It is always a pleasure to hear an artist re-vitalize himself like Assemblage 23 has done here. Shear has sharpened every aspect of his powerful tool armory to surprise and convince all doubters. From the foreboding "Smoke", Shear does not let go until the final bleeps of "The Cruelest Year" die out in an aura of electropop greatness. That's right, "Compass" has taken steps away from the all-out dance/futurepop flair into synthpop territory and does so brilliantly.
Like most new CD releases these days, there is a 2CD limited edition of "Compass", including remixes and three brand new tracks not on the standard issue. All of them good, but nowhere near the ten pearls on the single disc release. Welcome back, Tom!