Republica released their eponymously titled debut album to a great reception in July of 1996. Their singer, Saffron, had a great, innovative look for an increasingly materialistic world, and with a powerhouse voice that could knock Ali out with a single verse. She preached her message to a baying audience and back in ’96 was about to start a rise that would see them go world-wide. On this expanded edition you will find the original 10 track long player, with bonus content of 32 tracks. This collection of songs spans 3 discs, with a veritable assemblage of versions, mixed content and rarities, long since forgotten, until now that is.
The band crashed onto a post-Brit-pop scene with their debut, a number that failed to achieve all that it could, 1994’s ‘Out of This World‘ and it wasn’t until the following year did the follow-up ‘Bloke‘, scratch the top 100. And so that would have been it, had the band not persevered, releasing a track that would lead their soon to be released debut album. ‘Ready To Go‘ became massive, achieving the status of No.1 Gay Anthem Club Record Worldwide! And with the album, things just got better, 10 tunes (omitting the failed debut), that just flowed, be it in the indie disco, or some of the biggest club-nights, Republica was on a champagne-filled wave to the top.
Here I can spot 7 versions alone of ‘Ready To Go‘ and whether or not you bought the original album back in 1996, you will surely want to own your very own slice of this band’s fast ride. On the first disc, step aside from the original album and you will find content that commences with ‘Mutha‘ and we find ourselves in the very middle of what seems like a teenage rant, which starts: “It ain’t easy when you push me too far. It ain’t fair when you try to take everything from me. Burn your Mutha down, raise it to the ground” and it’s playful content like this that makes this so relevant as a release, not to mention tunes like ‘Introlude‘ that follows, where the listener finds themselves right in the centre of a Trainspotting scene, high on something nasty, while thoroughly uplifting, as the tempo rises and the beats get punishing, then into the Original Mix of ‘Ready To Go‘, totally in keeping with the environment we had found ourselves in. Further bonus tracks are then made available, including the Original Mix of ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous‘, seemingly another young rant, well after all, she knows that her ex-boyfriend lies. A remixed version of the ‘Out of This World‘ is included to finish off this first disc.
I’ve already mentioned the band’s first single that wasn’t to make even a scratch when it was originally released back in ’94. Well, this was to be reworked as ‘Out of Darkness‘, which would find itself on the finished album. That original mix is made available to start the second disc and to be perfectly honest, I can see why a reworking was suggested. The time between 1994 and ’96 was vast in terms of what was acceptable and this was dusty; now, of course, its status is retro, but it is fitting that it has been included here, and squares the circle. This second disc is a collection of mixed content, such as ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous – Pop Fiction Mix‘, ‘Bloke – Blame It On The Vodka Mix‘, ‘Bloke – Jack Daniels Mix‘ and a further mixing of ‘Out Of This World‘ in the form of the ‘Proper Night Out Mix‘, versions I can fully identify with in terms of when they were released, hi-octane & from another life-stage.
Disc 3 commences with a Chemical Brothers mix of ‘Out of This World‘, a series which continues, providing further collaborations with the likes of legends Fabio Paras on ‘Holly‘, Way Out West on the mix to ‘Bitch‘ and the same treatment as the band brush influences with San Franciso’s Hardkiss on ‘Ready To Go‘, before a further reworking of ‘Out of This World‘, by the Chemical Brothers, an early credit with those who would become clubland gods in the years that followed. The fact that this content has been available here is simply stunning, taking a look at 90s remix culture to the max and beyond. If anything, this room is becoming a little crowded, but I wouldn’t be anywhere else right now.
Saffron started her career as part of the dance act N-Joi and although this is not present here, it is quite easy to see just how this band became who they were. Dance culture rolled into a neat cone and taken as one shouldn’t, but I like it! I cannot leave without commenting on how well this set of tracks and their mixes have been presented. Like a reduced vinyl, this 3-CD set comes in outer sleeves and is slipped into an outer wallet, simply beautiful. And don’t get me started on the content available here, that’s stunning, I’m knocked for six! Thank you Cherry Red.
The 3 disc reissue of Republica is out now on Cherry Red.