The CLEAN – ” Unknown Country ” 2021 Reissue

Posted: March 26, 2021 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , ,

In 1978, The Clean were the seeds of New Zealand punk. In the years since, they have carved out a big sandbox for everyone to play in, and their influence resonates not only in NZ but around the world. A group that thrives when free of expectations, The Clean’s Robert Scott, Hamish Kilgour, and David Kilgour are, as Tape Op described, “a casually wonderful band.”

This is a double reissue on the Merge label from The Clean’s ‘Unknown Country’ and ‘Mister Pop’ on vinyl. Originally released in 1996 and 2009, respectively. The Clean – one of the most overlooked yet influencial acts of the 1980’s with bands such as Pavement, Guided By Voices and Yo La Tengo acknowledging their debts to the New Zealand group. This track (‘Wipe Me, I’m Lucky’) comes from their 1996 release ‘Unknown Country’ (Flying Nun Records.)

“The Clean have always exuded a casual grace that suggests they’d still be making the same records even if no one was listening, employing the same set of devices ramshackle locomotive rhythms, buoyant basslines, swirling organ lines, and wide-smile melodies irrespective of prevailing fashions, technological developments, or geopolitical unrest. And yet, the Clean’s periodic resurgences serve as a reminder that, in a world of uncertainty, there are still some things you can rely on.”

David Kilgour on Unknown Country: “The Clean always wanna try something different, but on this LP, we were obsessed with the idea. Tracks like “Wipe Me, I’m Lucky” and “Franz Kafka at the Zoo” are fine examples of the approach, I reckon. Quite a long way from “Tally Ho!” and “Beatnik”!

I remember we generally left vocal ideas to last, after the tracks were recorded, so we never really knew where we were headed. Might also explain all the instrumentals! Made during the Balkan War, hence the reference. And for the freaks, I think “Balkans” is the only Clean track ever to not actually feature The Clean playing. It’s all Alan Starrett, as we removed the backing track.”

Robert Scott on Unknown Country: This album is very different from our other albums. We didn’t go into the studio with many “song” ideas—a lot of it was written on the spot. I really enjoyed recording this as it was free of expectation. We weren’t playing much live at the time. It does contain some of my favourite Clean songs such as “Twist Top,” “Wipe Me, I’m Lucky,” and “Valley Cab.” Certainly our most experimental album.

Released on
Merge Records

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.