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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

on 28 March 2013
Before buying this, I had only heard one Pavement song and I thought I'd better hear more.
Pretty good on first listen. I need to spend more time in their company to get the full experience.
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on 29 April 2016
Very good.
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on 12 March 2010
I will always have fond memories of the day I discovered the wonders of the Californian alt.rockers Pavement. My brother burst into the family home shouting about an album he'd just heard and how all music up to this point (including our beloved Nirvana) was now worthless. He was only slightly over-estimating.

The albums' title? 'Slanted & Enchanted', which to the ears of a 14 year old in 1992 who'd been groomed on the wonders of Jimi Hendrix & Neil Young, sounded fresh, exciting and something my generation could legitematly claim as our own. THIS IS DYLAN TO ME!!!. And what about 'Slanted & Enchanted's legacy?, well here we are 18 years later and it is still on constant rotation in my house and the greatness of tracks such as 'In The Mouth A Desert', 'Here' and 'Two States' has only galvanized through age. To me they now sound like standards, the sort of track you might have heard Woody Guthrie or Johnny Cash try their hand at. Comparisons to british post-punk band the Fall were made (with Mark E. Smith being especially critical, calling them a 'rip-off' of his wonderful group) but the album also shared a ramshackle quality with early Sonic Youth or Ohio's pin-ups Guided By Voices. Despite the obvious influences 'Slanted & Enchanted' became a landmark release which band's as far a-field as The Animal Collective and The Silver Jews still cite as a major influence and one in which no 'Top 100 Album' list would be complete without.

But the Pavement story didn't end there (although it very nearly did, with original drummer Gary Young's departure from the group, to be replaced by 'non-drummer' Steve West) when in 1994 Stephen Malkmus and co managed to release the truly incredible follow-up album 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain'. The record featured possibly their finest moment ever commited to tape (single 'Range Life) but also lent itself a much more relaxed and confident air than it's predecessor with jazz flourishes and long musical intedludes being much more prevalent throughout. 'Range Life' even managed the unthinkable and became somewhat of an MTV success, the delicious Malkmus putdown of The Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots even gave them some tabloid coverage. Other highlights of the album include the singles 'Gold Soundz' & 'Cut Your Hair' (another MTV 'smash'), the laid-back 'Heaven Is A Truck', 'Stop Breathin' and closer 'Fillmore Jive' which again seemed like an attack on other bands (this time Malkmus's derision seemed directed at 'druggy drone groups', ironically Pavement later earned themselves comparisons to San Francisco's Grateful Dead).

The following year (1995) saw the release of what Stephen Malkmus cites as the 'last classic Pavement record', it was titled 'Wowee Zowee' and if nothing can at least lay claim to being Pavement's 'White Album'. The record incorparates a whole range of different styles including punk, country and krautrock. It was a sprawling affair that certainly lent itself a real 'Long Player' feel and could easily sit alongside the classic 'Freak Out'(1965) by the Mothers Of Invention or The Clash's brutal 'Sandinista!'(1980). The record has always been a bit of a Marmite record which some claim to have been 'career suicide' (a claim helped along by 1995's Lollapallooza festival where the band were pelted with mud by angry fans wanting to only hear the 'hits'). From my point of view I sit alongside Stephen Malkmus in beleiving it to be a wonderful album which has aged tremendously well with hsongs such as 'We Dance', 'Rattled By The Rush', 'Pueblo' and 'Kennel District' easily being in the higher echealons of the group's output.

Two years passed before the band released the much more conventional (safe?) and radio-friendly 'Brighten The Corners'. By no means do I mean the album any disrespect, in fact with age and contemplation it has become somewhat of a favourite, but at the time (1997) I felt a little dissapointed and let down because the band hadn't taken their ideas on 'Wowee Zowee' further. But no one could possibly fail to love tracks such as 'Stereo', 'Shady Lane', 'Embassy Row' (a long-time favourite of mine) and 'Date W/ Ikea'. The album sold well (for Pavement, we're not talking Michael Jackson sales) and is famous for being the only album in their cannon which featured a 'full' lyric sheet ('Slanted & Enchanted also had something one could describe as a lyric sheet, but it is by no means comprehensive). Overall it is a fine album and one which I would recommend to new comers who want to be eased into the Pavement experience.

Finally (still with me?) in 1999 Pavement released their final album, the Nigel Godrich produced 'Terror Twilight'. This is definetly the weakest album the band released in their 10 year exsistence (shown by the fact that only 'Spit On A Sranger' features on this career retrospective). It is a record of it's time which shares some qualities with Scottish indie royalty Belle & Sebastian and Athen's (cheers Elmo) finest R.E.M. Overall the album is'nt bad (and 'Major Leagues' was a great single) but inside fighting between the band and a disabilty to work with Godrich signalled the end of the band. They embarked upon a six month tour of the record but the end was nigh and indeed in late 1999/early 2000 the band split under acrimonious circumstances, with drummer Steve West revealing how he only discovered the band's demise over the internet.

So here we are in 2010 and Pavement have annonced a reunion tour (yay!!) and Domino seeing fit to release this 'best of/career overview'. This is a wonderful release which features, alongside great album tracks and singles, the R.E.M love affair that is 'Unseen Power Of The Picket Fence'. It is a stunning track which was recorded around the sessions for 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain' (in fact it is available on the recent reissue of that album). I have long championed this song and it was a pleasant surprise to see it added to this release, it's inclusion is indicative of the care and attention that has gone into this collection.

In summary I'd say this is a must-have for people who have'nt experienced the wonders of Pavement before and for any long standing fans it is a chance to re-live those few years in the mid 90's when a band got themselves on mainstream MTV whilst wearing Santa Claus suits chasing flying 'cooked' turkeys and insulting their fellow musician's.

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on 10 March 2010
This is a twisty-turny, non-chronological run through the recording career of one of the greatest bands ever. A collection that subverts the 'best of' genre: whilst containing some of their singles, 'Stereo', 'Trigger Cut', 'Range Life','Gold Soundz', 'Shady Lane' and the greatest pop song ever - 'Cut Your Hair',it also pitches quite a few curve balls along the way, 'Mellow Jazz Docent','Debris Slide' and 'Fight This Generation' for example. Domino Records launched a competition to guess the track listing prior to release which kind of sums it all up - you could pick anything and you'd get a fantastic career overview, but whatever you pick, it's still going to be different to the actual release! If you're new to Pavement, as opined in other reviews, this is a good place to start but if you like what you hear you should also check out their full albums. 'Slanted and Enchanted' and 'Crooked Rain Crooked Rain' can sit along side any classic album you care to metnion. My one reservation about this collection is that it doesn't contain any of their excellent b-sides such as 'Westy Can Drum' and 'Harness your hopes' which I feel would have fitted in nicely with the spirit of this retrospective. However, this is fabulous stuff!
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on 20 March 2010
At least Domino are honest. This has been released to tie in with the tour, and I for one have no beef with my favourite band making a few bucks after the event. Hey, they even waited the 10 years promised, 'scool!

It's exactly what it says, an overview, and probably how the live set lists will look - I'd guess way too many crowd pleasers for the die-hard fans' liking and some real oddballs thrown in. A reviewer above moans at the lack of B-sides etc but we have Shoot the Singer from an EP (gorgeous) and Picket Fence, some freaky homage to REM from the No Alternative comp back in '92 or '93, heh. I think it has the right balance, the moods seem to flow well enough (I can hear this record without hearing it, ok!) and it ends on a freaky album track prog-out.

Of course, it's needless if you're a fan, and rather like the recent Radiohead Best-Of, they weren't a singles band so this is a little jarring for the long-termers. What it will do, hopefully, is lead to people spotting favourite tracks, finding that the albums have very clear personalities, and then going for one of the brilliant album re-releases, complete with all odds and ends from the same period.

As a final note, S&E's re-release ends with early Peel sessions and the Brixton '91 gig supporting Sonic Youth, and it's awesome. I'd say THAT's the Pavement that made people fall in love, a good insight to the early band and a logical progression from older, interesting and do-it-your-own-way bands like the Fall, Chrome (!), early Mary Chain, Zappa, and I think it's this that secures their place. Their contemporaries don't hold up in retrospect, and I don't think anyone's advanced further since.
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on 10 April 2010
Esteemed reviewers above have covered all the major points so just to add.... "no RAttled by the rush!!!!!" And you know why? Well put it this way, I saw pavement a handful of times in the mid nineties and it was an oft requested song but did they ever play it? No. Its really tricky you know!! And don't get me started on Father to a sister of thought. They can play that but they won't have brought a pedal steel player.
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With hindsight it was no great surprise that when Damien Albarn tired of the rat race that had become Britpop he turned his focus to Pavement possibly the greatest American band (along with Wilco) of the past 20 years. The subsequent album "Blur" did indeed caused significant tensions between one time friends Albarn and the creative genius behind Pavement, rocks answer to Einstein, Stephen Malkmus. No need to recount the feud here suffice it to say that I would give up every Blur album I own if it came down to a straight choice to retaining any one of the following three Pavement albums namely "Brighten the Corners", "Slanted & Enchanted" or "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain" by Pavement.

Why is such an endearingly shambolic band so loved? After all some of their incoherent performances were legendary and generated such antagonism that they were often booed off stage. Indeed at one time they revelled in the self appointed label of "The Band That Ruined Lollapallooza" as a result of a particularly anarchic performance. It was because of this that they were often dubbed the American "Wire" or more precisely the American "Fall"/ These are comparisons that in this reviewers eyes can only be viewed as wonderful compliments to reputation of an already great band and you will do no wrong checking out Pavements cover of Mark E Smith's "The Classical".

"Quarantine the past" is a thorough if rather badly sequenced "best of" (what do you expect?) and contains enough delights to keep both old and new Pavement fans roundly satisfied. Yes there are curious omissions, not least of the truly brilliant "Pueblo" and "We Dance" from "Wowee Zowee, "Major Leagues" and "Carrot Rope" from the admittedly flawed "Terror Twilight" and that Pavement perennial and great lo fi anthem "Zurich is Stained" from Slanted. It does contain however Pavements greatest hits (oh the irony) which include "Summer babe (winter version)", Trigger Cut/Wounded kite at 17" "Cut your hair" "Here" "Stereo" and everyone's favourite "Range life" with the Malkmus showing yet again that he is best lyricist this side of Morrissey. Who else could have got away in "Stereo" with "Well focus on the quasar in the mist / The Kaiser has a cyst / And I'm a blank want list"

Clearly for this "best of" the albums compilers this must have been a terrifying task. Pavement fans are Obsessive Compulsive Disorder types of the most extreme kind (Yes your honour I too am guilty) and there is no substitute for the owning the three albums highlighted above. Pavement never sought the big time, no great archive of MTV videos exists and on times they were truly dire. Yet like Television or the Velvets their influence is enduring and persuasive and can be heard in REM, Nirvana, Blur and Grizzly Bear et al. Never has such a shambolic and awkward band cast such a giant shadow.
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on 29 June 2010
Between the demise of The Pixies and the "The Year Punk Broke" (1991, with Nirvana's Nevermind), Pavement released their first LP Slanted and Enchanted (Luxe & Reduxe 2CD Edition) to wild critical acclaim. I bought said album at the time (hey! I did whatever the NME told me to!) but found only around 4 tracks to my taste on it and quickly brought it at the local Tape & Record Exchange. Here is a 24-track compilation album of the 6 or 7 albums Pavement released before splitting. The fans allegedly decided the track listing and the result is very good. US 1990s alternative rock in excelsis. Lo-Fi but not amateurish, indie but with an ear for tunes, quiet/loud but not to the point of formulaic, Pavement are surely among the greats of indie rock. And my favorite tracks from Slanted and Enchanted are on the album.
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on 26 April 2010
After several reissues of their most important albums Pavement finally put together a collection of the best from each. A very worthwhile introduction for people who've not come across them before.
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on 10 November 2014
Great album of songs from a great band
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