Sunday, January 16, 2011

Live Europaturnen MCMXCVII - Pavement


Live Europaturnen MCMXCVII
Pavement
Matador OLE 324-1
2008

This record was the main reason I bought the deluxe re-issue of "Brighten the Corners".  Normally I dislike those things because the bonus tracks are so rarely worth the expense or the waste of getting rid of your original copies.  Matador's work with re-issuing the Pavement records though is outstanding, even without this bonus record, the added songs on the CDs make it more than worthwhile.  This record is terrific although I'm not so crazy about the packaging.  It is designed to look like a bootleg with minimal information, spartan artwork, misspelled song titles, even 3 incorrect song titles.  I got all excited when I saw "Remake/Remodel" in the song list thinking it was a cover of the Roxy Music song, but it turned out to be "Type Slowly".  In case you are wondering, the other two are "We Are Underused" mislabeled "Joe Boyd (Stringband)" and "Fin" listed as "Tusk" which is dumb since the band clearly announce the song as "Fin" in the spoken introduction to the record.  Despite the shoddy bootleg packaging, the record does not sound like a bootleg.  The quality of the recording is excellent.  According to the record title the concert is taken from the 1997 European tour although no specific site is identified.  Most of the cuts are drawn from "Brighten the Corners" which is fine with me since it is my favorite Pavement album.  It is hard to single out specific tracks, they are all really good, but I guess I would single out "Fin" and "Type Slowly" for their exciting guitar work, the lively humor in "Stereo" and the jumping version of "Silence Kit".  There is also a nice, rocking version of "Painted Soldier."  I'm not normally a big fan of live albums but this one really works, the songs sound so punchy and immediate, it would actually be a pretty good introduction for a Pavement neophyte and it is a record that I will be likely to reach for first when I'm itching for a Pavement fix.  Recommended for people who kind of like Pavement but don't understand what all the fuss is about.

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