A-side: Gold Soundz
B-Side: Strings Of Nashville
(Big Cat 1994)
Pavement are often lumped in with the whole grunge movement of the early to mid 90's, but I'm not sure how grunge they really were. Sure they had loud and occasionally abrasive guitars, but their sound seemed to have it's roots less in punk and early heavy metal than other grunge archetypes. Indeed they owe as much to the laid back sounds of 70's west coast style soft rock. This is definitely a good thing, as it is something that singles them them out from the crowd. Not that standing out from the crowd was any problem for Pavement - the band they get most compared to is The Fall, not necessarily because of sonic similarities but more for the fact the they plow their own furrow on the peripheries of any scene that happens to be about. Just like the Fall, they employ a different styles and sounds to come up with their own unique Pavement-ness, that is instantly recognisable as their own.
Gold Soundz is from a 4-track EP, (haven't had one of them for bit!) The title track is mellow grunge overlaid with chiming indie guitars. The singer has a distinct nasal voice, that once you've accepted it, is not unpleasant. It's upbeat and poppy, whilst remaining perfectly relaxed. There's nothing radical on show here, but it's got enough of a something to leave you with a lasting memory of the tune. The other track on the a-side of this record is Kneeling Bus. Just like Gold Soundz this has a stop/start signature, that is recognisably Pavement. It's a spiky sounding instrumental, that is fuzzy and short - and as such there is little else to say about it.
Strings of Nashville, the first song on the b-side, instantly makes me think of later period Velvet Underground. It's got an easy vibe, that's as much about atmosphere as it is about song. The vocals and almost hidden and practically impenetrable. There is a slightly spooky feel to the sound, enhanced by the impression that the whole thing is ever so slight off-key. More atmosphere is by the instrumentation being sparse, and the addition wave sound effects during the song. Just like on the a-side, the second song here is almost a short afterthought. Exit Theory is a set of disjointed sound, there is a sudden build up to noise, which dissolves into chaos and is over in seconds.
At the end of the day this I quite like this record, not as much as some other Pavement songs, but Gold Soundz works well as a single. The overall effect is something that is oddly feelgood.
Next time some proper noisy grunge...