Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Grifters - One Sock Missing - 1993


Certainly the most low-key (if not lo-fi) of the Grifters' early records, 1993's One Sock Missing is less noisy and aggressive than its immediate predecessor, So Happy Together, but that doesn't mean it's mellow. Not even close, in fact. The Memphis foursome play with the swaggering-and-staggering intensity of the circa-1984 Replacements channeling the circa-1968 Stones, and for once, the lo-fi pretense (abrupt fade-outs, jerky tape splices, audible coughs, and background noise, more distortion than a Sonic Youth record) actually enhances the funky charms of the songs instead of serving as a distraction. Dig the way "Encrusted" is gradually swallowed up by the background noise until the song finally bursts through again for a triumphant climax. The swirling, almost psychedelic "#1"; the strings-enhanced "Wonder"; and the choogling opener "Bummer" are among the band's best-ever songs, and the filler that mars most of the Grifters' albums (even gems like Ain't My Lookout) is largely absent. The more in-your-face Crappin' You Negative got better press at the time, but in the long run, One Sock Missing is by far the best of the Grifters' pre-Sub Pop albums. -AMG



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