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Nine years on from its original, blink-and-you'll-miss-it release in Japan, Voiceprint unearthed one of the key elements in the Slapp Happy discography, and it truly is as wonderful as rumor always insisted. Recorded at one of several reunions this once-and-always legendary band has convened in the decades since its 1974 split, Live in Japan is as beautiful, infuriating, and electrifying as the "original" group always was, but its early eccentricity is justified now by the knowledge that the group's influence has never gone away. It may have crept into earshot without anybody noticing, and theirs might not be a name that the rich and powerful drop too often, but if you can listen to Slapp Happy without picturing what Radiohead (for one) might have sounded like without them, then clearly you're living on another planet. A gorgeous "King of Straw" opens the show, and the mood lingers on through "Slow Moon's Rose." Slowly, however, the band's more eclectic side begins to show, together with the almost maddeningly evasive melodic shimmer that characterized the best of Slapp Happy's early output. "Casablanca Moon" is a special treasure, retaining every ounce of its original delicacy, while dancing flirtatiously around your ears. Of course, fans can always find something to complain about, and the absence of "Johnny's Dead" from the proceedings is as good a moan as any. But still, Live in Japan is essential listening, not only for original fans, but for everyone who's grown up on the band without even being aware of the fact.