My brother on Pavement: "don't get me wrong, they're really catchy, but they're just quite a standard band"
I'm taking him to see them at Brixton in 10 days and he listened to Quarantine The Past today for the first time (I had previously played him Gold Soundz, Range Life, Cut Your Hair and Frontwards). He's digging it and admits they're very good at what they do but (plus accepts that the more he listens the better they get, as in the case of Gold Soundz where it's grown on him hugely), in his words, "from a musician's point of view they're just a bit basic. It's chords and it's verse-chorus-verse mostly. They don't even have that many amazing hooks." He mentions that Malkmus' songwriting and overall style as a frontman is their best asset.
This is something I'm inclined to agree on. I really like Pavement (I listen to them a lot more than most acts) but they're hitting at a 7.5-8/10 average for me rather than being the revered legends a lot of people claim they are. I think a lot of people put them on a pedestal but as I explained to him, it may be that we (I'm 18 and he's just 17) started getting into jerky, hook-laden poppy post-punk bands when we were becoming teenagers and so looking back more underground and less showy acts seem a bit pedestrian or at least don't stand out as much. Told him that I guess in retrospect we missed the initial excitement of Pavement's arrival, which was a welcome break from the bloated excess of a lot of 80s music, and how, for a small group of people, they perfectly hit the nail on the head soundtracking being a teenager in the 90s, capturing both the wit and ennui in a way that wasn't mopey or overtly melodramatic (as in the case of post-Nirvana grunge/alt rock), and stayed firmly and loyally outside mainstream conventions. I blabbed about alternative meaning alternative proper and all that as well.
Anyone else on this wavelength? Or, better still, can someone concisely sum up (so I can relay it to my bro) quite why they are seen as absolute 24ct legends by a not inconsiderate group of people.