Whether you’ve been keeping up diligently with each successive single that Matador has released over the last six months or just curious as to what Mr. Reatard is doing post-Blood Visions, the release this week compiling those vaunted, highly exclusive artifacts is a welcomed relief. It’s all over. No more haggling with the eBay elite or staring into a frozen browser with fingers crossed. They are all here, neatly designed for maximum effect, in chronological order, a little like a roadmap of Reatard’s whirlwind year. From the overdriven adrenaline rush of the first (and in retrospect best of the bunch) to the scrappy, dust-covered kiwi-pop he’s recently fallen for found especially on the unreleased final song, “I’m Watching You.” Still even for all the sprightly organ trills, mandolins and kooky guises that make their appearance in this first installment of Reatard’s “pop” phase, he manages to keep his simple, but gnarly, vision in check and his edgy persona far from being a softie—for instance the blatant use of the word “cunt” in the album’s quietest moment. You’re always going to get cheap beer, middle fingers and undressed wounds, no matter how pretty the songs get.
I’d be tempted to call this one of the albums of the year due simply to the quantity and variety of these 7-inchers of joy. But each one stands on it’s own two legs, and Matador Singles ‘08 would only be better as a whole if Reatard thought to sequence this with the long-playing party in mind (or just ditching the cover of Deerhunter’s “Fluorescent Grey”). Regardless, it was a wild ride, one I followed intently in a column called Jaywad over at World of Wumme. Very intrigued as to what comes next.