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Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Clean -- Anthology

The Clean's Anthology defines the Dunedin sound I've been talking about for the past month. They're the group that really broke out, and they're the best. This collection pulls together 46 songs over two discs, and there's hardly a dud among them.

I prefer the earlier, more lo-fi and more direct tracks. Some of the songs that border on dreampop don't carry the energy of the punkish numbers, but some of them are quite excellent. The only failures here are the nothing oddities on the second half of disc two: "Psychedelic Ranger," "Ludwig," "Wipe Me, I'm Lucky."

The Clean sound fine with just the guitar-driven, Velvets-inspired sound, but it's that organ that really kicks things up. Everyone who talks about this group wants to put them in the post-punk category, but I'm not seeing it. Yes, it's music influence by punk after the '70s, but that doesn't mean it's in the "post-punk" genre. The Clean's beats are way too pop for that categorization. The challenge is that the Clean don't neatly fit into any category: they're too dirty for power-pop, too punk for pop-punk, and not new-wave/dance-y enough for post-punk. Ergo, the quintessential Kiwi Rock/Flying Nun/Dunedin Sound band?

Yes.

Highlights: Disc One

Highlights' Highlights: "Tally Ho," "Billy Two," "Point That Thing Somewhere Else," "At the Bottom" (studio and live versions)

Disc Two Highlights: "Diamond Shine," "Big Cat"


So that wraps up my NZ run-down, but not my interest. I've got a Straightjacket Fits album on the way and the Roger Sings the Hits comp at home, so don't be surprised if there's more to come (including, possibly, one of those list things).

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