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Elliott Smith:: New Moon (Album Review)

These 24 tracks, recorded during the late Elliott Smith’s mid-’90s peak, capture the bruised troubadour in full bloom: a mostly unheard mix of drug ballads, defeated love songs and tart character studies of fellow broken souls, some of which match all but his greatest. “High Times” and “New Disaster” are crowned with inimitable choruses, characteristically bitter and catchy, while a tender cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen” suggests that Smith absorbed as much sentiment from Alex Chilton as he did from the Beatles. Usually featuring a backing band, a farfisa or Smith’s own double-tracked vocals and guitar, New Moon sounds less like a pile of outtakes than an official album released in a parallel universe—one where Smith managed to dodge the reaper and keep on singing.
(Erik Davis)