Pavement - Quarantine The Past
Slacker indie-rock legends return. We're chuffed.
Kicking off with the sublime 'Gold Soundz', this deluxe 23 track package of the slacker rock pioneers' greatest hits is joy to the ears. Stephen Malkmus always had a way with melody and with catchy tunes like 'Stereo' and the seminal 'Cut Your Hair' it seems, without his self destructive streak, Pavement may have been one of the decade's biggest bands. In fact, they're probably happy with their status as cult heroes, and if their sell-out reunion shows this year are anything to go by there's still a place for these messy-haired miscreants in people's hearts.
The mix of styles alone sets them apart from other US bands of the time and their less-than serious-approach was also refreshing, especially during the angst-filled years of Seattle based misery-rock. The Californian band did have their differences though, and on their final gig at Brixton Academy in 1999 frontman Malkmus handcuffed himself to his mic stand to signify "what it's like to be in a band". This ridiculousness aside, 'Quarantine The Past' still sounds just as fresh today. And where would artists like Weezer and Beck be without their slack-jawed charm? While taking influence from English bands such as The Fall, Pavement somehow managed to transform into one of the most American sounding bands around.
Songs such as the beautiful 'Range Life' hint at the more folk led music that Malkmus would later produce with his band The Jicks, as does the ethereal 'Spit on a Stranger'. It's the earlier tunes, however, that really dredge the memory, with glorious rackets like 'Summer Babe' and the brilliantly named 'Date w/IKEA'. This essential compilation will put a smile on the face of many an old grunger, as well as those who remember when bands didn’t take themselves as seriously as they do now. If ever a record was set to remind the listener that the nineties were a great time for music, then this is it.