THE VASELINES Enter The Vaselines 2xCD/LP

Kurt Cobain had lousy taste in women, but he had great taste in music. Case in point: The Vaselines, an indie pop band that made some noise in the late 80s in its hometown of Glasgow, Scotland before breaking up unnoticed by the rest of the world. The group was, in effect, plucked from obscurity by the Ted Ed Fred front-man, who loved the band so much that he and his band mates covered no less than three Vaselines songs, thereby introducing the adorable Scottish indie rockers to scores of teenagers in the Midwest.

Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee, two young lovers on a Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra trip, formed The Vaselines in 1986 and were later joined in their quest for world domination by Secession's rhythm section, namely James Seenan and Eugene's brother Charlie Kelly. Before being discovered and pimped to the masses by Cobain, The Vaselines released two EPs, Son of a Gun and Dying for It, and one LP, Dum-Dum, on 53rd and 3rd Records (named after a Ramones song! Well, what do you know!). The band broke up shortly after the release of that sole album but (very) briefly reformed in 1990 to open for Nirvana when the grunge trio played in Edinburgh. In 1992, Sub Pop (Nirvana's old label, dontchaknow!) released The Way of The Vaselines: A Complete History, a compilation that contained the group's entire recorded output. History lesson complete. Let's talk about the music.

Nah, let's talk about the lyrics instead! Much has been made of the, ahem, sexiness of the group's songs. Sure, Kelly and McKee were bumping uglies during the period that they were making this music and, yeah, the songs they wrote are filled with double entendres, but the double entendres don't amount to much (“Rory Rides Me Raw” is actually about riding a bicycle and “Monsterpussy” is about a really big cat!) and much of this music is light and fluffy enough to be played for children (well, maybe not the band's cover of Divine's classic “You Think You're a Man”).

Now let's talk about the music—it's good! The songs remain catchy and fun and vaguely psychedelic. The Vaselines made a joyful noise and this noise is on full display on Enter The Vaselines.

Enter The Vaselines is the “deluxe edition” of The Way of The Vaselines: A Complete History. Not only does it contain everything previously released on The Way of The Vaselines: A Complete History (allegedly, everything has been remastered, but the tracks have retained their lo-fi glory), but it also has a handful of demos and a slew of live tracks taken from two shows, one showcasing the full band rocking out and another set that was performed by Kelly and McKee playing as duo with a tape machine, They Might be Giants-style! The nicely packaged double disc set also contains some informative liner notes and no less than two new interviews with Kelly and McKee. Bitchin'. In other words, this is the so-called “complete history” of the band or at least prior to the band's recent reunion, anyway.

That's right, The Vaselines are playing live again; hell, they're even writing new songs! Having heard bootleg recordings of a number of these reunion shows, I can quell your fears and assure you the band still sounds great and the new songs aren't going to ruin the group's legacy or nothing (sample lyric from random new song: “we've got nothing to say, but we're saying it anyway”—still cheeky after all these years!). God bless The Vaselines and all who sail with it. Even Kurt Cobain. [Sub Pop]

-Joseph P. Larkin



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