Vinyl

The B-52’s – The B-52’s

Much as I love the B-52’s, I forgot just how awful this record sounded. And really, there’s excuse for the shortcomings. In 1979, the CD was still years away, but you’d never guess by giving this new wave classic a cursory listen. Compression is king; cymbals are crunchy and the soundstage is flat and two-dimensional. To make matters worse, the group’s signature “Rock Lobster” tune is plagued with inner-groove distortion. Arrgh.

MoFi’s Silver Label version instantly trounces the standard issue pressing. During the opening “Planet Claire,” there’s a great bongo track that is all but lost in the mix on the original. The remaster gives the aforementioned instruments plenty of room to breathe along with the vocal tracks. This pressing has oodles of bass energy; by comparison, the original sounds like a system with the subwoofer off and seems to roll off around 80hz with no weight. (Like all of the early Van Halen albums.)

And “Rock Lobster” now sounds incredible. Vocalists Fred Schneider and Cindy Wilson now have a much more distinct sound, especially when experienced after hearing the original pressing, on which they just blend in to be one, fat vocal track. And all traces of inner-groove distortion are banished on both sides of the LP, a testament to the care put into this pressing.

MoFi’s Silver Label is just getting started; the label has many interesting titles in the queue. Who needs another copy of Kind of Blue anyway?  -Jeff Dorgay

MoFi Silver Label, 140g LP

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