May 10, 2006

Review: Meneguar | I Was Born At Night (Reissue/Remaster)

Meneguar -- I Was Born At NightWhen a record is remixed or remastered the general wisdom is that the process makes improvements by correcting some deficiency in the original product. In our opinion Magic Bullet's 2005 issue of Brooklyn noise rockers Meneguar's I Was Born At Night is amazing and can't be improved, so we were curious how we would receive Troubleman Unlimited's reissue, which streets June 6. The record, in case you haven't read our frequent raves over the last year, is seven songs of brawling, feels-good-feelin'-bad indie rock, like the Archers Of Loaf with brokener hearts and a touch of 'roid rage. I Was Born At Night includes *the* anthem of 2005, "The Temp," among other rockers. Can a reissue improve on that? Is the new version better?

Maybe a little. More importantly the reissue promises to get the record in the hands of a lot more fans than Magic Bullet's more limited initial release. The reissue adds some newly recorded guitar parts here and there and overall the sound is remarkably cleaner, with each sonic element stretching out into more clearly defined and roomy headspace. That said, we think the muddier, grittier original mixes ably served the power and energy of the music. The only place the proverbial sprucing up actually detracts from the original is on "The Temp." Polishing up the tune's component parts removes some of the roughness that underscores the desperate vibe the song conveys and somehow diminishes the entire sonic scale of the song. Bottom line: I Was Born At Night was already awesome. Having listened to the original a few hundred times in the last year, the reissue to us is primarily interesting from an academic standpoint. If you love the record as much as we do, you'll enjoy hearing it in a new and different light. If you've never heard it, you'll be grateful to finally get your hands on one of the top records of 2005.

[Pre-order I Was Born At Night from Amazon here. Incidentally, Amazon claims they can also sell you a new copy of the Magic Bullet version, but we would be very cautious about trying it: Many times we have ordered out-of-print indie rock from Amazon only to enter an endless purgatory of emails and the order never shipping. Just sayin.' Amazon points to some folks selling the Magic Bullet version used -- that's likely a better bet.]

No comments: