Friday, February 25, 2011

Enter The Vaselines - The Vaselines


Enter The Vaselines
The Vaselines
Sub Pop SP 810

If you already have "The Way of the Vaselines" CD you probably don't need this unless you are a big fan.  I am a big fan and the proud owner of "The Way Of the Vaselines" which is one of my favorite CDs.  Even if I weren't a Nirvana fan, I'd still love Kurt Cobain for rescuing the Vaselines from obscurity and getting them onto Sub Pop.  I happily bought this three record set, just to get these songs on vinyl (it also contains a nice album size booklet featuring interviews with Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee.)  Records one and two contain the entirety of "The Way of the Vaselines."  Record one features the two original Vaselines EPs, one on each side.  Nirvana fans will be familiar with the best songs here since Nirvana memorably covered "Molly's Lips," "Son of a Gun" and "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam."  "Molly's Lips" and "Son of a Gun" are fast paced and insanely catchy.  Hear them once and you'll be singing them all day.   "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam" is one of my all time favorite songs, a gentle rejection of Christianity with some gorgeous viola playing.  I never get tired of hearing it, it always puts a smile on my face.  Record two is the Vaselines' only studio album (until recently anyway) "Dum-Dum" with the bonus cuts from "The Way Of the Vaselines" of "Bitch" and "Dying For It (The Blues)".  This is essential stuff, an exciting fusion of punk primitiveness with a pop sensibility and smart, sardonic lyrics that frequently feature sexual and anti-religious themes  - it easy to see how this appealed to Kurt Cobain.  The Vaselines were Scotland's answer to the Buzzcocks.  This is some of the best music of the 1980s, really enchanting if you have any appetite for clever and compelling pop songs.  Record three features all of the previously unreleased stuff.  There are three demos including two unreleased songs "Rosary Job" (it means just what you think it means, yikes) and "Red Poppy."  The songs are a bit dull on the murky demos but in the live versions that follow, they are quite engaging and sound almost as good as the rest of the Vaselines catalog.  The live songs that make up the rest of side one are from a concert in Bristol.  It is little better than bootleg quality in terms of sound but it is an entertaining show.  Side two features a London concert that has better sound quality.  It is mostly drawn from "Dum-Dum" and admittedly the live versions don't really add much to the studio versions and I certainly did not need two versions of "The Day I Was a Horse", but at least the band's humor does shine through pretty clearly.  The only new song is their "tribute to the seventies," a raucous cover of the Gary Glitter song "I Didn't Know I Loved You ('Til I Saw You Rock 'N' Roll)" that is lots of fun.  Record three is definitely marginal, but I'm thrilled to have it even if I probably won't play it as much as the other two records.  Kudos to Sub Pop, this is an outstanding compilation.  Recommended to raunchy atheists with a taste for punky pop.

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