When Jay Reatard left this mortal coil in 2010 at the tender age of 29, he left behind a body of work as large and as varied as someone who had lived twice as long. As such, it is sometimes easy to forget all the many forms that his work took. Perhaps most often overlooked are the Lost Sounds, his band from the turn of the century that incorporated a healthy dose of synthetic weirdness into its post-punk melee.
With Alicja Trout, Rich Crook and Patrick Jordan, Reatard and the Lost Sounds recorded four full-lengths during their tenure as well as a slew of singles and EPs. As such, it’s a little surprising that there’s anything left in the vaults. Nevertheless, Goner has accumulated 23 tracks of bits, pieces and unreleased songs to put the final period on the band’s story.
While the whirring synths that coursed alongside Jay’s guitar were one of Lost Sounds’ most notable features, the band didn’t use such electronics as ephemeral decoupage like some of their contemporaries. Instead, such touches keyed in a certain amount of freneticism that worked to Reatard’s strengths. In fact, it’s no overstatement to say that the band’s Black-Wave and self-titled album were some of his best work.
Be that as it may be, Lost Lost isn’t exactly necessary listening. Of its 23 cuts, there’s only a handful that surpass the collection’s odd and sods persona. “Black Coats White Fear” sounds like a demo, but still carries a visceral edge. “Die Alone (Promise Me)” captures the band’s synergy of influences while also prefacing artists like Blank Dogs in the coming years. “Read a Requiem Mass 4 Me” and an early version of “I Get Nervous” are clear indications of what Lost Sounds became, pushing the band’s buttons in all the right ways.
That said, Lost Lost is still very much a fan’s record. Its bits and pieces aren’t going to win anyone over to the band, but they’re worth hearing if only to get a clearer picture of the Lost Sounds’ legacy. It’s hard to endorse this collection per se. Instead, it’s easier to recommend the whole of the band’s output, with Lost Lost being just part of a much grander scheme.