"Platinum Gems" - The Platinum Collection reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

I have never been a big lover of compilation albums in the first place, especially when it is a compilation by a band whose music you already have invested in heavily over the years on vinyl and then again on CD. So, it was with a certain healthy degree of scepticism that I approached this collection.

Certainly, the track selection covered all parts of the band's Charisma/Virgin catalogue although I was somewhat surprised by the overt concentration on both the We Can't Dance and Invisible Touch album in the track selection. For the floating voter at which this type of compilation is undoubtedly aimed, there is a great introduction to the band's back catalogue which has already ensured that the album has achieved a chart position in the UK Top 30Ö not bad for such a project!

What does this compilation offer to the crusty old farts who, like me, have been following this band for ages and millennia? The selling point for the existing fans is the new mixes by Nick Davis. Once again; it begged the question: is that sufficient reason to buy a CD of music I already have? And it was with that thought in mind that I reluctantly shelled out my cash for the album on day of release. Was I disappointed?

Certainly NOT! I donít have a 5.1 system, nor am I sufficient of an audiophile to necessarily want to rush out and buy one either but from the very first notes of the likes of Abacab and Turn It On Again I found that my ears were pricking up and I was hearing things that I had never picked up on before. By the time I had reached back as far as the glorious mixes for the tracks from And Then There Were Three, Wind & Wuthering and A Trick Of The Tail, I was in audio heaven! There is simply so much MORE to those tracks on display here and the further back in time you went; the more "revelations" you encountered!

Simply put, this was an entirely new listening experience, and after listening to this stuff for the better part of thirty years I donít say that lightly! Tracks that I had taken for granted such as Undertow and Ripples simply leapt out at me and this certainly has to be one of the most enjoyable listening experiences I have had for quite some time. Take my word for it; if you haven't already added this to your Christmas list make sure that you do - you won't regret it!

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