The Joup Friday Album: Pavement ‘Terror Twilight’

terrortwilight I gather y’all had a total eclipse of the sun this the past week? We rarely have anything as interesting or extreme in this perpetual gloaming we Brits call a climate. Last time we did was August 1999, and the next isn’t due until September 2090, which I can confidently RSVP in the negatory. I at least experienced the last we had. I was losing my shit job-virginity in a Cash & Carry. Customer footfall into the warehouse disappeared the closer it drew, and we stepped into an Omega Man-outside, pedestrian and vehicular traffic along the busy corridor into the city eerily absent. The celestial sequence began and Co-workers drew out little rectangles of amber perspex to view it through and the weekday world began to take on an incongruous gloom on this hot and clear August morning. I looked at the random assortment of specimens I was contractually obliged to spend 37.5 hours of my waking week-with all craning their heads sunward and decided for some reason I might be better off looking behind me…

The suburbs were in sunset under duress. I don’t think I’ve never anthropomorphised a locale before or since, but the vista seemed to awkwardly look back at me, idiotically imploring for an explanation. Birds got confused and anxiously flapped home to trees that weren’t expecting them back yet. Both Milk and Mail Man alike nearly started their shifts again. The Negative Werewolves did howl. I spent a minute or two relishing the ambience of my nonplussed neighbourhood where every mechanism of the status quo, animal mineral or vegetable seemed to be experiencing a widescreen brain fart. Two months earlier, Pavement had released their final album ‘Terror Twilight’. I don’t think that the album informed my perception of the aforementioned events, but they seem to have wormed their way out of my subconscious to conjugate with my consideration of it as the focus, making a pretty neat theme to this piece. The eclipse lasted 2m 23s I don’t think the 44:08 seconds of this album left the fore of my brain for the following two years.

Nigel Godrich puts the stars in the sky of Terror Twilight, as ‘Spit on a Stranger’ sets a tuck-your-lover-into-bed feel to proceedings. Things take a decidedly more divergent turn on Folk Jam where a banjo-driven sidescroll through the country backdrop takes an unscheduled stop at a roadside attraction-of a swirling waltz that sees the song out. Someone switches on the Fairy Lights at the beginning of ‘You Are A Light’, and a more atmospheric musical detour shakes the stars free of their moorings and they bounce and echo around as Malkmus cruises around in his Automatic as the guitars ratchet-up their intensity then die away, but not before foreshadowing the impending severity of ‘Cream of Gold’. ‘Major Leagues’ resets the cosiness of the album opener in anticipation of ‘Platform Blues’ (working title ‘Ground Beef Heart’*) which gets the Gonzo going again with its hybridisation of The Groundhogs and Captain Beefheartesque freestyled Harmonica (courtesy of Jonny Greenwood’s lungs). ‘Ann Don’t Cry’ dampens things down yet again to clear the Platform’s Blues for the majestic ‘Billie’ with it’s coda of awe inspiring, enormous sky. ‘Speak, See, Remember’ flatters to deceive with pocket watch swinging-beginnings, before propelling you into it’s developing coasts and raised sight lines, until an abrupt reprise of the intro sees you adrift in the murk of uncertainty that is ‘…The Hexx’, which is waved away by the nod and wink ‘end credits’ of ‘Carrot Rope’, a jolly little goodbye from the band, with each member sharing a piece of the vocal duties.

* Malkmus would attribute Platform Blues’ to The Groundhogs ‘Split’ album, but it’s Hogwash…that is, it’s actually ‘Hogwash‘ skip to 26m43s to hear the Proto ‘Platform Blues’.

Tag Daniel.

Chester Whelks

Chester Whelks

Chester Whelks is a peripheral figure on the fringes of existence. Predominantly bothering the local music scene of his native Manchester, England, he has a very finely attuned Justice-button, and knows how to call a spade a ‘Multi-Purpose Murder/Concealment Device’.

One Response to The Joup Friday Album: Pavement ‘Terror Twilight’
  1. sonny vitkauskas Reply

    Malkmus has been doing some work lately composing music for a Netflix series called “Flaked” created by Will Arnet. From the first episode I saw the music struck me as a vaguely familiar style and then I saw his name pop up in the credits. Interesting show with music to match. It’s worth a watch. By the way I looked into the eclipse with my naked eyes and nothing happened to my vision at all. I think it is all a ploy by the big protective eye wear companies.

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