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Eucalyptus / Saturn Outhouse

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Album Review

Recorded in 1988 but not released until 1990, Pitchfork's Eucalyptus is primarily notable for being the first offering from singer Rick Farr and guitarist John Reis, who would later form the much more accomplished Drive Like Jehu. Recorded while the two were still in their teens, Eucalyptus sounds like the work of a pair of smart but unformed suburban adolescents who have had their musical world changed by Squirrel Bait, the Meat Puppets, Rites of Spring, Sonic Youth, and the later SST Records catalog, plus cheap weed and Schaefer beer. A couple of tracks, notably the psych-poppy "Placebo" (which sounds kind of like the group's rough contemporaries Screaming Trees), are surprisingly strong, but most of Eucalyptus sounds like first drafts of ideas that would come to fruition later in Drive Like Jehu. [Interestingly, the three bonus tracks, from the vinyl EP Saturn Outhouse, fare better: "Thin Ice" has the nervous rush of indie forebears like the Embarrassment, "Sinking" recalls the more reflective moments of Mission of Burma, and "Goat" is pure 1991 grunge, a few years too early. Farr and Reis have both dismissed this early band as juvenilia, but this reissue is more interesting than many similar near-forgotten relics.]

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

One of the earlier punk bands on the San Diego scene, Pitchfork are most remembered for being the first collaboration between Drive Like Jehu guitarists John "Speedo" Reis and Rick Froberg (then calling himself Rick Fork). Influenced primarily by SST (Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Hüsker Dü) and proto-emo bands (Rites of Spring, Squirrel Bait), Pitchfork formed circa 1985 or 1986, with a rhythm section featuring drummer Joey Piro and a bassist known -- with typical punk informality -- only as Nick....
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Eucalyptus / Saturn Outhouse, Pitchfork
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