The Dream Syndicate – The Days of Wine and Roses

It might be easy to dismiss The Days of Wine and Roses as borrowing too heavily from the Velvet Underground’s playbook, but this vital Paisley Underground band’s full-length debut has more than enough depth and diversity to carve out its own distinct space. Hitting the scene at the end of the punk era, the Dream Syndicate achieved a balance of raw energy with a polished level of musicianship that becomes easier to acknowledge when looking at the music that arrived after the group faded away. Then there’s the guitar work of Steve Wynn and Karl Precoda that, back in 1982, had few—if any —rivals.

Sure, a well-recorded record with quiet surfaces isn’t all that punk, but this pressing contains so much texture that listening to the original is now criminal. Lead singer Wynn possesses a larger space, and it’s much easier to hear the key mood swings in his delivery, which reach their peak on the rousing “Then She Remembers.”

It’s also not very punk to go into minutiae on a vinyl reissue, audiophile pressing or not. Here, you’re just going to want to get to the music, so know this: The original Sire pressing is highly compressed, as most early Sire pressings are, and this new version from 4 Men With Beards constitutes a major improvement in every way. Essential. —Jeff Dorgay

4 Men With Beards Records, LP