Sunday, November 24, 2019

Spiral Jetty - Begin Responsibilities 1981-97 (2000, Hedgehog)

Since it's been a food seven years since my last Spiral Jetty post it's fair to say this is a long belated follow-up.  In fact, this compilation disc features tunes that I shared previously on the trio's wonderful Art's Sandbar and Tour of Homes albums.  The Jetty's were of New Jersey stock, and unfortunately didn't make huge inroads out of the Garden State, leaving their legacy to remain, um...obscure.  Unjustly so, says me, because they were downright phenomenal at times.  Per Begin Responsibilities liner notes the band's goal was, "to write good songs that sounded nothing like anybody else."  In fairness, the Spiral Jetty recipe wasn't entirely assembled from whole cloth, but rather came across like a whip-smart melange of some of the mid-80s foremost subrosa figures, including (but not limited to) the Monochrome Set, Felt, Minutemen, and the Feelies.  In fact, the latter were locals to S/J, and the band was fortunate enough to be in cahoots with the Feelies to wrangle Bill Million and Glenn Mercer to produce their debut, Tour of Homes.  Tension, brittleness and instrumental dexterity were hallmarks of Jetty's formula, and ultimately they did succeed in conjuring up something original.  Not only does Begin Responsibilities span the band's entire career it brings many of their  early recordings into the digital age for the first time, minus the surface noise, naturally.  It's a great place to jump in, but hardly where you'd want to end. 

01. Tourists Send Postcards
02. Weasel in the Closet
03. Muskateers of Pig's Alley
04. Tour of Homes
05. All of This
06. Baltimore
07. Something Will Come
08. Big Down Hill Racing
09. Where the Sun
10. The Beat Goes On
11. Restless
12. Playboy of the Western World
13. Lonesome Catfish Heart
14. Bubba's Li'l Bub
15. Queen of Her House
16. Lucinda
17. Let it Fall
18. My Cat Geoffrey
19. Going to Marsailles
20. Emperor of Ice Cream (coda)

No comments: