May 00, 1997
Release: ¡Excellent! The Violent Years
Last year's Draining The Glass 1982 - 86 collection spotlighted the Butcher's best songs from a handful of albums released on the Glass label between 1982 and 1986. Now, Creation Records has done the same with ¡Excellent!, which culls from a half-dozen Creation discs that began with 1988's Fishcotheque and ended with 1995's Illuminate. While Draining... was a masterful distillation, this new compilation suffers from poor song choices. Novelty cuts like " Bicycle Kid " and " Chickentown " made the cut while gems like " The Good Ones " and " Keeping The Curtains Closed " didn't.
Some of the original Creation stuff is now out of print, and ¡Excellent! was a great opportunity to reincarnate some fantastic music. In this respect it fails, shining only on tracks like the beautiful " Whaddya? ," from 1994's Waiting For The Love Bus, and Cult Of The Basement's " Mr. Odd "
Still the Butcher shows his ability to swing from all out punk to a dewy ballad without so much as a smirk. Such versatility, without the self-indulgence we see so often, should set his legacy apart from that of almost anybody who has left a mark in indie-rock.
copyright © Patrick Smith. PO Box 380406 Cambridge MA 02238
(used with author's permission)