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coverpic flag US - Kentucky - Full Moon 108 - 07/21/05

Pajo
Pajo
Drag City

Dave Pajo is probably one of my favourite musicians. He plays guitar on Spiderland by Slint, which I don't play much because it's so devastating, but I respect it wholly as a fucking work of art. And he made Papa M's Live from a Shark Cage all on his lonesome, which is probably the most warm, inviting and melodic piece of 'post-rock' you can spin in your stereo. Check it out.

On Papa M's Whatever Mortal he made songs with singing, and it was nice, but nothing too special. There were some amazing moments, like "Beloved Woman", which stills blows me away. The Hole of Burning Alms retrospective collection was OK too - some nice bits and pieces that I had not heard before. Dave can play a mean guitar. He also released a series of EPs that I haven't heard - I hope they'll be collected together and released on a single disc soon.

With Pajo there's a unifying aesthetic, but despite using his name, the material feels less distinctively individual than before. On these mostly acoustic tunes he sounds uncannily like Elliott Smith. This is all well and good, but if I wanted an Elliott Smith album I'd bloody buy one. I'm reminded of Home by Lou Barlow too. I want Dave Pajo and his lyrical guitar lines!

Not that Pajo isn't appealing - it's got some good tunes. But I'm distinctly underwhelmed. The atmosphere suggested by the gorgeous sleeve art is almost entirely absent. An irony, then, to have Dave Pajo release an album under his own name and for it to be less recognisably him than his other releases.

Copyright © 2005 Tim Clarke e-mail address

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