Collected from various live shows, radio performances, and unreleased studio sessions, Blister Pop is a near-obligatory companion piece to the comprehensive two-disc Heydey 1979-1983. While the source tapes from which these tracks have been culled are necessarily lo-fi, the true power of the band as a live act is heard in tracks like "Podman" and "You're Not You Anymore." Of course, the recording quality does occasionally muffle some of the more humorous lines, like the barbs thrown at John Cale and Lou Reed in the Velvet Underground-esque "It's Like It's What You Like" or the tongue-in-cheek ageism of "Song for Val." Further, the Embarrassment's strength in covering others' material is obvious in the stomping "Time Has Come Today" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog," even though quirky renditions of "Oh Pretty Woman" and "On Broadway" may ultimately be more memorable. Faithful to its billing as an "authorized bootleg," the disc's insert has various errors, with songs and attributions occasionally listed out of order. As the set opens with the band him-hawing through a radio interview in which they're asked to define their sound, by the disc's end it becomes apparent that on many nights the Embarrassment were easily one of the world's greatest garage bands.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Matt Fink