If you were to compile a short list of seminal albums that became the building blocks of your current musical tastes, you would most likely find that within the span of, say, 10 to 15 releases you could nail down the roots of what it is that really “grabs” you. And by that, I mean the albums that initially lit the spark for the appreciation of divergent genres and sub-genres. When it comes to all things ‘indie-pop’, my enduring appreciation stems from a 1993 purchase, at sixteen, of the Sub Pop released collection The Way of The Vaselines. Personally, this was the release that markedy sowed those seeds. And like many, I only happened upon the Glasgow group via the inclusion of several Vaselines covers on Nirvana’s odds & sods Incesticide LP. So thanks, Kurt.
Now, a decade and half since its initial release, Sub Pop has deemed the collection worthy of a reissue. Being that the collection, upon its release, was said to have compiled everything in the Vaselines recorded history (two EPs and a lone LP), here are the details on what this reissue actually entails: New title, new cover art. New mixes and re-mastered versions of existing catalog (tracks were until now, previously culled from cassettes), plus never-before-heard demos, and live recordings from 1986 in Bristol and 1988 in London. New liner notes from Stephen McRobbie and Everett True (see: here). Should existing fans rush out and buy this? For completests, like myself, sure, but indeed part of the Vaselines appeal was the inherent lo-fi-ness and the mystery/mystique. Perhaps now, 23 years after their formation, another sixteen year old will pick up this expanded edition and have the future of their record collection shaped by the group’s lo-fi pop charms. It’s certainly not a bad place to start.