Retrospectacle #3: Pavement, Brighten The Corners

It seems to me that Pavement were doomed to be a cult classic. Sure, everyone loves them now but the band struggled with commercial success during their 1989-1999 reign.

What was I during this time? Like most people… not listening to Pavement.

I didn’t discover Pavement until it was suggested to me by a website in 2004 (allmusic perhaps? I can’t remember). The first album I got was “Brighten the Corners,” their 3rd album and perhaps their most mainstream. Their first two records– “Slanted and Enchanted” and “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain”–now reign supreme amongst lo-fi rock aficionados but for some reason, “Brighten The Corners” has a consistency and accessibility that holds it higher (…you know, in my esteem).

While Pavement certainly could throw down a fuzz jam, the tracks on this album flow and shuffle to playful melodies; the only exception perhaps being the raucous “Stereo”. Pavement showed a more melodramatic side to themselves with more delicate instrumentation (for a lo fi fuzz rock band) paired with heavy lyrics.

It’s a combination I  happen to love.

“Starling Of The Slipstream” and fantastic closer “Fin” definitely showed that fuzz rock could be beautiful as it could be wild. So go on, if you haven’t, but most likely, you have.

Listen to “Fin” here.

Retrospectacle, a column from contributor Thom Lau, appears on Tuesdays.

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