Boxset review – EMF 30th Anniversary Boxset
Self-released through a Kickstarter campaign, EMF’s career-spanning £60 boxset puts many bigger-budget reissues to shame. It houses vinyl editions of all three albums, new rarities compilation Flipsides And Bona Fides plus a reproduction of the band’s original demo cassette. It charts the frustratingly brief career of a band who moved on too quickly from their cheery beginnings for anyone to keep up.
Alongside the mighty Unbelievable, debut album Schubert Dip is one of the few early 90s albums that really did combine the best of indie and rave. EMF’s rock and techno camps co-existed happily, helped by Pascal Gabriel’s reliably surefooted production. By second album Stigma, a creeping rockist paranoia had taken over. That didn’t matter when couched in mighty anthems like They’re Here, which sounds just as disturbing 28 years on.
The band were clearly frazzled by their early success – they’d immediately become huge in the States. They sound like 10 different bands at once on final album Cha Cha Cha. It should have been a mess, yet there’s a genuinely edgy menace as harsh electronica and succulent pop battle for supremacy. That the voice on EMF’s final song is Stephen Fry, at his fruitiest on the spoken-word Glass Smash Jack, shows what a fascinatingly odd band they were.