Review: Pavement, ‘Quarantine the Past’

Review: Pavement, ‘Quarantine the Past’: Aidin Vaziri | A reunion and greatest hits package? From Pavement? Really? When the Stockton indie-rock heroes played their final show together at the London Brixton Academy in 1999, singer Stephen Malkmus, pictured, famously attached a pair of handcuffs to his microphone stand and declared, “These symbolize what it’s like being in a band all these years.” It was his most outward demonstration of effort while fronting the band. But if Van Halen, the Police and Pixies can put all that bad blood aside for the sake of sending their kids on whale-watching cruises, why not these guys? This double album chronicles Pavement’s original 10-year run in the oblique fashion you would expect, pulling together nearly two-dozen tracks in seemingly random order. There are no true rarities but some less obvious cuts ranging from smart, melodically packed tunes like “Gold Soundz” and the audacious R.E.M. tribute “Unseen Power of the Picket Fence” to lackadaisical rambles like “Grounded” and dire knockoffs of The Fall like “Mellow Jazz Docent.” As the title suggests, the deadpan music remains firmly rooted in its era, serving as much a reminder of everything that made Pavement one of the ’90s most feted and frustrating acts.


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