This is a box of essential Rock & Roll History: the first three studio albums by the Velvet Underground; a definitive edition of the recordings for the band's fourth, unfinished LP for MGM and the sublime, first solo album by Nico, released after the charismatic singer's brief spell in the group but made with the vital empathic aid of its leading men. This is also a box of magic, the sight and sound of revolution as it arrived, at bold and perilous speed. No group embodied challenge and trangression in the mid- and late Sixties like the Velvet Underground. Few bands of any time have altered rock's future so decisively, at such a high price. Born in New york, into a true underground of art, film and social deviance, the Velvets were ignored, misunderstood, even savaged in their time. None of the four official releases in this set made it into Billboard's Top 100. But, as Reed pointed out years later, "Rock does this thing to you - you get directly to somebody, unfiltered." The most important thing, he insisted, "was the records going out, going to people." This is how it happened, on long-playing vinyl, with striking, unprecedented cover art, between 1967 and 1969. -David Fricke.