"Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA's Desert Orgins" is the long awaited expansion of Pavement's seminal second album. Expansion might not be a strong enough term- Matador treats us to not only the original album and it's B-sides, but an entire disc-25 unreleased tracks from the CRCR recording sessions. At first it sounded like too much, I mean, theres almost 50 songs on the reissue! Could they keep up the momentum? Will I have to skip past throwaway bedroom demos and tongue-in-cheek musical rants which were never meant to be released?(not that I'm referring to any particular boxsets *cough* Nirvana's "With the Lights Out" *cough*) The answer? C'mon. This is Pavement in their prime.
After the jaw droppingly beautiful final chords to "Fillmore Jive" fade out, the B-Sides and compilation tracks begin, with a cover of REM's "Camera". These are all predictably great, Pavement fanatics have been familiar with the delicate beauty of "Strings of Nashville" for years. There's "Raft", which is somehow even better than the majority of the tracks released on the original CRCR. An interesting version of "5-4=Unity", where vocals are added to the jazzy instrumental.
The second CD is just as strong. Although some of the synthy instrumentals can be boring, they never drag on too long, thus keeping the listeners attention throughout. Theres an acoustic version of "Elevate Me Later" titled "Ell Ess Two". Theres even demos of the two best songs off Pavements third album, "Grounded" and "Kennel District". And best of all, "LA's Desert Orgins" unearths a classic Pavement tune which was unjustly unheard until now. "Hands Off the Bayou", with it's catchy, rollicking verse, handclaps, and the patented Pavement "ooh, oohs", is a must hear for anyone even remotely interested in Pavement. You know what? I take that back. This entire reissue is a "must hear".
4 Bumps | Bump