Rewind: Longwave, The Strangest Things
Rewind takes a look at past Musicwhore.org reviews to see how they hold up today. The albums featured on Rewind were part of my collection, then sold for cash only to be reacquired later.
My first reaction to reading this old review of Longwave’s The Strangest Things was: Who’s the douchebag who wrote that crap?
Boy is that writing terrible. As much I roll my eyes at some of Pitchfork’s writing, my attempts to sound remotely worldly fell horrendously flat.
Around that time, I was going through a Dave Fridmann phase. He was the producer behind some of my favorite albums: SAPPUKEI by NUMBER GIRL, Dance, Dense and Denso by Molotov and Cuatros Caminos by Café Tacvba. I picked up Hate by the Delgados and The Strangest Things by Longwave because of his involvement.
Interpol ushered an era where labels signed up bands rehashing Joy Division. This era also included the garage rock revival spearheaded by the White Stripes, while other bands borrowed more than generously from Gang of Four. Franz Ferdinand, I’m looking at you.
My exasperation in the Longwave review was a result of this ’80s gold rush. These bands did a great job of sounding like their influences. I just didn’t get the sense they knew how to sound like themselves.
Now that we’re a decade and some change away from that context, I’m impressed by how well The Strangest Things endures. Longwave injected enough of a personality into their sound to differentiate themselves from similar bands.
I tried to listen to Turn on the Bright Lights by Interpol but couldn’t get through it. I don’t even remember what the Stills sounded like.
I let the album go in one of my collection purges because my appreciation for Dave Fridmann’s production work wasn’t enough to overcome my ambivalence to American indie rock of that era. In 2003, I was still enamored of Shiina Ringo, ACO and Hatakeyama Miyuki.
I like the album enough now to have picked up a used copy on vinyl, but only after finding the CD for $1 at the Lifelong Thrift Shop.