It’s been a while since the world last heard from the ladies in ERASE ERRATA. Their last album came out nine years ago, and the beloved post-punk experimentalists have left their home base in San Francisco and are now living in three different states. Thankfully, their dissonant, arty punk rock has not lost much of its edge with so much time and distance between them.
The trio has always had a knack for improvisation that bands who traffic in songs this short and tight can rarely pull off. I remember seeing them twice back in the mid-aughts when they were still a four-piece and being impressed at the way the trumpet, bass, drums, and guitar careened around wildly. They jettisoned the recorded studio versions of their tracks for much looser, more off-the-cuff versions, ensuring the same set never happened twice. For Lost Weekend, the group took this looseness right into the studio. All seven songs on this album were born from a totally improvised one-day jam session in Iowa City. The best output from those jams was then fleshed out, sharpened to laser focus, and recorded for posterity. The hit-and-run nature of the writing and recording lends a nice sense of urgency to the proceedings.
Erase Errata’s precision and angularity has long earned them comparative nods to ’80s post-punkers like Gang of Four, the Minutemen, and the Fall, but there’s more to it than that. The amped-up dance grooves that are a staple of that genre are undercut by a twinge of psychedelia and a pure pop backbone. Lost Weekend is not as frantic as its predecessors. The vocals are a bit less in-your-face, and for an album with only seven short songs it doesn’t exactly leave me breathless the way their earlier work did. But there’s a subtlety to it, and a charming confidence that only comes from having the age and experience not to care who is or isn’t impressed. In our image-obsessed era, that makes it a truly refreshing listen.
Lost Weekend is available now from Under the Sun