So, I've given the whole mix a good blast for a week now.
I have to say that having received the deluxe edition, the packaging is for sure OTT. The book with the photos is really good for anyone that enjoyed the imagery, the postcards are predictively useless and the luggage ties are too tacky to be of any use. The whole box is massive though, much bigger than the GU 10 edition which makes it look a bit silly sat on the shelf.
The mix itself, I've detached my mind from thinking its James Lavelle to try and give it an unbiased assessment. In short its much better than I thought it would be.
He starts CD1 much harder that anticipated with a mix up of dirty house, it makes you wonder how much faster/harder the mix would be and whether it would be an uncomfortable ride. Luckily the mix settles down after this. Vocals are in abundance with only a few tracks across the mix that don't have a vocal on it. It gives the whole mix a feel of a producer that is showcasing his tracks in a mix.
The mixing is OK. Good in places and less than desired in others. The album does have a genuine flow and feel to it and CD2 picks up where CD1 left off, which was a nice touch to the very different sounds the Travelogue and Main Mix feel of the other GU releases.
There are a few quality tracks in there, and the mash up of primarily dirty house with elements of trance, breakbeat and more normal housier sounding tracks keep it varied and interesting.
I really like the abundance of vocals which gave it a more album sounding feel than a true mix. I think having songs to listen to and at time sing along to kept me interested than had it just been a beats album. There are a few tracks that are uncomfortable on the ears and distract the mix from being excellent. Some of the vocals are a bit annoying and repetitive without be subtle.
Overall once you get over the fact you're buying a James Lavelle mix, the album is actually pretty good and I have to say a pleasantly surprising return to form for the label considering the poor standard of later releases in the series.
In summary and very enjoyable and varied listen for anyone that enjoy vocals and that UNKLE dirty house vibe. Some excellent stand out tracks and only a few duffers.
7/10 for me.