On In the Valley of Lonesome Phil, St. Louis's indie pop darlings Bunnygrunt combined their best-of rarities with the announcement of the band's reunion. Offering up 20 songs from 1993-1998, the disc includes compilation appearances and a few never-before-released gems. Previously-released highlights include the riotous "No Name Slob," the rollicking "Spot the Mommyhead," and a genuinely spirited cover of "Holiday Road." "Party Boy" starts things off with the band's trademark back-and-forth singing between Karen Ried and Matt Harnish. With one of the best song titles in indiedom, "Faster Pussycat, Phil! Phil!" is next. By this point, listeners old and new already know what they're in for with this collection of patchwork pop. The band's relentless cheerfulness is satisfying rather than tiresome for fans of playful rock and pop. A cover of Darling Little Jackhammer's "MEAT BLOWER!" is a standout, capturing the band's infectious live sound. Covers of songs by Haymarket and the Hollies showcase a band that never shied away from covering the songs they loved. The disc ends with "I Mock You With My Monkey Pants," the last song the band recorded before their breakup in late 1998. Thankfully for us, the band reunited in early 2004. The disc includes songs with original bassist Renee Dullum, but mostly features Jen Wolfe on bass, since replaced by Lauren Trull. An alternate version of "Party Boy" is served up as a bonus track. As retrospectives go, this one is complete, with rarities from all eras of the band's early, all-too-brief history.
In the Valley of Lonesome Phil Review
by Stephen Cramer