Thursday, 1 March 2018

Oliver!: Pavement - Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era (10 April 1992)

Pavement’s debut album, Slanted and Enchanted was providing plenty of meat for Peel’s playlists through the spring of 1992.  Such is the level of regard that the album is held in that I decided to listen to it before adding any thoughts about Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era, mainly because with that prog-like title and the sudden cut-off at the end of the track (which caught Peel out when he played it on this show), I wondered if it may be part of some larger, linked narrative within the album as a whole.  Alas no, but as with the previous track by The Boo Radleys, what you don’t get in terms of lyrical sophistication is offset by the shifting moods and tones in an exciting and involving piece of music.  From the spooky Halloween guitar wailing away behind the main riff, through to the warbling sound evoking a journey through altered states of being to the none more lo-fi, minimalist guitar solo, it packs a lot into its 3 and a bit minutes.  In guitar music terms, it feels like, at the time, Peel’s heart may have been with the rockers and noise merchants - but his head was with the likes of Pavement and The Boo Radleys; bands who sought to fuse energy and ideas so as to inspire others to look beyond three simple chords.

As for Slanted and Enchanted, it’s half a great record.  Or to be more precise, the second half of a great record.  I enjoyed immensely, to varying degrees everything from Chesley’s Little Wrists onwards with Here the real standout.  By contrast, I found most of the tracks in the first half rather forgettable, but in the context of a record that comes brilliantly into its stride from halfway onward, those opening tracks give the album its lustre by acting as the sound of a band audibly finding its way.  There are blind alleys run up and lo-grade, lo-fi follies to be gotten out of the system - like puberty set to music.  But then the chrysalis opens, and the beautiful butterfly that entranced and inspired groups all over the world makes itself visible.

Video courtesy of WeezerFan4Ever.

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