Album Reviews

Jay Reatard – Matador Singles 08

(Matador) UK release date: 6 October 2008

Jay Reatard (or Jay Lindsay as he is otherwise known) has cropped up in several different bands during his career, but it’s with his solo project Jay Reatard that he’s been making the biggest impression.

This is his second collection of singles, and the first of those that he’s released with Matador. Being something of an underground legend, you’ll have been extremely lucky to have nabbed these extremely limited 7 inches when they first came out. This collection gives those of us not quick enough the first time around to catch up with what he’s been up to and to see what all the fuss is about.

These 13 tracks whizz by in a matter of minutes, in fact the whole collection clocks in at well under half and hour. It’s safe to say that Jay Reatard’s roots stem mainly from punk, but these songs are more carefully structured and retain enough melody to stand head and shoulders above those bands that thrash out three chords and forget about actually writing songs.

See/Saw fizzes out like a fuzz drenched Television Personalities single whilst simultaneously managing to sound a little like early Placebo and Dinosaur Jr. Screaming Hand sounds a little like a GG Allin folk song before developing into a chorus that stomps around like a clown with learning difficulties. It’s quick, moronic and most importantly undeniably catchy.

In keeping things as simple as possible, Jay Reatard allows the melodies that drive these songs to grab the listener by the ears. An Ugly Death has a keyboard line in it that most pre-schoolers would probably laugh at as being too simplistic but here it works perfectly. A basic guitar carries the verse, but once you get to the chorus, it’s hard not to fall in love with those twee little notes. It almost makes you want to buy a cardigan that’s too large and then start writing a fanzine that features a lot of glitter on the cover.

This simplicity is evident throughout this collection, if you added any more to any of these songs it would almost certainly ruin them. Much like Elastica‘s first album, all that is really needed is a reliable verse and a chorus that practically screams “genius”. Each of these songs is a perfectly crafted chunk of pop perfection, and in this case, it would not be a mistake to go the full Reatard.

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Jay Reatard – Matador Singles 08