Can it really be 20 years since this album first crossed our collective paths? It is and Universal have issued a collectors edition remaster package to celebrate the fact.

Quite a package it is too. The box set contains a remaster of the original album and three additional discs with remasters of their B-sides, lives shows and record company demos as well as Radio 1 sessions and their first Glastonbury performance. You also get a set of pictures of the band, a full size poster and a book which mixes scrapbook pictures and an essay on the band’s formation.

All of which would mean precisely bugger all if the album wasn’t still relevant today. I have lost track of the number of ‘Anniversary re-issues’ that are to be listened to once and then discarded as they are hopelessly out of date but ‘Bring It On’ still sounds as classy as today and as relevant an album as it ever was.

Ian Ball’s vocals still sound edgy, the mix of indie, rock, psychedelica and Blues grabs your attention and takes your mind through one trip after another and the multiple vocal styles ensure that they never get to sounding samey or bland.
The confidence of a band in using so many different musical structures on their debut shines out – in many ways this sounds as though they were 20 years into their career and collecting all the different styles and moods of a long career.
Of the additional ‘bonus’ discs the Radio 1 sessions sound pretty good – as you would expect from a Radio 1 recording – and there is the added impetus of re-creating their sound live in the studio. Their cover of the Blues standard ‘Stag O Lee’ has real humour in the sound but I found myself going back time and again to the material from Glastonbury in 1998 which seemed to show an even more confident and extreme edge to their sound.

To be honest you don’t NEED all the extra gubbins that come with the box and you could buy the remastered album on its own but if you can afford the difference it is well worth having the bonus discs and the sense of a special package.

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