Music Reviews

Starflyer 59

Easy Come Easy Go

Tooth & Nail

Divorced from proto-shoegazers like The Cure and The Jesus and Mary Chain, as well as the drug n• bliss culture of Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine, American shoegaze music has created its own sound. But as we all know, most of it has stunk real, real bad. Misinformed guitar effects that end up sounding like a sonic action painting, the easier and more synthetic keyboard, and the usual style over substance. Starflyer 59 has created the thickest, fuzziest pop music in America. Besides the first Weezer record, and a few choice tunes by The Pixies, Nirvana, and even The Smashing Pumpkins, Starflyer 59 brought My Bloody Valentine•s big sound to all of us geeks in the new country.

Disc one of Easy Come Easy Go, the new Starflyer 59 double CD, collects the best songs over the band’s six-plus albums and EP career. And like the true noise practitioners they are, SF59 doesn•t waste your time. After “Monterey,” a crowning Swervedriver-esque rendition from the debut Silver album, we move further into the cavernous dark terrain of music written off too easily as Christian rock. If you can•t listen to Jason Martin•s warm, breathy voice as an instrument, you missed the point entirely. And wouldn•t you rather someone share their feelings of heartbreak and a spirituality in an honest fashion. I mean, really, that last Sunny Day Real Estate album sucked.

Disc two collects B-sides, singles, and rarities that most SF59 fans like myself have always wanted to hear. Like the later records and EPs the band released, they are much mellower, more countrified, and less grandiose. It seems as if most great shoegaze bands trade in the Fender Jazzmaster, delay, reverb, and distortion for an acoustic somewhere along the line. Like Jason Martin•s counterparts from Slowdive to Chapterhouse, many of the folksier tunes have the same idea of the dream pop stuff, but simplified.

Finishing off the box are eight live songs that capture the band as a living wonder and not just a recorded anomaly. Surprisingly high fidelity and well-controlled recording makes this enjoyable, as so many live recording feel more like medieval torture.

Take heed, young American shoegaze bands: put down that crappy Sigur Ros record and learn from the one of the best.

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