ATP keep outdoing themselves with their annual festivals and next May’s event is looking like it may trump them all, with the newly-reformed Pavement set to headline and curate the line-up. Hopes for a Pavement reunion have surfaced and been dashed numerous times since the seminal indie rockers split in 1999, after helping to define the sound of a generation. Last month it was finally revealed that the band would get back together for four shows in NYC. Now it’s the turn of British fans to rejoice, particularly since Stephen Malkmus is known to have a deep and varied knowledge of music.
Pavement probably rank as the band most played by us at Colour events over the years and we’ve used the title of their 1993 EP Perfect Sound Forever as an inspiration throughout. Saying that, I do have slightly conflicted feelings about the reunion.
One one hand, it’s great that they’ll get to earn lots of money playing sold out shows to rapturous audiences filled with fans who were there in the ’90s, bolstered by those who have got into them post-split, quite possibly through Matador’s plush reissues of their first four albums and the posthumous critical praise lavished on them by the online music media. I know I’ll be there, trying to get to the front and loving every minute of it, but at the same time I am concerned that this huge event will take something away from the incredible artistic growth Stephen Malkmus has gone through over the last decade.
A quick browse through online discussions of the reunion revealed a lot of comments along the lines of “oh thank God Malkmus has come to his senses and stopped fucking around with The Jicks”. This seems like a shame, as his post-Pavement work both alone and with a very tight band has shown a musician at the top of his game, exploring songcraft and improving immensely as a performer. Last year’s Real Emotional Trash was an album of classic, three-minute indie pop gems – up there with the best he wrote with Pavement – and complex, winding psych-rock jams. He’s moved a long way forward while retaining what made his old band great.
Maybe I’m thinking about this way too much and should just see it as five dudes coming back together for a well paid outing where they play some great songs and indulge everyone’s need to get nostalgic once in awhile. I just hope it doesn’t mean it’s years before we see fresh material from SM and his Jicks.
Tickets for All Tomorrow’s Parties are on sale now.
MP3: Pavement – Rattled By The Rush from Wowee Zowee (via Matador Records)
Video: Shady Lane