Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Marshall Crenshaw, Miracle of Science (reissue), 2020

Album Review

By Henry Lipput

I know exactly what Marshall Crenshaw meant when he recently said, "I love it that phonograph records are popular again."

I was able to buy his first four albums, the brilliant self-titled debut as well as Field Day, Downtown, and Mary Jean & 9 Others, on vinyl when they came out. But even before 1989's Good Evening, records seemed to disappear in the United States.

Crenshaw has regained ownership of the five albums he released on the Razor & Tie label between 1994 and 2003 and is going to reissue all of them on vinyl, CD, and all digital platforms.

1996's Miracle of Science, 1999's #447, 2003's What's in the Bag?, 1994's live My Truck Is My Home, and 1998's early demos collection, The 9 Volt Years, will be released as expanded editions. Each album will include two newly recorded, previously unreleased tracks which will appear on a bonus 7" single on the vinyl editions and as bonus tracks on the CD and digital versions. The Miracle of Science reissue includes "Misty Dreamer" by Scottish indie-pop artist Daniel Wylie and "What the Hell I Got," a 1974 number by Canadian Michel Pagliaro.

It's clear on listening to the reissue of Miracle of Science (after listening to the original CD release for a number of years) that, during his Razor & Tie years, Crenshaw lost none of his talent for hooks, licks, and lyrics. Songs like "What Do You Dream Of?," "Only An Hour Ago," and "Starless Summer Sky" would have been stellar additions to his first two breakthrough albums. The co-write with Glen Burtnik, "There And Back Again," is a delight; and the reissue of Miracle of Science also includes a backwards version of the song.

Crenshaw has always included cover versions of songs on his albums starting with "Soldier Of Love" on Marshall Crenshaw. Miracle of Science includes two: Hy Heath's "Who Stole That Train" with some amazing guitar playing and a horn-filled "The 'In' Crowd."

Marshall Crenshaw's Miracle of Science reissue is out now on Shiny-Tone (via Megaforce).

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