review by Mitchell Peters - from Timeoff (Brisbane, QLD)
Two Stephen Cummings classics have been re-mastered for this twin CD set. Originally released in 1988 and 1989, respectively, these were the albums that saw Cummings pip the likes of The Go-Betweens and Crowded House in the annual Rolling Stone critics' poll.
Acoustic-based, Lovetown was recorded on an eight-track tape machine and is driven along by Stephen Hadley's fluid double bass. This was where Cummings began working with Rebecca Barnard and Shane O'Mara; two talents that later shone bright on A New Kind Of Blue.
Highlights from the albums include "Everybody Wants To Get To Heaven, But Nobody Wants To Die", "Some Prayers Are Answered", "When Love Comes Back To Haunt You" and "Your House Is Falling". The original Lovetown sequence has been restored. Each album comes with a single bonus track, "Watch This Movie For Me" and "Wherever I Go Goodwill And Happiness Follow". The set also features extensive liner notes and an essay from John O'Donnell.
review by Bernard Zuel - from The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 January 2007
Here in a "two-disc remastered with extras" package are the albums - his third and fourth solo releases - that cemented Stephen Cummings's reputation (although, sadly, not his commercial status) as one of our best songwriters. While 1989's more upbeat A New Kind Of Blue has a glossy '80s sound (sharp drums, shiny backing vocals) and 1987's Lovetown makes a decided virtue of its eight-track studio sonic limitations (the intimacy, the sparseness) they are of a pair.
The music - co-written with Andrew Pendlebury, Dean Richards and Shane O'Mara - blends soul, muscular pop, country and '70s singer-songwriter styles in attractive forms which have never dated.
Even more impressive are Cummings's lyrics. His acutely observed treatment of crucial moments in nondescript lives, his wry humour and his cinematic and literary allusions, say everything you need to say and nothing more.
This is superior and timeless adult music.