Nobody could accuse Jay Reatard of taking it easy. Just a year after releasing a new single nearly every month (compiled on Matador Singles '08), he's back with his first full-length album for Matador, Watch Me Fall. No one could level the charge that his prolific nature lends itself to putting out inferior material, either. Watch Me Fall stands shoulder to shoulder with Reatard's best work and keeps him firmly entrenched as the figurehead of the lo-fi noise pop sound of the late 2000s. The album is full of the kind of twitchy, hyper-catchy and hard to ignore rockers that made his name the trademark of quality it has become. The best of them (like the powerfully frantic "It Ain't Gonna Save Me," "Faking It," and "Hang Them All") are the kinds of songs that instantly get your blood flowing and make you want to sing along at the top of your lungs in your best rock & roll whine. As he started to demonstrate on his singles from 2008, Jay also has a quieter, more thoughtful side to go along with his nervous and overloaded side, one that brings to mind the classic strum and organ wheeze sound of an early Flying Nun record or the Go-Betweens at their jumpiest. On "I'm Watching You," "My Reality," and "Wounded" (which, like a large chunk of the record, displays some nice vocal harmonies), he still sounds slightly paranoid and unhinged, but he wraps his psychosis in thoughtful, almost gentle, arrangements. And it is "he" because apart from some drumming from Billy Hayes, Jay plays and sings everything himself in an impressive show of one-man band skills. Listening to the record, you'd swear it was recorded live to one mike thanks to the rambunctious energy and the fiery performances. Watch Me Fall is possibly Reatard's best work to date, the most fully realized and well-rounded album he's made, and proof that beyond the hype and antics, Reatard is a pop craftsman at heart.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra