Pavement

Slanted and Enchanted

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AllMusic Review by

Listening to Slanted & Enchanted is like listening to a college radio station that you can barely tune in -- melodies are interrupted by shards of white noise, only to have a simple hook pull everything back into focus. On their first full-length album, Pavement constructed a cycle of gleeful guitar noise punctuated by fragments of melody floating in and out of the chaos. Aesthetically, the thin, noisy low-fidelity production is appealing and uncompromising, but what makes Slanted & Enchanted remarkable is the songwriting. Instead of disguising an underdeveloped sense of songcraft, the production embellishes and subverts the band's gift for unusual, catchy hooks. Surrounded by fuzzy, noisy guitars, white noise, and Stephen Malkmus' languid vocals, the pure pop melodies of "Trigger Cut" and "Summer Babe" sound foreign, but the production gives context to the gorgeous melancholy of "Here" and the brooding "In the Mouth a Desert." Some listeners may initially find the lo-fi sound of the record inaccessible, but the sheer strength of Pavement's songs settles in after a few plays.

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