The Verlaines

Ten O'clock in the Afternoon

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This mini-album made legend in the '80s to followers of the sophisticated pop movement coming from the small country of New Zealand during that decade. The Flying Nun label was the epicenter for this scene, and the Verlaines were arguably the most eloquent animators of this jangle pop sensibility. While they produced very fine albums for the label, such as the 1987 masterpiece Bird Dog and its sister album Halelujah All the Way Home, this EP is considered by many to be their defining document. It's post-punk Baroque pop; what appears to be a simple formulaic indie sound in retrospect, one must consider that in the era 1983 to 1986, this would have sounded fresh if not revolutionary. All time considered, Ten O'clock in the Afternoon still sounds as vibrant as the day it was recorded. While main man Graham Dowenes' songwriting became more complex on subsequent recordings, the simplicity of Death and the Maiden is the song that put them on the map. As their fans Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, and Pavement have all attested to, the Verlaines were not simply onto something new, they wrote the book for the ensuing two decades of guitar pop.