Reflections on 180g Vinyl


UPDATE 10/6/16 – My copy arrived today. It turns out to be from the same stamper as used for the 2013 “Music on Vinyl” release. The main difference between the Sony release and the MOV one is that the facsimile Kitchenware Label is less blurred on the new copy. It actually does sound amazing. I was surprised by how good it is.

The new Sony vinyl release of Steve McQueen is in the shops from Friday June 10th (or can be ordered via the Amazon link strategically placed to the right of this post). Mine’s on order certainly, completism has its obligations. But it’s very difficult to get over-enthused about this release.

Of course anything that brings our heroes into the public consciousness is absolutely to be welcomed. There is the intriguing possibility the album may make it into the Sainsbury’s hipster aisle, where it may be picked up by someone who knows nothing of the band. Anyone who already knows Prefab Sprout will of course already have it in some format or other, so it’s a little difficult to see what the intention of the release is.

In many ways it’s an opportunity missed. Putting the acoustic version onto a double album format with a remastered original would be genuinely exciting. Or even including new sleeve notes. But I suspect it’s going to be a vanilla reissue. The only new part of it is the barcode.

It is 180g vinyl, of course, but there was a “Music on Vinyl” release in 2013 that was also on 180g, and to be perfectly honest even the approximately 45g so-thin-it’s-translucent “Irish Pressing” I have from 1985 sounds perfectly good.

Sony are cashing in on their back catalogue, which is understandable. I don’t suppose the band will get anything – Paddy might get songwriting royalties – and they may not even have been told it’s happening.

But it just strikes me as a little unimaginative and verging on the exploitative. If you’re not a completist, and you want the album on vinyl, the best of all would be the Japanese pressings which tend to be expensive, but there are plenty of near mint 1985 pressings around, and the later “Nice Price” version can often be found unopened and completely mint. They have the advantage of being the real contemporary deal, not a later reconstruction.


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