Orange Juice
The Esteemed Orange Juice

(Polydor / All formats)
Not long ago, albums ed Stuart Bailie passed amongst us writers, his normally cherubic features contorted into a dark mask of consternation, and he said, "Stop with the over-generous marks, you guys, desist with the eights and nines already!" And he had a point. But I'm going to give this record nine. Sorry everybody, but it has to be done. And this is why.
Because it deserves it, basically. 'The Esteemed Orange Juice' collects together the cream of that legendary, seminal, revered and, erm, quite good quartet's major label years with Polydor. The subtitle, 'The Very Best Of Orange Juice', may seem a rather hysterical claim in view of the absence of all the band's Postcard singles and the forthcoming release of the great lost fire album demos, but what the hell? Here is the pick of the band's four albums and some of the last decade's most quixotic and luminous pop moments.
What was the big deal about Orange Juice? Why do bands as diverse as The Weddoes, Teenage Fanclub and Prince rave on about them even now? Why did The Guardian call Edwyn Collins 'The Scottish Cole Porter'? Probably because of the breathtaking tunes, hopeless bus-stops and bars romanticism, the sense of humour that never got in the way of the songs and flawed, derailed majesty of it all. They had raccoon hats, they wore their fringe like Roger McGuinns and they broke up live onstage at the Brixton Academy in 1985 as a tearful Edwyn Collins strummed 'Rock And Roll (I Gave You All The Best Years Of My Life)'. There were few bands more human than the OJs.
They had the courage to fail. They wanted to be The Velvet Underground, they wanted to be The Delfonics, they wanted to be Sly Stone and the Buzzcocks all at the same time, and they were prepared to make fools of themselves in the attempt. According to their detractors, this is precisely what they did, but why waste time on the grouses and churls when there are songs as good... did I say good? Songs as life-changingly fantastic as 'A Sad Lament', 'Falling And Laughing', 'Consolation Prize' and 'The Artisans' available again all in one special place via the gleaming interface of compact disc. There's really not much more to say. Except that the "shoo shoo shoo shoo doo"s in 'In A Nutshell' say nearly everything there is to say in the confines of a pop song. And that... oh, don't start me off. We'll be here all night.
Twenty-five songs and practically every one a 12-week Number One. In theory. And there's more to come, in the shape of two further OJs retrospectives and a mooted Postcard compilation in the offing. God exists and he's updating his record collection.
Stuart Maconie
NME, 27th June 1992.
Orange Juice
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