Not far off being inch perfect,
This review is from: Inches (Audio CD)
For most bands, a singles compilation is an afterthought-- a brusque concession to fans who may have missed out on the limited releases or for dilettantes who couldn't be arsed to buy separate product. For Les Savy Fav, a singles compilation was a forethought, conceived before the band had even recorded a song for it. The band have been writing and recording specifically for this project as they put it. Now, seven years after its conception, the career-spanning project finally comes to culmination, collecting the A- and B-sides of nine seven-inches, all originally released by different labels.
Its a novel approach but it's worked .For the most part the eighteen tracks on Inches are terrific examples of gnarly wired hell for leather rock music. The songs mostly revolve around clanging duel at dawn guitars, scudding bass and crisp percussion but there are also elements of discordant electronica hurled into the mix -opening track "Meet Me In The Dollar Bin"- is a splendid example of this. The presence of bearded behemoth front man Tim Harrington whose vocal commitment will bring comparisons to Black Francis (Listen to his shredded vocal chords on "Hold On To Your Genre")and by proxy the Pixies is also a plus.
The songs are not just tremendous examples of committed melodramatic rock music but there is real intelligence , cognisance and humour in the lyrics .These songs are truly complete works and as the running order runs from the newer tracks to the older it provides an inverted history of the bands progression . That said one of the standout tracks is relatively early release "Our Coastal Hymn" where a knotty bass line gives way to a vivacious riff . There is also the post-hardcore roar of "Bringing Us Down" , and the Gang Of Four like rhythms of "Yawn Yawn Yawn".My favourite is the truly ace "The Sweat Descends" where a staccato guitar suddenly ignites into a trebly descending (Appropriate) chorus that could make a Tory councillor dance like a loon.
"The Reformat" (Live) takes us into self indulgent territory but it's a rare indulgence. As a modern rock album Inches is an increasingly rare example of something vital , exciting and relevant. It recalls bands like those already mentioned plus I hear hints of Big Black, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Screaming Blue Messiahs and Fugazi -though it seems long term fans of Les Savy Fav do not like the Fugazi comparison so I won't make it. Whoever you contrast this band to, or even if you just accept them on their own terms , Inches is a great rock album.