Failure have been a major league favorite of mine for some seventeen years, but I've long resisted posting any of their material, as they have in recent years made many of their rarities commercially available – that is with the exception of these six tracks.
One of the best kept secrets of the '90s, these L.A. denizens, who maintained a consistent nucleus of guitarist/mouthpiece Ken Andrews and bassist Greg Edwards (later of Autolux), reached an outstretched tentacle to me with a promo of their 1992 debut album, Comfort, and I've been mesmerised heretofore. Though evoking much warmer sentiments and sonic expansiveness on their second and third albums (Magnified and Fantastic Planet respectively), Failure's nascent Comfort remained in stark, insular contrast to these later records. A perhaps unintentional by-product of the “post-grunge” movement, Failure’s maiden voyage was a smoldering but alluringly heavy rock record, at least to those with the patience to lend a slightly bent ear. Listening to Comfort is akin to gazing at a newly overturned log in the woods through a pair of cloudy glasses, to help buffer the sight of the lecherous undergrowth (in this case, the "buffer" being Steve Albini's crisp, airtight engineering). Via even the most lucid of vantage points, Comfort's murkiness is undeniable, but this collection of drum machine-enhanced prototypes quite literally sheds some light on an otherwise squeamish subject. I could write much about Failure's markedly improved work that was to follow Comfort, but you can hear if for yourself (if you have yet to do so already) by picking up Fantastic Planet... then work your way backwards. This post is for the die-hards.
04. Salt Wound
05. Screen Man