Sunday, March 16, 2008
If you were one to listen to Byron Coley's words as gospel (and, let's face it, there was such a time), the Dream Syndicate were the ultimate Velvets/drone/noise-rock ensemble to beat all others, their crushing freakouts legendary in the LA club scene of the day, and their early material was the meeting point of Velvets/Byrds psychedelic drone, LA punk and Fall-style garage-art nonsense.
A long time ago, upon playing this, I figured them to be a critic's band whom no-one really liked or listened to, and all this praise was a bunch of baloney cooked up coz Coley was buddies w/ Steve Wynn or Chris D. or whoever, and somehow everyone else towed the line and the band's alleged greatness was all based on a bunch of shuck 'n' jive. Well, let me say that The Days Of Wine And Roses - an album I pulled out again after having read Clinton Heylin's "definitive" punk bio, Babylon's Burning, and having spun Opal's Happy Nightmare Baby LP for the 10,000th time - is not, so far as I can see, an example of raw genius, but a very superior take on a sound which bridges the gap between classic early LA punk and some more "mature" antecedents of its day, namely the Velvets, Byrds, Dylan, Chilton and the Modern Lovers. Wynn claims he was just ripping off The Fall most of the time, saying that critics missed the mark when they deemed him a Lou rip-off. Whatever the case, this really is a fine album, a definitive LA classic in its sound and approach, one I'd be proud to place next to other, similar outings, whether it be Waiting For the Sun, Younger Than Yesterday, (GI), Damaged or Born Innocent. Damn, it's taken 10 years, but it feels worth it.