Beat Happening - Look Around (2LP)

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Look Around is a career-spanning Beat Happening collection was long overdue when it finally arrived in 2015. Thanks to Domino Records, the band finally started to get the reissue treatment many bands of their stature had been getting for years. The 23 tracks chosen by the bandmembers themselves include their first single, 1984's "Look Around," and tracks from their five albums and singles, and ends with their surprise 2000 single "Angel Gone," which was released with the Crashing Through box set. It's the perfect starting place for someone who maybe heard about the band and wants to check them out, and it's also a reminder for longtime fans of just how many brilliant songs they had. It's almost staggering when they are all collected in one place like this. The trio of Calvin Johnson, Heather Lewis, and Bret Lunsfordwere able to create a sound from the very beginning that was inviting in its simplicity and deceptively deep lyrically, with tunes so catchy that they stick halfway through the first listen. Sometimes called twee or child-like, their songs are actually quite often dark and brooding with undercurrents of death and sex lurking just below the crashing and strumming surface.