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Anthology serves as a celebration of The Clean, a band whose influence extends so far beyond their New Zealand home that even if you have never heard of The Clean before, you have surely heard of some of the bands (Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and Superchunk, to name a few) who have been influenced by their unique blend of homemade garage rock, hook-filled melodies, and psychedelic experimentalism. The album is a compilation from across The Clean's legendary career, which began in 1981 and continues today. Merge originally released the 2-CD Anthology in 2003, but in celebration of our 25th anniversary, we felt the time was right to release this essential collection on quadruple LP. Anthology kicks off with The Clean's call-to-arms debut Tally Ho! ; the story of the infectious track's $60 recording bill is now legendary. It continues with the early EPs Boodle Boodle Boodle and Great Sounds Great in their entirety. The hits Billy Two, Anything Could Happen, Beatnik, and Getting Older and live favorites like Point That Thing Somewhere Else and instrumentals Fish and At the Bottom all serve up memories of the joyous noise that characterized The Clean of that time. These recordings, mostly made by the band with Chris Knox and Doug Hood at the helm of the 4-track, capture the bright, raw sound of a classic garage band. After a brief breakup, the band recorded Vehicle in 1989. Vehicle was made in three days and engineered by Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, My Bloody Valentine). The sounds of Vehicle and the two albums that followed it, Modern Rock (1994) and Unknown Country (1996), make up the bulk of discs 3 and 4 of the vinyl Anthology. In addition to selections from these full-length recordings, Anthology includes two songs released only on an American 7-inch and two that appeared on a bonus flexi-disc with the Modern Rock LP.
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Le premier CD montre un groupe d'adios ou post-ados enthousiastes, pressés de faire de la musique avec deux ou trois accords de guitare, mais aussi, à l'occasion, quelques notes d'orgue. Les influences les plus évidentes à ce stade sont celles du Velvet Underground ('Billy Two', 'Thumbs Off', 'Side On' et bien d'autres), en plus lo-fi mais aussi plus solaire et avec parfois une voix mal assurée (cf. 'Platypus'). Toutefois, volontairement ou pas, l'inaugural 'Tally Ho' ou 'Beatnik' évoquent un Joe "King" Carrasco lo-fi et punkoïde ! Quant à ' Point That Thing Somewhere Else', avec son rythme "motorik" et ses 5'28, il nous met sur la piste du "kraut-rock" ! Pour brouiller les pistes, mais conserver des références "cultes", l'instrumental 'At The Bottom' - livré en deux versions - sonne comme une démo de Joy Division période 'Unknown Pleasures'. Et 'Scrap Music' comme une démo de Sonic Youth ! A rebours, 'End Of My Dream' est une ballade chantée en duo avec un accompagnement uniquement de guitares acoustiques. Le vif 'Odditty' croule sous les cymbales tandis que ' Quickstep' marie riff stoogien, arrangements velvetiens (façon 'Heroin') et mode parlé/chanté.Lire la suite ›
Il s'agit de l'anthologie The Clean chez Merge 2003 /license de flying nun records...
Pas l'anthologie originale semble-t-il?
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The simply-named two-disc "Anthology" gives a suitably good retrospective of the Clean's career, in pretty much chronological order. One disc is devoted to their early work: the fun organ-laced garage-rock "Tally Ho," which was the song that propelled them to New Zealand's musical top, as well as the rough "Billy Two."
The rough, lo-fi pop continues changing in the second, which has the later music and some rarities. Starting with the Clean's reunion, it has such excellent (and eclectic) styles as jangly guitar rock, keyboard pop, and the Britpoppish flavors of "Secret Place" and "Diamond Shine." Surprisingly, the smoother production doesn't at all take away from the enjoyment of the music.
It's a pity that bands from New Zealand don't get the recognition that British or American bands do. If they did, the Clean would probably adored with Pavement and Radiohead. Sadly, they have not gotten that recognition, but that in no way reflects on their music -- this edgy, quirky rock is similar to the best of today's top indierock bands, but conceived years before those bands existed.
"Anthology" serves more than one function. It's two hours of fun, gloriously inventive rock'n'roll, but it also serves to illustrate how their sound expanded over time. The Clean started off with very little, which gave their music a fun, rough sound, but with new production and more money, they polished their sound up. Their music lost the innocent edge, in favor of musical maturity.
The songwriting is more than a little insane -- not that that's a bad thing. The Clean's music has a lovably unhinged edge, lovably jagged instrumentation and edgy sensibilities. There isn't a musical dull moment, with leader David Kilgour and his brother Hamish playing, respectively, guitar and drums. Bassist Robert Scott (later of the Bats) rounded off the group.
The Clean is practically guaranteed to capture an indie-rock-lover's heart, since it was an influence on bands like Yo La Tengo, Pavement and Sonic Youth. As a good overview of the band's two-decade-plus career, "Anthology" is good Clean fun.
The difficulty in reviewing something like Anthology lies in the fact that the article can look at multiple qualities of the package. Does The Clean even deserve to have a lavish two-CD, 46-song set devoted to it? (yes, definitely) If so, did the record label(s) involved do a good job with it, making sure the tracklist gives a thorough look into the world of The Clean? (absolutely) Are the songs any good? (yes, they're tremendous)
So with the quick answers behind us, let's move forward. I truly fell in love with this band all over again upon many listens to Anthology. In a way, that's a sure sign of this compilation's success, as die-hard fans won't need any more convincing. This set seeks to convince newcomers that there's value in knowing who this band is, and it makes its case with a two-hour-plus set. But enough talking around the music.
The Clean were and are unlikely masters of scrappy, simple and energetic pop music. Songs like "Tally Ho" and "Billy Two" set the pace for much of their early work. Simple, three-chord songs with wonderfully child-like melodies that seem incapable of aging or dating themselves predominate disc one of Anthology. But thrown in among all the beat-up sugar, transcendent tracks like "Point That Thing Somewhere Else" and "Fish" elevate the songs around it, bringing out the details even in the simplest pop numbers like "Beatnik." Other tracks, like "Side On" and a live rendition of "Quickstep," showcase the band's apparent fascination with edgy drones reminiscent of early tracks by The Fall. All this adds up to a completely unique sound that, despite the disparities in styles, bring the whole disc together.
Disc two compiles, for the first time, all of their material from 1988 onward (save for their latest LP, Getaway), after they had reformed from their hiatus. The only palpable difference is a more mature sonic vocabulary, better recording quality and a hair less innocent energy, but clearly The Clean will always be The Clean. Songs like "Big Soft Punch" call to mind an updated "Billy Two," but without any sort of nostalgia for the past. "Outside The Cage" mixes a keyboard-driven drone with gorgeously upbeat vocals in a way that shows The Clean have not stopped growing. New sounds and themes show a constant evolution on disc two, making it a far more diverse document than the first.
The people at Flying Nun and Merge were right in keeping the liner notes almost entirely nostalgia-free, allowing the music to speak for itself. While it can (sometimes) be great to read gushing prose about a newly reissued album or thoughtful essays on the history of a band to accompany an anthology, the preciousness that adds can give too much of a museum-like quality to the music. Here, the liner notes include wonderful drawings and a tracklist with pointers as to where the tracks came from, with no scholarly reverence. And really, that's all you need.
If you are curious about this band, you will surely see, and come to realize, that your curiosity was well warranted. This is a cournucopia of a band that makes you all warm. No matter what. Makes you happy and warm. That's really about it.
kudos to the clean for being the band that kickstarted my favorite musical genre of last year, kiwi-pop (chills, bats, verlaines, straitjacket fits, etc...these are good places to turn if you like what you hear with the clean).