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Quartine the Past: The Best of Pavement - Matador
FILTER Grade: 91%

By Nevin Martell on March 23, 2010



Quarantine the Past opens with “Gold Soundz,” which originally appeared on Pavement’s well-loved Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. As one of the band’s most unabashedly poppy moments, it’s a deceptive way to begin a retrospective. Though the California five-some flirted with writing straight-up pop tunes—whether it was the oooh-oooh-oooh-oooh-oooh-oooh coo of “Cut Your Hair” or the charm of “Date With Ikea,” both of which are represented here—the band was hailed as an indie messiah for its less-obvious moments. Thankfully, this 23-song collection brightens all the corners of Pavement’s short but fruitful career. The selections swerve from the fuzzy squall of “Summer Babe (Winter Version)” from the group’s 1992 debut, Slanted and Enchanted, to the crispy clean balladry of “Spit on a Stranger” from 1999’s swansong, Terror Twilight, and encompasses many points in between (and a few beyond). It’s a nice cross-section of material that highlights why Pavement was such a darling of the alt press, but Quarantine fails to truly capture the greatness. The quintet’s genius lay in the ability to craft albums that were self-contained experiments full of quirks and quips. Yet who’s going to begrudge the kings of slacker rock for cashing in on their cool one last time? With songs this good, it’s hard to judge their creators harshly. But let’s hope the payday goes no further than this collection and the accompanying reunion tour; we don’t want this to signal the start of another Pixies-esque debacle.

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