Last Exit to Garageland [Reissue]
This New Zealand band’s debut, Last Exit to Garageland, won some critical acclaim and popular success upon its original release in 1997. Being re-issued seven years later, it can be seen as a product of its time, evoking influences of ’90s alt rock from Nirvana to Weezer to Guided By Voices.
Power guitars and harmonies highlight “Fingerspop,” “Come Back” and “I’m Looking For What I Can’t Get.” And “Nude Star” sounds like what might happen if The Go-Betweens became a space rock band.
But the album highlights are few and far between. “Beelines to Heaven” suffers from bad singing. The punk-inspired “Fire Away” devolves into a noise rock version of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” And one of the record’s more listenable tunes “Fay Ray” offers this lyrical wisdom: “Pizzas, beer and cigarettes / That’s all I need / Open my mouth and pour them in / Until my eyeballs bleed.”
The re-issue is augmented with a slew of b-sides and bonus tracks, some of which are actually better than the stuff that made the album. Tunes like “Underground Nonsense” and “Graduation From Frustration” sound like a blueprint for what bands like The Strokes are doing today.