Friday, October 28, 2016

Pavement - Wowee Zowee

Pavement released Wowee Zowee in 1995, the follow up to the highly melodic Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.  It has the reputation of being a kind of glorious mess, with 18 tracks across 56 minutes.  To my mind it's not quite 'glorious'.  Too many of the tracks are scratchy and shouty with little merit (Brinx Job, Serpentine Pad, Best Friend's Arm etc).  It opens with the rather limp strum We Dance during which very little happens over 3 minutes.  The lurching, electric riffs of Rattled by the Rush are a distinct improvement, and Black Out is a wonderfully lazy strum, joined by soaring, breezy electric leads.  Other tracks like Grounded and AT&T are kind of prime Pavement, but on Father to a Sister of Thought they predict the alt-country movement with a gorgeous countrified strum, Doug Easley throwing a whole bunch of steel guitar all over it before beefier riffs kick in during the outtro.  Grave Architecture kicks off like a soft, Velvet-y track but unfortunately develops into a shouty track, and is kind of emblematic of the album.  Later into the album, Fight This Generation has a creeping, brooding quality to it but doesn't really develop into anything, just repeating "fight this generation" ad nauseum.  On the other hand, Kennel District does a decent approximation of a late-eighties Pixies track while the meaty, heavy riffs of Half a Canyon could be a pre-cursor to the White Stripes.

But there's no real fab standout, no Summer Babe, no Gold Soundz and no Major Leagues.  A hard Pavement album to love, though there are some decent tunes on it.