8/10 Clinton Staff review, 15 June 2012
Led by David Berman, the man with the blackest beard in the whole of the western world, its strange to think that The Silver Jews were pre-Pavement and even stranger to hear early ‘hit’ ‘Canada’ now with the benefit of the hindsight of what came later. It sounds like the roughest Pavement demo ever - literally pots and pans for percussion and that MUST be Malkmus singing. There’s a more noir- ish feel to the next few tracks - still recorded on a boombox you can hear the beginnings of where the band would head - a dark poetic vision rather than lo-fi pop bliss but that said a lot of the songs are pure Pavement - the superb ‘Secret Knowledge of Back Roads’ was even covered by them but its hard to really tell here where one band ended and the other began as Malkmus takes up a lot of the singing and Bob Nastovich is around to crash around on various table tops and ashtrays. Certainly more of interest to fans of early Pavement than what later became the Silver Jews but there is a super pop sensibility at work here that was lacking in the later work and it seems that at this point this was as much Stephen Malkmus’s band as it was Berman’s. Lo-fi beyond belief but full to the brim of lost, scratchy pop classics. The influence on todays no-fi popateers such as Ty Segall and White Fence cannot be underestimated.
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