Album of the Day: Pavement – Slanted & Enchanted.

FORGIVE ME! I missed a day yesterday. At some point I’ll do two to make it up to you.

Every day for the rest of December I’ll be recommending some music for your ears – or maybe it could serve as something of a Christmas gift guide. It’ll be a mix of classic albums, neglected gems and new bits of gorgeousness.

As much as music magazines might try to convince you otherwise, it’s a rare album that tangibly and perceptibly changes your life. Utterly subjective though claims of this kind undoubtedly are, one such rarity is Pavement’s ‘Slanted & Enchanted’.

This album is clever but not pretentious, summery but not exclusively so, fuzzy and full of feedback but still ever so listenable. Sounds fade in and out – it’s been likened to listening to a slightly off-kilter radio – and Stephen Malkmus’ lyrics are by turns poetically cryptic and painfully true. It’s not addictive in the way some music is – it’s heavy in places, and driven by big sound rather than sharp riffs, so you probably won’t have any of it stuck in your head for days after listening – but it makes for a gorgeous, hazy listening experience nonetheless.

Few bands have ever inspired the kind of devotion in me that Pavement do. And ‘Slanted & Enchanted’ – with its layers of sound; sometimes mystifying, sometimes just self-evidently smart lyrics; “sha-la-la-la”s; chanting, and soaring guitars – makes it easy to understand why, I hope.

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