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the pathetic caverns - music by artist - Sarge

eclectic reviews and opinions



(Mud, 2000)

(Also see Interview with Elizabeth Elmore formerly of Sarge)

A collection of tracks left over after a band breaks up usually doesn't add up to a very cohesive album, but this one will delight old fans and might even make some new ones. The disc opens with three tunes slated for the never-to-be-finished third album, typically disturbing, but catchy, vignettes of loss, betrayal and confusion. A half-dozen live tracks highlight five of the strongest tunes from The Glass Intact and "Dear Josie, Love Robyn" from Charcoal. Rougher, rawer than the album versions, they document a competent, energetic live outfit. A jokey rendition of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walking" might make you reach for the skip button.

But the best treats are saved for last. There's a pair of unapologetic '80s covers: Wham!'s "Last Christmas" is played straight, not for laughs, and works surprisingly well with George Michael's gloss replaced by Sarge's grit. Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" likewise rocks up well. "distant" is another of the spare solo interludes that punctuate the other two records, and the semi-acoustic reworking of one of the new tunes, retitled "all my plans changed" offers a tantalizing glimpse of what might have been a new side to Sarge: softer, with more expansive instrumentation, but no less lyrically fierce.

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