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Barren Cross - Rattle Your Cage (1995) Retail CD
Of course, there were no hits, but in world more skewed than this, the naive rock of Jad Fair and company could have been a contender. Over the loose-knit band's 20-year history, they pushed the anyone-can-do-it rock & roll aesthetic to its limits and stayed in the underground by never learning to play (or even tune) their guitars or to sing on key. Now, with other obscure heros like Mayo Thompson (of Red Crayola) and Daniel Johnston getting their due in the postindie explosion care of hip namedroppers like Sonic Youth and Nirvana, its only fair that Fair and his would-be kings get their own fantasymore… box set from hell: Greatest Hits collects 68 tracks from twelve H. J. records and one Jad solo shot. Without doubt, Greatest Hits offers much more than any curiosity seeker needs in order to grasp both the charms and the terrors of the band's extended plod through post-Velvets garage punk. Chronological order, however, might have made listening to this grand and unruly compilation a little easier by keeping the formless yelling and screeching of the 1980 triple-album debut 1/2 Gentlemen/Not Beasts ("No More Beatlemania," "Her Parents Came Home") separated from the more melodic, Moe Tucker-like garage rock of 1988's pinnacle of accessibility, Charmed Life ("1,000,000 Kisses," "Red Dress"). Then again, Fair's child-like squeal and clangings are most moving in a middle-period song like "Ball and Chain," which mixes both styles and makes tuneful music out some of the most painfully desperate whine-cry shrills ever put to record. --Roni Sarig
- Barren Cross - Rattle Your Cage (1995) Retail CD
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- 09/04/07 by allcdcovers
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