Inspiral Carpets – The Complete Singles (3xCD/2xLP)


Formed in Oldham in 1983, the Inspiral Carpets came to prominence later that decade as part of “Madchester” scene. While much music of that era sounds dated and of its time, that produced by the Inspiral Carpets has a timeless quality that still sounds fresh today. While they released some critically-acclaimed albums, their forte was undoubtedly the 7” slab of wax and, like an indie rock version of Hansel and Gretel, they left a tantalising trail of singles. They now get collected as The Complete Singles, a musical explosion spread over 3 CD’s (and 2 LP’s) that includes an exclusive bonus disc of rarities.

Awash with retro organ and underpinned with a strong melody, there was a danger that the Carpets could have peaked to soon with their debut 1988 single ‘Keep The Circle Round’. In modern parlance it’s what’s termed a “banger” and marries a pop sensibility with distorted guitars, and this juxtaposition between the rough and smooth would go on to characterise the band’s career. In hindsight, it was probably best that it didn’t catch on with the wider public as it allowed the band to grow organically, but it takes pride of place here as the lead track, and stands as testament to the folly of the record buying public. It wasn’t until the band’s fifth single, the sublime ‘This Is How It Feels’ that they finally broke in the Top 40, but in between they finally honed their craft with Nuggets-inspired psychedelic pop gems such as ‘Joe’ and ‘Find Out Why’.

The Complete Singles runs chronologically and presents the singles as they were released, and you can hear how the band evolved, from their energetic (and slightly epileptic) beginnings to the more measured (and mature) ‘This Is How It Feels’. If you grew up anywhere near the early ‘90s you’ll recognise this track, it broke the band in a big way; it seemed to blast from every radio, yet they didn’t let it define them and their next move was the upbeat ‘She Comes In The Fall’. What followed was an impressive run of singles (including collaborations with Mark E Smith and John Cooper Clarke) and if chart placings are your definition of success, then triumphs they were, but more importantly, The Complete Singles hangs together as a fine body of work, and one that will sound exciting many years hence.

It’s the bonus disc that’s the real revelation; those with a penchant for the original tracks might find some of these remixes a little difficult to get their heads around. Fans have a special relationship with songs, and any deviation can be viewed as sacrilege, yet these mixes bring out aspects of the originals that were previously buried. Dance and rave culture was a big influence on the Madchester scene, and that’s brought to the fore here, and listening to these remixes makes you realise just how groove orientated the band’s songs were. It’s a long way from the band’s punk and garage rock roots, but in the Inspiral Carpets evolutionary arc, they make perfect sense. It can often be mind-blowing (as in the case of ‘Generations’) but it is always entertaining.

Recently reformed, and about to embark on a UK tour, there’s never been a better time to (re)discover the Inspiral Carpets and The Complete Singles is the best place to start.

CD Track List:


  1. Keep The Circle Around
  2. Butterfly
  3. Joe
  4. Find Out Why
  5. Move
  6. This Is How It Feels
  7. She Comes In The Fall
  8. Biggest Mountain
  9. Weakness
  10. Caravan
  11. Please Be Cruel
  12. Dragging Me Down


  1. Two Worlds Collide
  2. Generations
  3. Bitches Brew
  4. How It Should Be
  5. Saturn 5
  6. I Want You (ft Mark E Smith)
  7. Uniform
  8. Come Back Tomorrow
  9. You’re So Good For Me
  10. Fix Your Smile
  11. Spitfire
  12. Let You Down (Edit) (ft John Cooper Clarke)


  1. Dragging Me Down – Jon Dasilva Remix

  2. This Is How It Feels – The Go! Team Remix*

  3. Caravan – No Windscreen Mix (Justin Robertson)

  4. Generations – Denmark 2 Germany 0 mix (Fortran 5)

  5. Commercial Reign – Rub-A-Dub Mix (Forgemasters)

  6. You’re So Good For Me – Like A Tonic Remix (Mark Reeder & Micha Adam)

  7. Dubville – (Chris Nagle)

  8. Two Worlds Collide – The Twelve Inch Mix (Mike Pickering & Paul Heard / M People)

  9. Saturn 5 – High Energy Mix (Paul Van Dyk)

  10. This Is How It Feels – Robbery Mix (PK & Dashboard)

  11. Skidoo – Possession Mix (Justin Robertson)

  12. Bitches Brew – Horse (Fortran 5)

  13. Changes – Martyn Walsh & Simon Lyon Remix*

  14. Uniform – Scripka Mix (featuring The Balanescu Quartet)

* new unreleased remix

Vinyl Track List:

  1. Keep The Circle Around
  2. Butterfly
  3. Joe
  4. Find Out Why
  5. Move
  6. This Is How It Feels
  7. She Comes In The Fall
  8. Biggest Mountain
  9. Weakness
  10. Caravan
  11. Please Be Cruel
  12. Dragging Me Down
  13. Two Worlds Collide
  14. Generations
  15. Bitches Brew
  16. How It Should Be
  17. Saturn 5
  18. I Want You (ft Mark E Smith)
  19. Uniform
  20. Come Back Tomorrow
  21. You’re So Good For Me
  22. Fix Your Smile
  23. Spitfire
  24. Let You Down (Edit) (ft John Cooper Clarke)


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