Pavement - Quarantine the Past
Emerging amidst the Seattle-centric music scene of the early nineties, Pavement’s breakthrough album, Slanted and Enchanted, eschewed the guts and grit approach of the era, in favour of pop-hook-astute, lo-fi indie which, refreshingly, didn’t need to take itself too seriously.
From the bargain-bin production, singer Stephen Malkmus’ purposefully abstracted lyrics and their endearingly shambolic collective instrumentation, a truly unique voice emerged brimming with fresh ideas. And whilst subsequent albums were increasingly grown up and glossed over, that early promise never really faded throughout. Perhaps unsurprisingly, with the release of their career retrospective Quarantine the Past, we’re met with a high quality catalogue for the most part.
There are a number of sadly missed omissions, most significantly in Rattled by the Rush and Loretta’s Scars, perhaps made more notable with the inclusion of some overly indulgent moments such as Angel Carver Blues, and the misguided ode to The Fall, Two States. However these trivial mis-steps are balanced by twenty plus reminders as to why Pavement remain so influential. Ultimately, as a stand alone album Quarantine the Past is near faultless, and a must have for the newly inaugurated. There’s a whole world of Pavement out there, and if you haven’t already discovered it, now is undoubtedly the time. [Paul Neeson]