Slapstick – Slapstick (2021 vinyl reissue)

2 out of 5

Label: Asian Man Records

Produced by: Jeff Hansell, Mass Giorgini, Phil Bonnet

I don’t need to own all of my favorite albums on wax, but there are definitely those that I’m interested to hear via the format, and Slapstick’s self-titled compilation – an enduringly powerful bit of awesomeness in my collection, frequently in rotation – is one of those. The original album is so raw, I figured a vinyl version could only add to that.

…Or not.

A couple things I’d note, here: I bought the 2021 version of this, which is a reissue / repress of the original vinyl – not a remaster – and a good chunk of the tracks that make up this collection are from the group’s album Lookit!, which (I believe) was only ever issued on CD. So firstly, any flaws I find in the recording were, I assume, present on the original vinyl version of this, and as a good chunk of these tracks were initially heard in a digital format – maybe that’s the way they’re best? Because ufda, all the rough charm the tinny, brash recordings on the CD version of Slapstick provided are somewhat absent on the vinyl. Sound clips, and the volume just sounds LOUD instead of an affect of the group being passionate. It’s clear – it’s an accurate recording – but the flaws now sound like flaws instead of, like, enjoyable artifacts. And while the disc version didn’t have extensive liner notes or anything, it did have an insert with some pictures, which is lacking on the vinyl. They couldn’t even be bothered to use different images on the labels, repeating the same picture on all four sides…

So this is a disappointing experience. Again, I accept that all of this was probably present in the original pressings, but it’s a good lesson to any dwindling vinyl purist within that it’s not always going to be the most fitting format.