Age makes fools of us all. First it was In Utero releasing all of my hard-found rarities on a single disc, and now comes The Dwarves Are Younger & Even Better Looking a new double-gatefold LP package that combines the group’s 1997 record Young & Good Looking (record one) with Blag Dahlia’s solo EP, some b-sides from the era, and a handful of live radio gems and rarities (record two). In other words, all my collecting back in the day is now in a much easier to play format. And with snazzy packaging too.
With re-issues getting the deluxe treatment the question for a review isn’t so much “is the record any good,” as it’s “is it an improvement upon the original?” (In other words: why should I buy this again?) In this case, the answer is yes.
Record one is basically the same as the original, just a bit shinier and on vinyl. Record two, the odds and ends, doesn’t interrupt the cohesion of the record proper, while the songs are of a higher quality—b-sides and soundboard quality live efforts, instead of outtakes and dustbin demos. These songs on record two are songs that the Dwarves want you to hear and it’s mixed equally from one track to the next, making it a solid listen start-to-finish. The live radio songs are a bit blown out, but not to a detrimental level. As stated earlier, this reviewer already had about half of the 22 bonus tracks—the live ones are new to this listener.
The record itself was a turning point for the long-running band as it saw Hewhocannotbenamed resurrect from the Sub Pop grave. The new Dwarves came back with an ear for pop-melodies and a cleaner production that fit the band’s temporary move to Epitaph and has stayed with them since. The tight melodies fit said production to a T, delivering thirteen songs that run about 25 minutes total—a long record by Dwarves standards, nearly double that of its predecessor Sugar Fix. While the songs are crisp and punchy, the content remains trademark Dwarves: blood, guts, and pussy through and through, albeit with something of a b-movie wink subtly within.
While many albums are seeing their first vinyl release these days, Younger & Even Better Looking doesn’t just give an old release a new format, it gives it more depth and collector value as well.
7.7 / 10
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