Pavement Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed.

Pavement Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed.
While it should have been Pavement's red carpet entrance into the mainstream Brighten the Corners is often overlooked in their discography as the melodically charged album that arrived too late in their career. Following the awkward, insular jams of Wowee Zowee, the band returned with easily their most accessible album, one that marked a significant maturation in the songwriting of Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg. More than ever before Malkmus sounds awake but he still keeps the smarty-pants witticisms coming as they try to reunite with Crooked Rain's promise, most notably in opening songs "Stereo" and "Shady Lane." It's Kannberg, however, who is most impressive, stepping up his game with two of the album's standouts: "Date W/ Ikea" and "Passat Dream." But Nicene Creedence Ed. is most notable for the Brighten era's excess, which continues Matador's reissue series of the band's work with arguably the best results yet. Along with favourite B-sides like "No Tan Lines" and Echo & the Bunnymen cover "The Killing Moon," early/alternate versions from the band's swansong, 1999's Terror Twilight, are included, as well as rare curiosities like hyperactive in-joke "Neil Hagerty Meets Jon Spencer In A Non-Alcoholic Bar," two sloppy versions of "Space Ghost Theme" and "Maybe Maybe," which sounds more like the gloriously schizoid lo-fi-isms of the Westing era. And of course, if you were smart enough to pre-order Nicene Creedence, you also received the Live Europaturnén MCMXCVII twelve-inch, a heavily misspelled but thoroughly enjoyable 13-track live album from Europe in 1997 that Matador had intended to release that year. (Matador)