The Soviettes - Rarities (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Soviettes

Rarities (2010)

Red Sound

Dearly departed Minnesota pop-punk act the Soviettes always had a no-bullshit presentation. The group's songs were dead-on shots of Ramonsey fire, usually clocking in somewhere between 100 and 200 seconds. They released three records in consecutive years. The titles were sequential numbers. Album covers swapped palettes and logos but remained otherwise similar. So the only real surprise about their new Rarities compilation is that it's coming out four years after the group's dissolution.

Of course it would be a solid 35-minute dance-fest in the vein of Tsunami Bomb and Teenage Bottlerocket. Of course the artwork would look the same. Of course they'd give it away for free. Like the band's name suggests, these songs belong to the people.

Given its thoroughly cheap price tag (FREE!), Rarities should function as an excellent introduction to folks who missed out on the Soviettes the last decade, even though it's also arguably the weakest album in the group's discography. As members Annie Sparrows and Maren "Sturgeon" Macosko admitted in a recent interview with the Org, some of these tunes are a bit rough. The harmonies that filled LP III are missing here. Sure, most of these songs predate the group's Adeline material, but there's still going to be a twang of disappointment for some fans looking for lost classics.

That's relatively speaking, though. Rarities is still a good album, but given that the group's three full-lengths were such tight pop-punk concoctions, anything less cohesive pales. That's why a rough track like "Twin Cities Sound" can be disappointing compared to the group's overall output yet still kick the shit out of 99 percent of all other music ever written.

But enough belly-achin'--Rarities is priced to move and er'rybody should take advantage. These 18 songs run the Soviettes' pop-punk playbook hard and fast. The group doesn't fuck with their musical formula, but they are willing to experiment with languages (Japanese tune "Mazacon" is mighty catchy, even if I have no idea what Susy Sharp is singing). Songs like "Plus One" and "Matt's Song" (which was later rerecorded for LP) are bouncy and fun. Thirty-five minutes of free, high-quality pop-punk is hard to deny. Rarities reaffirms the Soviettes' excellence. Now if only the band could reunite forever...