With Pavement enjoying something of a resurgence, a reunion and accompanying tour have been agreed, it comes as little surprise that they should chose to release a collection of their greatest hits. The purpose of doing so generally falls into two categories. The first being the artist seeking to replenish their empty accounts and the second being to remind fans of their greatness and draw in new followers. Thankfully, on Quarantine the Past, Pavement have opted for the latter.
I won’t focus on the songs absent from this collection, every Pavement fan has their favourite and it would be impossible to fit them all on to one CD. The success of this record will be judged by the nostalgia it brings and how fitting an introduction it provides to newcomers. In both categories Quarantine the Past is a resounding success.
On Quarantine the Past the listener is treated to a mixture of Pavement’s slower and faster numbers. Although their songs were smothered in the fuzzy guitar tones typical of alternative rock acts, what this record highlights is the immense pop sensibility that underpinned their music and the sense of humour that shaped their work. This is best demonstrated on ‘Cut Your Hair’, a wonderfully catchy tune that speaks of the vapidity of mainstream success.
Elsewhere there are a number of Pavement classics, such as ‘Shady Lane’, ‘Mellow Jazz Docent’, ‘Unfair’ and “Range Life”. For existing fans the older tracks are likely to provide the greatest excitement, whilst for those new to Pavement the whole album will be enticing. Perhaps the only real criticism that I could offer is the choice of album opener in ‘Gold Soundz’. As much as it’s a great number it doesn’t have the immediacy of some of Pavements other recordings. This is me being picky though! All in all this is a really enjoyable album, one that’s sure to satisfy existing Pavement fans and draw in those yet to hear this great band.
Words: Damien Girling