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Lost Lost
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  • The Reatards were an admirably chaotic garage-punk band that deserved the cult following they quickly attracted, but Jay Reatard's next major project, Lost Sounds, was a far richer vehicle his talents, especially since it teamed him with a collaborator whose talents were a good match for his own: Alicja Trout, previously of the Clears and later with River City Tanlines. In Lost Sounds, Reatard, and Trout fused the manic attack of punk with a more sophisticated musical palette, and their best work was a dark, powerful maelstrom of guitars and synthesizers, melting down elements of punk, garage rock, new wave, synth pop, and pre-goth moodiness and mixing them into something raw, powerful, and fresh. Lost Sounds managed to turn out four full-length albums in the six years they were together, and while it's easy to regard the band as the stepping stone between the Reatards and the launch of Jay Reatard's solo career with 2006's Blood Visions, they were much more significant than that, and Trout has offered a look into what they left behind with the collection Lost Lost. Subtitled "Demos, Sounds, Alternate Takes, and Unused Songs 1999-2004," this is 53 minutes of odds and ends from the Lost Sounds' archives, with rough home-recorded demos and random sound experiments outnumbering the fully realized tracks studio that appear here, but nearly everything included is worthy of the group's legacy, and there are plenty of welcome surprises. "No Count" and "Throw Away" are great '60s-styled garage rock (even with a Casio doing the drumming on the latter track), "Glued to the Screen" is a noisy but affecting expression of post-9/11 paranoia, "No Genetic Engineer" is a compelling look into Reatard and Trout's failing relationships (both personal and creative), "Frankenstein Twist" is a playful bit of almost-psychobilly, and "Total Destruction" and "A Foreign Play" are grand-scale productions that reveal a growing sophistication in terms of arrangements and melodic structures. Lost Lost isn't the definitive look at this band's body of work, and is probably best appreciated by serious fans rather than dabblers, but a careful listen confirms even their scraps and rough drafts were the work of a gifted band with a sound and vision all their own. ~ Mark Deming
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