39 Clocks Pain It Dark

When cult German post-punks 39 Clocks released the career-spanning compilation, Zoned, in early 2009, it was a comprehensive introduction to an obscure band that never really had a comprehensive history to begin with. The reverse chronological track listing did a disservice to the more vital sounds of their earlier releases, and tracks from the excellent Pain It Dark were left to the end amidst a rather scattered-sounding intro. Now, German label Bureau B has reissued the debut full-length, and its garage sound holds up remarkably well. With a super-blasé, almost comical, accent-laced vocal delivery and an obvious reverence for the ragged experimentation of the Velvet Underground and the hypnotic art-punk drone of Suicide ("39 Explosion Heats"), Pain It Dark also lays claim to its own sly new wave roughness ("Test the Beat"). It's a release that could easily have found a home on early '80s Rough Trade, and though it's a shame that Pain It Dark has been hidden in the shadows for so long, be glad that an audience bigger than rare vinyl collectors can hear it new for the first time before tucking it seamlessly into an important section of their record collection. (Bureau B)