Les Savy Fav Inches

[French Kiss; 2004]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: post-punk, art-punk, indie rock
Others: Fugazi, The Dismemberment Plan, Pixies


Even before the release of its debut album in 1999, The Cat and the Cobra, Les Savy Fav mustered an idea that would either become a musical triumph or an utter failure. The plan was to release nine seven-inches on nine different labels, an idea that would turn enthusiasts of Les Savy Fav's art-punk drama into either devouring completists or failing incompletists. It was the latter case more often than not, as some of these seven-inches were near-impossible to find (French Kiss put it best when they said, "Even the band doesn't have copies of some of these songs"). But with Inches, all nine seven-inch releases have been conveniently compiled onto one disc, completing the prophesied cycle that was premeditated even before the first song was recorded. And it just so happens to be Les Savy Fav's strongest release yet.

Les Savy Fav first caught my attention in 2000 with the release of Rome (Written Upside Down). At times soulful and melodic, and at other times downright trashy and abrasive, this 5-track EP exposed me to their inventive punk noise. Intertwined with this sonic output was a reputation for having an elaborate, melodramatic live show, led by their lead vocalist and primary shit-disturber, Tim Harrington. Rarely would you not see Harrington dangling from the rafters at a live performance. Appropriately enough, Inches not only captures the band's live performance on the bonus DVD, but it also showcases the band's musical achievements and evolution throughout their career on the CD. From the opening electro-drum sequence of "Meet Me in the Dollar Bin" to the full-throttle assault of standout track "Our Coastal Hymn," the group proves their successful excursions in both diversity and the refinement of their songwriting craft.

To be sure, Inches is not your typical compilation. Even though the music varies in both quality and style depending on when it was recorded, the idea behind the album transcends the disparate production techniques and songwriting contexts. And because it was sequenced to run from newer tracks to older, the album provides the listeners a regressive experience that traces back to when the original idea was first conceived for this new release -- a circular experience indeed. In short, Inches is a mandatory release for all Les Savy Fans, both serious and casual. Praise to those Fav fans that collected each one of the seven-inches in the last eight years. For the rest of us, it is now time to complete the Les Savy Fav experience.

Even before the release of its debut album in 1999, The Cat and the Cobra, Les Savy Fav mustered an idea that would either become a musical triumph or an utter failure. The plan was to release nine seven-inches on nine different labels, an idea that would turn enthusiasts of Les Savy Fav's art-punk drama into either devouring completists or failing incompletists. It was the latter case more often than not, as some of these seven-inches were near-impossible to find (French Kiss put it best when they said, "Even the band doesn't have copies of some of these songs"). But with Inches, all nine seven-inch releases have been conveniently compiled onto one disc, completing the prophesied cycle that was premeditated even before the first song was recorded. And it just so happens to be Les Savy Fav's strongest release yet.
Les Savy Fav first caught my attention in 2000 with the release of Rome (Written Upside Down). At times soulful and melodic, and at other times downright trashy and abrasive, this 5-track EP exposed me to their inventive punk noise. Intertwined with this sonic output was a reputation for having an elaborate, melodramatic live show, led by their lead vocalist and primary shit-disturber, Tim Harrington. Rarely would you not see Harrington dangling from the rafters at a live performance. Appropriately enough, Inches not only captures the band's live performance on the bonus DVD, but it also showcases the band's musical achievements and evolution throughout their career on the CD. From the opening electro-drum sequence of "Meet Me in the Dollar Bin" to the full-throttle assault of standout track "Our Coastal Hymn," the group proves their successful excursions in both diversity and the refinement of their songwriting craft.
To be sure, Inches is not your typical compilation. Even though the music varies in both quality and style depending on when it was recorded, the idea behind the album transcends the disparate production techniques and songwriting contexts. And because it was sequenced to run from newer tracks to older, the album provides the listeners a regressive experience that traces back to when the original idea was first conceived for this new release -- a circular experience indeed. In short, Inches is a mandatory release for all Les Savy Fans, both serious and casual. Praise to those Fav fans that collected each one of the seven-inches in the last eight years. For the rest of us, it is now time to complete the Les Savy Fav experience.

1. Meet Me in the Dollar Bin
2. Hold On to Your Genre
3. We'll Make a Lover of You
4. Fading Vibes
5. The Sweat Descends
6. Knowing How the World Works
7. Hello Halo, Goodbye Glands
8. Obsessed With the Excess
9. One Way Window
10. Yawn, Yawn, Yawn
11. No Sleeves
12. Reprobates Resume
13. Reformat [live]
14. Reformat
15. Bringing Us Down
16. Our Coastal Hymn
17. Blackouts on Thursday
18. Rodeo

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