I don't know if it's fair to call it a 'nasty mess' (unless you meant the review!), but the sound quality is certainly less than top-notch. On the other hand, there's a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that many listeners - young and old, for different reasons - can't distinguish higher lossy from lossless quality. I've previewed many CDs that have been praised for their quality of sound only to find them distinctly lossy-sounding. I suppose the reviewer who can hear the difference has to balance it against the fact that if it's not pointed out, the CD will still get bought and enjoyed, especially if it's cheap.
But it doesn't excuse the labels who seem to be more interested in numbers than quality, and in this particular case, as you say, better to go elsewhere.
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