Vitality rejuvenated in early tracks

By Robert Breckenridge

Arizona Daily Wildcat

This extended player is essentially a CD single with many bonus tracks. The record features the song "Jealousy", from Liz Phair's most recent album Whip Smart , and adds two previously unreleased tracks as well as five songs from her early home-made "Girly Sound" cassettes. It is the bonus tracks that make this a worthwhile recording.

Liz Phair's album Exile in Guyville has become a standard within indie-rock as a result of exceptional song writing and performance. Her second effort, Whip Smart, failed to live up to expectations a hit and miss collection of songs, with some industry pandering thrown in for bad taste. This new collection, however, helps to reestablish her previous position, though this is primarily a result of the inclusion of her first recordings.

The single here is perhaps the least memorable song on the record. Instead, it is the much older material from her early cassettes that stands out. In particular "California," "Batmobile," and "Dead Shark" stand out in this set, with interesting melodies and lyrics. These home recordings feature only guitar and vocals. This simplicity provides vitality and personality to the songs. The two previously unreleased tracks are interesting, though not particularly earth-shattering. One is a live recording of "Animal Girl," a gentle piano number, while the other is a version of the often covered "Turning Japanese," though here with an accompaniment by Material Issue.

Overall, this is a nice EP. It is good to see a selection of Liz Phair's early work become readily accessible, and perhaps this will bring a return of the insightful and concrete song writing which made her first album so endearing.

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