Review: "Anthology" serves as a celebration of The Clean, a band whose influence extends so far beyond their New Zealand home that even if you have never heard of The Clean before, you have surely heard of some of the bands (Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and Superchunk, to name a few) who have been influenced by their unique blend of homemade garage rock, hook-filled melodies and psychedelic experimentalism.
The album is a compilation from across The Clean's legendary career, which began in 1981 and continues today. Merge originally released the two CD "Anthology" in 2003, but now this collection is available on quadruple LP. "Anthology" kicks off with The Clean's call-to-arms debut "Tally Ho!"; the story of the infectious track's $60 recording bill is now legendary. It continues with the early EPs "Boodle Boodle Boodle" and "Great Sounds Great" in their entirety. The hits "Billy Two", "Anything Could Happen", "Beatnik" and "Getting Older", live favorites like "Point That Thing Somewhere Else" and instrumentals "Fish" and "At the Bottom" all serve up memories of the joyous noise that characterized The Clean of that time. These recordings, mostly made by the band with Chris Knox and Doug Hood at the helm of the 4-track, capture the bright, raw sound of a classic garage band.
After a brief breakup, the band recorded "Vehicle" in 1989, made in three days and engineered by Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, My Bloody Valentine). The sounds of "Vehicle" and the two albums that followed it, "Modern Rock" (1994) and "Unknown Country" (1996), make up the bulk of discs 3 and 4 of the vinyl "Anthology". In addition to selections from these full-length recordings, "Anthology" includes two songs released only on a US 7 inch and two that appeared on a bonus flexidisc with the "Modern Rock" LP.