Enter the Vaselines (Sub Pop)
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., April 24, 2009
The VaselinesEnter the Vaselines (Deluxe Edition) (Sub Pop)
"Many of the bands at the time were 'pretend' virgins and acting up their twee side," reminisces Eugene Kelly in the liner notes to Enter the Vaselines, a 2-CD set that couples the Scottish outfit's complete, remastered studio output with previously unreleased demos and live recordings. "We wanted to scream, 'We've just been shagging.'" Founded with singer/guitarist/girlfriend Frances McKee in 1986, the Vaselines were a Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood duo, procreating shambling and tenderly abrasive pop schooled in the Velvet Underground. Where others at the time hid behind walls of reverb, the Vaselines laced noisy triumphs with dark humor and double entendres, often delving deep into religious metaphors, most notably the aggressive No Wave tantrum "Teenage Superstars," the blisteringly punk thrust of "Sex Sux (Amen)," and "Rosary Job," a rough 1986 demo of shoegazed rock. In between were pure pop gems "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam," the blissful call and response of "Son of a Gun," and whimsical "Molly's Lips," all immortalized by Kurt Cobain. The band's ambivalent live presence bordered on performance art, as evidenced by back-to-back renditions of "The Day I Was a Horse" in London in 1988. Enter the Vaselines, a nonchalant mindfuck of Freudian slips.