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Richard Last Group - Wowee Zowee

  by Mark Rowland

published: 11 / 3 / 2004

Richard Last Group - Wowee Zowee
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


There were few better indie rock bands in the 1990's than Pavement. 'Wowee Zowee', their 1995 third album, was their most experimental record. Mark Rowland explains why in the long-term he also believes that it is their most rewarding

When it comes to 90's indie rock, there's no better band than Pavement.Over their ten years and five albums as a band, Pavement's sound changed and refined itself constantly, while still being distinctive enough to always sound like Pavement. While other lesser bands went on to super stardom, however, Pavement never really made it, remaining just underground throughout their career, despite praise from journalists and big names of the time like Sonic Youth. It was partly Pavement's willingness to experiment with different musical styles and partly their unwillingness to play the games of the mainstream music industry that kept them there, but that's also partly why their fans love them so much: you actually have to make the effort to find out about them to get into them. Personally, I love Pavement. They're one of my favourite bands. You simply can't go wrong with a Pavement album, whether it's the fuzzy lo-fi of 'Slanted and Enchanted', the alt-rock/country of 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain', the REM flavoured indie rock of 'Brighten the Corners' or the starry-eyed 'Terror Twilight'. It's almost impossible to choose a favourite Pavement album, but I say that 'Wowee Zowee' just gets it, as it manages to show all the sides of Pavement while still flowing together. This 18-track album was their third, and according to their singer Stephen Malkmus, the band were ˜smoking a lot of pot at the time." It has pretty much everything you'd want from an alternative album: fuzzed up art-punk songs like 'Serpentine Pad' and 'Flux = Rada', country-tinged songs like the brilliant 'Father to a Sister of Thought', jangly indie songs, weird songs,songs with hints of soul surrounding their alt-rock hearts. As there are so manysongs, it can occasionally be difficult to listen to all the way through, but even if you can't, it's worth trying to take in all of the songs of 'Wowee Zowee'. While it is the most experimental of all Pavement's albums, it's also the most rewarding in the long-term. At the time of its release, 'Wowee Zowee' didn't go down as well as it could have. The singles, 'Rattled by the Rush' and 'Father to a Sister of Thought', didn't go anywhere, and the band were famously pelted with mud on the '96 Lolapalooza tour so much that they ended up leaving the stage before their set had finished. Now, the album is thought of as an indie rock classic,especially after band's like Blur started paying homage to them on albums like 1997's 'Blur'. Yes that's right, the one with 'Song 2' on it. The mark Pavement has left on music is evident in tonnes of indie bands around at the moment, especially in Britain. Bands like Magoo and Bearsuit, most newer alt-country bands, there aren't many musicians in current indie circles who wouldn't say that Pavement didn't have some impact on them. So, those of you that like your music indie, rockin' and with it's eyes wide open, Pavement and 'Wowee Zowee' are two things that you cannot be without.

Track Listing:-

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Richard Last Group - Wowee Zowee

Richard Last Group - Wowee Zowee

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