Pavement are innovators and leaders. No doubt about it. Being one of the first indie rock bands, Pavement were leaders of the underground. By the time they had gotten around to making "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain", the band had undergone a number of changes. They had make an effort to clean up their sound somewhat and had also changed their drummer, due to Gary Young being such a crazy man.
Stephen Malkamus - Guitar, Vocals
Scott Kannberg - Guitar, Vocals
Mark Ibold - Bass
Bob Nastanovich - Percussion
Steve West - Drums
Pavement's second album is possibly better than "Slanted and Enchanted" and if not, it is close. By the time Pavement got around to releasing a second record, they had already released a classic album with "Slanted and Enchanted". Pavement's sound on "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain" is a lot cleaner than that of "Slanted and Enchanted", but is still by no means overproduced. One of the problems some listeners faced with "Slanted and Enchanted" was that the production was just far too hard for them to get past. Sure, Pavement had some incredible songs, but actually hearing them through the rawness of the album was another issue. Others would argue that the cleaner production of "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain" takes away some of the mystery and charm of Pavement's debut. While "Slanted and Enchanted's" production may be a bit too messy and "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain's" production may be a tad clean, none of this can take away from the fact that both albums are full of incredible songs that deserve no less than the term 'classic'.
There are some truly great musical moments on this album. The jazzy piano in "5-4=Unity" is a particular noteworthy example. Or maybe the incredible guitar riff from "Elevate Me Later". Or the incredible guitar leads in "Filmore Jive". Of a particular greatness are the vocals. Obviously these guys aren't the greatest singer. But to find someone who suits this music better would be impossible. Being able to sound cool and convey the amount of emotion these guys do while still having your own style is a great skill. The drumming throughout is also excellent, particularly in the louder parts of "Filmore Jive".
"Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain" is a non stop album of great songs. From start to finish, every song on it is great and different. Though a great 90s band such as Nirvana or Dinosaur Jr can release great albums, it takes just a bit more to create what Pavement create. While every song on the album is great, there are also no repeats. Every song has it's own flavour and each one is wonderful. Though every song is really good, the first three tracks open the album incredibly and "Filmore Jive" is an amazing way to close the album. Through having a great range of influences, Pavement are able to create a unique sound where every song sounds different, yet always sounds like Pavement. From the uplifting pop of "Elevate Me Later" to the jazzy "5-4=Unity" to the emotional "Stop Breathin'", "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain" does not have one bad moment. Every song will make the listener feel what the band felt.
A true classic of the 90s and a must own for any fan of Indie Rock. Pavement's second album is easily one of the best records of it's decade and a music fan would be hard pressed to find a better record than "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain". A truly amazing album for so many reasons.
- Not one dud song
- Amazing emotionally, musically and in songwriting
- Excellent vocals
- A slightly rawer production may have been preferable to some listeners
Elevate Me Later
FINAL RATING: 5/5