Silkworm – Libertine (Comedy Minus One remaster)

5 out of 5

Label: Comedy Minus One

Produced by: Bob Weston (remastered by)

So I listen to Libertine, one of my now favorite Silkwork albums – I was slow to adapt to it, but once on board, every track hits home – and thinking: this doesn’t really need a remaster. I mean, the levels are kinda low, but once you up the volume, it sounds damn fine, with Albini’s shallow, raw recording style the perfect complement to SKWM’s slow-crawl style on the album. In fact – I kind of love how the guitars and vocals feel like they’re carved out of a cavern; the group has to push to be heard.

…And then I listen to the Comedy Minus One remaster of Libertine, and dammit, it sounds damn fine. This makes the band sound even more like the Silkworm of their later Touch & Go era masterpieces, buttery smooth and organic at the same time, with the bass and guitars brought up to levels such that they lose none of that rawness, but allow for more nuance in the playing to be appreciated. This means, impossibly, that both versions of this album are absolutely worth a listen.

That’s part one, which is honestly enough to merit a purchase, at least for any Silkworm follower. But in case you don’t happen to own this one – it used to be fairly easy to find in used bins – I would say this is the way to go, giving you more accessible fidelity for more modern systems / HD audio-expecting ears, plus… the other parts: relatively short but passionate liner notes from Tim Midyett; dual formats for a single price – LP plus CD – and that CD has some bonus tracks. The bonuses are arguably just okay, as 4 of the 6 extra tracks are the Marco Collins acoustic sessions, which I definitely don’t consider required listens, and then an alternate take of Grotto of Miracles – kind of just a slower and sloppier solo, whoops – but Tom Petty cover Insider is an absolutely solid addition. Since these are totally extra sides to your already cherry-topped, delicious sundae… ’tis a mighty fine deal for an amazing album, given a second life that’s just as amazing, in its own way, as the first one.