Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed. (Matador)
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Dec. 19, 2008
PavementBrighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed. (Matador)
By 1997's Brighten the Corners, Stephen Malkmus had proven the most pivotal and prolific voice of the slacker generation. From tongue-in-cheek single "Stereo" and the pendulous crunch of "Transport Is Arranged," Pavement's underrated fourth album marks the California outfit's most consistent and complex work, solidifying the middle ground between the fractured, lo-fi abstractions of seminal 1992 debut Slanted and Enchanted and Wowee Zowee!'s sedated eclecticism three years later. Nicene Creedence Ed. doesn't exactly unravel Malkmus' lyrical labyrinths, but the sprawling, double-disc, 44-song set ties up all loose ends, gathering essential B-sides ("No Tan Lines"), outtakes (instrumental "Beautiful as a Butterfly"), and live sessions. And in true Pavement fashion, it's all glorious wreckage, ranging from aptly titled nonsense "Neil Hagerty Meets Jon Spencer in a Non-Alcoholic Bar" and two trippy versions of the Space Ghost theme to unexpected covers of Faust ("It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl") and Echo & the Bunnymen ("The Killing Moon"). Seven-minute jam "And Then (the Hexx)" and the scribbling guitar in "Cataracts" preface Malkmus' long-winded solo career with the Jicks.