's career with Stiff Records began on a high and went progressively downhill from there -- by the time of her third album for the label, even devoted fans were regretting that the early promise was never fulfilled. Still they remained loyal, however, and though two discs compiling Lovich
's entire label output might be half-a-disc too many, the first volume in the set has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Opening with her Stateless
album in its entirety, Volume 1
continues on through the clutch of non-album B-sides and compilation-only cuts that punctuated Lovich
's early career, before swinging into the first side of Flex
, her second album and the first indication that what had once sounded so fresh and amazing could, in fact, turn easily stagnant. Of course there were highlights across that album and, thankfully, the bulk of them were on side one -- the swooping, shrieking nervousness of "Bird Song" remains as exhilarating today as it ever was back then.. The main thrust of this set, however, remains Stateless
, a record that still stands among the finest debut albums of the entire punk/new wave era, even as it blueprinted practically everything that Lovich
would do over the next three years.