Finally appearing seven years after it was first recorded, the Mendoza Line's "lost" debut, If They Knew This Was the End, is an attempt by the band to present a more cohesive portrait of its early ye

Finally appearing seven years after it was first recorded, the Mendoza Line's "lost" debut, If They Knew This Was the End, is an attempt by the band to present a more cohesive portrait of its early years. With its mixture of sweet jangle pop and lo-fi Sebadoh-style rock, If They Knew is a fish-out-of-water story as much as a document of the band's initial efforts to find its voice. While other Athens, Ga., bands like Olivia Tremor Control and Neutral Milk Hotel were reinterpreting '60s-era psychedelia, the Mendoza Line was attempting to synthesize influences ranging from the Replacements to American Music Club—a sound that put it at odds with its then-label, Kindercore, which never released If They Knew. Instead, the label included many of the tracks on the 1997 set, Poems to a Pawnshop. Whether or not If They Knew sheds any dramatic new light on the band at this point is debatable, but for loyalists the release is sure to be viewed as a treat. It arrives with liner notes from Mendoza co-leader Timothy Bracy and a half-dozen bonus tracks.—BG

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print