God is real‚ and just so happens to be a fan of Pavement. Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition is the fourth of the band's five main studio albums to be reissued‚ and the two-disc set contains a measly twenty-four previously unreleased tracks. Now‚ while some may feel that such an excess of forgotten cuts was probably forgotten for a reason‚ the true Pavement devotee knows that everything -- literally everything -- is essential. At the time of the Brighten release‚ some felt that the Church of Malkmus had begun to roam astray‚ highlighted by the radio play of "Stereo" and "Shady Lane‚" but those who remained faithful embraced the album that naysayers presumably cranked while alone in the shower.
Admittedly‚ I did once rag on an ex-girlfriend for BTC being the only Pavement album she owned‚ but that's a whole different story. "Transport is Arranged" now plays like a model of the band‚ growing from a delicate folk song with fake flutes into a pumping air-guitar slam-track‚ and all focused around the classic SM line: "The voice coach taught me to sing/ he couldn't teach me to love." "Type Slowly" still seems to stand out on the album for me as much as it did ten years ago‚ but Disc 2 contains a live version of the track that turns into a whole new animal. As for the "new" old stuff? To put it bluntly‚ it's what record store clerks' wet dreams are made of.
"Cataracts" is the first one you can't imagine not actually making it to the album. It's driving‚ a little off-kilter‚ and straight-up classic Pavement. "Birds in the Majic Industry" falls along the same lines‚ but was presumably cut due to an uncertain ending. "Harness Your Hopes" is one of the most beautiful up-tempo songs the band ever recorded‚ but was originally only a B-side to the "Spit on a Stranger" single -- most likely because the best line is just too self-referential for Malkmus: "Show me a word that rhymes with Pavement and I will kill your parents and roast them on a spit."

"Winner of The" is a forgotten Spiral Stairs classic and again reminds us that there were two lead singers in this band. Well‚ kind of. It is a great track‚ though‚ and very reminiscent of the sound Spiral would fully embrace in Preston School of Industry. There are a couple great covers thrown in: the synth-heavy "Oddity" by '70s organ-punk band‚ The Clean‚ and a heart wrenching studio cut of Echo and the Bunnymen's "Killing Moon." The feature track of the entire reissue‚ though‚ has to be the legendary "Neil Hagerty Meets Jon Spencer in a Non-Alcoholic Bar." It sounds just like you think it should -- rotten hooligans pissing all over the blues. Pure Pavement. Pure love. It's uncertain whether these reissues are supposed to encourage or hold off the hordes waiting for a reunion‚ but whenever they finally release the Terror Twilight reissue‚ they're going to have to do something to keep the vultures fed.