North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

Flashfact: Slanted and Enchanted, 20 years later

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Want to feel old for a second? Pavement’s debut album turns 20 later this year; it’s old enough to get drunk in Canada. Has it really been that long since Stephen Malkmus and Spiral Stairs first popped up?

Slanted and Enchanted is one of my favorite albums (although I think Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is their best album) and it’s the kind of music that will always have an audience: young college people looking for something different that isn’t really all that different, really. For all their little tricks and tweaks, Pavement is a pretty normal-sounding band under all the distorted guitars.

And that’s a good thing: in the decade or so since Pavement stopped recording new music, Malkmus’ solo career has been more or less pretty good, but they’re not quite as reckless or dangerous: just compare his solo track Dark Wave to Pavement’s Perfume-V. Pavement’s earlier stuff rocks a little harder and cares a little less. From my essay:

[Slanted and Enchanted] is alternately noisy, loud, obtuse and catchy. The guitars slink, they’re noisy and screechy. However, Pavement’s pop sensibilities are never far from the surface. There isn’t anything resembling a sing-along here, but by today’s standards, any one of these songs could be slipped into a radio playlist without anyone batting an eye. 

And when it comes to how Pavement sounds 20 years on, how much they sound like the mainstream is something to think about.

Click here to read the whole thing.


Written by M.

March 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm

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