“Tone Bender” gets pulled from In the Presence of Nothing, a song that again offers up the massive, woozy Valentines churn of “February Fourteenth,” this time with a lead guitar that sounds a bit like a much-slowed “Only Shallow.” Another terrific, well-polished A-side. The rarity here is “Eskimo,” and while its relative sunniness is a slight tweak on the gauzy shoegaze formula, the track’s ponderous length eventually makes for a tiresome, impact-free slog. Zzzz.
By the way: The CD version of “Tone Bender,” which adds the two tracks from the debut 7”, holds the piss-me-off honor of being THE record that has most successfully eluded me through the years. In over a decade of searching I’ve never actually seen it in person, and the one time I did buy an affordable copy on eBay, the USPS managed to lose the package. When I finally do obtain it, I’m gonna staple the fuckin thing to my chest.