Trumans Water

The Singles 1992-1997

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Besides the sheer avalanche of albums the band put out in the '90s, there was a slew of singles that gained the group as much attention as full-length efforts as Spasm Smash. A proper compilation had been planned for a while, but 2003 was when The Singles finally turned up. The band is as semi-cryptic as always -- the liner notes are practically invisible, written in red set behind a red semi-transparent CD tray -- but the point is that some absolutely wonderful and sometimes downright insane music finally is in one place. Kicking off with the fractured joy of the four-song Our Scars Like Badges effort on Homestead -- and even that's preceded by a 25-second chopped-up fragment of guitar -- the Branstetter brothers and, for most of the songs, Glen Galloway and company happily go to town. The various Pavement and Fall comparisons the band were saddled with have a certain place, but a better one would be a woozy, comparatively saner equivalent to something like early Boredoms, with high-speed thrash moments and chaotic shouted lyrics contrasted with obscure stumbling indie murk. Even the most seemingly unstructured songs have a core that is still straight-up monster rock -- of a sort, at least -- and even a solo-guitar, skronk-like "Finest Donut Theme Song" has its own epic punch. Highlights are legion, including "Another Movement," with a dramatic change to epic-hero metal toward the end that's a jaw dropper; the gargling wails and swagger stomp of "Habits Are Spirits"; the just-focused-enough epic arrangement of "Empty Queen II," easily one of their best songs ever; and all three songs from the Skyjacker single, the band's most concise statement of purpose from the early days. Best song title of the bunch, and perhaps the most appropriate: "Do the Spazz."

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