this is another album that sounds a bit like it was created in a water tank. in a good way.
it was pavement at their very odd lo-fi beginnings; though it wasn’t until their not-far-off last album that they lost the bulk of their weirdness. it’s another that makes me think about what 1992 was like, when it was released. though it was only a couple of years beyond then that i did know and love who they were, year nine at semi-rural tech studies high school wasn’t cool enough. year eleven was, somehow.
it’s probably a kick in the teeth to say that the songs sung by spiral stairs on this album, like all others, stand out like sore something. i mean, steve malkmus doesn’t exactly have the most amazing singing voice out there. but it’s recognisable, his own, and unlike any before or since. spiral always sounds like he’s the back-up singer, even when he’s the lead vocalist.
for mine, the best song amongst the lot is still perfume-v. in the mouth a desert is also great for its bass line, minor key and fuzz guitar that fills the space (not unlike conduit for sale! which directly follows it). but generally there were no songs that clearly stood above the rest which actually makes it unique as an album (though the first two songs were released as singles – summer babe and trigger cut).
this is the first i’ve really noticed this kind of homogeneity of any of the albums i’ve listened to so far. at least, albums that are more traditional in content and structure. i’ve already suggested a number of the releases previously encountered haven’t fit the single consumption model of producing records for market. but pavement were much in the latter space.
and so, where does it leave me? i recognise its place in history, for this band and music of the 1990s, but two of their later albums still work better in whole and parts than this, their debut.
[their performances of the time also made them sound way more grunge than they actually were]