The Californian succeeds, once again, in exposing the ugliness of mankind. It’ll get under your skin
Album review: Jay Reatard - 'Watch Me Fall'
Garage rock's prolific enfant terrible gets even meaner and leaner
But even as he’s marinading in despair, the Reatard’s redeeming himself by dosing up on melody. If his 2006 ‘debut’ (give or take 20 side-projects) ‘Blood Visions’ was a sonic cosh to the back of the head – short sharp stabs of punk energy drowning in dissonance – then ‘Watch Me Fall’ finds him with space to show off the full genius of his songwriting, turning the fuzz down, the jangle up and taking the (for him) radical decision to throw in violins and even some pianos. A lot has been made of the influence of Kiwi indie-pop label flying nun, but there’s a more obvious daddy here in those other melodic misanthropes – the Buzzcocks. In fact he’s turned so Anglo-punk that Jay sometimes sounds like he’s pursing his lips into a Dick Van Reatard-style English accent.
With songs rarely topping three minutes, and clocking in at half an hour over 12 tracks, ‘Watch Me Fall’ is a taut, sinewy masterclass. Only at the end – ‘A Whisper (There Is No Sun)’ – does he step away from the garage, turning the title’s nihilistic mantra into something chest-burstingly lovely, even radiantly optimistic. Natural contrarians are fuckers like that. Fantastic fuckers.
Click here to get your copy of Jay Reatard's 'Watch Me Fall' from the Rough Trade shop.
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