While the Dream Syndicate's 1982 debut album, The Days of Wine and Roses, made them an immediate sensation on the post-punk underground scene, their subsequent body of work rarely received the same degree of attention, partly because of the band's deliberate swing away from noisy neo-Velvet Underground jamming after the departure of guitarist Karl Precoda and partly because most of their subsequent albums lacked the sonic and thematic consistency of their debut. The shame of this was that leader Steve Wynn grew steadily as a songwriter through the band's career, and even their patchiest albums had at least two or three cuts worth hearing. Thankfully, Tell Me When It's Over: The Best of the Dream Syndicate sets the record straight about this misunderstood band's career, offering about half of The Days of Wine and Roses (and a cut from the band's first self-released EP) alongside nine neglected gems like "Merrittville," "Now I Ride Alone," and "Loving the Sinner, Hating the Sin"; there's also a hard rocking cover of Eric Clapton's "Let It Rain" thrown in for good measure. Anyone wanting a crash course in the Dream Syndicate's challenging body of work could hardly do better than to give Tell Me When It's Over a listen.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming