Trigger Cut is a short, amazing look back into Pavement's early days. Collecting "Trigger Cut" from the band's elliptical, genius album Slanted and Enchanted and two aggressive, moody B-sides, the single shines like a beacon out of the indie underground. It signaled that Pavement could further expand the cool, artsy sound they first displayed on Slanted and Enchanted and the earlier, assorted releases that would eventually be collected on Westing (By Musket and Sextant). "Trigger Cut" is quite charming, sounding like a sunny outtake from Television's Marquee Moon. The production certainly isn't as lo-fi as Pavement's 7" days, but the pop sheen of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is nowhere to be found. The B-sides are similarly raw, and surprisingly somewhat angry. "Sue Me Jack" comes off like an attack against heaven knows what; Stephen Malkmus sounds quite irate as he sings about being "on the left" and screams about fighting. Squalls of guitar feedback and/or warped sound effects take as firm a stance in the mix as a tense lead guitar, which rings atmospherically like a bass. The song closes with Malkmus mumbling amid other, random voices. Lyrically and thematically, the song echoes the material compiled on Westing (By Musket and Sextant), but the production and execution display a quantum leap in confidence. "So Stark (You're a Skyscraper)" is even moodier. The song begins in a bass-heavy mire of quiet, abstract vocals. Malkmus's vocal timing is effectively suave as he sings about numbers and interior decorating; lyrics about spiral staircases, debutantes, and other strange minutiae set a creepy tone, but the song ends about a minute too soon. One is left struggling to think where the song would have gone had it been expanded and not merely ended with a fade out; as such, it seems more like a song fragment than a complete track. Maybe that's for the best, as it's quite a mysterious affair. It would be an excellent flipside to the band's creepy, emotionally fraught "Greenlander." The highlight is when Malkmus sings "I can't live behind the spiral staircase when the money's comin' in." It's shiver-inducing. No matter the intent of the song, it's a slow-burning stunner of intense immediacy and equal repression. With its tense B-sides and the excellent title cut, Trigger Cut is an extremely worthy single release from Pavement.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tim DiGravina