Watery, Domestic



by Old Uncle Al USER (86 Reviews)
January 17th, 2006 | 13 replies | 5,371 views

Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Brief Note: I reviewed this before. I was quite proud of it, too. Unfortunalty, the crash on the site erased three of my precious reviews that i will try to replace, even surpass, them. Stay tuned for more repeated reviews.


Pavement was an up-and coming project that started where most projects do-a garage between a couple guitar wielding comadres and a 40-something hippy drummer. S.M. (Stephen Malkmus), Spiral Stairs (Scott Kranberg) and Gary Young were the three founders of the joke band Pavement. They belted out a few covers and even made a few originals for the hell of it. Listening over some of their songs, S.M. and Spiral Stairs decided that they, above all else, where actually pretty dang good. This, my friends, is the birth of one of the most influential indie bands of all time.

Equipping bassist Mark Ibold and second drummer and onstage bootyshaker Bob Nostavich, they began to tour their native town of Stockton, PA along up and coming indie acts that never made it as far as Pavement. Signing to local indie label Matador (also know for their work with The New Pornographers), Pavement released the debut Slanted and Enchanted, a medley of distorted guitars and humming bass. The vocals seem meaningless, but occasianally give a shout about young love (Summer Babe) and even a sly hint at childhood problems (Loretta's Scars). It wasn't really that successful (it still has yet to reach gold status), but the few that enjoyed it realized what it was: an unexpected classic.

Fast forward seven months. Pavement were still relatively unkown. In a small effort to gain some respect as musicians, they began making some songs that had the essence and rawness of S & E, but also had a more prominent sound and even less meaning. They released the four track EP Watery, Domestic in September 1992. On the cover is a rooster. Not really anything to do with the music, which is really great. Against a wall of sound is S.M. singing really about nothing. The music was clearer, and the songs contained some sing-songish style vocals surrounded by the buzzing guitars that (alsmost) put them on the map. The rhythm guitar is usually built up on simple bar chords and the lead usually contains some unexpected bursts of feedback. The bass is clearly heard, and the drums are faint but rewarding if you listen to them.

The first track, Texas Never Whispers, Starts with feedback with a weird sort of effect. It leads into some palm-muted chords playing some pretty interesting changes in the chords. S.M. is singing in a wavery voice that actually keeps interesting throughout the song. The very beautiful outro is the highlight of the song, with some traditional indie chords, example E, Gb and A in a row, with S.M. singing overtop about the way the river ends. A good solo to boot, this song is a keeper. Following to Texas Never Whispers is Frontwards, a medley of a few simple chords and S.M. not really giving that microphone hell, but suits the calm mood for the music. Again the lyrics mean nothing, but no complaints here. Not the most impressive performances, but what the hey, it's just an overall great song that has some nice ballady chords and some great lyrics.

Track #3, Lions (Linden), is a gem. It has some new moods to it, like grungey blues. The song isn't very long, and once you've heard the lullaby-esque chorus, you've pretty much heard the whole song. After that comes Shoot the Singer (1 Sick Verse). The bass plays the role of rhythm guitar, and both guitars have taken on the lead of lead guitar, giving S.M. a reason to occasionally shout. Everything has it's perks, and this song has the vocal talent that has been quite gentle and calm througout the rest of the album. It might remind you of In The Mouth A Desert. Pretty much everything you want in a Pavement song.

Overall, this is an excellent EP. The problem lies in S.M.'s vocals. Not exactly his most impressive performance, even though he's not really know for his vocal talents. Another factor is that it's way too short. EP's should be around six tracks long, and the songs barely scratch three minutes each. Pavement never fails to impress me. Every release is sacred to me, so i was a bit dissapointed by this release but liked it non the less. Pavement is, whether you like it or not, an immortal band. Case closed. Court ajourned.

Spiral Stairs
Mark Ibold
Gary Young
Bob Nostavich

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user ratings (58)

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 17th 2006


I think you spend too much time talking about band history, and don't make up for it by having very little on the actual EP. Also, I've noticed that you either only review albums you love, or you overrate things. Can an EP really be a classic?

Two-Headed Boy
January 17th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

yeah i guess you're right. but keep in mind it's 4 songs long, so it will be a bit shorter than a regular song.

January 17th 2006


Well written review, but Galapogos has a good point.
Sometimes it's nice to completely trash an album (with respect), like I did with my last Aphex Twin review.

Two-Headed Boy
January 17th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

i tried that, but i was accused of trashing a whole genre.

January 17th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

I agree over emphasising (SP?) the band history thing. I always enjoyed this EP, it's no classic though.

January 30th 2006


Yeah, so its Stockton CA as in California. So Matador, located in New York City, wouldn't be local. The band was first on Drag City. You're not doing Matador much justice, as there've been far more famous/better bands on the label than New Pornographers. I'd spend more time on the music if your history is that shabby.

This is a cool collection of songs from an interesting time in Pavement's history, although I think it fits better on the Slanted Reissue.

May 14th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

I agreed with the first comment where he asked if an EP could really be a classic. I'm sure there are EP's some may find to be "classic" but it's an awfully hard thing to accomplish, especially since most of their better songs are placed on LP's. Decent review, cheers.

The Jungler
May 14th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, all I've heard off this is Frontwards, which was also good.

September 6th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

one of my favorite EPs (duh)

May 17th 2014








Digging: TTNG - This Town Needs Guns

May 17th 2014


on a pavement marathon sup sup jammin em all

July 18th 2014


this is so good

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

July 18th 2014


Good lad

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