Album Mini-review: The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience — I Like Rain

File Next to: The Chills, The Clean, Straitjacket Fits

Sporting a playful name (eventually shortened in response to lawsuits) that had less than nothing to do with their sound, this New Zealand band was a prime exponent of the Flying Nun Records sound and aesthetic. With a DIY production approach and relatively unadorned arrangements, the JPS Experience crafted music that brought to mind Teenage Fanclub sitting on comfy couches, or Loaded-era Velvet Underground leaning even more in a timeless pop direction. The band never once dented the charts outside their island homeland, and mustered relatively little chart action there. But their lack of commercial success belies the charms found within their music. In the same way that America’s garage rock explosion of the mid 60s created hundreds of worthy tracks that never got a wide hearing, the Kiwi pop explosion of 1980s New Zealand went mostly unheard outside that small country. Albeit belatedly, this best-of helps correct that injustice.

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