ARTIST: The Embarassment
TITLE: Heyday 1979-83
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: Hahahahah, you’re joking right?
SINGLES: Sex Drive
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Well, those who know, know.
LINEUP: John Nichols, Ronnie Klaus, Brent Giessmann, Bill Goffrier
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Obscure Wichita (yep, Wichita) band recorded some great, literate, witty new wave-ish songs that trickled out enough that they developed a cult following.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: A bunch of nerdy looking college kids from Wichita formed a band, wrote smart / smart ass lyrics and developed a small yet lovingly rabid following. They released material on singles and sent them to compilations (including two very early Sub Pop cassettes) that found its way to some influential critics and taste makers who loved their take on jangly guitar rock and bent lyrics.
Examples? “Sex Drive” – about guys that you knew in high school that cruised for chicks in their Trans Ams; “Patio Set” – a love song to lawn furniture; “Celebrity Art Party” – where Art Carney attended the ‘narcissistic party’; “Berliner’s Night Out” – which describers a German guy getting ready for a date; and “Lifespan”- giving a mathematical equation to living and saying “if you drive, don’t drive” then going somewhere else.
Not to say that everything is top-class or first-rate. This collects nearly everything they did in those years, and there were some songs that weren’t as well developed or documented for the sake of documentation, and not release. But for those “Hip and Well Read”, this is a nice treasure that still brings smiles to faces.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: They recorded an album in 1989 (also recording some of this material again), and have reunited periodically.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE A-: It’s a big compilation that may be much for those who just want to dip their toes into them, but it’s well worth spinning at least once.