Founded and fronted by the dynamic duo of twins Katie and Alison Crutchfield (and rounded out by Katherine Simonetti and Will Granger), P.S. Eliot burst out of Birmingham, AL back in 2007, putting out a pair of full-lengths, an EP and a handful of singles before disbanding and switching focus to projects like Waxahatchee and Swearin'. (A demo compilation aptly titled Demonstrations was also released online post-breakup in 2012.)
P.S. Eliot: 2007-2011 captures the band's short but sweet run, compiling both 2009's Introverted Romance in Our Troubled Minds and 2011's Sadie, as well as a veritable trove of rarer goodies. Those unfamiliar with the Crutchfields' early work will kick themselves for arriving late to the party; both titles hold up as solid sets of ramshackle garage rock, offering early incarnations of the sisters' now signature blend of lo-fi punk rock and refreshingly honest lyrics.
"Tennessee" opens Introverted Romance and the new box set, and rightfully so, as it remains among the finest cuts in P.S. Eliot's catalogue, capturing youthful defiance ("We'll go to sleep when we're dead and I'll quit when I'm 25 / But now I'm feeling indestructible, aimlessly alive") and a yearning for escape ("I've got a racing mind and enough gas to get to Tennessee / Baby, let's push our limits"). Cuts like Sadie's "Asphalt," "Shitty and Tragic" and "Peach" also stand the test of time, and are an easy access point into the lovably chaotic world of P.S. Eliot.
For those already familiar, rest easy — these albums still hit hard. And the extras on the new box set give interesting (if not mind-blowing) insight into the band's process thanks to a hefty assortment of demos and alternate takes. Previously unheard to most, the Bike Wreck Demos and Living in Squalor seven-inch should make ears perk up, as they serve up fast, fuzzed-out tracks that capture the group's early unbridled energy.
P.S. Eliot is a mandatory history lesson for anyone currently entranced by the work of Katie's Waxahatchee and Alison's Swearin' (she's got a solo album on the way, as well), but it's also a fun deep dive for anyone yet to fall under the Crutchfield sisters' spell and discover the rich, burgeoning DIY scene from which they came. (Don Giovanni)