Jon Doe and Exene Cervenka: the king and queen of West Coast punk! From high-powered punkabilly to simmering acoustic sets, this 2-CD set contains some of the best tracks ( We're Desperate; Johnny Hit & Run Paulene ) from their albums, plus mostly unreleased demos, outtakes, rehearsals and cuts from their legendary live shows. Includes notes from the band and testimonials from the musical peers who revere them, plus exclusive photos from the band members' own collections.
This two-disc retrospective serves better as a wild gift to fanatical Xtremests rather than as a serviceable overview for the casual fan who never had much time for the band in the first place. Only 11 of the collection's 45 tracks were culled from the nine official albums released over a decade and a half span. Unlike a standard best-of, Beyond and Back
is heavily weighted with demos, outtakes, rare singles, and live recordings. Some will no doubt bemoan the supplanting of studio recordings of high-tension band standards such as "The World's a Mess; It's in My Kiss," "The Once Over Twice," and "Johny Hit and Run Paulene" with raw, lo-fi alternates. Still, the candid approach certainly suits the band's original aesthetic, and there are a surplus of enticing rarities to be found that even dabblers will enjoy. --Steven Stolder