Music » CD Reviews

Pavement

Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe (Matador)

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This 140-minute deluxe reissue makes a high-priced fetish of aging hipsters' nostalgia for indie rock's lo-fi heyday -- and why not? After all, Pavement was never innocent about its fetishes, and this 1992 debut is often celebrated as these California boys' greatest glory, precisely because it was the one time their romantic obsessions bloomed as openly as their irony, nonsense, derision, and dirty noise. So even then, the scent of nostalgia wafted over everything, from the opening tribute to a "Summer Babe" to their boast/lament that they had "style for miles and miles, so much style that it's wasted."

Except that line isn't on Slanted & Enchanted, but the subsequent EP that subtly honed its vision, "Watery Domestic." Both discs are included here, along with each release's outtakes, two sessions from John Peel's radio show, and a 13-cut live concert. If anything, the sprawl proves that these guys didn't really waste their style, but, like most competent artists, they focused it -- which is to say, their previously released material is still their best. The concert is ebullient, for example, but you had to be there. And anyone who buys this probably was.

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