JAY REATARD - Blood Visions LP
The one-man impresario and single-handed punk rock road show Jay Reatard had been an incredibly prolific music machine in the Memphis underground for nearly a decade before the release of Blood Visions, spending time in groups such as Lost Sounds and The Reatards, just to name a few. This, his first solo album, slipped under the radar at first, which is shocking considering just how fuzz-tastic it is. On Blood Visions, Reatard blows through fifteen songs, few lasting more than two minutes. Despite their brevity, they are complete songs that pack quite a punch, in part because they are just so damned catchy. There are hooks galore: "Blood Visions," "Greed, Money, Useless Children," "It's So Easy," "My Shadow," "Death is Forming," "Puppet Man," and "Not a Substitute" are all instantly memorable. Reatard even shows that he knows how to put an album together by providing a rather rousing coda to the Side One closer "Oh It's Such a Shame." Though Blood Visions largely dismisses solos, memorable riffs abound. The lyrics focus on general countercultural rock n' roll themes. Even with darker lyrical content, Reatard's clean vocal delivery and compact songwriting style never really let the listener focus too much on his words, and that's probably for the best. This is such a fun album, he decided to shift styles after this album, moving to a more popular twee sound. Really, though, it's infinitely more of a shame that his life ended at the age of 29.