The Clean’s Getaway album (geddit?) was released in 2001, by which point New Zealand’s finest underground indie boys were in a position to apply fancy production to their sound. They still sound gorgeously shambling however, e.g. just the way you want them to be. Two tracks even feature members of Yo La Tengo! Now Getaway is reissued in double CD / double LP editions by Merge.
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A record so good I want to eat it.
When I was younger I liked the Clean but never thought they were quite as good as the Chills or the Verlaines or the other NZ royalty I worshipped back then. Listening to this album from 2001 now re-issued in double disc luxury format alongside ‘Syds Pink Wiring System (2003) I now wants to slap the old me in the face.
Listening to this makes me realise that, like football, music is a simple game complicated by idiots. What do the Clean actually do? They string a couple of fuzzy chords together and sing over the top of it. Yet every song here has an atmosphere and a feel all it’s own. It sounds shambolic at first, as if they don’t really care and are just messing about in a rehearsal room but out of the splintered rock comes indelible melodies that when you play the album as a whole start to worm their way into your cranium so that it kinda drifts across your brain rather than entering it direct. The Clean are a band not so much listened to but absorbed.
Yes if it weren’t for the Velvet Underground getting in there first not much of this music would have ever existed. But the Clean shift that blueprint into shapes all their own and when they start strumming pop songs it’s like sun streaming through clouds after a month of grey. Brilliant timeless music.
7/10 Stephen Customer review, 1st November 2016
There are few albums that start as well as Getaway by The Clean. “Stars” has a superb riff, groove and melody making it one of the best album openers I’ve heard - a perfect song! The next track “Jala” changes pace to a kind of mystical psychedelia that wouldn’t be out of place amid the early work of Olivia Tremor Control. “Crazy” has all the hallmarks of classic Clean – an almost-but-not-quite shambolic clatter, nicely held together by bass and drums. “E Motel” and “Poor Boy” more-or-less fit this bill too.
Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo make a guest appearance on this album but not on tracks you’d expect. For example, instrumental “Holdin’ On” has a distinct Yo La Tengoiness about it, but they weren’t anywhere near it. Their contributions come on “Alpine Madness” and “Circle Canyon”.
The album is a bit of a sprawling mess really, but the good bits are very good and worth the admission price. It’s a mid-fi mix of proper songs, 90-second ditties, instrumentals and experimentation. The best of the ditties is the melodic “Golden Crown” but this also frustrates as it seems as though it’s not fully realised.
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