Pavement – Wowee Zowee (Sordid Sentinals Edition)

PavementIn the last few years, the now defunct Pavement have had their albums, chronologically re-issued. After Slanted & Enchanted and Crooked Rain Crooked Rain, it’s time for 1995’s Wowee Zowwee to be released again as a delux 2 CD set. Wowee Zowee was already a fairly expansive album already containing 18 tracks, so there’s only been 11(!) tracks added to the first disc. What’s already there is some of the best stuff Pavement recorded. The lack of an obvious single wasn’t a drawback as this in an album that you listen to in one go. There’s plenty of variety of sounds and styles, whether it’s the acoustic and melancholy songs like “We Dance” or “Father To A Sister Of A Thought” or the short, blasts of punk rock like “Flux=Rad” or “Serpentine’s Pad”. There’s also plenty of oddball tracks like “Brinx Job: which sounds like the old Fresco wallpaper adverts. “Best Friends Arms” stutters and starts and “Blackout” has a quiet, nocturnal sound. Penultimate track “Half A Canyon” sounds like the White Stripes’ “Ball & Biscuit” and sounds like some kind of deranged jam. The extra tracks on the first disc are mainly made up of B-sides with a couple of studio outtakes.

Probably the pick of these are the frantic “False Skorpion” and the country rock-vibe of “Easily Fooled” (which appears two more times as live radio sessions) and the short and sweet “I Love Perth”. On the bumper second disc, there’s a wealth of live tracks, session recordings and some songs that were recorded for soundtracks. One of these kicks off the second disc; “Sensitive Euro Man” (from the films I Shot Andy Warhol) is a strange woozy songs that’s quite minimal in places. The other “Painted Soldiers” (from Kids In The Hall)was good enough to warrant a release as a single. It’s pretty rare as it’s got a lead vocal by guitarist Spiral Stairs. It’s a track like this that makes this two disc edition important, as most people probably never got the chance to hear this track first time round.

Other goodies include some live tracks recorded here in Australia, including a great version of Half A Canyon; some BBC session tracks and some Dutch radio session material. There’s also some songs recorded during the album sessions, that never made it onto the final release. Overall these tracks, Stray Fire and Soul Food, are poorly recorded but Soul Food still sounds pretty good. There’s an alternate mix of “We Dance” which underlines just how good the song is. Pavement are one of the bands I missed out on in the 90’s. Buying these re-issues is helping me get a fuller picture of just how good they were. If you’re new to Pavement I’d get this album or maybe slightly more mainstream sounds of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.

Pavement – Painted Soldiers (a rather funny video where Sprial Stairs proceeds to fire the rest of the band):


  1. Brilliant, brilliant album.

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