Released two years on from the three piece’s 2014 album ‘Barragán’, this is the group’s first two albums (‘Blonde Redhead’ and ‘La Mia Via Violenta’, both from 1995) fleshed out into a glorious boxset. It comes loaded with singles from the period, demos, outtakes and radio sessions, making this an exciting purchase for anyone recently converted to the band – It is an attempt to release everything on the band’s first label Smells Like Records and does a mighty fine job in the process.
Housekeeping aside, this releases throw you back to a more simple time. A time in the mid-nineties when lo-fi was less stylistic and more a necessity for the up-and-coming. Heavy guitar is still the order of the day but comes littered with multiple time signatures and interspersed with dream-pop beauty on tracks such as ‘Girl Boy’.
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Songs from the period of ‘La Mia Vita’ offer a glimpse to the band’s trajectory. This period has a more gentle soul, as well as instrument experimentation. Tracks such as ‘Harmony’ may be more akin to what fans are used to with their more recent catalogue.
This release serves, in part, as a love affair with 90’s nostalgia. With a glut of lo-fi in recent times, it surprisingly hasn’t aged as much as maybe it should. This boxset may not be the entry level release boxset people are looking for, but is a lovely glimpse into mid 90’s New York lo-fi. Is it essential? Probably not, but for an easy way to reach completist level without shelling out your hard-earned on eBay, it serves it’s purpose (complete with a book of essays and photos) and you can’t go far wrong.
Masculin Feminin is out now on the Numero Label.