Custard

Brisbane 1990-1993

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Brisbane 1990-1993 collects the material from Custard's early EPs, Gastanked and Brisbane, which were recorded in the titular city before it had much in the way of professional recording facilities. Several songs were recorded in a former supermarket that was home to squatters. These songs capture Custard in lo-fi during the period when they were a group of Pavement fans writing quirky but straightforward love songs like "I Just Want to Be with You" and "Edie," which has two chords -- E and D. David McCormack's excitable little-boy tone can be heard taking shape while he sings oddball lyrics like "I had too much to dream last night" in "Satellite," his rewrite of "Goodnight, Irene." The self-descriptive "Short Pop Song," which manages to cram in three tunes' worth of material despite its 1:14 running time, shows the way toward later reflexive efforts like "Hit Song." Although they've obviously been listening to the Pixies as well as Pavement, unlike many other bands of the '90s they studiously avoided the Seattle sound, preferring to indulge in pop hooks and resolute cheerfulness. It makes an interesting complement to the more polished material on their best-of, Goodbye Cruel World -- you can hear their ambition growing faster than their ability. During "My Name Is Paul Medew," an impromptu freestyle making fun of the bass player, McCormack spontaneously confesses "I'd like to write an opera." Instead, he'd go on to write several albums' worth of arch and twisted pop songs that would make Custard legends in Brisbane and famous all over Australia, if only briefly.

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