Though I'll admit to being detached/ or trying to become attached to the collector scum culture (wuz I coll' sc. before it became a term, prolly not, oh well), I was never aware of the backlash Mr. Reatard has received for going acoustic. Equivalent to Dylan going electric at Royal Albert Hall? Not to parallel the two, but you'd seem to think it in our tiny little universe. Fact is, Jay Reatard, through his series of minor-pressed seven-inchers, is re-establishing himself -- going from Memphis punk ditch digger to international pop sensation (check the whirlwind European tour for proof, as only in Europe do you become established (sic)).
"Painted Shut" is acoustic guitar based, theory now being most of Blood Visions was conceived in this mold (check the Night of Broken Glass EP). I can't say the lyrics are profound, though he does get a pass for rhyming "started" with "retarded" since it's his namesake, but the melodies are rich, flamboyant, the work of someone with an ear for the radio (and wouldn't we all like to hear this on the radio?). It's a song that's definitely over before it's done (a brief minute-forty-nine) and that's the charm, lodging a jangly hook in the head and heading off for a beer. Unfortunately lesser than the two songs on the first chunk.
It's the b-side here, "An Ugly Death," that is the marquee, starting with a keys/solo intro that could either be from Master of Puppets or Kings of the Wild Frontier, as the line between proto-modern-metal and post-glam-pre-new-wave is blurred beyond recognition. Reatard's been doing his homework, hitting the high notes like never before, ringing in a chorus that succeeds all the Josef K, Orange Juice, and XTC comparisons that will likely cock-block this (perfect) second statement. Like him or not, he's cementing a spot in our playlist for years to come.