The Secret History, Vol. 1
Aug 11, 2015 Issue #54 - August/September 2015 - CHVRCHES
The Secret History, Volume 1 is a pretty strange rerelease, even by Pavement standards. Comprising a string of outtakes from the indie icons' debut album, plus a couple of Peel sessions and a live set from 1992, it's a good chunk of classic Pavement fare. The tracks are already familiar to fans that cherish the Slanted and Enchanted: Luxe and Redux set released over a decade ago, where these cuts are already available. But this time they are on their own—and on vinyl—so it is essential for Pavement completionists and vinyl lovers, sure, but for everyone else it is a tad redundant.
Nevertheless, it is worth noting that these tracks come together as a pseudo-album on their own. It's been described as a ghost album, the missing link between the fuzzy punk of Slanted and Enchanted and the slacker-prog of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. That's not entirely accurate, as Secret History sounds much more like an alternate universe Slanted and Enchanted, with a few hints of what would eventually wind up on their sophomore release. And the finishing live set from London in 1992 is a fitting close to the band's grungy debut before moving in mellower and more calculated directions.
Maybe this is the way it should have been all along. After all, post-band releases chock full of outtakes and lost recordings aren't exactly unprecedented in rock history, so why shouldn't these cuts get their own repackaging? It's not totally fair to call this unnecessary, or even a greedy marketing scheme. Secret History gives Pavement some credit by pulling these tracks out on their own, instead of a collection of afterthoughts stuffed in the back of a remastered box set. This isn't just bonus material, this is pure Pavement gold. (www.matadorrecords.com/pavement)
Author rating: 8.5/10
Average reader rating: 6/10
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