Offbeat indie rock that ensures a cult.
Garth Cartwright 2008
Memphis-based rocker Jay Reatard has attracted attention by so far releasing his first ten tunes only on vinyl 45. Matador started this by announcing that his debut 45 See Saw/Screaming Hand would only be available in a limited edition of 3500 coloured vinyl copies. Since then each single has been released in lesser numbers – the forthcoming single Number six (No Time/You Were Sleeping) is in an edition of only 600. Anticipation for such a rare single caused the Matador web page to crash after thousands logged on and tried to purchase (it will now be on the CD in the shop but is not on the promo CD – thanks guys!). While this release pattern is a gimmick to attract attention it certainly works and Reatard's debut album – which Matador Singles stands as – will surely attract lots of rock media attention and the kind of enthusiasm from fans of offbeat indie rock that ensures a cult.
Hype is one thing but talent is another: how good is Reatard? This album suggests he has a knack for punchy pop-punk, a strong sense of dynamics, a decent sense of melody and can sing OK. In a way he recalls early Green Day. Which is no bad thing. But nothing particularly great either. See/Saw’s amphetamine buzz is agreeable and his strongest influences appear to be Kiwi lo-fi bands – The Clean, Tall Dwarves – from the early 1980s; like them he gets a chunky, basic buzzsaw sound going and sings in an exaggerated manner. It's fun if absolutely nothing new. Matador Singles comes with an extra track that has not yet been released on vinyl and loses the B-side to Single number four, as that was a Reatard song performed by Deer Hoof.