A large sprawling feast for ears tired of industry standard
TouchTheMoog | Australia | 07/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having discovered the Tall Dwarfs only recently with their wonderfully idiosyncratic '3 EPs' album, unfortunately not available at amazon yet, I had to find more of their work. I got hold of this album and I love it. This is a collection taken from some of their EP's and it holds together as an album very well, although not your average album by any means. This is an offbeat collection of quirky pop tunes, low fi drones, strange home made sounding percussion and other weird diversities. These guys seem to be making music because they want to and as such don't stick to any formula, the nice acoustic songs go hand in hand with others of a more brooding sort. I believe most if not all of these songs were recorded at home and it is this unique blend of unrushed and seemingly honest sensibilities that make this album something special and appealing to me. I found this album and the 3EP's album extremely refreshing.
New Zealand rock music has something unique going for it and these guys are up there in a class of their own."
The first 4 ep's: great introduction to NZ lo-fi
John L Murphy | Los Angeles | 09/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Recently reissued on Flying Nun, this generously filled compilation of the duo's first 4 ep's starts off with a song recently covered (and the title track) by the Athens, Georgia band Elf Power. Fans of that band, like myself, will like this NZ lo-fi output from 1981-84. Chris Knox & Alec Bathgate create music that influenced Pavement as well as Elf Power and other studiously ramshackle indie American groups from the 90s. The Dwarfs' reliance on intertwining guitars, a dense--almost medieval at times--drone, and off-hand vocal delivery of sometimes cryptic, sometimes off-the-cuff lyrics makes for a bracingly original template that other bands, ironically judged themselves as pioneers of this DIY home-studio sound, have copied. I wish I would have heard more of this band, not only about them, before I heard Pavement!
While some of the Dwarfs' later albums fall into whimsy, this one feels stronger in its take on the ethos of assembling song bits together into tunes, often short, but haunting in their aura. A caution for any listener expecting clarity, but the inherent tunefulness of Bathgate & Knox, as well as the artistically varied e.p. sleeves and cover art reproduced in this reissue package, makes for a worthwhile investment."