2014 has already had many rad releases to it’s name but before I start to dive into all the glorious music that the new year has to offer I wanted to take a step back and look at a classic record that is turning 20 in two weeks.
Pavement released “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” on Valentines Day of 1994, a couple years after their first release, the awesomely lo-fi “Slanted Enchanted”. “Crooked Rain” was met with much acclaim from critics and indie-listeners a like. Listeners loved the intricately-sloppy musicianship and better production value, and the single “Cut Your Hair” even made a dent in the Billboard Charts.
From the first drop into “Silence Kid” to the pleading ending jam of “Fillmore Jive” not a moment on this record sounds lame or like anything else, it’s actually the opposite: most things sound kind of like Pavement, or at least take an aspect or two from the band. This notion is usually realized after the first listen or so. It’s understandable though, how could one not want to try and make a jam as sweet and melancholy as the one at the end of ‘Stop Breathing’ or as nostalgic and glorious as the guitar break in “Gold Soundz”? The track “Range Life” captures the alt- country sound so perfectly that it’s influence stills bleeds into popular-indie songs today. Even the non-single tracks stand out on this release. “Elevate Me, Later” and “Stop Breathing” feature strong hooks both from Malkmus and his guitar while “5/4*Unity” and “Heaven Is A Truck’ have the band reaching into more country and jazz influences.
The cd isn’t perfect, but that’s what Pavement is about and that’s what makes this album perfect; the abrupt change into ‘Plane Down”, the loose jams on “Silence Kid’, the almost off-key singing throughout, all these aspects make this album worthy of repeated listens and stand the test of time.
Reviewed by Jay Dilick