Jay Reatard - Blood Visions 12 inch
On his first solo album, Jay Reatard...well, judging by the album cover, "grows up" clearly isn't right. Nor is "makes a more mature musical statement" quite on the nose. How about "sucks less"? The Reatards were always a good idea improperly executed: their lo-fi take on the goofball teenage humor of the Queers or the Mr. T Experience had its moments, but they were often in need of an editor and some slightly better-quality recording equipment. Blood Visions is considerably more listenable in terms of fidelity: R. Stevie Moore's '70s and '80s albums would be a reasonable home-recording touchstone. Musically, it's also a big step up, as well as a step into the past. Blood Visions has the antic, jumpy quality of many now-obscure new wave records of the early '80s, from the era when artists like Wazmo Nariz and Skafish thought a funny name and a yelpy, David Byrne-derived singing voice, along with a cheap synth and some narrow sunglasses, were the path to success. By keeping the oddball affectations down to a minimum while keeping up the neurotic post-punk momentum, Reatard burns through 15 aggressively quirky but mostly entertaining songs in just under half an hour. More energy, better sounding, tighter focus, better songs...maybe this IS a more mature musical statement!