Perfect Sound Forever is an engaging profile of the band Pavement and their quirkily dark, melodic sound and cryptic, mirth-filled lyrics.
Publishers WeeklyNirvana may have gotten all the hype, but for ardent indie rock fans Pavement will always be remembered as one of the best bands of the 1990s-until, after five albums and a slew of EPs in a decade, the band's leader, deadpan guitarist/vocalist Stephen Malkmus pulled the plug. From Gary Young's garage studio in Stockton, Calif., Pavement was the most unlikely candidate for rock royalty. But a combination of good timing, great songs and an underlying intelligence rare in rock catapulted the band to success at a time when lo-fi and do-it-yourself had become the defining rock ethos. Eschewing typical rock stardom, spurning commercial success and the media, the band left behind a legacy rich in lore but short on facts. True Pavement fans will already know much of the story. But Jovanovic's (Beck: On a Backwards River) effort is still worthy for detailing some murky key points in the band's history, such as the firing of original drummer and engineer Gary Young, the making of its records and the final, dysfunctional interactions of the band and its dissolution by Malkmus. Although not terribly insightful and thoroughly uncritical, the book is still a fond retrospection. Given the paucity of information about the band, this account automatically rises to the summit. The book's quirky design, scattered with pictures and handwritten notes, can be both annoying and appreciated. With a remarkably comprehensive discography, this volume serves as a useful tool for fans unable to keep pace with the band's myriad releases. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library JournalStockton, CA, is not generally thought of as the epicenter of an American rock music scene. However, Stockton can lay claim to birthing its most famous son, Chris Isaak, the critically acclaimed Grant-Lee Phillips, and Pavement, whom no less an authority than the revered Village Voice rock critic Robert Christgau called "the finest band of the 90s." Pavement flirted with commercial success with their 1994 album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, but sticking resolutely to their indie record label ethic, they ultimately ended up in the shadow of Nirvana, a band with whom they are frequently compared, until calling it quits in 1999. British music writer Jovanovic, the first to pen Pavement's story, benefits from the participation of all the band members in the form of new interviews and reproductions of memorabilia from their personal archives, which make up over 100 photos and illustrations. Completist Pavement collectors will appreciate the detailed, multinational discography of group and solo recordings. Pavement is not enough of a household name for this book to be purchased by all libraries, but larger pop music collections and those strong in alternative rock would do well to put the Pavement story on their shelves.-Lloyd Jansen, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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