Artist: The Vaselines
Title: Sex with an X / Roaster & Whitechapel w/ Picked a Cherry (Demos)
Label: Sub Pop Records
Format: 7” vinyl, 7” limited edition vinyl (respectfully)
Genre: punk, indie rock, pop
Seeing as I posted the review for the LP originally well over a year ago, it’s about time I got around to reviewing the singles (and getting the next installment of the 7” of Love series uploaded). The Vaselines were one of Kurt Cobain’s influences and, if you haven’t heard this story before, he had initially pushed Sub Pop into releasing a compilation of the band’s early material back in 1989. That package has since enjoyed a deluxe reissue (see “Way of the Vaselines” on the Sub Pop web page) and in 2010, a sophomore album came out, much to delight of fans the world over. A review for that is up here on the blog (link).
So firstly, we have the “Sex with an X” 7” single. It kicks off with the title track from the LP; a catchy and addictive punk-pop hybrid with sweet guitar and jangly vocals. It sounds like they picked up right where they left off in the mid-80s without sounding dated. There’s not too much more to say about it that I haven’t already covered in the LP’s review, so onto the B-side, “Roaster.” Here, we have a track I am amazed didn’t make the cut for the album. It’s a generous blending of pop and punk with a light hint of psyche. The guitar riffs are most definitely punk influenced and the vocals are just as harmonious as ever. If there is one thing The Vaselines are good at, it’s making tunes catchy and insanely fun.
Onto the demo 7”. This was given away to the first 200 people to preorder the LP before its release in September of 2010. I was surprised to actually get a copy of this when my order shipped; I thought for sure I would have been too late. It comes in a plain white paper sleeve with a simple black stamp with the track and band info. The tunes are the complete opposite of the bland cover; colorful, playful and very melodic. The A-side, “Whitechapel” kind of reminds me of Ladytron if they had gone punk/pop. The vocals are vibrant and toy with darker harmonies, something we don’t see too often from this band. Despite this, it sort of recalls their earlier material in terms of lyrical structure but with its own modern twists.
The B-side opens with what vaguely reminds me of the guitar lick from “Candyfloss” by Jonny, but it quickly shifts gears with a flurry of cheeky and clever lyrics. I particularly like the line “metaphors won’t get you laid.” Very amusing. It’s a witty and playful pop-punk mix once again, true to their style, and a good track at that.
Since playing these singles nearly a full year after I bought them, it makes me hungry for new material. It’s unclear if we’ll get that chance. I mean, it took well over twenty years before we got a second album. I certainly hope we won’t have to wait as long for a third. Fans can take some joy in the fact that the band did appear recently on SPIN magazine’s tribute to Nirvana’s “Nevermind”, covering the track “Lithium.” Granted, their style completely changed for the making of that track, but it is still fantastic.
Should you buy these? If you’re a fan of this band, you won’t be disappointed. It may be easier to get a hold of the “Sex with an X” single than the demos, but, if your nose is keen, you’ll have no trouble finding a used copy of the demo 7” for sale online. Prices for that one are well below 10$ so you won’t have to throw too much cash at it.
4.90 out of 5.