Elastica The BBC Radio One Sessions

This is the re-release of Wire’s androgynous disowned bastard offspring’s last hurrah. Originally out in 2001, the year before the group disbanded, this compilation of live highlights in John Peel’s studio now stands as the closest we’ll get to a "best of” career retrospective. They were around for quite a while yet definitely on the left side of "prolific” — but this collection spans their output from the beginning to the end. Classics like "Annie,” "Vaseline,” and "2:1” sound just as good as the originals, if not better; Elastica always tried to polish their retro punk to perfection in the studio, an inherent irony to the punk ideology that is absent here and reveals some loosey goosey antics and authentic mistakes. Hardcore fans will drool over the plethora of previously unreleased rare gems here, like the almost chirpy "In the City” and a few from a Christmas session, where Justine somewhat blasphemously puts her trademark sexy moan to "I wanna be the king of Orient oooohaaahhhmmm….” There are a few glaring omissions: the amazing hits "Stutter” and "Connection” are the gaping holes here. Granted, the Peel sessions have never been meant as a musician’s forum to carbon copy their hit parade (rather, a chance to showcase their live creativity and ability to improv) — but to scratch out your best songs on your only compilation is a pompous case of being different simply for different’s sake. An annoyingly silly sacrifice. (Koch)