Review Summary: Gyrating strippers dressed like animals, irritated talk show crowds, dueling guitars at 11, playing to an empty Hollywood Bowl, Chavez is truly the greatest band you've never heard of.
You probably haven't heard of the above band, and even though at the time one of the most successful acts in the indie world of the 1990's, have unfortunately fallen through the stacks into obscurity. Without the Pitchfork canonizing, or really any sort of act that echoes their unique sound, Chavez is victim to time, yet in this compilation you will find two of the finest indie albums of the 90's, as well as the greatest music video ever.
Better Days Will Haunt You contains every song the band the band has recorded, starting with the bands first single. The first song, "Repeat the Ending", begins with an almost atonal blare, jagged guitar lines over squalls of electronic distortion, a gravely, lovelorn voice trodding its feet through a song that becomes cathartic, clearing your mind for the world of the men of Chavez.
The comp. contains the bands two albums, Gone Glimmering and Ride the Fader. Gone Glimmering is far rougher than its sophomore counterpart, its songs striking a warbly balance between the math rock of Slint and the post hardcore of Jawbox. Yet unlike their counterparts, the men of Chavez always wear their hearts on their sleeves, you feel Matt Sweeny's pain through cryptic lyrics, and building to form a heart tearing whole.Yet perhaps the finest part of the experience is James Lo's powerful drumming, drum feel like the punctuation points of the gods smashing into the music.
Ride the Fader is a far more polished affair, with some of the songs showing similarities to Guided by Voices, with non-sequitur lyrics and softer structures, but the basic trick of interlocking guitars over superb drumming and a monolithic bassline remains, except for the tear-jerking album highlight "Unreal is Here", a GBV-esque ballad that will stay in your head for weeks. Overall the album is far stronger, with tension filled climaxes hinting at post-rock.
The rest of the compilation is rounded out by the Pentagram Ring EP and some off album tracks, as well as two of the funniest music video's for the songs "Break Up Your Band" and "Unreal is Here", featuring the band playing with male strippers to a talkshow crowd and an empty stadium, respectively. The album's only technical faults are its rather dated sound(overcome by the quality of the music) and the fact that Chavez showed so much growth and progression and then just ended. Don't let the legacy of the men of Chavez die too.