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Pajo - Pajo
Label: Drag City
Release: 2005

Tracklisting:
1. Oh No No
2. High Lonesome Moan
3. Ten More Days
4. Manson Twins
5. War is Dead
6. Baby Please Come Home
7. Icicles
8. Mary of the Wildmoor
9. Let Me Bleed
10. Francie
Pajo - Pajo
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Average Blamo User Rating: (3 votes)

I liked Zwan.

Okay, credibility out the window, I know, but at some point in the late winter of 2003, I really dug "Mary Star of the Sea." As a Billy Corgan fanboy, it was pretty much an inevitability that I'd like the record, but it was no coincidence that my favorite little moment on it was the instrumental segueway that connected "Jesus, I" to "Mary Star of the Sea." It was practically the only moment on the record that gave voice to the other members of the band (besides the big, bald egomaniac), but its similarity to the longer passages of Tortoise always led me to believe it was, in fact, David Pajo behind those lovely (if slightly directionless) instrumental wanderings.

Truth be told, in those days I knew nothing of Pajo beyond Zwan and his Tortoise contributions.

Fast forward to 2005. I still like the Zwan record (gasp!), but I've since educated myself in the ways of "Spiderland." Unfortunately, prior to my writing this review, I didn't have much of a chance to explore Pajo's various incarnations of M, so listening to Pajo, his first album of original material since Papa M's "Whatever, Mortal," is somewhat like getting pissed off about the war in Iraq but thinking 9-11 is nothing more than an emergency phone number that you dialed once by accident when you were, like, 3. Or something like that. Thus, I feel like I'm venturing into this record somewhat unprepared. And honestly, what "Pajo" turned out to be was far, far different from what I was originally expecting.

But it's still fucking magnificent.

"Pajo"'s cover art is astoundingly appropriate for how the record sounds as a whole. There's a cold, ocean-like distance to each and every one of these songs, from Pajo's Kevin Shields-ish vocal delivery to the occasional electronic effects spattered throughout. Hell, practically every song is entirely anchored by a lone acoustic guitar. Amazingly, though, this coldness lends itself to an immense beauty, particularly recognizable by the time "High Lonesome Moan" hits its campfire-appropriate chorus, or once "Francie" fully erupts into Slint-like soundscapes.

This says nothing of Pajo's ability to raise the dead. Several reviews of this record have mentioned its similarities to Elliott Smith's brand of acoustic folk, but I'll go out of my way to say that "Icicles" sounds like a goddamned resurrection. And even regardless of its relations to the dead, it's an earth-shatteringly lovely song. Pajo works absolute magic throughout the recordís running time, and he works it well.

In retrospect, I think starting off this review with a reference to Zwan does a great disservice to Pajo, as his other work has proven to be much more prolific than a short stint in "Billy Corganís new band." Alas, that was all I knew of him them, but "Pajo" makes me want nothing more than to cast away my ignorance and dive further into his catalogue.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

 


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