The Vaselines: Sex with an X

The Vaselines
Sex with an X
(Sub Pop)

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One of The Vaselines’ greatest claims to fame is the fact that Kurt Cobain was such a fan of their work. Originally formed in 1986 in Scotland, the band released a couple of EPs and a full-length album before fizzling out in 1990. Nearly two decades after breaking up, lead musicians Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee began playing gigs again with members of Belle & Sebastian joining their tour.

These endorsements from such different musicians are no coincidence, as Sex with an X proves to be the perfect combination of twee rhythm and grunge humor. Kelly and McKee aren’t necessarily reaching for a high-profile reunion though, especially since they never had that large of a following to begin with. Instead, it’s a second lease of life for a band that ended all too soon. The singers provide gentle vocals that complement each other without sparring for the limelight, and much of the album is driven by melody rather than flashy technicality.

“Don’t believe the hype, I can smell the tripe” declares the band in the opener “Ruined,” as though they can sense the assumptions people might have about a reunion. The eleven songs that follow have an effortless feel to them, with a breezy attitude weaving its way throughout. Bad relationships are presented as being worse than a few extra pounds, and religious battles become as trivial as comparing certain sizes.

The Vaselines seem disinterested in trying to make themselves seem as important as they have been to other influential acts, and it’s that very detachment that makes them unforgettably fun.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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