Saturday, May 15, 2021

Song(s) of the Day # 2,668 Pardonner


San Francisco's Pardonner do 'the Pavement thing'. One of the most distinctive sounds in modern Rock and Roll. That off centre, wonky thing, where things deliberately don't make sense. Where everything is slightly askew but still eminently approachable and palatable. Where band and audience get to congratulate each other on their eminently good Indie taste. 'Hey, weren't The Velvet Underground cool? Which did you prefer? The John Cale or Doug Yule incarnation?'

Pardonner's latest, Came Down Different, is a very good album. It has a broad selection of moods, despite its in-built, generic constraints, and an impressive, vibrant pop sensibility. It will never once, no not for a moment, stop reminding you of Pavement. Pavement seem to have opened up a whole sub-genre of music all their own, like some modern Tribe of Israel. We seem to have a few of these tribes nowadays. The Tribe of Gang of Four. The Tribe of The Fall.The Tribe of C-86.  In this case it's almost like Malkmus descended from Mount Sinai some time in 1993 with a set of new commandments, one of which read, 'Thou Shalt Make Sense. But Not Complete Sense.' and another 'Thou Shalt Be Slack.' And The Tribe of Pavement prostrated themselves in awe, then got up, dispersed, and proceeded to spread the Gospel.

Came Down Different adheres to these and the other Pavement Commandments. It's the second best Son of Pavement album I've heard this year after Kiwi Jr's Cooler Returns, which I imagine will remain unparalled in 2021. Pardonner plot an interesting variation on the Pavement meme. They make you think here that Pavement are jamming on alternative numbers with first My Bloody Valentine and then Dinosaur Jr. It works.

This is a neat record. It doesn't care sufficiently to rub away its fingerprints from the scene of the crime. It's a breeze of a listen, just not a remotely original one for a single second. That doesn't mean I don't recommend it. I do. This is talented plagiarism.

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