20 September 2006

Pavement - Wowee Zowee

Wowee Zowee musically defines the term "grower". At first the eclectic scrapbook of 18 inconsistent songs is interesting but not really musically pleasant, just a swirl of strange, angry little songs merged with slow, melancholy ballads. But as soon as you realise that each is, in its own right, a work of genius, Wowee Zowee as a whole sort of gels.
The way we are greeted with a slow guitar chord and piano note repeated unevenly doesn't exactly set the tone. Most people will have worked this out by the first line "There is no castration fear!". So that's alright then. After this oddity, we reach the classic Pavement single Rattled by the Rush, a near-perfect indie song, as well as the only one I could find on YouTube. Rattled by the Rush is the only song that really could make a decent single, but I'm sure I watched Father to the Sister of a Thought - a more folksy indie song - on YouTube a month or two ago. TO add to the already inconsistent tracklist we then hear Black Out and Brinx Job, completing the slow lapse into a weird vocal track and general Pavementish insanity and noise. After this there are no patterns. Grounded's peaceful lull is somewhat interrupted by Spiral Stairs' addition to the album, Serpentine Pad - basically a punk song, which ends, to a Pink Floyd-like (sort of) intro to Motion Suggests. From then on the songs don't flow in any way, but fit together in an antiflow... it just works.
But of course in an album as weird as this there are flaws. Western Homes is a terrible song to bow out on, but does keep the experimental feel with the interesting vocals, which waver like a hot atmosphere. If only they could be paired with a better song. Best Friend's Arm, while being a funny little addition, is really just Pavement trying to play another Slanted and Enchanted song, and failing. Otherwise, it's hard to pick out other failings, but the collection still seems to have an unfinished air about it.
Of course, the best thing about this album is the experimentality. It built on the strange noises that Pavement had already started using previously, but using them much more effectively. Bob Nastanovich's keyboards, sound effects, and percussion are all used to maximum effect here, unlike the other albums, and of course this is a good thing. It still doesn't stray far from the guitars, drums, bass setup, but there's enough variety of techniques to make it sound original.
If you do wish to invest in this album, I recommend the remastered edition that is due in November. If it's anything like the other two remastereds it'll be well worth the money. I am buying it again, as well as the upcoming (if not confirmed) rereleases of Brighten the Corners and Terror Twilight, which will effectively complete a collection of all Pavement songs. Fantastic news.

Wikipedia article, Amazon page, a professional review.

EDIT: I've changed my mind, Best Friend's Arm is an awesome song.

PS: Sorry this couldn't've come at the regular time of Sunday night (a time I wish to stick to in future). Also sorry it's more Pavement. Still to come I have Björk, Bright Eyes, Beck, and Massive Attack; possibly more. Then it'll be back to standard goings-on.
Other stuff going on: Links bar to your left. Much cool stuff. If you do play N, join the forums. Most of what I do on the internet these days can be traced back to there. And I'm on the IRC channel (as linked to in the forum) pretty much all the time I'm online.
Also a hit counter. I needed one, badly.

1 comment:

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