Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience - I Like Rain: The Story of The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience

I Like Rain: The Story of The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience is one of the most welcome collections I have ever owned.  It ticks all of the crucial boxes for such compilations: Very good but criminally underexposed band; hard to find material; comprehensive collection; and appealing package.  Most importantly, the set demonstrates the incredible versatility and the sheer quality of the music of The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience.  The New Zealand band, named in honor of a flatmate's struggles with his philosophy studies, was signed to the iconic local label Flying Nun.  But their music didn't fit neatly in the jangling retrospective (and not entirely correct) image of Flying Nun bands.  More likely to display a harder edge, a jazzy arrangement or a blues riff, the songwriting was adventurous and idiosyncratic.  Over their short performing life of 1988 through 1993, the band added elements of US college rock and grunge, and a fair it of psychedelia (check out "Into You" below).  That their evolution included increasingly more complex approaches and sonic experimentation may have presented a challenge to their existing fan base.  But in the rear view mirror afforded by I Like Rain: The Story of The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, one's appreciation only is enhanced by the band's positive growth.

Yes, this is a big package and it is priced accordingly.  But music like this is rare.  And given that this material was out of print and Fire Records spend six years, and I expect a sizable amount of resources, to license the over 50 songs from Flying Nun, remaster them, and create this box set, you may not get another chance.  You could even buy it and wrap it for a Christmas present to yourself, but who the hell would want to wait that long to listen to this great music?

The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience was Dave Yetton (vocals/bass), Dave Mulcahy (guitar), Jim Laing (guitar), and Gary Sullivan (drums).  This box set is available in CD and vinyl formats.  The vinyl has original sequencing with bonus material available as a digital download.

Fire Records page for release

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