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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Le Pepes
All Fun Things End (CD)

Back in the day, oh circa 1993-1998, it was still acceptable for a band to traffick in the sweet but sometimes ghoulish sounds of lo-fi. Guided By Voices, Pavement, The Grifters, and Lou Barlow's "doh"-bands blew the doors open in magazines like Rolling Stone and SPIN with their scratchy ass homespun records. All of the sudden, everyone with a four track realized it was possible to get mainstream attention. Then the bottom fell out, or so everyone will tell you.

I get nostalgic for those days, which is why I enjoyed Le Pepes posthumous release All Fun Things End. These are the collected recordings of a band that I wish I had seen play live during their short 3 year tenure in the L.A. area in the mid 90s. Yes, musical ground is not being broken by any stretch of the imagination, but still there is a lot to like on this album. First, I need to say that I was and still am an enormous Butterglory fan and Le Pepes' first track "Bigwheel Trickery" channels them dead on, right down to Matt Suggs and Debbie Vander Wall's amazing vocal timbres. "Fragile" is a departure from that sound, leaning more toward mayhem and distortion and sounding somewhat like the monotonic rantings on early Sonic Youth.

I really liked the fun and bouncy "The Day I Saved The Planet". The beginning of "Tickle Tragedy" sounds like Calvin Johnson has infiltrated the Pepes with his deep wobbly baritone. "Super Duper Rad" sounds almost power pop, while "Comfortable Silence" sounds at times like Thurston Moore's solo work, especially in the verses. The production values of some of my favorite early Swirlies albums come to mind on all of these tracks. A word of warning: you're not going to enjoy this album if you can't look past the occasional tape phasing in the mixes. But it's all good... sometimes I feel like I'm listening to some of my favorite mixes on my old walkman.

So has lo-fi been relegated to the no-no bin nowadays? That's up to you to decide, but if you're willing to wiggle, Le Pepes will give you a fair shot at worming your way back through the heyday of old fashioned lo-fi rock. You say it's easy, but you're wrong.

- review by BY (7.11.03)        

Kittridge Records
P.O. Box 662011
Los Angeles, CA 90066

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