcolm Eden’s flat vocals make whatever political insights the band may have had sound like the complaints of an annoying college student who just bought Mao’s Little Red Book. Musically, McCarthy peddled a competent but faceless take on whatever was big in indie circles at the time (R.E.M., The Smiths, The Pixies, and C-86). “Keep An Open Mind Or Else” is the only good song here, with an effortless melody and an atypically strong vocal. You can hear why it was a favorite of legendary British DJ John Peel. Outside of that gem, guitarist Tim Gane and his girlfriend Laetitia Sadier (who joined McCarthy for their final album) had the right idea when they left to form Stereolab, where they kept the Marxist ideas but wrote much better songs.

Tracklisting:

  1. “Red Sleeping Beauty” – 3:43
  2. “Should The Bible Be Banned” – 3:08
  3. “An MP Speaks” – 2:02
  4. “The Fall” – 1:48
  5. “The Funeral” – 2:15
  6. “We Are All Bourgeois Now” – 4:46
  7. “Antinature” – 1:46
  8. “Kill Kill Kill Kill” – 1:31
  9. “Frans Hals” – 3:15
  10. “The Myth Of The North – South Divide” – 3:00
  11. “Something Wrong Somewhere” – 2:00
  12. “This Nelson Rockefeller” – 4:01
  13. “Charles Windsor” – 2:02
  14. “From The Damned” – 3:26
  15. “A Child Soon In Chains” – 1:47
  16. “The Enemy Is At Home (For The Fat Lady)” – 2:09
  17. “The Well Of Loneliness” – 2:33
  18. “You’re Alive” – 2:13
  19. “Keep An Open Mind Or Else” – 3:11
  20. “I’m Not A Patriot But…” – 3:17
  21. “The Comrade Era” – 1:22
  22. “Should The Bible Be Banned” (alternate version)” – 3:22