Heatmiser — Cop And Speeder

Heatmiser — Cop And Speeder

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Reissue / Repress / Limited Color Vinyl / Pressed in 2006 / In the years since his 2003 suicide the cultic fan base of singer/songwriter Elliott Smith has continued on as a notable feature of the musical landscape. Strangely enough little attention is paid, even by Elliott fans, to Heatmiser -- Smith's original project when still based in Portland.
Although he is not quite the dominant passive-aggressive personality here that he would be in his solo work, the other musicians turn his talents in a "rock" direction that in my opinion encapsulates some of what was best about '90s music. In fact, Elliott's songs on *Cop and Speeder* -- Heatmiser's second album from 1994 -- are perhaps even somewhat less interesting than those of the other lead singer, Smith's college friend Neil Gust: this is not to say that Smith was "overpowered", as tunes like "Why Did I Decide to Stay?" could quite easily be taken to have his creative fingerprints on them as well.
"Cop and Speeder" is a carefully-crafted expression of the channeled hopelessness of the era, where the assumption of adult norms and opportunities was in a greater tension with the psychosocial make-up of young American men than in the permanently-juvenile present. The band had Tony Lash (who recorded many of the "classic" Portland albums of this era at his studio) in the drummer's seat; together with then-bassist Brandt Peterson he keeps the high-concept simplicity of the music moving. Portland is a city that forgets its history fairly readily, and devotees of its purported "attitude" ought to give the reality of this statement of the ethos of the city twenty years ago some serious time; everyone else with an ear for well-wrought indie can just listen and enjoy.

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